He promised people paradise — and sent them to their deaths

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

He promised people paradise — and sent them to their deaths

In September 1822, about 250 largely impoverished Scots uprooted their lives to embark on what appeared to be the journey of a lifetime, sailing to a prosperous Central American country called Poyais to start anew.

But rather than finding a land overflowing with vegetation, livestock, workable soil and opportunities galore as they were promised, “Poyais” was a barren nightmare of unfarmable land and hostile natives. Expecting to build new and better lives, they had instead fallen victim to one of the most audacious and deadly swindles in history, one that most didn’t survive.

The new book “Hoax: A History of Deception” by Ian Tattersall and Peter Nevraumont (Black Dog & Leventhal), out now, features 50 tales of frauds and cons from throughout history. Perhaps none, though, was more brazen than Gregor MacGregor’s Poyais scam.

MacGregor, a descendant of famed Scottish hero Rob Roy, was a warrior who had fought on Venezuela’s behalf during their war for independence.

“He had a very high public profile,” Tattersall says. “He had great military credentials stemming from his time as a mercenary in South America. He was a person of impeccable credentials . . . with an aura of authority about him.”

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Gregor MacGregorGetty Images

In the early 1820s, upon returning from battle, MacGregor claimed he had been made prince of a territory called Poyais, near the Honduran coast, and that it was perfect for new settlers. He began selling bonds to help develop the area, as well as plots of Poyaisian land and packages that included promises of employment there. While he had been there and did own the land in question, “Poyais” and his title were fictions he invented.

Between hard economic times in Scotland and MacGregor’s sterling reputation, Poyais could not have sounded more inviting to impoverished Scots.

“He told them it was a land of milk and honey where you could get several harvests of crops a year, and there were gold nuggets in the river and game abounding on the landscape,” says Tattersall. “He really made it sound like a nirvana.”

MacGregor convinced seven shiploads of Scots to tear up their lives and relocate, raising around 200,000 pounds in the process, the equivalent of around $25 million in current US dollars.

The first two ships departed for Poyais in September 1822, carrying around 250 passengers total on a two-month journey. The Guardian newspaper reported the following in October 1823: “When the emigrants arrived at [Honduras], nothing could exceed their anguish at finding, where they expected a fine flourishing town with nearly 2,000 inhabitants, only two or three ruined huts.”

Despondent but trapped, the settlers tried to build a town and plant crops, but they had no resources. The soil was unsuitable and there was scant livestock, leaving them little access to food.

Over the next two years, most of the 250 residents died.

“[One of the] particularly heart-wrenching things was an account in the newspaper of a shoemaker called Hellie who shot himself, having been promised the position of shoemaker to the Princess of Poyais, and then finding nothing when he got there,” Tattersall says. “That sort of experience was repeated over and over again with, like, 200 people.”

Why he took these people’s lives and transported them to this insect-infested hell, nobody really understands

A small group of survivors (there is no record of how many — Tattersall guesses “a couple dozen at most”) were eventually rescued by a passing timber trading boat and brought to Belize. By this point, five more Scottish ships filled with people had embarked toward Poyais. Word of the catastrophe got back to Scotland, and the Royal Navy was sent to recall the ships.

Making the tragedy especially senseless was that MacGregor sold his scam bonds and plots in several stages, and had already brought in a fortune before the first ships sailed. He could have easily absconded with his ill-gotten gains and not destroyed all those lives.

“He did this bond scam, then organized the expedition. Why he took these people’s lives and transported them to this insect-infested hell, nobody really understands,” Tattersall says.

When word of the hoax spread throughout Scotland, MacGregor fled to France, where he immediately attempted a similar scam. He was arrested but eventually acquitted. He tried other cons over the next decade, then relocated to Venezuela, where he was regarded a returning hero. He lived there until his death in 1845 at age 58.

Even after profiling 50 fraudsters in his book, Tattersall says he can’t begin to comprehend what might have driven MacGregor to such behavior, especially given that the Scot could have become extremely wealthy from his crime without causing so much tragedy.

“The only suggestion that makes any sense is that he came to believe his own propaganda [about Poyais],” Tattersall says. “It seems unbelievable that [he] could do something so cynical, heartless and unfeeling. It is not a dynamic I could possibly understand.”

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Kuwait, Philippines Move to Defuse Domestic Worker Row

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Kuwait, Philippines Move to Defuse Domestic Worker Row

Tuesday, 1 May, 2018 – 09:00
Overseas Filipino Workers from Kuwait gather upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines in February. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Kuwait announced on Monday that it will set up a special commission to address the employment of housemaids in the Gulf state, in what was interpreted as an olive branch extended to the Philippines over the migrant labor row.

Manila announced on Monday that it was prepared to dispatch a delegation to Kuwait to contain the escalating dispute over domestic foreign workers in Kuwait.

The development stood in stark contrast to President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement over the weekend that Manila’s ban on sending domestic workers to Kuwait was permanent.

Duterte in February prohibited workers heading to Kuwait following the murder of a Filipina maid whose body was found stuffed in her employer’s freezer.

The resulting row deepened last week after Kuwaiti authorities ordered Manila’s envoy to leave the country over videos of Philippine embassy staff helping workers in Kuwait flee their employers.

During its weekly meeting, the Kuwaiti government on Monday said it was opposed to any move “aimed at undermining its sovereignty and its laws”, the official KUNA news agency reported.

The government added however that it will set up a special commission chaired by the minister of social affairs and labor to follow up “on cooperation with friendly states” on the employment of housemaids in Kuwait.

“This is largely a misunderstanding and exaggeration of some minor or one-off cases,” Deputy Foreign Minister Nasser al-Subaih told reporters in Kuwait City.

