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JW Insider

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  1. If this picture is actually 1990, it might be just a few months before the Trump Taj Mahal entered bankruptcy in 1991. But it came back out of bankruptcy in October 1991, and Trump had to give up his majority ownership. It died again anyway, so the whole billion dollar project was a waste, but Trump himself only had to lose a couple hundred million. A very short version of the story is on Wikipedia: Later in 1988, Trump acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in a transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International.[43] The casino was opened in April 1990, and was built at a total cost of $1.1 billion, which at the time made it the most expensive casino ever built.[44][45] Financed with $675 million in junk bonds[46] at a 14% interest rate, the project entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following year.[47] Banks and bondholders, facing potential losses of hundreds of millions of dollars, opted to restructure the debt. The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates and more time to pay off the debt.[48] This was one of several casinos he bankrupted. Although Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, hotel and casino businesses of his have declared bankruptcy six[52] times between 1991 and 2009 due to its inability to meet required payments and to re-negotiate debt with banks, owners of stock and bonds and various small businesses (unsecured creditors).[53][54] Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, "I do play with the bankruptcy laws—they're very good for me."[55][56] The six bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York: Trump Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (1992), Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Castle Hotel and Casino (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009).[52][57][58] Trump said "I've used the laws of this country to pare debt. ... We'll have the company. We'll throw it into a chapter. We'll negotiate with the banks. We'll make a fantastic deal. You know, it's like on The Apprentice. It's not personal. It's just business."[47] If you've stayed in the Trump Plaza in Las Vegas you'll notice that it's a bit off the strip, and is the only large hotel that doesn't have gambling inside. I've stayed here on business trips, and the rumor about the restriction is that he could never get a Nevada gaming license because of openly admitting to his use of bankruptcies as a tactic. The "shady" persons he did business with were also cited, but in reality, Nevada puts up with a measure of this anyway.
  2. I think it wooden matter. Several groups of "Russellites" use a convention that you'll see in the HTDB (Harvest Truth DataBase) which can be found here: http://www.htdbv8.com/about.html If a link starts with an A through F, then it refers to Russell's Studies in the Scriptures series. Therefore the D in D543 is the 4th volume ("The Battle of Armageddon") and the next numbers are the page number in the edition printed closest to 1916. R refers to the Zion's Watch Tower and the "Watch Tower" reprints, which were in several volumes, but the page numbering runs from 1879 to 1916. R362 is a very early one (June 1882) and R5527 is a very late one in Russell's career (Sept 1914). Q is the Question Book. (Actually it's a compilation called "What Pastor Russell Said.") I just use the links the same way they are used on htdb.
  3. If he's honest, he surely admits that he has caused people to view scripture differently than how Jesus taught it. Otherwise why would he give a talk in October 2014 where he said that a very well ingrained method of teaching the scriptures was about to change? And the basic reason for the change was because he said it didn't currently line up with the style that Jesus used when he taught. It was NOT the way of teaching that God approved. Somewhere between 100 and 200 doctrines changed, based on that talk he gave in 2014. They were changing because, as his theme scripture stated, the Governing Body was to become more faithful and discreet and follow Luke 10:21 which was tied to "how Jesus taught" and which said: "Yes, O Father, because this is the way you approved." Now if he was changing 100 doctrines to become aligned with the teaching method Jehovah approved, then he must have believed that he was previously NOT following the teaching method that Jesus used: the method that Jehovah approved. If you don't believe this, then you might as well say that the change was made just so that things wouldn't seem stale. Of course, based on our history, it's always quite possible that some teachings have been currently been added which cause us to view scriptures differently from the way it was taught in Scripture itself. What caused us, for example, to decide that the "higher powers" or "superior authorities" were God and Christ when Russell and nearly a thousand years of Christian commentary had it right. Surely, you admit that the teaching in 1961 was wrong, and this is the reason it was changed in 1962. Up until a few weeks ago, we taught that the "locusts" of Joel 2 referred to Jehovah's Witnesses, and just now Brother Splane ( https://www.jw.org/en/news/jw/region/global/2019-Annual-Meeting-Summary/ ) has stated that the locusts refer to God's enemies, just as nearly 100 percent of Christendom's commentaries have been saying for hundreds of years. This teaching was already "clarified" in 1961. ( https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1961883 ) and is still on the website as current in the "Revelation . . . Grand Climax" book. ( https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101988022 ) Again, you might have guessed that Russell had already claimed that the locusts could not be God's people. D543 R362:3 R5527:1 Q23:7 So this is not really clarification at all. Russell teaches that the "superior authorities" are secular not God & Christ. Rutherford "clarifies" this (1929) to say they are God & Christ and not secular. Then in 1962, it is "clarified" again to say that it is secular and not God & Christ. Same with the locusts. Russell teaches that they cannot be God's people. Then the Watchtower "clarifies" that these locusts are God's people. Then Brother Splane "clarifies" that these locusts are not God's people. So far, the website only says the following. Brother David Splane clarified our understanding of the prophecy recorded in Joel chapter 2 describing a swarm of locusts. We look forward to studying this clarified understanding when it appears in The Watchtower. I think it's easy to see that this will clarify that the teaching was wrong up until a few weeks ago. A wrong teaching is always misleading. But it does not necessarily follow that the person teaching it wrong is "mentally diseased" as you said would be true of any who taught something misleading. Several would say that the overlapping generation teaching is wrong the way that Brother Splane explains it. You might say that anyone who teaches that this explanation is wrong is misleading by the teaching of Christ and God's words. But what if Brother Splane, next October, begins to agree that the way he explained it was wrong, and says that a new "clarified" teaching is now going to be taught? It seems like you would say that the persons who were right were misleading, and Brother Splane was not misleading when he was wrong.
