Friday, April 28, 2017

PCG Says Iran is Most Concerning Rogue State

Currently the whole world is very concerned about the dire and tense situation regarding North Korea. But what about PCG's 1%? They still insist to their audience that "Iran is the rogue state we should be concerned about the most" even though North Korea, unlike Iran. actually has nuclear weapons.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump called the Iran nuclear deal disastrous and catastrophic. He said one of his top priorities if he became president would be to dismantle the agreement. This week, however, his administration was happy to announce that Iran was complying with the terms of the agreement. President Trump’s administration has come out strong against North Korea and Syria but hasn’t moved beyond pinprick sanctions when it comes to confronting Iran. On today’s program, we discuss why Iran is the rogue state we should be concerned about the most. (The Invisible Superpower and the World’s Most Dangerous Rogue State, The Trumpet Daily, April 19, 2017.)
Before World War II HWA taught that Ethiopia was be the King of the South until it was conquered by Fascist Italy and he continued to promote this idea in his booklet, The Middle East in Prophecy (1948, 1954, 1972). But from the 1960s onward some within HWA's organizations such as Garner Ted Armstrong and Keith Stump taught that there would be a future King of the South who would arise from among the Arabs. Then came the Tkach changes and the mass splintering of Armstrongism into hundreds of groups, one of which was Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God, which was founded in 1989.

Back in 1994 PCG's leader, Gerald Flurry, proclaimed that Iran would be the King of the South fated to be defeated by the future European Empire in the time just before Christ's return. Even though Iran is east, not south, of the Holy Land PCG has taught this doctrine to this day. This idea is unusual compared with the other COGs which tend to assume the King of the South will arise from among the Arabs. PCG vilifies Iran to "prove" that their leader can see the future,

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

PCG Loves McCarthyism

When it comes to politics PCG's 1% leans far to the right. They do not like the left. But their disdain for the left has led PCG's 1% to demonize the left as socialists and communists in order to scare their audience away from the left. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 one would have thought that it would be much harder to make people scared of the left by accusing them of being Communists yet that is exactly what PCG's 1% has been trying to do. This tendency may be seen in a recent article released by PCG. (Joel Hilliker, How Did Socialism Become So Popular in America?, April 24, 2017.)

Let's take a look.
America is a nation “conceived in liberty”—like no other nation in history! For hundreds of years, people from all over the world have come here for freedom: religious freedom, economic freedom, freedom of opportunity. 
But something is destroying America’s unique liberty.
What would that be?
How is it that more and more Americans—especially younger Americans—are embracing socialism and communism? These ideologies are very different from those established by America’s founders. They are economic and political models that make this nation more and more like other nations—in Europe and elsewhere—and less and less like America.
And who are these Americans he condemn for promoting socialism and communism? As we shall later in this article Hilliker will criticize Senator Sanders, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, the "political left" and "the leaders in the Democratic Party today." In other words he has turned "socialism" and "communism" to mean the American left in general. That is a classic McCarthyite tactic: Slurring the American left in general as Communists in order to hurl the guilt of the atrocities committed by Lenin, Stalin and other like minded dictators onto the American left to silence debate.

Also note the odd disdain for being like Europe. Even though western European nations have been close allies of the United States since the World War II era it seems that PCG's leaders look down on them and do not want to live in a society like theirs'.
During the Cold War, there was a lot of fear in America about the spread of communism. Now, most Americans today have come to think that threat was overblown. But just look at how widespread and mainstream socialist ideas have become in America today.
There was indeed "a lot of fear ... about the spread of communism." It is generally called McCarthyism. It was not merely an attack on Communists. Rather it was directed at many peoples and dissidents who had nothing to do with Communism including many who were innocent of any wrongdoing. It caused many innocent people to suffer and have their reputations ruined for no good reason. The guilt of the atrocities in Communist countries was hurled onto people who had nothing to do with those things. Senator McCarthy made the hysterical accusation that the State Department was infiltrated by many Communists. People were stirred up into chasing after ghosts. It is shameful that PCG should try to rehabilitate that campaign of hysteria that hurt so many innocent people.
In the 2016 presidential campaign, an open socialist almost won the Democratic Party nomination! If Americans under the age of 30 were the only ones who voted, this man would now be president of the United States. His radical plans to multiply the power and size of government are still extremely popular. More and more Americans want the national government to run health care and other major sectors of the economy.
Perhaps a lot of those young Americans want every American to have health insurance. That would be such a good thing. All Americans deserve to have health insurance.