“We have taken a serious stance … but we do not believe in escalation and want to remain in direct communication to resolve the problem,” Subaih added.

Kuwait and the Philippines had been negotiating a labor deal that could have resulted in the lifting of the ban on Filipinos working in the Gulf state.

The Philippines on Tuesday welcomed Kuwait’s olive branch in the migrant labor row.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said: “This gesture on the part of Kuwait, a country with which we have a shared history and strong people-to-people ties, will allow us to move forward.”

“We affirm our friendship with the government of Kuwait and its people. The strength of that friendship will withstand this misunderstanding,” he added.

Around 262,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, nearly 60 percent of them domestic workers, according to the Philippines’ foreign ministry.

Duterte said workers returning from Kuwait could find employment as English teachers in China, citing improved ties with Beijing.

The Philippines has sent millions of its people to work abroad, seeking salaries they cannot get in their relatively impoverished nation.

The money they send back home accounts for about 10 percent of the Philippine economy.

Troubles That Are Coming—Soon

Troubles That Are Coming—Soon

There are many things that have happened that are horrible, but even worse things are soon to come upon the human race. The secular world does not know, they do not see, because they do not study, because they do not believe the things that are about to come upon all of us. Ignorance to reality will not save any of us from that reality, I wish it would, but it won’t. Here in America, a nation that was founded on Christian beliefs has turned its back on anything and everything to do with the Bible, faith, and Jesus, and then we wonder why our nation and the world has turned so violent and hate filled. Hollywood and the media teach society that they are the path to follow, that total ego is the true path to follow if we want a life of happiness. Hollywood and the media push violence, cursing, and filth at everyone from birth to the grave and call it good and call it progress. Hollywood and the liberal left now insist that women not having the right to murder their babies is stone age thinking and they say the far right is trying to take away this “right” If a person was to believe Christian or Jewish scripture then they would understand that our excepted society is evil, this is why they constantly have to attack these faiths trying to demonize them. You see these faith-based religions teach that what our society is teaching is evil, this is why they attack all that is scriptural sound doctrine otherwise they would have to admit that they are the ones that are pure evil.

About a month ago in this blog I wrote of some bad things that have happened, things past tense that were secret evils. By no means am I saying that I know everything, nor that I have been shown everything, nor that I understand everything past or future, I can only tell you the things that I have been shown and the things that I believe. All I can do is bring them to your attention, believe whatever you wish; I’m just trying to be helpful. I am going to tell you things that I know are going to happen to America in the very near future and something’s that are America and world related that are soon to happen most within this next generation. I would like to say “may God have mercy upon all of us”, but that would be misleading if we don’t even know what God means by mercy. People, friends, brothers, sisters, the world has never seen the level of Hell that is coming to the face of this planet.

Now I will start to tell you of the things that are soon to come here in America then I will expand to some more global issues.–The mark of the Devil and the sign of the Anti-Christ ARE NOT the same thing! When I was growing up in a Christian believing household I was always led to believe that there was simply one “Devil”, well, there is only one Satan but also thousands of other former Angels turned Demons. Demons can only possess one person at a time unlike the Spirit of God who can possess billions at one time. So, these Demons, who do you think would be their prime targets to possess? Would the prime targets be the average office worker or factory worker, or politicians and world leaders?  Which leaders would be the most prime targets? All leaders would be targets but the most prime ones would obviously be the leaders with the most power, of the countries with the most power. Where do you think our leaders would place on the Demons wish list? People, the governments are evil and they are only going to get worse!

As any American knows if they are paying any attention to life around them we are having trouble securing our borders and we are having trouble securing our money supply from fraud. Also identity theft is becoming more and more of a problem in our society. At every level our society and it’s so called securities are breaking down. As we all know, the governments are becoming all-powerful and it is only through their great wisdom that we the people can be “saved”. We become totally dependent upon our leaders, we must all do what they say or we become the enemy of our nation. The government must come up with a program that can secure the nation’s borders for our own security. The government’s money supply and the finances of our people must be secured so that everyone’s savings and property isn’t stolen by the bad guys. But, how can such a thing be done?–Revelation 13:16 and 17, “And He (the beast) caused everyone, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their forehead: So that no man could buy or sell, unless he had the mark,…”.  Also Revelation 14: 9-11, “…if any man worships the Beast and His image, and receives His mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wrath of the wine of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb (Jesus): And the smoke of their torment will ascend up forever and ever: and they shall have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name”.  Friends, this is just a small piece of the trouble that is already busting through our doors, we all need to think about what we are doing and what we are going to do.

I’ll just put a couple of questions out to you, all I ask is that people just quietly think about them in their own brain. These are what if questions, what if I am correct about what I have told you? I know these things by faith, prayer, study, and a lifetime of observation.  What if our federal government decides that they have no choice but to implement a chip policy? Chip systems have been in place now for a long time, a different type of chip, but you ease in controversial changes to get people to learn to conform to their “necessary requirements”. We started out with putting chips in our animals so we wouldn’t lose them, then came added information like health records. Well, before you say that’s just about animals, there has been a program now for several years putting chips in newborns for the same type reasons as the animals. O’ by the way, preschool and grade school children by parental requests have been getting these for the same type reasons, getting lost, stolen, medical info etc.

Now, about us adults, we all have to decide what we are going to do when these chips are required instead of the current permission/request policy. Everyone in this country is a number from birth, that makes things easy enough. We are all going to have to decide in our own minds what we are going to do if/when this happens. Millions will go along with it without thought; it will sound like a great idea. These are the people who are usually ignorant of the Scriptures and who usually have no religion/faith in their up bringing. Many people, even those who say they are Christian will not like it, but they will conform. The reasons for this are simple, if there is no cash system, then no plastic, only the chip in your wrist/hand (during the Roman Empire and the time of the first advent the wrist was considered to be part of the hand) and all financial information is loaded onto your chip, and without the chip you have no financial means to survive, what are You going to do?