  4. Revision is a great thing if we are revising something that was wrong before. Otherwise, there is nothing stale about the original most basic understanding of the Scriptures. Even the most basic message about how Christ Jesus fits into Jehovah's purpose is exciting, comforting, wonderful, and never needed anything to be added or removed from it. (Revelation 22:18) . . .“I am bearing witness to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; (2 John 9) 9 Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son. (Philippians 4:9) 9 The things that you learned as well as accepted and heard and saw in connection with me, practice these, and the God of peace will be with you. (Colossians 1:23) . . .not being shifted away from the hope of that good news that you heard and that was preached in all creation under heaven. . . . (1 Thessalonians 2:13) 13 Indeed, that is why we also thank God unceasingly, because when you received God’s word, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God, which is also at work in you believers. (2 Timothy 1:13, 14) 13 Keep holding to the standard of wholesome words that you heard from me with the faith and love that result from union with Christ Jesus. 14 Guard this fine trust by means of the holy spirit, which is dwelling in us. (Hebrews 2:1) . . .That is why it is necessary for us to pay more than the usual attention to the things we have heard, so that we never drift away. (1 John 2:24) 24 As for you, what you have heard from the beginning must remain in you.. . . (2 John 6, 7) . . .This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should go on walking in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, . . . (Galatians 1:8) 8 However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond the good news we declared to you, let him be accursed. (2 Corinthians 11:4) . . .For as it is, if someone comes and preaches a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you receive a spirit other than what you received, or good news other than what you accepted, you easily put up with him. (Hebrews 13:9) . . .Do not be led astray by various and strange teachings, for it is better for the heart to be strengthened by undeserved kindness than by foods, which do not benefit those occupied with them. Sorry about all the scriptures. Feel free to just pick any one of them. 😊 Also, beyond the basic message about Christ, there are some very important teachings that needed revision, not because the original text of Scripture was ever wrong, but because so many religions had veered away from truth. (Think: Trinity, Hellfire, Halloween, Easter Bunny, eternal soul, all good people go to heaven, God is on our side when we go to war, etc.) But if all of that had been perfectly noticed in 1919, for example, I don't think Bible Students and Jehovah's Witnesses before us would feel that things had gotten stale, and that we needed to go back and forth on some of these items. It would have been just fine, if all these things had been seen right away, with no need for revisions.
  5. This is probably true (up to a point). I think of the anti-God books of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, although I have no idea if these persons were ever religious. They are "apostate" if they left a ideology of faith and have disowned that ideology. Although I haven't read the books, I understand they are based on very simplistic argumentation that doesn't even try to understand scripture before trying to make fun of it. But if we take your definition too far we would have to include men like Brother(s) Russell, Rutherford, Fred Franz, Ray Franz, and even David Splane, and many others. Every time there is an adjusted belief, it means that the previous belief is now considered to have been misleading. For proof of that, what would we think of someone who still tries to deliberately teach the previous teaching before it was adjusted? We would have to admit that the person was deliberately misleading away from the teaching of God and Christ.
  6. True,up to a point. I heard the same thing you posted from the convention and took it to mean that we no longer think of the millions of persons who have left because of no longer believing as apostates. The speaker said that we do not include those who "drift away" as apostates. Only those who deliberately push away with a bitter, haughty, defiant attitude. There are several of those persons, but at least it effectively cuts down on the number of exJW apostates by as many as, who knows, two million? It's a tautology, but it sounded like we should only consider the mentally diseased apostates as mentally diseased. Those we could safely judge as part of Satan's seed. Personally, I can't judge anyone I know that harshly, but I'm sure they exist. And I suspect a couple of people might be in that category. And not always because they are so obvious, but sometimes because of how crafty they are.
  7. If that's the case it's more understandable. Of course, many of these abused ones go on to inflict abuse themselves, which according to your own statements, would make them "mentally diseased" too. But I was referring especially to the inordinate hatred of all elders that he shows, when no one can rightfully blame all elders. When I said "certifiable" I was referring specifically to some very disturbing stories about the "leader" of silent-lambs. These are not stories coming from JWs, but from what I have read coming from exJWs, too.
  8. Hate to say it, but @Witness is right on this. The Watchtower source is very recent, and I have previously quoted it on the forum. I assume "Witness" has quoted it here too. Unfortunately, you would be wrong on that question, too. "Witness" says he was referring to the more subtle meaning of setting oneself in a position of authority like God, which is not done with a direct claim. But there are quotations from quite a bit further back in the Watchtower which taught a direct equivalence between the words of the Governing Body, and the words of God. Prior to that, the Watchtower claimed that those of the higher calling, the Bride of Christ, could be spoken of as the "Mighty God" and the "Everlasting Father" and the "Prophet Greater than Moses."
  9. A brother in charge of the PR department at Bethel for a while told me that probably 90 percent of those who drift away because they no longer believe what they once believed are never heard from again. The 10 percent who make noise probably make noise mostly because they are angry that they have been cut off from the love of their family. They can no longer see their grandchildren, their children, parents, or grandparents, or cousins, aunts and uncles. To him the apostate problem was the loud voices, the negative interviews they gave, and the protests at assemblies and headquarters. He thought we could resolve almost all of the apostate problems if we merely changed the one rule about cutting of the natural affection of the family. There was some vacillation on this point for a while. In those days, he said that the only two serious negative issues to deal with for a PR department were "blood and blood." (Meaning blood transfusions and blood relatives.) His worst nightmare was when a baby died, or a child died, when all evidence showed that it was because the parents refused a blood transfusion. Pregnant mothers died from lack of a transfusion, too, after a delivery, and this was almost as bad. Custody issues also tended to focus on the way one parent, the Witness, would handle a blood related emergency. The other topic, stated above, was about cutting off family members who were disfellowshipped. Today of course, there might be other issues people are speaking up about, such as CSA. I tend to agree that it is mostly those who harbor some kind of anger who rant on about 1874, pyramids, the Millions/1925 campaign, Miracle Wheat, Salon Society, Beth Sarim, Blood, Transplants, etc. A tiny percentage had their own issues with blood, but the people who scream about blood policy the most are those hurt by being rejected from family ties, not because they had any experience with the blood issue. Today, I'm guessing that most of those who make noise about CSA have never had a personal negative experience with CSA. Obviously there are exceptions, and who knows about the 90-percent/10-percent estimate anyway? But I think we should be careful about judging everyone who leaves by the noise that the noisiest apostates make. I've never seen a crowd of apostates bigger than 40 or so, and some of these same persons make plans to travel around the world to keep the numbers of protesters looking large. Compare that to the MILLIONS now living who no longer believe the JW doctrines. I also get the feeling that many of the loudest voices don't really even believe that CORRECTING Witness doctrines is all that important. Perhaps "Witness" and "Pearl" are exceptions, but I think most of the loudest voices don't really think that correcting JW doctrines is any more important than correcting Catholic or Mormon doctrines, because they most likely have no specific Christian anchoring of any kind. But they focus on JWs because that's where their anger or even hatred is focused. I read something from one of the loudest voices against CSA (whose last name is a type of tree). There is a real hatred for elders. It's obvious. At the assembly, we were told that it wasn't about those who had drifted, but those who "push" away and show prideful arrogance and bitterness. I think we've seen cases where prideful bitterness and arrogance and hatred have been nurtured to truly become a mental disease. Diagnosable and certifiable. I won't point to any specific names, but there's that guy who stuck his name on "silent lambs" for example, if the stories I've heard are true. Still, we can't judge generally of the millions who have drifted away, and just don't want to revisit something that has become painful to them. Even among the brotherhood, there is more and more evidence of perhaps hundreds or even thousands of Witnesses who are PIMO (Physically in, mentally out). A few months ago, I had no idea that there was such an expression, but I just "reddit" and discovered that there are many who plan to leave quietly, without raising their voice, and not making a scene. Mostly it looks like they do this to keep the family bonds intact. Relative to "sickness" it reminds me of this verse: (1 Corinthians 11:30) 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and quite a few are sleeping in death.