Hilliker complains that Senator Sanders' plans (actually proposals since he did not win the primary elections) happens to be "extremely popular." But instead of wondering why it is like that he retreats to simple assertions that they were manipulated by Communists, the Universities and the political left instead of accepting the fact that many people do not view politics the same way as himself.
Is it possible all that concern over Communist infiltration might have been justified? This might sound like a kooky conspiracy theory...
It is "a kooky conspiracy theory" to demonize the American left as Communists. It is also an attempt to shut down debate within his audience and scare off people in his audience from listening to sources of information outside of PCG's information bubble.

We now continue with Hilliker's article.
...but you don’t have to look hard to find evidence that communism is influencing America today! The political left is actually pretty open in advocating Communist policies!
Note how "the political left" is equated with "advocating Communist policies." In other words this article is a condemnation of the left in general. The words "Socialist" and "Communist" are here rendered as almost meaningless synonyms for "the political left."
When you look at the leaders in the Democratic Party today, they got their education from universities that were heavily influenced by Communist thinkers.
In other words Hilliker's condemnation of Socialists and Communists includes "the leaders in the Democratic Party today." Once again we see that he has rendered the words "Socialist" and "Communist" are here rendered as almost meaningless synonyms for "the political left."
The Communist Party U.S.A. enlisted the support of thousands of sympathetic professors. Documents from Soviet archives reveal that even after the Soviet Union collapsed, the Communist Party U.S.A. received 2 to 3 million dollars a year from the Kremlin. 
And what happened to the leaders of the Soviet Union? It collapsed in 1991 and splintered into numerous nation states.

He also labels Barack Obama as being part of this alleged Communist threat because of meeting with certain people when he was a young man instead of judging him by what he did when he had power.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama was influenced as a youth by Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying Communist Party member, a man who openly supported Joseph Stalin, and who said the world’s greatest threat was “Anglo-American imperialist domination.” Mr. Obama wrote in his biography that he attended socialist conferences and hung out with Marxist professors.
Hilliker insists that the Communists tried to infiltrate the Democratic Party to reforged it according to the wishes of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Note how the Communists are portrayed as being aligned with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama once again showing that he has twisted the words "Socialist" and "Communist" to mean the left in general.
There is a lot of evidence exposing the Communists’ deliberate effort to get inside the Democratic Party. Like Paul Kengor wrote, they wanted to transform it “from the party of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy to the party of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.”
He also does not even mention where this quotation came from.

He then dares to minimize what President Nixon did during the Watergate scandal and portrays him as a victim of "the radical left" for combating the influence of Communists.
A book published in 2015 titled The Real Watergate Scandal documents how President Richard Nixon worked to prevent this from happening. He was part of the effort to convict Alger Hiss, a Communist spy who worked in the U.S. State Department. For that, Nixon became a target among those on the radical left. History shows that the way Nixon was prosecuted involved law-breaking and lawlessness far more scandalous than what he himself had to resign the presidency over.
PCG's 1% have tended to be intensely partisan towards the right. This is one reason why Hilliker is willing to minimize what Nixon did since he happened to be right wing.

He then simplistically slur young Americans as hating Nixon, Truman, Madison and Washington's political stances.
But today, the dominant message, especially among younger Americans, is to hate what Nixon or even Truman or even Madison or Washington stood for—and to embrace the enlightened principles of Obama, Sanders, Davis, Engels and Marx.
He bemoans that many Americans do not view the world politically the way he does.
Americans today are not living in the nation of our Founding Fathers, or even of our own fathers. The ideas that many Americans are embracing are more radical than a lot of people realize.
But even though he and his followers in PCG and his core audience are already mainly right wing and largely opposed to the left and the Democratic Party almost by default but that still is not enough for Hilliker. He then makes the wild accusation that the left are plotting to "bring... down" America,
And we didn’t arrive at this moment just spontaneously coming to recognize the wisdom in socialist and Communist thinking. 
The fact that these ideas have become so popular is the result of a deliberate and amazingly successful strategy—that was aimed at bringing down “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
What a potent cocktail of McCarthyite paranoia, fear, demonization and narrow minded parochialism this article is. The spirit of McCarthyism is alive and well in the offices of PCG headquarters. No good can come from this.

Mark Armstrong's Weekly Update (April 21, 2017)

Intercontinental Church of God's leader, Mark Armstrong, son of Garner Ted Armstrong, has released another misanthropic polemic. Let's take a look.

Mark Armstrong lives in Texas and leads his organization from there so why does he choose to focus most of his attention in this update on terrorist attacks in Europe?