When you cannot work, buy, sell, or rent a place to live, not even a skid row flee bag motel; when you cannot buy gas or food and you are going to lose absolutely everything you thought you owned, what are you going to do? When you find yourself out in the street with no shelter or food and no way to get any, are you going to allow the chip? Remember how the government in the late 1800’s stole everything the Indian people owned, then those they hadn’t already killed they forced onto reservations? How many times once the people were rounded up and disarmed did the military get sent in to scorch the earth of them? History lessons make perfect examples of evil and how too! The only people who absolutely refuse to be chipped will be the true faithful of the Christian population and some of our Jewish brothers. These people will become enemy number one of the state who will get blamed for all the worlds problems. Remember Germany/Hitler/WW-2, how did this evil empire try to accomplish its goal of killing every Jewish person on earth? The slogan after the war was “never again”, people, that was only a blueprint to grow from when you have evil running your countries.

Whatever we put first in our lives IS our God, how about our money, is that our God? These things are coming; they are not that far away. Again, I ask You the question, brother, sister, what are You going to do?

Human Race: We Say We Want Peace Yet Refuse To Stop Our Own Personal Violence

Human Race: We Say We Want Peace Yet Refuse To Stop Our Own Personal Violence

In general terms, is the human race incapable of being truthful to our own selves? What gave me the idea for this article today was my reading the Times Of Israel article about the people they have lost to violent acts of terror against them since Israel re-became a Nation. The count was over 23,000 people taken away from their families by acts of hate. The article said that in this past year that 68 IDF soldiers and police officers had died in the line of duty and 32 Israeli civilians. Folks that is an even 100 Israeli people whom hate killed, these people would most likely all be alive today if not for the ignorance of hate. Yet when we through our hate carry it to “extreme prejudice” by on purpose killing another person we have lowered ourselves into the Devils playpen. As I hope you did notice, I did not include the people of the Gaza Strip or the West Bank who died from Israelis committing violence on them. Then there is the issue of how many people in those two conclaves have been killed by their own government officials. By the accounts that I have noticed it seems that on a loose average about 10-15 of the Palestinian population die for every Israeli that dies.

 

There is a line of thought that I would like us all to follow for a moment. If you personally were the leader of either Palestinian conclave and you really hated all the Israeli people to the point that you wanted them all to die, please ask yourself this question. How much is the lives and quality of life of the citizens under your flag valued at to you personally? Are they worth nothing to you? How about 15 for 1 person in Israel? Why would any sane human being be willing to trade even 10 for 1? If you are the commander of a unit and you know that you are going to lose at least 10 of your soldiers for every one you kill of theirs if you go through with your next attack, do you still go through with it? Folks, if you would still sacrifice your people like that, you are a cold-hearted piece of the Devils shit, literally!

 

The point I am trying to get to is if you really actually want peace with Israel and you want your own families to live longer healthier and happier lives then stop 100% of all violence toward everyone, and I do mean everyone.  If the Nation of Israel actually wants peace and you are not committing any acts of violence toward them, let them prove that to you, your people, and the people of the world that they want peace with you right now and forever. When you attack, Israel counter attacks and you lose far more than they do, always. So, the point is, quit all violence, everyone, then we will see who is telling the truth about wanting peace. Yet if your own personal charter states that you will not ever accept peace, why should anyone including the people and the government of Israel believe anything you have to say about anything? The only way for there to be peace anywhere in the world is if every human refuses to harm another human. Don’t be fooled, I know that peace will never happen because the human race prefers to act like Demonic fools. This is why at the Second Advent of Christ the Nations of the world will fight against Jesus and His Angels and human blood will flow to the horses reins. In other words, folks we condemn our own selves with the ignorance we refuse to let go of, the ignorance of hate, and of violence.

Israel-You Must Stand On Higher Ground And Not Abuse It

Israel-You Must Stand On Higher Ground And Not Abuse It

 

As almost all of my regular readers probably know all ready, I am very much a ‘Pro-Israel’ believing type of person, but, this does not mean that I give the people of Israel nor the government of Israel carte Blanche status.

 

As the people of Israel know, a couple of years ago an IDF Soldier shot and killed a wounded unarmed Palestinian man laying in the street. About a month ago in the Times Of Israel Paper I read that the Soldier had been sentenced to 20 months in jail but that he was going to be getting out about 4 months early because of good behavior while in jail. So, the Government of Israel decided that for this crime (my total opinion is that this was a case of first degree murder) the punishment was about 16 months in prison. Would justice have been counted the same by the people of Israel and the Government of Israel if a Hamas Member or Hezbollah Member killed an Israeli Soldier in like manner? Since the Sentence has been handed down, and the Time has been served the Sergeant should face no further jail time. Israel, the world is watching you. If you are a “godly” people, you are under the obligation toward God to prove it by your righteous.

 

The failed Government of Hamas, they do what failing Governments have done for thousands of years, they create a war. I know that Hamas’s war is rather unique in the fact that they have been at war with Israel ever since they began as an Islamic Movement. There is also the fact that Hamas has never actually had anything approaching a quality infrastructure. This past month with Hamas’s sponsored “March Of Return” (which is destined to either total victory, or total defeat, no draws) there is no doubt that the Rulers of Hamas are desperate. Yet the IDF Soldiers at the Fence area must use restraint whenever possible. This is just a personal idea, but what do you think of it? Each IDF soldier be issued one ten round clip each day of rubber bullets, then all the rest of the clips with live rounds. If a Soldier fires any live rounds they must have video of why they had to fire 10 rubber rounds, and why they felt they had the right or the necessity to use any live rounds. Do not kill if it is not required that you have to kill. Israel, take the High Ground, always!