  10. At the regular meetings, the words are highlighted on a video monitor (TV screen). Although we still have printed songbooks that include the music, too, not just the words. In this case, the GB were singing a song that had not yet been published in the standard songbooks. For a few years there, we were printing out these new songs like this to hand out at the meetings for those who were not reading it from their smartphones or tablets.
  11. Wow! Then you were one of very few who saw it back in 1980 when it was a makeshift "9th floor" of the 8-story factory building at 117 Adams. I only saw it because I would sometimes give special request tours. I seriously don't believe that more than 50 brothers out of 3,000 New York Bethelites had ever seen it. It was even left off the route of those who did night guard duty, and they provided their own janitorial services. It was not really even gaining traction yet by 1980, and ultimately would not be end-to-end testable until 1985. Also, back in 1979 and 1980, persons from the Home Art Department got a tour of the APS5 machine that would someday hook up to Wallkill's MEPS system for typesetting. As early as 1978, artists could go down to the "Photoplate" department's large camera darkroom, where they could use a small manual machine to "set" headline type, one letter at a time, exposing it from a negative strip of letters and shining it down onto a piece of film below. This way one could use a calligraphy font for example, and get the letterspacing just right, and then use other darkroom cameras with exposure tricks to produce special effects, to create an outline font, Gaussian blur and drop shadows, for example. By 1985, it was well tested, and before they declared a success, they wanted to make sure that any of the machines could produce disks to work on any other machine. They had every conceivable accent mark for all languages that the Watchtower was printed in by then, and made a big splash in 1986 by setting several of these machines in branches all over the world. The small team of brothers in Wallkill had a huge success, and all training on the machine would be handled up at the Farm. It was delicious irony that all the experts had been down in Brooklyn for most of this time. The most important thing is that it "got the lead out." For many decades, all typesetting for the publications had been done with small metal blocks that were lined up the way newspapers had done it, and these columns of blocks created a "mold" that was dipped in hot molten lead, then electroplated with zinc to last a bit longer. Some factory floors literally contained a ton of lead. The presses also were fitted to run with these lead plates, so that probably 25 percent of the factory workers handled lead during some part of the process. The new typesetting machines could now use a computer keyboard, and film could now be moved directly to "offset" plates made out of film for offset presses. By the early 1980's, no more new letterpress presses would be purchased. Offset was closer to a mimeograph process, but so accurate that you could line up 3 and 4 colors onto the same rolls of paper. (Playboy had been using 5 colors, I learned from one brother in charge of an offset process.) Sometimes "spirit and wisdom" was deemed to be the equivalent of the "number of years managing a small corner of a factory bureaucracy." Ultimately, a world-class typesetting solution was delivered, by volunteers, and it still works today, 35 years later.
  12. Definitely not dropouts...... one can keep learning without going to university. One can get very talented people who have NO degree.......in science or art but still attain an extremely high level of competency. Did I mention that my youngest son was accepted to each and every Ivy League university in the United States? Just wanted the excuse to mention that again if I didn't state it before. 😊 His final choices were between MIT, CalTech, Harvard, and he chose Harvard because he also writes/performs music and studies history. He graduated with his degree in theoretical/engineering physics (with a minor in music) and was almost immediately contacted by another Ivy League university graduate who has worked at each Bethel site in upstate NY. Through this particular circumstance I have come to learn of several more university graduates working at NY Bethels. The engineers and environmental specialists, even IT specialists at various Bethels, have become more and more "infested" with Ivy League graduates. These are not always full-time positions, but are persons added to the team. At one time they were given only a consultant role, or advisory role, and often ignored, but the Society has learned through very expensive mistakes, to give them leadership roles in these teams. When I was at Bethel in Brooklyn many years ago, a flailing Computer/IT department was just starting up and a lot of expensive mistakes were being made when a couple of brothers with a lot of "spiritual" seniority were chosen to lead the new department. After about a half-million dollars worth of mistakes, they started to ditch the "decision by seniority" paradigm and gave more decisions to a brother who had a high position at IBM, but who was also arrogant to a fault. And they brought in a new bunch of fresh college graduated kids from around the country. One was a sister that my brother knew from Missouri, and one was a brother I had known from Missouri. (A brother who had not pioneered or even been very active.) We had a four person room at Bethel and he became one of the four roommates. My roommate would commiserate with the sister and another member of the Computer department about the ridiculous arguments and decisions of the day. As it turned out, Arauna, you were right. A lot more practical progress was being made from a small team of computer hobbyists from up at the Wallkill Watchtower Farm in upstate NY. My roommate and the sister thought this was hilarious because there was a lot of prejudice against the "farm boys" even though the difference between who got assigned to the farm and who got assigned to Brooklyn was often just as random as a name in a hat. The "untrained" farm boys actually finished a home-made computer that started to computerize typesetting flawlessly through the APS5. This was a huge breakthrough project that Brooklyn had already wasted half-a-million on.