Recently the world was shocked and saddened to see terrorist attacks committed by ISIL sympathizers in Stockholm and Paris which have killed five innocent people. But instead of offering words of sympathy and support Mark Armstrong cites the attack in Stockholm to ridicule those who advocate accepting refugees from Muslim majority countries as being driven by guilt to do so.
We saw a similar scene earlier this month, one becoming all too familiar in the ISIS-infested cities of Europe. That is shoppers and tourists running for their lives amid an unfolding terrorist attack. It happened in Stockholm, Sweden, where hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been housed and supported because Swedes have been convinced that their guilt for having lived in peace and prosperity must be assuaged by importing hordes of conscienceless zealots, deemed "the poor" by the press and by posturing politicians.
He also discusses the terrorist attack in Paris and lambaste the authorities in both France and Sweden for supposedly ignoring the perpetrators.
Last month it was London, where a vehicle was used to bludgeon pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on its way to the gates of Parliament. It should come as no surprise that terror has Paris again, this time on the famed Champs Elysee boulevard, again sending locals and tourists running for their lives. French police had the perpetrator on their radar, (just as Swedish authorities knew the beer truck terrorist and British authorities knew of the Westminster terrorist) another ISIS devotee dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization and the worldwide conquest of Islam. As terrorist attacks go, the bloodthirsty Champs Elysees killer was only marginally successful. Experience shows that a single terrorist carrying out a murderous mission in an unarmed society is often capable of taking out dozens, sometimes forty or fifty carefree civilians at a time, or, as in the case of the attack in Nice, eighty-six civilians. 
He then takes information about the murderer in Paris to make French investigators trying to learn about the terrorist to make them look stupid.
But this one targeted a random police vehicle slaughtering a Paris policeman, grievously wounding two other policemen and wounding a passing female tourist. And it's not like the French authorities didn't know all about this murderer. They think he was "radicalized" while serving a fifteen-year sentence for the attempted murder of two police officers. That little detail should tell us all we need to know about the rationalization of the Muslim situation in Europe. Let's try to get this straight. They're saying he wasn't "radical" when he attempted to take innocent lives in 2001? He only became "radicalized" while serving a sentence for attempting to murder Police officers? If that's not willful ignorance!
He shows his sympathy for the far right by condemning the media for criticizing Marine Le Pen. As is common in these Islamophobic polemics fear of Al Qaeda like terrorists is used to also demonize the left as failing to combat them.
Marine Le Pen is regarded as the "far-right" candidate, striking fear if not hatred into the hearts of the politically correct establishment. She's being accused of "taking advantage" of the attack for political gain. Oooh, that would be wrong, wouldn't it? It would be beneath elite dignity to bring up a murderous ISIS attack on the Champs Elysees a day or two before preliminary voting commences. How low can she go; her opponents want to know. What a cheap ploy!
He than falsely equates ISIL's claim of responsibility for the attack as "a Muslim thing" thus falsely equating the criminal network called ISIL with Muslims in general.
To summarize, it was a religiously motivated act. The perpetrator had material praising ISIS in his car, along with a copy of the Koran. ISIS immediately took credit for his actions and called him one of their "fighters." Funny how these sneak-attack murderers are lauded as "brave fighters." It's a Muslim thing.
Furthermore ISIL is losing on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq consequently this terrorist criminal network is eager to claim credit for anything they can to mask the fact that the long awaited day of their fall is soon coming.

He scare mongers that there are 10,000 people in France on a watch list.
The French maintain a list of terrorist suspects living in their midst. There are 10,000 names on that list, and this murdering piece of ISIS was one of them. Now, there are only 9,999 others that need to be "watched" like this guy was, and that's just in France. As one analyst recently remarked, "He wasn't a lone wolf, he was a known wolf." There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of them currently residing in Europe, and there is little doubt that sooner or later the domestic population will have enough of "running for their lives" as dozens of terrorist attacks continue to play out. 
And then almost as an afterthought he claims the same things are happening in the United States.
The problem has grown massive in the United States as well. Would be, wannabe terrorists are everywhere. You can't go anywhere or do much of anything without being struck with the realization. 
And that is all he has to say about that in this problem in the United States in this weekly update. Mark Armstrong is based in the United States. It is seems reasonable to assume most of his followers are in the United States. Europe is far away. It is easy to imagine fearful things about places an ocean away.

He then talks about the very serious and concerning crisis concerning North Korea.