If Saudi Arabia Is Honest About Reform They Must Free Raif Badawi!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Christian Lutz—AP/REX/Shutterstock
IDEAS
Silver is a member of Raif Badawi’s international legal team; Abitbol is cofounder of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom.

“We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance.”

“For me, liberalism simply means, live and let live. This is a splendid slogan.”

Who could have imagined that these equally conciliatory concepts would result in such conflicting consequences?

Yet in Saudi Arabia, the advocate of one is heralded as a reformer, while the other is harassed for being a radical.

Indeed, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman said the former; imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the latter.

Born one year apart, these millennials have given expression to the vision and values of a younger generation, one that is empowered by the digital age, implicated in a globalizing world and impervious to the religious orthodoxy of some clerical elite.

However, while the Crown Prince travels the world touting a transformed Kingdom, Badawi has languished in a Saudi prison for almost six years now, for professing his vision for remaking the region.

Using a blog to exercise his right to freedom of expression, Badawi unmasked a culture of corruption and criminality, as well as the impunity that underpinned them; he challenged religious intolerance and extremism, and sparked a discussion on modernization. In short, Badawi paved the way for today’s discourse and developments in Saudi Arabia concerning what the Crown Prince himself has called a “moderate Islam” and combating the “cancer of corruption.”

But will these commendable principles and policies have permanence, or were they simply a prelude to the Crown Prince’s Western ties–building tour and PR campaign? The litmus test for legitimacy is the freeing of Raif Badawi — the champion of these changes.

Indeed, releasing Raif would be in the kingdom’s own self-interest.

As the Crown Prince looks to raise foreign direct investment to 5.7% of GDP, he is seeking to “create an environment attractive to… foreign investors, and earn their confidence in the resilience and potential of [the Saudi] national economy.” Building this investor confidence will require increasing trust in Saudi legal norms, including those of constitutions and contracts — a crucial assurance for investors against arbitrary treatment.

Yet the treatment of Raif Badawi is in standing violation of domestic Saudi law and further obligations that Saudi Arabia has assumed under international law. The Court that convicted Badawi lacked jurisdiction. The witnesses in his case were inadmissible. He was denied his right to counsel — his lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abu Al-Khair was himself imprisoned — and he was not informed of the charges against him, nor given the necessary time and means to prepare his defense. His sentence of lashings was itself illegal — as physical torture is prohibited under the Arab Charter on Human Rightsratified by Saudi Arabia in 2009, and the U.N.’s Convention Against Torture, which the nation ratified in 1997. The criminalization of Badawi was ultimately the criminalization of the protected rights he sought to exercise and of freedom itself.

In the face of these standing violations of their own sacred laws and treaty agreements, why should investors trust that Saudi Arabia would respect their business commitments? Investors could just as easily be treated with the same arbitrariness. However, it is not too late for Saudi Arabia to make an important statement to the international investor community about rule of law and remedy these standing violations by releasing Badawi and his lawyer.

To release Badawi would also be a stroke of geostrategic genius.

Faced with the regional resurgence of violence emanating from the Iranian Regime — such as the recent firing of rockets at Riyadh by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen — the Saudi Crown Prince has been encouraging the international community to increase economic and political pressure against Iran. Similarly, the Crown Prince spearheaded a regional move to sever ties with Qatar to protect “national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.” The collective action aimed to pressure Qatar to end its support for terror groups, including elements of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

But when the Saudi ambassador to Canada tried to host a major press conference on Qatar with his Egyptian and Emirati counterparts in July 2017, his message was lost. Journalists asked about Badawi at the Conference — and the ambassadors were forced to abandon their advocacy on Qatar to defend the unjust imprisonment.

Indeed, Raif Badawi may be the most celebrated prisoner of conscience in the world today. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he is a recipient of scores of prestigious human rights awards and honorifics, including the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament, the PEN Pinter Prize and the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize. Foreign Policy named him as one of 2015’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers, and he received the Courage Award from a coalition of 20 human rights groups from around the world at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. His case and cause have been championed by a broad and inclusive cross-section of leaders from both civil service and civil society.

Rather than distract from Saudi efforts, releasing Badawi would help advance their campaign. Indeed, Badawi would be an articulate ally and spokesperson for shining a spotlight on Iran and Qatar, which are among the most regressive and repressive regimes in the world — and as a human rights activist Badawi has been a forceful critic of each. Living in liberty, Badawi — with his established and influential global network — can play a transformative role in growing a grassroots campaign and cultivating a collective coalition against the state-sanctioning and support of extremism of the Regimes in Iran and Qatar.

With such a critical mass of reasons to release Raif, any claims to the contrary are certainly surmountable.

The slippery slope argument — that the Saudi state would face an emboldened movement to release other prisoners, some of whom may pose a risk to national security — is mitigated by the exceptional nature of Badawi — an international icon, whose views now largely parallel those of the new Saudi leadership. His release would have a positive worldwide resonance, and attest to the genuine authenticity of reforms to this global audience.

Ultimately, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has full authority to grant clemency. When he releases the list of pardons in advance of Ramadan next month, the Crown Prince should take the opportunity to propel his agenda forward — both within Saudi Arabia and across the globe — by freeing Raif Badawi, and allowing him to join in Canada his wife Ensaf, and children Najwa, Terad and Miriyam.

5 Things Written by Martin Luther King Jr. That Everyone Should Read

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Dr. Martin Luther King addresses some 2,000 people on the eve of his death—April 3, 1968—giving the speech "I've been to the mountaintop."
Dr. Martin Luther King addresses some 2,000 people on the eve of his death—April 3, 1968—giving the speech “I’ve been to the mountaintop.”
Bettmann/Getty Images
By LILY ROTHMAN

6:30 PM EDT

The words written about Martin Luther King Jr. during his too-short life and in the half-century since his assassination — 50 years ago Wednesday, on April 4, 1968 — would be impossible to count. King himself left a deep archive of writings, speeches and sermons, too. His spoken orations in particular are a powerful reminder of why he was destined to become part of the pantheon of American icons.

