Joshua Milton Blahyi is a Christian preacher in Liberia. But he was once better known as General Butt Naked, one of the most brutal warlords in Liberia’s 14-year civil war. Every night for 14 years Blahyi talked with the devil. Every night the devil told him to do things… bad things… including sacrificing and eating children.
Blahyi’s creation as General Butt Naked started before he was even born. He was conceived on the orders of Krahn tribe elders and born on September 30, 1971. From the time he was a child, Blahyi was told his destiny was to be a priest and a warrior. When he was seven, his father handed him to the tribal elders, who schooled him in the rituals of the priesthood. His initiation as a priest was as senseless as it was brutal.
Against the beating of a drum, a man in a carved black mask led Blahyi to an altar. The elders brought him a little girl. Her clothes were removed and her body smeared with clay. The elders ordered Blahyi to kill her. Over the next three days, Blahyi ritualistically ate the little girl’s heart and other parts of her body. He was officially declared a priest. He was 11 years-old.
It wasn’t until almost 30 years after its founding, however, that the Secret Service began protecting President Grover Cleveland. And even then it was only on an informal, part-time basis whenever the president traveled. Not until 1902, following the assassination of President William McKinley, did the agency assume the responsibility of protecting the president around the clock.
The Mexican-American War had devastated the Mexican treasury. By 1861, Mexico was essentially bankrupt. To remedy the situation, President Benito Juarez suspended the repayment of foreign debts for a period of two years. At the end of this period, he promised, such payments would resume. Continue reading →
Ulysses S. Grant , the 18th president of the United States, is generally acknowledged one of the greatest military commanders in U.S. history. There is one huge negative on his career as a Civil War general, however. Under General Order No. 11, Grant expelled all Jews from Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. And although he would spend much of his presidency promoting the rights of Jews (as well as blacks and Native Americans), General Order No. 11 remains a stain on Grant’s reputation.
The immediate cause for issuance of the order was the black market in Southern cotton during the Civil War. Northern textile mills — as well as the Union Army itself — relied on cotton from the south. Although President Lincoln allowed limited trade in Southern cotton, it was not enough to satisfy demand. Cotton prices soared on the black market, and unlicensed traders openly bribed Union officers to allow them to buy cotton without a permit. Continue reading →