  13. Thanks, good link: According to Ethnologue, there are 7,097 known languages in the world. The complete Bible has been translated into approximately 700 languages, while the New Testament has been translated into well over 1,500 languages. Smaller portions of the New Testament have been translated into over 1,000 languages. At least one part of the Bible has been translated into 3,312 of the 7,097 languages. Wycliffe Associates is an international organization that has made significant advancements in Christian translations of the Bible. They have several collaborative translation workshops called Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation (MAST). These workshops have significantly reduced the time it takes to translate the Bible into new languages. For example, a team of translators can translate the New Testament in only a few months. In early 2018, Wycliffe announced its intention to translate the Bible into 600 languages. The organization has stated that more than 7,000 languages in more than 70 countries still need the Bible translated into their languages. Makes me wonder if the LDS link I quoted had claimed 2500 simply by adding the 1500 and the 1000. This would be very inaccurate since there would be a lot of overlap in the 1,000 OT with the 1500 NT. The NWT is now in 160 languages, at least in part.
  14. It was probably a suggestion from the Service Department to all Circuit Overseers to have them make that point especially during the years leading up to 1975. I recall two or three circuit overseers during the period when I was considering quitting high school. Also, if you look at some of the "ads" for Rutherford's books, it's the kind of hype they were given, too, so I suspect that such an idea (in different words) might have been around well before that, perhaps originally a method of touting the "Golden Age." I don't think the idea ever made it to print, except maybe in a talk outline, where it would have been based on someone's personal experience or based on some anecdote. The idea of keeping up with the Watchtower and Awake! lining up with 4 years of college did work its way into this article in 1983: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1983448 *** w83 6/15 p. 31 An Excellent Education *** IT HAS been said that by reading the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, along with other publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a person will receive, over a period of years, a considerable and broad education. To illustrate, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses wrote the following letter: “I quit school in the 9th grade about twenty-five years ago. I have had no secular schooling since then. I should have, by all rights, stagnated mentally. Due to economic circumstances—I had to go to work full time to support my family—I found it necessary to go back to school for a high school diploma. I began school two days ago and the teacher decided to give me a test like the one I will have to pass to get my diploma. The test covered such subjects as science, law, social studies and reading comprehension. I told the teacher I didn’t want to take it because I knew I wouldn’t do well. But she insisted. “The result was that I scored one of the highest grades. The test grade needed to obtain the diploma is 35, which is the average score. I scored in the 55 range, or 4th year college level. Why am I telling this? Because the main source of my reading in the last eight years has been the publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am an avid reader of them and do quite a bit of research. “In the test that I took, I recognized that many of the answers were found in recent issues of our publications. For example, on science there were questions about fluorocarbons, a subject that had been discussed in Awake! It was similar with questions regarding physics, law and other subjects, including recent news events. Such events had been covered in the ‘Watching the World’ section of Awake! Also, my reading comprehension was exceptionally good.
  15. It's quite an accomplishment. No reason not be proud of an accomplishment, especially by those who participated more directly. Leading a translation department from a committee of the Governing Body likely helped a lot. And I'm sure it's not a goal that will end at around 1,000. There is a site that discusses why the Mormons have not gone much above 175 languages. At the time it was written, the Seventh Day Adventists did some work in over 900 languages, but only published their literature in 372 languages. This was back in 2011 when JW.ORG was already at about 429 and climbing. There are some interesting statistics and ideas that seem about right that you can pick up from that site: https://www.cumorah.com/index.php?target=view_other_articles&story_id=453&cat_id=30 [Emphasis mine] Translating Church Materials into Additional Languages In October 2011, Ethnologue.com listed 6,909 living languages spoken worldwide[1] whereas the LDS Church reported that there were 166 languages which had at least one LDS material translated.[2] . . . Of the approximately 155 distinct languages with LDS materials listed on the Church's online store at store.lds.org, 44 have fewer than one million native speakers (28%) and 18 have fewer than 100,000 speakers (12%). LDS materials are available in the first language of approximately 4.6 billion people which account for two-thirds of the world's total population. . . . With only a handful of exceptions, the LDS Church has not actively pursued the translation of church materials into additional languages for over a decade. Some previously "unreached" languages which recently had their first LDS materials translated include Georgian, Uzbek, and North Sotho (Sepedi). Dismal progress translating LDS materials into additional languages appears attributed to a lack of church planting vision, policies which forego translation projects until a sizable body of Latter-day Saints speak a language, the slow, arduous translation process, and uncoordinated communication between capable local member translators, area presidencies, and the Church Translation Department. Expanding the number of languages with LDS materials available and the number of translations of LDS materials in these languages is essential for accelerating church growth and a lack of translations of LDS materials in additional languages over the past decade appears to have contributed to the worldwide slowdown in membership and congregational growth. Other missionary-focused Christian groups have more rapidly translated literature and into more languages than the LDS Church. Jehovah's Witnesses have basic online information about their beliefs and a system for interested individuals to provide their contact information for a visit by representatives in 429 languages.[19] Witnesses regularly translate literature in additional languages and added ten additional languages to the website in October 2011. Many of the hundreds of languages with translations of Witness literature that are without translations of Latter-day Saints materials are native to the former Soviet Union, Africa, Mexico, and East Asia. Many of these languages have between 50,000 and one million speakers. In 2011, the United Bible Societies reported that the Bible in its entirely was translated into over 450 languages and that select books or passages of the Bible were translated into over 2,500 languages.[20] In 2009, the Seventh Day Adventist Church performed missionary outreach in 901 languages and published literature in 372 languages.[21] Adventists have utilized creative, thrifty approaches to meeting language needs such as performing radio outreach throughout the world through its Adventist World Radio. The radio station broadcasts through shortwave transmitters, AM/FM radio, and on the internet to specifically target populations residing in areas where Adventists cannot send missionaries due to political, legal, geographical, and cultural restrictions.[22] Shortwave radio transmissions are utilized to broadcast Adventist radio programs in the most populous, least Christian areas of the world such as China, India, and the Middle East. This area is located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator and dubbed by many missionary-minded Christians as the "10/40 window." Podcasts are produced by Adventists in 92 languages providing opportunities to reach anyone in the world with an Internet connection. Of the 92 languages with Adventist podcasts available, most have no or only a few translations of Latter-day Saint materials available. Adventist radio studios have been constructed in areas geographically closed to nations with restrictions on religious freedom, such as in Ceuta, Spain where Adventists reach North Africans in approximately half a dozen commonly spoken languages.[23]