“One has to remember that King above all was a preacher,” says Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, chair of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the Indiana University Bloomington and an editor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse.

While she notes that he was so prolific that it’s near impossible to choose, Calloway-Thomas spoke to TIME about the pieces of King’s work that everyone should know about. They are:

“The Death of Evil upon the Seashore” (May 17, 1956)

“The death of the Egyptians upon the seashore is a glaring symbol of the ultimate doom of evil in its struggle with good.”

This sermon was delivered to a massive crowd at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling against school segregation, at an early moment in this phase of the civil rights movement, with the Montgomery bus boycott still ongoing. To Calloway-Thomas, the sermon is noteworthy for the optimistic vision it presented at such a moment. “He had to help African-American people imagine themselves,” she says. “I think the Death of Evil upon the Seashore is that speech.”

It wasn’t the first time King preached on these ideas, and in fact the link he draws between the Biblical exodus and the story of African-American progress toward freedom and equality was an old one, but those present noted that his delivery that day was particularly moving. “He taps into that reservoir, that myth of the Hebrew children in bondage,” Calloway-Thomas says, “and he elevates it and makes it more publicly known.”

Read the full speech here

Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Yes, this is a letter, not a speech or sermon — but Calloway-Thomas says it’s worth including on such a list anyway. After all, the circumstances that created this letter are inherently linked to the fact that he couldn’t deliver a speech in person. At the time, King found himself jailed in Alabama after ignoring an injunction against protests in Birmingham. During that time, a group of clergymen wrote an open letter urging him away from protests. He wanted to respond but, from the jail, his only option if he wanted to answer quickly was to write it down. “Ideas have moments and if those moments aren’t used, you lose that rhetorical moment and it no longer has the force it had,” Calloway-Thomas says.

So, in a format she likens to a spoken call and response, he answers the questions that were posed to him about his methods. While also explaining that he’s on strong biblical footing, he provides the public with a way to understand the work he’s doing. His rhetorical skills are also on display as he uses a story about his 6-year-old daughter’s early perceptions of racism and segregation to underline that the matter is not theoretical. In the years since, this letter has become one of 20th century American history’s most famous documents.

Read the full letter here

“I Have a Dream…” (Aug. 28, 1963)

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The speech that remains Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous oration — one of the most famous orations in American history, if not world history — is that well-known for a good reason, Calloway-Thomas says. This was the moment when the world as a whole really saw King, and the moment was carefully orchestrated, framed by the Lincoln Memorial. “Think about how dazzling that was!” she says. “Think about the robust visuals and the lovely words echoing from Dr. King. It was an elixir that was made to circulate.”

But, she says, the power of his voice and the impact of the image can sometimes overwhelm the full message of the speech. “Dr. King had some pretty radical statements in that speech,” Calloway-Thomas adds. “Most people gloss over the part in that speech where King says that if we overlook the urgency of now there’ll be a rude awakening. I’ve never seen a student go to that section of the speech; people go right to ‘I have a dream’ and they don’t notice the threat.”

Read the full speech here

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“A Time to Break Silence” (April 4, 1967)

“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors.”

In this speech, King publicly answers his conscience, as Calloway-Thomas puts it, on the matter of the Vietnam War. With an undercurrent of “anguish” about the fact that he feels he must speak, and must criticize the choices of Lyndon Johnson, who had often been an ally, he entered the arena of opposition to the war.

“This is an unsettling moment. People paid attention, but that meant there was backlash,” she says. President Johnson and many others felt that he ought to stay focused on domestic civil-rights issues and leave the foreign policy to them, but in this speech he makes clear why those two topics cannot truly be separated. That idea, Calloway-Thomas says, parallels the experience of earlier fighters for justice, such as Frederick Douglass, who got to the world stage with one kind of story — their personal freedom narratives, in that case — and shocked some of their allies when they showed that their thinking was far more expansive.

Read the full speech here

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (April 3, 1968)

“I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

Start with the date on this one: that’s April 3, 1968, the night before King was assassinated. In this speech, which summons King’s primary background as a preacher, he returns to the story of Moses. Rather than speaking on the joy of the Exodus, though, he turns to the end of Moses’ life, and his death just outside the Promised Land to which he had delivered his people. King casts himself as another leader who may not be there for the end of the journey. “He used Christian values and Democratic traditions to bring people together, so it’s not surprising that he goes to this idea,” Calloway-Thomas says. “What’s significant here is when it occurred. It was almost apocalyptic. Because it occurred at that time it has lingering significance and carries with it an abundance of pathos.”

Of course, as Calloway-Thomas says, we can imagine a scenario in which King gave this speech and then lived. The emotional resonance of his words might be lessened without the seemingly prescient layer of fate, but the story would be there all the same. “Here’s a man talking about longevity, here’s a man talking about god’s Will, here’s a man talking about going up to the mountaintop and looking skyward toward heaven and looking over into the Promised Land,” she says. “It’s a gorgeous story.”

Read the full speech here

Humanity, Christianity and Islam

Humanity, Christianity and Islam

 

This letter to you today is my attempt to get folks to deeply consider the humanity crisis going on throughout Europe, but for now I am referring to the European countries that border the Mediterranean mostly. There is also the request by the Pope for all Catholic Parishes to take in one of these war refugee families. Not just Catholic people and not just towns that have Catholic Churches in them, but all people of every country had better look long and hard before excepting Islamic ideologies into their communities. We must all decide if we want any people, even nice nonviolent people coming into our local community that will absolutely bring their religious beliefs and life styles with them. This is not a race issue at all, it is a life or death issue to every citizen in every country, every town.