And after that he alludes to the protests in Venezuela and yet he mainly talks about multi-national corporations losing money there and uses the current crisis to condemn the American left.
It appears that the inevitable consequences of Democratic Socialism may be reaching critical mass in Venezuela. Mass demonstrations, brought about by poverty and starvation, threaten the ruler-ship of Nicolas Maduro, successor to Hugo Chaves [sic]. His government seized a General Motors plant earlier this week, which mimics similar actions against foreign corporations taken by his predecessor. An article in the New York Times lists a who's who of corporations that have done business in Venezuela and its government, and shows that they've had to write off hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debts. And so it goes in this Utopia of Democratic Socialism. It's a pattern we'll see play out elsewhere. It's a philosophy being taught as "fair" in American universities, and one that was preached and promoted by the losers of our recent presidential election.
He direly proclaims that we are "living in an Obama world."
The United States may have elected Donald Trump President, but we are still living in an Obama world. The media, the educational system and the big corporations are hooked on the kind of political correctness that is imploding wherever it's had time to metastasize. 
Even having a Republican as president is not enough for Mark Armstrong. This shows that he will never be satisfied at things and will constantly complain in this way. He will not change even when circumstances are more favorable for his political outlook.

And so Mark Armstrong has given the world another weekly update of his complaints. If his followers are so fixated on events far away in Europe, North Korea or Venezuela it seems likely that they will not focus as much on their own situation and the situation within Intercontinental COG and their local communities.

Monday, April 24, 2017

HWA: Palestine was "a Barren Desert Waste" Until 1917

French tourist poster. 1898.

Way back in 1934 in the very first issue of his recruitment magazine, The Plain Truth, HWA insisted that "Jerusalem and Palestine" were "a barren desert waste" until 1917 when the British seized it from the Ottoman Empire.
In words written some nineteen hundred, some twenty-five hundred years ago the Bible prophesies every outstanding phase of present world condition---the depression, the unemployment, its causes, the hoarding of gold, the topsy-turvy political conditions thruout the world, the modern church condition and present social conditions. It has foretold modern science, the automobile, the airplane. It foretold that the Jews would be driven into ALL nations, scattered, yet without ever losing their nationality or their appearance---and that is the miracle of history! It foretold that Jerusalem and Palestine would be in the power of the Gentiles, a barren desert waste, until 1917-1936 when it would once more "blossom as the rose," and the Jews would once again return! (Herbert W. Armstrong, Is a World Dictator About to Appear? Plain Truth, February 1934, pp. 1-2.)   
HWA thought the "Day of the Lord," which he taught was a time of numerous catastrophes just before Christ's return, would begin in 1936 hence his reference to that year even though he wrote this in 1934. (See Plain Truth, June-July 1934, p. 3.)

But was Jerusalem and Palestine "a barren desert waste" until 1917? Of course not. Jerusalem and Palestine (later after the war of 1947-9 part of it became the State of Israel) were continuously inhabited from Biblical times to this very day.

The 1922 Census of Palestine reported that 757,182 people lived there. The population was about 78% Muslim, 11% Jewish and 10% Christian. How can a land in which 757,182 people live in it be described as "a barren desert waste"?

They farmed. They built homes. They made art. They made families. They raised up their children. They paid taxes to the Ottoman authorities and after 1917 were ruled by the British. Before 1917 and even by 1934 when HWA wrote his words the majority of inhabitants were Palestinian Arabs.

What a terrible slur against the Palestinian people HWA made by insisting that Jerusalem and Palestine were "a barren desert waste" until 1917. It shows how little value he gave to the Palestinian people. They meant little to him. And sad to say this dismissive attitude towards the Palestinians continues to be present within the COGs to this day.

But why did HWA talk of Palestine as though it were "a barren desert waste" until 1917? Well in the mid-19th Century among some Protestant Christians in Britain the idea arose that Jews should migrate to Palestine. And among them arose a saying to promote this idea describing Palestine as "a land without a people and a people without a land," that is they claimed that Palestine did not have a distinctive people while the Jews did not have a homeland. And this view in a mangled form came to influence HWA in 1934 to slur Palestine as "a barren desert waste" thus devaluing the Palestinian Arabs as unworthy of his regard. How shameful.

May peace soon come to the Holy Land.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ahmadinejad Disqualified from Running for President

Recently Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that he would try to run for the presidency. Naturally PCG, having had a long history of condemning him, related this news with excitement.
Firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former president of Iran, has announced that he is again running for the presidency. While walking his former vice president, Hamid Baghaei, through the registration process on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad turned and strode to the registration desk, registering his own papers and sending the media into a frenzy. (Callum Wood, He’s Back! Ahmadinejad to Run for Iran Presidency, April 14, 2017.)
But even Wood had to note the possibility that Ahmadinejad would not be allowed to run for president.
Many in the media suspect that Ahmadinejad will be vetoed. Some say that the former president expects it—choosing to apply only to aid his former vice president. The Associated Press speculated that the Guardian Council is less likely to veto Baghaei if they veto Ahmadinejad. 
But there may be more credibility to Ahmadinejad’s play than the media care to admit.
As it turned out the many people in the media turned out to be right: Ahmadinejad was blocked from running for president.
An Iranian panel charged with vetting candidates approved the country's incumbent president and five challengers but disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month's presidential election, state television reported Thursday. (Nasser Karimi and Adam Schreck, "Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disqualified from presidential election," Associated Press, ABC News, April 20, 2017.)
And so it appears that PCG will no longer be able to use Ahmadinejad as a prop to scare their audience.