  16. I know this wasn't to me, but I'd like to answer. You know that I don't think it is the organization itself that keeps us apart from the world. I think of the organization as tainted by the world in many ways, too. It's not a magical "ark of the covenant" to have in our possession. It has been and will be run by humans with many failings. And to be an organization in this world it has to associate with non-believers, and worldly people, in much the same way that Paul said: (1 Corinthians 5:10) . . .Otherwise, you would actually have to get out of the world. That said, an organization though in this world can very clearly promote being "no part of the world." Just as any Christian can associate with non-believers in the world. An organization can put "Read God's Word the Holy Bible Daily" on the side of its factory buildings. It can put Bible messages on carts that are set up all over big cities. It can promote Bibles, tracts, and magazines that show why one should not participate in wars, divisive politics, unclean habits, immoral behavior, etc. Not saying much of anything while sitting/standing next to a cart is only ONE of many methods used to promote Bibles, tracts, and magazines. I wonder what you think of the American Bible Society, or even other religious Tract Societies of the 19th and 20th centuries. I agree that the actual spiritual organization that Jehovah and Christ sees does not require the physical Watchtower organization, per se. But I also think that if you put a group of Christians together they will certainly begin considering ways to get the good news of the Kingdom out to as many people as they can over a given time period. A pooling of resources so that willing persons can make use of efficiencies of scale in printing and distributing kingdom related messages will be inevitable. This doesn't mean that the organization is the source of salvation, it's just a reflection of the love for the message and the attempt to share it worldwide as efficiently as possible. I also think it's true that not every Christian will be working at the center of such an organization, nor will all of them believe that they need to participate in the exact same ministry as the average person associated with the organization. Some will look into ways that TV, Internet, and streaming video can be used to get a message promoted. Some will feel more comfortable helping their neighbors in other ways if they don't feel called to any kind of teaching ministry. I believe that even these ones, who may not participate in all recommended aspects of ministry promoted by the organization will still prefer to attend congregations to learn what is taught by others. And I believe that the teachings they will be attracted to with the most Christian appeal will include some of the teachings I mentioned before: no war, no divisive politics, no hellfire, no Trinity, yes to high moral standards, yes to associating with like-minded Christians. The organization Jehovah and Jesus looks for is invisible, I agree. It includes direct communication with Jehovah in our personal lives (through prayer, study, and our requests for a measure of holy spirit) for guidance, in the same way that the Governing Body directly communicates with Jehovah (through prayer, study, and their requests for a measure of holy spirit). We are not "brought to Christ" through the Governing Body. We are responsible for our own spiritual lives. We are each to be concerned with what sort of person we ought to be, not based on what someone else tells us: (Philippians 2:12, 13) . . .keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For God is the one who for the sake of his good pleasure energizes you, giving you both the desire and the power to act. (2 Corinthians 5:9, 10) 9 So whether at home with him or absent from him, we make it our aim to be acceptable to him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ, so that each one may be repaid according to the things he has practiced while in the body, whether good or bad. (Galatians 6:4, 5) . . .But let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person. 5 For each one will carry his own load. But I also don't think that all we do is somehow negated by associating with others of like faith who are just as well meaning as we are, and who are also persons we can help strengthen and comfort and encourage, just as they can also do for us. Do you really think that even associating with fellow Witnesses is so bad that Jehovah cannot see our hearts, and find us in his "invisible" organization, too? (Romans 11:2-6) . . .Do you not know what the scripture says in connection with E·liʹjah, as he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Jehovah, they have killed your prophets, they have dug up your altars, and I alone am left, and now they are trying to take my life.” 4 Yet, what does the divine pronouncement say to him? “I have left for myself 7,000 men who have not bent the knee to Baʹal.” 5 So in the same way, at the present time also, there is a remnant according to a choosing through undeserved kindness. 6 Now if it is by undeserved kindness, it is no longer through works; otherwise, the undeserved kindness would no longer be undeserved kindness.
  17. There are some additional points of interest about "Stalin's Famine" as Westerners have come to call it. They forget that the same period of famine resulted in starvation in parts of India and other nearby countries that had nothing to do with collectivization. Also, they forget that famines had regularly resulted in the starvation of Russians from well before Stalin's time. In fact, Kotkin himself admits some of this truth in his first paragraph under the heading Stalin's Famine. Of course, no one should say that governments don't make big mistakes that can harm (or kill) thousands and even millions of people. The United States had big agricultural problems in the 1930's, too. And much of it can be blamed on government sponsored policies. Anecdotally, here's a summary of Steinbeck's book about the period: Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California along with thousands of other "Okies" seeking jobs, land, dignity, and a future. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath The "Dust Bowl" itself was blamed on the following practices: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes (wind erosion) caused the phenomenon.[1][2] The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.[3] With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers' decisions to convert arid grassland (much of which received no more than 10 inches (~250 mm) of precipitation per year) to cultivated cropland.[4] During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust, which the prevailing winds blew away in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. These choking billows of dust – named "black blizzards" or "black rollers" – traveled cross country, reaching as far as the East Coast and striking such cities as New York City and Washington, D.C.