 

Here in America there is a bitter battle in the press, politics and on main street America about our porous borders especially along our border with our southern sister Mexico. The same open borders plague our northern border with our frozen sister Canada but the issue is more complicated, it is also an economic, security, jobs, taxes, language barriers, race, crime and drugs issues. It is poorer people in general who are trying to get into America from the south while there is no such rush from Canada because they have and infrastructure which creates jobs while most of the countries to our south do not. The issues southern Europeans are facing is many, including all of the ones I just mentioned that America is having.

 

The biggest issue on the board right now for the whole world to address is how to get these wars stopped as soon as possible so that people can quit fleeing their war-torn homelands. Hopefully then they can start a migration of these believers in Islam back to their home countries so that they can live under Islamic law in their own countries there if they want it so badly, not in Paris Texas, London Kentucky or Moscow Ohio. Most polls taken in Islamic countries show that 90-92% of the people polled said they did want Sharia to be the law in not only their own country but in all countries. In Islam since the religion began in about 630 A.D. there have been two main sides in Islam and for almost 1,400 years now the two have been trying to kill all of the other clan, as well as everyone else on earth. The Shiite and the Sunni both want the same hatred to be forced on everyone on earth or they are supposed to kill you if you refuse to not just convert to Islam, but to be strictly adherent to its teachings (Sharia Law).

 

Okay Christians now we have a dilemma on our hands. I do mean the term Christian to all the people on the planet who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The teachings of Jesus tell us to be kind even to those who hate us. The world has a problem with this Islamic migration and this is something that the world must stop quickly. We as Christians are supposed to help these people out if we can, help with such things as food, shelter and water. We are not obligated to allow the teachings of those who only wish us all dead to be spread like the poison Islam is among our neighborhoods. All this accomplishes by letting in a custom that is not only completely different from any other that you have most likely ever come across. Only an idiot would allow this ideology to move in next door to them, worse yet the spare bedroom. Islam is not a harmless peace-loving religion no matter what the goof ball George W. Bush gives lip service to.

 

Reality is that terrorism is not going to stop because hate is not going to ever stop, nor is ignorance. Just as Jesus said that He hates the sin but He loves the sinner, I do not want any violence toward anyone. Islam is not the only danger to the whole civilized world but it is the largest issue facing the world today. I wish no harm to anyone who believes that Allah is God, I only hope that they live long enough to see the error of their teachings and convert to the love of Jesus instead of the hate of Allah.

 

Back about 7 years of so ago when the ‘Arab Spring’ started there was a lot of hope in the Arab world that they would be able to shake off the Dictators that had been ruling them and setting up more ‘free’ societies. Yet when the people overthrew their Tyrants they didn’t get the freedoms that they had hoped for. Even though the majority of their populations are believers of Islam many hoped that they could have democracies where they themselves could vote in their Leaders, they should have known better. What they got was feud’s between differing fundamentalists Islamic Sects and Tribal warfare, not freedom. Today you have many countries within the ‘Islamic World’ that are totally ‘lawless’ like Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and huge parts of Egypt. This does not take in the reality that is a living Hell for the people who are trying to survive in places like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon (because of Hezbollah) the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (because of Hamas), Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the Middle-East almost all of the more ‘stable’ living conditions are in countries with Royal Families ruling them. I can not blame anyone who lives in an Islamic country for trying to escape to a ‘Western’ civilization yet the reality is if they migrate to the West, they want to then set up Islamic communities. If these people want to do that, then they need to stay in their home countries and deal with their own ‘religion’ caused disasters there instead of bringing it with them to another country. One of the things that all of Europe needs to do is now that the war in Syria is about over these countries need to deport all of these immigrants back to their homeland as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. The first that should be deported should be the males ages 17 -65 who can go back to their homeland and start rebuilding their homes and infrastructures so that they can then welcome home their wives and children.

 

Maybe Russia, China, Europe and the U.S. should work together to eliminate such worldwide threats together and completely. O, but then that would create the (holy war/jihad) that crazy people like the “Supreme Ruler” of the Islamic State of Iran crave. Here is another thought for you though right now, the Islamic hoards are crushing the economies and neighborhoods of Europe. How they (Europe) handles this crisis will depend on if the Europe that we have known for six-hundred of so odd year’s stands as we know it or crumbles into a constant war zone. Another reality is that this Islamic hate filled doctrines already has 18 million foot soldiers living in the U.S. so we, the U.S. are by no means exempt from their Jihad. This hatred is sad and sickening but never the less, it is reality folks, for everyone on earth.

How Cheese, Wheat and Alcohol Shaped Human Evolution

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SMITHSONIAN.COM)

 

How Cheese, Wheat and Alcohol Shaped Human Evolution

Over time, diet causes dramatic changes to our anatomy, immune systems and maybe skin color

image: https://thumbs-prod.si-cdn.com/KMEqfbQGQFYtdyVZ69ZD7TsAHE4=/800×600/filters:no_upscale()/https://public-media.smithsonianmag.com/filer/55/6f/556ffd27-0041-438b-8fba-ca7401f26f40/dpnh1x.jpg

DPNH1X.jpg

Human evolution is ongoing, and what we eat is a crucial part of the puzzle. (photosil / Alamy)
SMITHSONIAN.COM

You aren’t what you eat, exactly. But over many generations, what we eat does shape our evolutionary path. “Diet,” says anthropologist John Hawks, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “has been a fundamental story throughout our evolutionary history. Over the last million years there have been changes in human anatomy, teeth and the skull, that we think are probably related to changes in diet.”

