JimWes Thinks

February 28, 2015

How to reply to a “Nigeria Scam” Message (Part 3 of 3)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 5:05 pm

Nigeria has become associated with a particular form of scam that’s very visible and known to everyone who receives “Dear Friend” emails originating from that country. Also known as “419 scams” or “advanced fee scams” they are among the most notorious scams in the world.  The victim is typically asked to pay in advance a sum in order to receive very attractive benefits. Reputed to be the most successful type scam in the world, estimated losses from such schemes totaled $12.7bn (£8.2bn) in 2013. And the number of scams is growing by 5% each year according to the BBC.

These schemes dubbed “Creative Diabolic Ways That Scammers Scam the Innocent”…“prey on people who are lonely, panicked, desperate, greedy, ignorant or look for rewards with little work input or who panic at situations without reading between the lines and double checking the email address before clicking to the phishing sites.”  Over the years they have evolved into quite well written and brilliantly conceived missives that subtly attract the potential victim. Some are now so eloquent that soon the Pulitzer folks may be compelled to add a new prize category.

The Dutch financial intelligence organization Ultrascan AGI categorizes victims in three groups according to losses experienced: small, medium and high loss.

Small loss victims are those who “have fallen for one of the many quick scams, examples are: lottery fraud, the job- study place -offer, inheritance scam or the relief fund scam. The total losses per victim vary between 200 and 30000 dollar over a period of a couple of months to half a year.”

Medium loss victimshave fallen for the request for help to move and/or invest millions…The total losses per victim vary from 15000 to 210000 dollar over a period of a year to one and a half year.

High loss victims are those that fall for a “fraudulent proposal based on a REAL business of multinational proportions (oil, gold, diamonds, medical equipment, vaccines, chemicals, investments, building and/or service contracts…The total losses per case, vary from 300 thousand to 12 million dollars over a period of one and a half to 8 years or longer…”

According to Ultrascan highest country losses are suffered in the US followed by UK, China and many others including  Japan, Spain, Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, India, and most others countries. Educated folks like doctors, architects, engineers and other white collar professionals are apparently the easiest to successfully scam. Those who have suffered a recent bereavement are also more susceptible victims.

Here are some basic guidelines for answering a Nigeria Scam request:Upon receiving a “Nigeria Scam” e-mail or Skype message most reasonably intelligent persons will logically immediately delete it and block the sender from send more. But there is another interesting alternative: answer it with a competing request. Normally there is no concrete request for money in the first scam message. This comes inevitably in the second. Therefore one can get the jump on the scammer by asking him first for money before being asked. The trick is to use the scammer’s technique before he gets a chance to hit you up for money.

  1. Profusely thank the sender for their generosity and kindness in selecting you as a beneficiary of such a wonderful and remunerative opportunity.
  2. Emphasize your complete trust and reliance upon the sender as a person of honesty and integrity based upon the background information they have furnished and your admiration for such a well planned and presented opportunity.
  3. Give every indication that you will be absolutely receptive to the forthcoming proposal that will outline the next step toward the benefits intimated.
  4. Where possible cleverly and very cautiously include a veiled intimation that you may even have a source of riches even greater than that implied in the original message.
  5. Finally, conclude with a small request for funding that will permit you to be able to respond positively to the anticipated second message providing more details on the operation (and asking you for an advance payment of money).

Needless to say devising an appropriate reply may seem somewhat of a useless task for those who are very busy, but for those who have the time and the inclination, it can be great fun!

To illustrate here is copy (including typos and grammatical errors) of a real scam request received via Skype very recently together with my own (perhaps somewhat exaggerated) reply:

MESSAGE: [2/12/2015 1:30:22 PM] *** Aisha Gaddafi would like to add you on Skype

Dear Friend, I know you would be surprised to read from someone relatively unknown to you. My name is Aisha Muammar Al-Gaddafi the formal Libyan Goodwill Ambassador of the U.N. and the daughter of late Muammar Al-Gaddafi the former president of Libya. I am currently residing in Muscat the capital city of Oman, unfortunately as a Political refugee. At the meantime, my family is at risk and pains. 95% of our investments and bank accounts in several countries are freeze.

I am writing this mail with tears and sorrow from my heart asking for your help at this time, I got your contact via internet searching for a trustworthy person who will understand my present conditions and come to my rescue here in Oman .

I have passed through pains and sorrowful moment since the death of my father Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi, Husband and brothers, all our Foreign and local accounts have been blocked by the western countries and we are not allowed to make transfer or receive money from any country or source. I have been commissioned to contact an interested foreign investor/partner who will be able to take absolute control of part of the vast cash available to private account for a possible investment in your country.

If this transaction interests you, you don’t have to disclose it to anybody because of what is going with my entire family, if the western nation happens to know this account, they will Freezing it as they freeze others so keep this transaction for yourself only until we finalize this transaction that will be when the fund is transferred into your account.