  18. THE FAMINE The first major accusation against Stalin is that he purposefully starved millions of people. Most people never care to learn any details about the claim. It's enough just to think that he was so evil he purposefully starved millions of persons to death. Snyder, the former world expert focused much of his book "Bloodlands" on this claim. His book became a kind of "Manifesto" for the current Nazi parties in Poland and Ukraine, and is still one of the most popular books on Stalin in those countries. Snyder himself has backed off of his original claim and now says that it was too much exaggerated and that exculpatory details were left out. In fact, Snyder had relied upon the very Nazi sources for his evidence that would later praise and utilize his book for continued propaganda. Kotkin, the current "world expert" on Stalin (as Arauna called him) wrote volume 1 of his books on Stalin without any claim of any crime by Stalin. He saved this claim for volume 2, which we should look at more closely. The first thing to note is that Kotkin makes his book thick with pages and pages of footnotes, which gives it an air of well-researched respectability. Yet he repeatedly calls the famine "Stalin's famine" and blames it on Stalin with NO evidence, no footnotes, just a claim that might as well be based on an opinion he picked up somewhere. Even though the footnotes do not accuse Stalin, he still manages to use them to imply that Stalin was to blame. Watch closely Kotkin's quote on page 128: You can see a good portion of the book here on Google books: https://books.google.com/books?id=hMUPDgAAQBAJ So, we finally find some real footnotes, but our expert has become more nuanced here. This is all under the heading of Stalin's Famine. He had just said in previous paragraphs that the famine and related epidemics had killed between 5 and 7 million, with another 10 million nearly starved to death. He admits that it wasn't intentional but still wants to blame it on Stalin. So let's look again at how he does this. The paragraph starts out with the idea that contemporaries (or at least one Italian ambassador in Ukraine) thought it was deliberate but this doesn't actually pin it on Stalin. The first real accusation here is that Stalin "monstrously" accused the peasants of not wanting to work, which would have alleviated much of the famine. The footnote #473 is evidently supposed to show how monstrous this accusation by Stalin was, or at least that Stalin participated in a monstrous accusation. The footnote references an article by Michael Ellman which only states that a doctor in Kiev province said that "leader and rank-and-file workers" in that province were blaming peasants who didn't want to work for their own starvation. Not Stalin. Ellman also says that Stalin had reported this finding to a writer named Michael Sholokhov and that such an attitude could threaten the people who worked in cities and the army too. But anyone who reads Ellman's article will notice that there was nothing "monstrous" about the claim. Ellman himself says in the same article: Stalin's idea that he had faced a peasant strike was not an absurd notion indicating paranoia. It seems that there really were numerous collective refusals by collective farmers to work for the collective farms in 1932: see Kondrashin and Penner, Golod, chapter 3 (Ellman, note 9, p. 837) This reminds me of what JTR said in the other thread. At any rate, Kotkin blames "collectivization" for the famine, and evidently is starting with footnote #474 to make this seem like more than just an opinion. But this is never stated in #474, which in fact comes closer to defending collectivization as the more proper way to try to alleviate the agricultural problems of the early 1930's. So what way is left for Kotkin to blame Stalin? He summarized the problem with that last quoted sentence: "[Stalin] twice deluded himself --partly from false reporting by frightened statisticians, partly from his own magical thinking-- that the country was on the verge of a recovery harvest." Kotkin has absolutely no reference that mentions frightened statisticians. Based on knowledge of other verbal tricks he plays, it's quite possible he may have just made this up. (Of course, if they were frightened it implies he was listening to their dire warnings, which turned out to be true.) But why blame the idea of a recovery harvest on "magical thinking"? This implies that he just stupidly decided on his own to depend on something without any basis in fact. What would we think of Kotkin however if he actually knew that a recovery harvest was exactly what the agronomic experts were widely predicting? Mark Tauger, in his book: "Natural Disaster and Human Action in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1933" states: Soviet agronomic literature and other published and archival sources from the 1930's, however, which no previous scholarship on the famine has discussed, indicate that in 1932 Soviet crops suffered from an extraordinarily severe combination of infestations from crop diseases and pests. . . . . Cairnus and Schiller . . . spoke with Soviet agronomists who confirmed these impressions in Ukraine, in the Northern Caucasus . . . Byelorussia, the Central Blackearth oblast, and the Volga region. The Soviet agricultural newspaper even acknowledged major . . . infestations. . . . That fact that [it] was difficult for nonspecialists to detect helps to explain the numerous claims in memoirs and testimonies of a good 1932 harvest. Famine survivors in the Volga region whom the Russian historian Viktor Kondrashin interviewed, however, remembered that in the 1932 harvest the ears were somehow "empty," the characteristic one would expect from rusted grain. Nonetheless, agronomists and other personnel in central offices and the local branches of the NKZ detected the infestation and made efforts to survey it and combat it. Their investigations found that rust had become the most distributed disease and caused the most harm to agriculture in Ukraine and in the Soviet Union generally. . . . .destroyed up to 70 percent of the harvest in some regions, especially near rivers, reduced the weight of grain 40-47 percent. . . . reduced the wheat harvest in the North Caucasus by 50 percent. These losses help explain why the famine was so severe in that region. Anyone who looks at the facts and evidence would not get the impression that this was Stalin's fault. Kotkin cites this study in his bibliography, and therefore knows that his statement about "magical thinking" was false. Kotkin, of course, is thorough enough to point to footnotes that tell the truth, but hides the evidence from his readers, by making false statements about it. It's clear he hopes that no one else looks them up.