PCG Complains About Bill O'Reilly's Removal

The PCG leadership leans far to the right in regards to politics so it is unsurprising that they would comment on the recent removal of Bill O'Reilly from the Fox News Channel.
Earlier this month, the New York Times ran an exposé on Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s alleged history of sexual harassment. The article resurrected settled disputes and ran unverified information. This week, 21st Century Fox dismissed O’Reilly over the controversy. While we don’t know all the facts about what happened at Fox, it’s safe to say the New York Times effectively helped bring O’Reilly down. A couple weeks after launching the assault on O’Reilly, the New York Times casually posted an op-ed from Marwan Barghouti. According the Times’s byline, Barghouti is “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” It failed to mention he is a convicted terrorist who is imprisoned on five counts of murder, and has orchestrated the killings of hundreds of Israelis. On today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show, we discuss how the New York Times fiasco is another symptom of a backward and biased media. ("NYT Takes Down Bill O’Reilly and Props Up Marwan Barghouti," The Trumpet Daily, hosted by Stephen Flurry, April 20, 2017.)
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a very serious problem that deserves proper attention but shamefully whoever wrote this chose to focus on partisan condemnations of liberals instead of addressing that serious issue.

Shame on them for choosing to focus stir up partisan feelings and giving less attention to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Do they view sexual harassment as of such little importance? If so that would be a terrible shame.

It is easy to sneer at those we may view as outsiders but it is harder to look at ourselves and address the problems among ourselves.

The Many Fatherlands

While listening to a sermon by Garner Ted Armstrong he stated words to the effect that only Germans called their land the "fatherland" whereas everyone else would talk of the "motherland" instead.

But as is often the case he was completely wrong as may be seen in the Wikipedia article for "Fatherland."

Groups with languages that refer to their native country as a "fatherland" include:
  • the Afrikaners as Vaderland
  • the Albanians as Atdhe
  • the Arakaneses as A pha rakhaing pray....
  • the Belarusians as Baćkaŭščyna (Бацькаўшчына)
  • the Bulgarians as Tatkovina (Татковина) and Otechestvo (Отечество)
  • the Danes as fædreland
  • the Dutch, as vaderland
  • the Estonians as isamaa (as in the national anthem Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm)
  • the Finns as isänmaa
  • the Frisians as heitelân
  • the Georgians as Samshoblo (სამშობლო - "[land] of parents") or Mamuli (მამული)
  • the Germans, as Vaterland (as in the national anthem Das Lied der Deutschen)
  • the Ancient Greeks as patris
  • the Greeks as "patrida"
  • the Icelanders as föðurland literally meaning "land of the father"
  • the Iranians as mihan (میهن) or vatan (وطن - Arabic loanword)
  • the Irish as Athartha
  • the Kazakhs as atameken
  • the Latvians as tēvzeme
  • the Liechtensteiners as Vaterland
  • the Lithuanians as tėvynė
  • the Nigerians as fatherland
  • the Norwegians as fedreland
  • the Oromo as Biyya Abaa
  • the Pakistanis as Vatan
  • the Poles as ziemia ojców literally meaning "land of fathers", somethimes used in the phrase ziemia ojców naszych literally meaning "land of our fathers"
  • the Portuguese as Pátria
  • the Russians as Otečestvo (Отечество)
  • the Serbs as otadžbina (отаџбина)
  • the Somali as Dhulka Abaa, land of the father
  • the Swedes as Fädernesland
  • the Swiss as Vaterland (as in the national anthem Swiss Psalm)
  • the Thais as pituphum (ปิตุภูมิ), the word is adapted from Sanskrit
  • the Tibetans as pha yul (ཕ་ཡུལ་)
  • the Welsh as the land of my fathers (Y Wlad Fy Nhadau)
Romance languages, derived from Latin "patria"
  • the Esperantists as patrio, patrolando or patrujo
  • Aragonese, Asturian, Franco-Provençal, Galician, Italian, Spanish: Patria
  • Catalan: Pàtria
  • Extremaduran: Pátria
  • Occitans: Patrìo
  • French: Patrie
  • Romanian: Patrie
  • Portuguese: Pátria

What useless fables and misinformation we were given.