As our evolution continues, the crucial role of diet hasn’t gone away. Genetic studies show that humans are still evolving, with evidence of natural selection pressures on genes impacting everything from Alzheimer’s disease to skin color to menstruation age. And what we eat today will influence the direction we will take tomorrow.

Got Milk?

When mammals are young, they produce an enzyme called lactase to help digest the sugary lactose found in their mothers’ milk. But once most mammals come of age, milk disappears from the menu. That means enzymes to digest it are no longer needed, so adult mammals typically stop producing them.

Thanks to recent evolution, however, some humans defy this trend.

Around two-thirds of adult humans are lactose intolerant or have reduced lactose tolerance after infancy. But tolerance varies dramatically depending on geography. Among some East Asian communities, intolerance can reach 90 percent; people of West African, Arab, Greek, Jewish and Italian descent are also especially prone to lactose intolerance.

Northern Europeans, on the other hand, seem to love their lactose—95 percent of them are tolerant, meaning they continue to produce lactase as adults. And those numbers are increasing. “In at least different five cases, populations have tweaked the gene responsible for digesting that sugar so that it remains active in adults,” Hawks says, noting it is most common among peoples in Europe, the Middle East and East Africa.

Ancient DNA shows how recent this adult lactose tolerance is, in evolutionary terms. Twenty-thousand years ago, it was non-existent. Today, about one-third of all adults have tolerance.

That lightning-fast evolutionary change suggests that direct milk consumption must have provided a serious survival advantage over peoples who had to ferment dairy into yogurt or cheese. During fermentation, bacteria break down milk sugars including lactase, turning them into acids and easing digestion for those with lactose intolerance. Gone with those sugars, however, is a good chunk of the food’s caloric content.

Hawks explains why being able to digest milk would have been such a boon in the past: “You’re in a nutrition limited environment, except you have cattle, or sheep, or goats, or camels, and that gives you access to a high energy food that infants can digest but adults can’t,” he says. “What it does is allow people to get 30 percent more calories out of milk, and you don’t have the digestive issues that come from milk consumption.”

recent genetic study found that adult lactose tolerance was less common in Roman Britain than today, meaning its evolution has continued throughout Europe’s recorded history.

These days, many humans have access to plentiful alternative foods as well as lactose-free milk or lactase pills that help them digest regular dairy. In other words, we can circumvent some impacts of natural selection. That means traits like lactose tolerance might not have the same direct impacts on survival or reproduction that they once did—at least in some parts of the world.

“As far as we know, it makes no difference to your survival and reproduction in Sweden if you can digest milk or not. If you’re eating out of a supermarket (your dairy tolerance doesn’t affect your survival). But it still makes a difference in East Africa,” Hawks says.

Wheat, Starch and Alcohol

These days, it isn’t uncommon to find an entire grocery store aisle devoted to gluten-free cookies, bread and crackers. Yet trouble digesting gluten—the main protein found in wheat—is another relatively recent snag in human evolution. Humans didn’t start storing and eating grains regularly until around 20,000 years ago, and wheat domestication didn’t begin in earnest until about 10,000 years ago.

Since wheat and rye became a staple of human diets, however, we’ve have had a relatively high frequency of celiac disease. “You look at this and say how did it happen?” asks Hawks. “That’s something that natural selection shouldn’t have done.”

The answer lies in our immune response. A system of genes known as the human leukocyte antigens take part in the fight against disease, and frequently produce new variations to battle ever-changing infections. Unfortunately, for individuals with celiac disease, this system mistakes the human digestive system for a disease and attacks the lining of the gut.

Yet despite the obvious drawbacks of celiac disease, ongoing evolution doesn’t seem to be making it less frequent. The genetic variants behind celiac disease seem to be just as common now as they’ve been since humans began eating wheat.

“This is a case where a selection that is probably about disease and parasites has a side effect that produces celiac disease in a small fraction of people. That’s a trade-off that recent evolution has left us and it wasn’t an adaptation to diet—it was an adaptation in spite of diet,” Hawks says. Unintended trade-offs are common in evolution. For example, the genetic mutation to red blood cells that helps humans survive malaria can also produce the deadly sickle cell disease.

Other examples of our continuing evolution through diet are intriguing but uncertain. For instance, Amylase is an enzyme that helps saliva digest starch. Historically, agricultural peoples from West Eurasia and Mesoamerica have more copies of the associated gene. Were they selected to digest starches better? “That makes a compelling story and it may be true. But biology is complicated and it’s not totally clear what’s at work or how important it is,” Hawks says.

More than one-third of East Asians—Japanese, Chinese and Koreans—have a flushing reaction when they metabolize alcohol, because the process creates an excess of toxic acetaldehyde enzymes. There’s strong genetic evidence that this was selected recently, during the last 20,000 years, Hawks notes.

Because its appearance in the genome may roughly coincide with rice domestication 10,000 years ago, some researchers suggest that it stopped people from over indulging in rice wine. The timelines aren’t precisely determined, however, for either the mutation or rice domestication. It has also been suggested that acetaldehyde offered protection from parasites that were unable to stomach the toxin.

“It mattered in some way, to past populations, because it wasn’t common and now it is,” says Hawks. “It’s a big change, but we really don’t know why.”

More Important Than We Think?

Even the color of human skin may be shifting, at least in part, as a response to diet (other factors, studies suggest, include sexual selection). The current diversity of human skin colors is a relatively recent development. The standard hypothesis focuses on the prevalence of UV rays at equatorial latitudes. Our bodies need vitamin D, so our skin produces it when soaked by UV rays. But too much UV can have detrimental effects, and darker skin pigments are more effective at blocking them.

As humans moved into darker, colder latitudes, the idea goes, their skin no longer needed protection from too much UV and lightened so that it could produce more beneficial vitamin D with less sunlight.