  19. I included the question from TTH about China because it touches on a common belief about "communist" systems of governments. One is a common notion about nations such as China: i.e., that it cannot be truly a "communist" government because it has a strong economy poised to become even stronger, and because it has been spending so much on building up its internal infrastructure, and because it highlights manufacturing for world trade, etc. Another is that such a nation is not "democratic" or not a "democracy" because it is communistic. Or even that such a government offers no sense of "freedom" or "intellectual property" or "privacy." Aruana made a revealing statement in that other thread (p.17) when she said: Foreigners as English teachers are no longer welcome in China (visas not renewed and no reasons given) because they will infuse ideas of freedom and democracy into the society. The natural prejudices we form against communist-modeled governments (when we learn about them through our own so-called democratic government models) will include the idea that it is impossible for freedom and democracy to exist in a communist government. When we see things that go wrong under a communist government, they are blamed on the government itself. If things go wrong in Western governments we tend to defend the government as well-meaning, and blame specific areas of bad implementation. At the same time it is true that the communist governments are often making big mistakes, too. I expect that China makes big mistakes just like the United States government makes big mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are self-made, and sometimes they are over-reactions against those Western powers who have historically meddled with them. And there is a long history of Western governments, especially the US, UK, and NATO meddling with the economy of any governments that declare themselves socialists with the internally-declared expectation that those Western governments will be able to cause unrest, riots, civil wars, death and destruction in those socialist nations. The track record of such Western nations against socialist nations reveals that the Western nations are often quite afraid, deathly afraid, of successes by such socialist nations. When they begin to succeed, it means that the Western nations can no longer control their economies and resources, especially the flow of their oil and gas and other resources coming from within their borders. From a Western viewpoint, it is much better and easier to control a despotic "puppet" than to control a government that has the support of a majority of the people. The real danger, the thing the West fears most from communism and socialism is that those governments will reach a point very quickly when they will have the support of a majority of their people. At that point socialism and communism becomes the DEMOCRATICALLY chosen form of government in those nations. Given free and fair elections, this is exactly the government they would continue to choose. The Western leaders realize they must interfere quickly with sanctions against any government that tries to completely control its own oil trade for example. Western governments must quickly arm any rebels holding out against the socialist government. Sometimes the number of these rebels is small, so they are given support from thousands of outside troops, along with a worldwide media campaign to position them as "freedom fighters" even if they are driven by greed and lust for terrorism and violence. If an open and free election chooses a socialist government, the West must declare the election to be invalid, and begin to drum up violence and sanctions against it for "civil rights abuses." Of course, we know that the US actually cares nothing about foreign civil rights abuses, and will even support them, just as the US supported terrorists against Syria, or civil rights abuses in Saudi Arabia against its own population, and against Yemen -- as long as it is convenient to US economic and political interests. A quick look at all the governments the US has seen fit to BOMB-attack-invade since WWII will give an idea: China 1945-46 Korea 1950-53 China 1950-53 Guatemala 1954 Indonesia 1958 Cuba 1959-60 Guatemala 1960 Belgian Congo 1964 Guatemala 1964 Dominican Republic 1965-66 Peru 1965 Laos 1964-73 Vietnam 1961-73 Cambodia 1969-70 Guatemala 1967-69 Lebanon 1982-84 Grenada 1983-84 Libya 1986 El Salvador 1981-92 Nicaragua 1981-90 Iran 1987-88 Libya 1989 Panama 1989-90 Iraq 1991 Kuwait 1991 Somalia 1992-94 Bosnia 1995 Iran 1998 Sudan 1998 Afghanistan 1998 Yugoslavia – Serbia 1999 Afghanistan 2001 Libya 2011 Additional countries have been attacked through NATO, proxies, rebel training, sanctions, and economic attacks via predatory loans by the IMF/WB, etc. Arms/weapons sales by the US to other nations have most often aligned with the side that is against democracy and against civil rights. In non-Western of the nations of the world, the US has the reputation of a country that hates democracy in any other country, even though it has developed a fairly stable, free and economically powerful "democracy" for itself.
  20. I mentioned that this particular topic is tied to many other political ideas and questions, covering other areas of the world, and so I might as well get some of those other questions in here right now that were not addressed when similar ideas came up in the past. Here are a few of the questions and statements that could be discussed further. These were from another topic area, but I'm re-quoting the questions here, because that topic didn't need any more sub-topics. The first was more about China, from page 20 of the other topic: More specifically to one of the points here, something said a bit earlier on page 17 of the same topic just mentioned: I already began responding about this three-volume book (Kotkin's) under that same topic, wherein I mentioned that the deliberate starvation claim has been debunked (it was one of the points referenced in Kotkin's book, volume 2). I say it has been debunked, to which Arauna had already responded: Most people today are quick to make strong judgements against Stalin (and China) because of having been trained to accept what mainstream sources, and so-called "world experts" tell us. This is one of the reasons I wanted to address these questions and claims more directly.
  21. Although the topic is political, I am starting it within the group I usually comment in. The only person who has engaged the topic to any extent usually comments within this group, too, and I intended to include some of her comments as a starting point. Also, I think there is an excellent lesson to be learned about "truth" in general which might resonate with many of us within this particular group. So. "How bad was Stalin?" Some will say, "What does it matter?" They'll probably conclude that the 'truth' must be somewhere in the middle." Perhaps he only killed a few million rather than many millions. I expect that this is where many people expect to "land" if they learn there is evidence his crimes have been overly exaggerated for political purposes. Yet, it seems quite possible, even more likely, that ALL the evidence taken together, goes much further and quite probably shows that EVERYTHING we know about Stalin has been so greatly exaggerated that he actually "killed" far less people than we are ready to imagine. But there are other reasons to take the question a little more seriously. What if the answer helps us learn about our own prejudices? What if knowing more about this situation reveals more about the definitions that are commonly misused, or the differences between deliberate lying, falsification, fabrication, misunderstanding, bias, etc.? Is it possible to determine the effects of revisionism, gullibility, iconoclasm, and crazy conspiracies? What if the answer can inform our understanding and misunderstanding of world events, not just in Stalin's time and place, but also in the Ukraine, Poland, Germany, even Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and by extension Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Hong Kong, and many more places? In my opinion those questions certainly can be answered, assuming we are willing to put just a little bit of work into some research and understanding. Just to be clear, it's my opinion that we should give serious consideration to a side of the arguments that current researchers and historians are now realizing has merit. This is the side that "defends" Stalin against exaggerations made for political purposes. Of course, a much larger group of people still accept an Anti-Stalin Paradigm (ASP) that has been already been pushed by mainstream historians for decades. However, I think it is impossible for new mainstream historian-scholars to follow the ASP without either lying or seriously misrepresenting evidence. Two of the most often quoted authoritative works based on the ASP have been written by Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands) and now Stephen Kotkin (Stalin...1929-1931). The most thorough of the non ASP historian-scholars has taken apart the last few ASP books and offers us a look at the evidence. One of them, Grover Furr, looks up ALL the footnotes in Snyder and Kotkin and reports on the evidence that these supposed "experts" have pretended to use. I'll try to use many of the same arguments that Furr uses, without tediously re-quoting him. I'm more interested in his arguments than relying upon him for quotations. The footnotes of Snyder and Kotkin have turned out to be devastating in exposing mainstream ASP "scholars" for their lack of scholarship. In many cases it exposes them as simple liars, in my opinion.