But DNA studies comparing modern Ukrainians with their prehistoric ancestors show that European skin color has been changing over the past 5,000 years. To explain this, another theory suggests that skin pigmentation could have been under the influence of diet, when early farmers suffered from a lack of vitamin D their hunter-gatherer ancestors once got from fish and animal foods.

Nina Jablonski, a skin color researcher at Penn State University, told Science that new research “provides evidence that loss of regular dietary vitamin D as a result of the transition to a more strongly agricultural lifestyle may have triggered” the evolution of lighter skin.

It’s difficult to see evolution in action. But new technologies like genome sequencing—and the computing power to crunch massive piles of data—are making it possible to spot tiny genetic tweaks that can add up over many generations to real evolutionary shifts. Increasingly, databases of genetic information are also paired with information like medical histories and environmental factors like diet, which may allow scientists to observe the ways they interact.

Hakhamanesh Mostafavi, an evolutionary biologist at Columbia University, authored one such genome study that analyzed DNA from 215,000 people to try to see how we continue to evolve over the span of just a generation or two. “Obviously our diet is radically changing today, so who knows what evolutionary effect that may have,” Mostafavi says. “It may not necessarily have a direct selection effect but it may interact with genes that control a trait.”

Mostafavi’s genetic research also revealed that some variants that actually shorten human life, like one that prompts smokers to increase their consumption above smoking norms, are still being actively selected against.

“We see a direct effect of that gene on the survival of humans today,” he explains. “And potentially you can imagine that diet might have the same kind of effect. We have so many recent dietary changes, like fast food for one example, and we just don’t know yet what effects they may or may not have.”

Fortunately, thanks to the work of scientists like Mostafavi and Hawks, it might not take 20,000 years to find out.

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Agriculture Digestive System Evolution Food Food History Human Evolution

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Neanderthals And Denisovan’s Were Mixing With Homo Sapiens

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Neanderthals, Denisovans and our ancestors were mixing and mingling a long time ago — and some of our genetics can be traced back to these archaic humans.

In Asians, as much as 3% of an individual’s DNA may be Neanderthal. For Europeans, it’s as much as 2%. A new study has found that our ancestors interbred with two distinct Denisovan populations, increasing the probability of the presence in modern populations of DNA inherited from this ancient and mysterious people.
The study, using a new genome-analysis method to compare whole genomes of humans with Denisovans, was published in the journal Cell on Thursday.
“It is amazing that we can look into human history via current-day human genetic data, and determine some of the events that happened in the past,” study author Sharon Browning wrote in an email. Browning is a research professor with the University of Washington’s Department of Biostatistics.
“In particular, in this study we found two distinct episodes of Denisovan admixture, which adds to what was previously known about the contribution of Neanderthals and Denisovans to our genomes today.”

Denisovans pose questions

Denisovans pose particular questions for scientists because researchers have only a few bones that even point to their existence: a finger bone, toe bone and a couple of teeth. Fossilized DNA sequenced from those bones, recovered in Siberia, has allowed us to learn more about them. But we still don’t know what these extinct hominins looked like.
Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA was sequenced completely for the first time in 2010, which led to the initial discovery that they were interbreeding with our ancestors. Studies found that the population of Oceania and Papua New Guinea received the most DNA from Denisovans, around 5%.
Fifty thousand years ago, as modern humans moved out of Africa, they encountered Neanderthals and Denisovans, and the “admixing” happened. But pinning down exactly where it happened has proved difficult.
It was especially puzzling given that the fossils were found in Siberia, but Denisovans are most strongly connected to Oceania.
Denisovan ancestry was also present in Asia, although researchers believed that this occurred through migration from Oceania.
Comparing the Denisovan genome to that of 5,600 Europeans, Asians, Americans and Oceanians painted a different picture.
The data showed that Denisovans were even more closely related to modern East Asians, specifically Han Chinese, Chinese Dai and Japanese, than those from Papua New Guinea. And this second set of Denisovan ancestry was different from Oceanians and Papuans.
“It makes it clear that there were distinct populations of Denisovans, rather than a single population,” Browning said. “The fact that these populations had diverged somewhat from each other suggests that the two populations were not mixing very often with each other, perhaps due to geographical separation.”
A possible explanation is that our Oceanian ancestors encountered a southern group of Denisovans, while East Asians met a northern group.
“(This) led people to suspect that Denisovans did not just live in Siberia, but also lived elsewhere in Asia, somewhere south along the likely routes that the ancestors of Oceanians may have taken to get to Oceania,” Browning said. “This study makes this hypothesis look very likely.”
This could also mean that there were more than two distinct episodes of Denisovans mixing with modern humans, which Browning believes future analysis could reveal.
“A major novel finding is that some populations (East Asians) have evidence of multiple introgression related to Denisovans while a few others (South Asians, Papuans) have evidence of a single Denisovan introgression,” Sriram Sankararaman said in an email. “The Denisovan ancestry in South Asians is quite diverged from the sequence Denisovan while the additional component in East Asians is quite close. This suggests a complex interaction pattern of the Denisovans and modern human populations in mainland Asia.”
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Sankararaman, who was not involved in the study, has worked on Denisovan research and is an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the department of computer science and the department of human genetics.
Going forward, Browning and her colleagues plan to study other populations to look for signatures of admixture with archaic humans besides Neanderthals and Denisovans.
“I’d love to delve further into Neanderthal ancestry, and understand why East Asians have a higher rate of Neanderthal ancestry — around 3% — compared to Europeans — around 2%,” Browning said.
“It has been hypothesized that the extra Neanderthal ancestry in East Asians is due to an additional admixture event, but we didn’t find a clear sign of that in our study. That doesn’t rule out this possibility — we might need to dig a little deeper to find it.”
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