  22. In the United States, when Obama was elected, several pundits spoke of a post-racial Society in the United States -- as if racism was obviously obsolete. Similarly, when Zelensky was elected, a non-practicing Jewish person, some Ukrainian and international pundits pushed the idea that Ukraine was now a post-Nazi society. The extent of neo-Nazi influence in the government and the inability of Zelenskiy to respond effectively was just shown in the attacks on him last week. But to understand those recent attacks you have to go back at least a few years to the Maidan rebellion that ousted Yanukovych. The attacks this week were basically about the new "Jewish" president Zelensky in public asking the Azov battalion how they still get American weapons (among other things) and threatening that he is going to get to the bottom of it. A police chief in the crowd overruled Zelensky's request, and threats were recorded that focused on his Jewishness, and some stated proudly in post-threats that "we should have thrown a grenade at him." There had always been a question about whether the far right factions in Ukraine would continue to gain ground in spite of Zelenskiy's overtures to peace and unity. The Nation gives the following reports from various sources earlier this year (February 2019), to reduce space I am only covering a few of them, (many more here https://www.thenation.com/article/neo-nazis-far-right-ukraine/) but they also could give the idea that the US has been a willing participant with Nazis in Ukraine as a means of helping to present Russia in a worse light than the United States. When the United States props up Ukrainian Nazis with training and weapons, it's a sure way to keep the violence tuned against Russia. It's not so different than the reasons the United States trained and supported Osama bin Laden as an anti-Russian measure. This has been going on well prior to the Crimea based conflicts. Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine Five years after the Maidan uprising, anti-Semitism and fascist-inflected ultranationalism are rampant. Five years ago, Ukraine’s Maidan uprising ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, to the cheers and support of the West. Politicians and analysts in the United States and Europe not only celebrated the uprising as a triumph of democracy, but denied reports of Maidan’s ultranationalism, smearing those who warned about the dark side of the uprising as Moscow puppets and useful idiots. Freedom was on the march in Ukraine. Today, increasing reports of far-right violence, ultranationalism, and erosion of basic freedoms are giving the lie to the West’s initial euphoria. There are neo-Nazi pogroms against the Roma, rampant attacks on feminists and LGBT groups, book bans, and state-sponsored glorification of Nazi collaborators. These stories of Ukraine’s dark nationalism aren’t coming out of Moscow; they’re being filed by Western media, including US-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE); Jewish organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and watchdogs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House, which issued a joint report warning that Kiev is losing the monopoly on the use of force in the country as far-right gangs operate with impunity. Five years after Maidan, the beacon of democracy is looking more like a torchlight march. A neo-Nazi battalion in the heart of Europe “Volunteer Ukrainian Unit Includes Nazis.”—USA Today, March 10, 2015 The DC establishment’s standard defense of Kiev is to point out that Ukraine’s far right has a smaller percentage of seats in the parliament than their counterparts in places like France. That’s a spurious argument: What Ukraine’s far right lacks in polls numbers, it makes up for with things Marine Le Pen could only dream of—paramilitary units and free rein on the streets. Post-Maidan Ukraine is the world’s only nation to have a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces. The Azov Battalion was initially formed out of the neo-Nazi gang Patriot of Ukraine. Andriy Biletsky, the gang’s leader who became Azov’s commander, once wrote that Ukraine’s mission is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade…against the Semite-led Untermenschen.” Biletsky is now a deputy in Ukraine’s parliament. ... While the group officially denies any neo-Nazi connections, Azov’s nature has been confirmed by multiple Western outlets: The New York Times called the battalion “openly neo-Nazi,” while USA Today, The Daily Beast, The Telegraph, and Haaretz documented group members’ proclivity for swastikas, salutes, and other Nazi symbols, and individual fighters have also acknowledged being neo-Nazis. ... In 2017, Congressman Ro Khanna led the effort to ban Azov from receiving U.S. arms and training. But the damage has already been done: The research group Bellingcat proved that Azov had already received access to American grenade launchers, while a Daily Beast investigation showed that US trainers are unable to prevent aid from reaching white supremacists. And Azov itself had proudly posted a video of the unit welcoming NATO representatives. (Azov isn’t the only far-right formation to get Western affirmation. In December 2014, Amnesty International accused the Dnipro-1 battalion of potential war crimes, including “using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.” Six months later, Senator John McCain visited and praised the battalion.) Particularly concerning is Azov’s campaign to transform Ukraine into a hub for transnational white supremacy. The unit has recruited neo-Nazis from Germany, the UK, Brazil, Sweden, and America; last October, the FBI arrested four California white supremacists who had allegedly received training from Azov. This is a classic example of blowback: US support of radicals abroad ricocheting to hit America. Far right ties to government “Ukrainian police declare admiration for Nazi collaborators”—RFE, February 13, 2019 Speaker of Parliament Andriy Parubiy cofounded and led two neo-Nazi organizations: the Social-National Party of Ukraine (later renamed Svoboda), and Patriot of Ukraine, whose members would eventually form the core of Azov. Although Parubiy left the far right in the early 2000’s, he hasn’t rejected his past. When asked about it in a 2016 interview, Parubiy replied that his “values” haven’t changed. Parubiy, whose autobiography shows him marching with the neo-Nazi wolfsangel symbol used by Aryan Nations, regularly meets with Washington think tanks and politicians; his neo-Nazi background is ignored or outright denied. Even more disturbing is the far right’s penetration of law enforcement. Shortly after Maidan, the US equipped and trained the newly founded National Police, in what was intended to be a hallmark program buttressing Ukrainian democracy. The deputy minister of the Interior—which controls the National Police—is Vadim Troyan, a veteran of Azov and Patriot of Ukraine. In 2014, when Troyan was being considered for police chief of Kiev, Ukrainian Jewish leaders were appalled by his neo-Nazi background. Today, he’s deputy of the department running US-trained law enforcement in the entire nation. Earlier this month, RFE reported on National Police leadership admiring Stepan Bandera—a Nazi collaborator and Fascist whose troops participated in the Holocaust—on social media. The fact that Ukraine’s police is peppered with far-right supporters explains why neo-Nazis operate with impunity on the streets.

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