I want to transfer this money into your account immediately for onward investment in your country. I received an urgent email from the bank abroad that both their government and new Libya government are tracing hidden deposit and assets deposited by my family, I don’t want them to be aware of this particular fund deposited by Me. If you can be of any assistant to me kindly get back to me so that i can furnish you with the deposit details for verification and confirmation. I am willing to reward you bountiful 10% of the total sum. Therefore if you are capable of running an establishment and can maintain the high level of Secrecy required in this project, kindly respond with the following information for details of the project.
1. Your full names and address:
2. Your private telephone and fax numbers:
3. Your private email addresses:
4. Age and profession:
you can write me on AISHAMUAMMERALGADDAFII@YAHOO.COM note that, my discussion with you is strictly private no one else must know about this because if it get to the ear of the western nation the account will be freez immidiately as they have done to others, this is the only possible means i have to contact you because all calls here are been monitored my the Omanic government and the UN, Asylum banned was placed on me, which stop me from traveling and making of phone telecommunication for the now. ***

REPLY:  My very dearest Aisha (please excuse my familiarity, the reason for which will become immediately apparent):

I give thanks to Allah (May His Name Be Blessed) for the miracle that has brought your request to me. I who was your beloved departed father’s very closest friend and confidant salute you with sincere sympathy, love and compassion, placing myself fully and completely at your service. How anxious am I to dry those tears and loose the sorrow from your heart. How well I remember bouncing you on my knee when you were a mere child as I counseled with your father regarding his financial affairs. How well I remember your beauty as you grew from a child into a beautiful young girl in the tent of your father and how I missed you when you were sent away to school. How jealous I was when I learned that you had become married to your late and lamented husband. Please accept my profound condolences upon the loss of my dearly beloved friend, your father Muhammad, your husband and all of your close relatives. Ah! Had he only listened to me, he and all of you would have escaped on a timely basis with me to a new life beyond the reach of his enemies.

You would most certainly remember me more clearly if I could give you my name or you could see my photograph, but alas I have had cause to change not only my name and physical appearance but to isolate myself in a new country the name of which I cannot mention where through the power of wealth and the grace of Allah (May His Name Be Blessed) I am now Prime Minister and Supreme Governing Authority. I was able to leave Libya before it fell using a submarine to remove and transport 7,000 gold ingots representing the greater part of your father’s fortune. While we suffered great anguish getting the heavy gold laden submarine to resurface the fortune has been wisely protected and part of it invested to produce great profits. It is now clearly yours as the last living survivor of my dear friend and mentor, the great leader Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi.

You may now safely disregard the pittance of your father’s fortune that you state is frozen since it is no longer needed and is indeed insignificant compared to the fortune that will now be yours that now through wise investment consists of 84.7 % of the world’s gold, similar amounts of other precious metals and the absolute control of the central banking systems of 68 of the world’s leading countries and all but six of the presently existing multinational enterprises. You may wonder how I have been able to accomplish this. It was very simple; I learned that in those so called “democracies” throughout the world politicians can easily be bought by contributing vast sums to the political campaigns of all parties and candidates. Thus, no matter who wins, the elected individual is profoundly indebted to me and my organization and thus under my control. Modestly speaking you will now become the wealthiest, most beautiful and most powerful woman in the world!

My beloved dove of summer, may I take this opportunity to request your hand in marriage as your family’s closest friend and confidant, notwithstanding the great difference in our ages. I am 80. However, through the genius of my personally endowed Body Transplant and Life Extension Institute in Italy, I am happy to advise you that praise be to Allah (May His Name Be Blessed),  I now have the body of a 19 year old athlete and (modestly speaking) the most handsome face on earth. If needed or desired these facilities will also be available to you upon the consummation of our matrimony. Although it will be a few more years before I can promise you eternal life, my brilliant Italian medical innovators assure me that even now we can be assured of at least a 2.000 year life span together.

I am anxious for you to join me as soon as possible but one small problem has arisen. Just as I was ordering my yacht (modestly speaking the largest in the world) to pick you up I learned that it has been captured by pirates in Somalia who are requesting a relatively modest amount of ransom not knowing to whom it belongs. Because my affairs are so massively involved in the intricate markets of the world, the amount requested of $100,000 is so infinitely minuscule and you are at present located in close proximity to Somalia, I am sure it would be a very simple matter for you to transfer by Western Union to Mr. S. U. Borno in Mogadishu that amount thus freeing my yacht to pick you up immediately and bring you into my waiting arms.

I must caution you that everything I have written and all our plans must be extremely confidential as our mutual enemies would take advantage of any information regarding us to thwart our plans. I know that I can count upon you for prompt action and we will soon be together for centuries to come.

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Nigeria Scam Hijacked by Ghanaian Auditor (part 2 of 3)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 4:54 pm

The Nigeria or ‘419” scam spread across Africa before it became fully globalized a few years ago. Still, the majority of the scam solicitations come from the appropriately named “Dark Continent.” Millions of scam e-mails are sent out from Africa across the spectrum of the Internet but Nigeria still is champion.  Advance fee romance scams,” fleecing lonely folks seeking love, are one of the top moneymakers for the Nigerian scam artists, but great ingenuity is displayed by a wide variety of nefarious solicitations preying upon the avarice of weak human victims.

According to an article published last year quoting from the 2011 Internet Crime Report : “In 2011, the FBI received close to 30,000 reports of advance fee ploys, called “419 scams” after the section of the Nigerian criminal code that outlaws fraud. The agency received over 4,000 complaints of advance fee romance scams in 2012, with victim losses totaling over $55 million.”  This is a truly growth industry. In 2013 the FBI received over 6000 complaints .Targeted victims are usually people aged 40 years and older, divorced, widowed, disabled, and often elderly.

Of the hundreds of disgusting (though often interesting due to their originality) Nigeria scam requests I have received via e-mail and Skype over the past few years, one finally pushed my button causing an eruption of ire. It was the first and only scam request I have ever received from an AUDITOR.

Now I happen to be a CPA and auditor having practiced, taught and written about my proud profession over the past 60 years and having been very active over the years in professional organizations like the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Interamerican Accounting Association. Thus the following e-mail from an allegedly traitorous auditor lit my fuse. (I know, of course, that the person and post mentioned are fictitious and the author is not an auditor but a crook, but it is the principle of the thing — the insult to my profession).

Here is the Skype message received followed by my reply:

“Charles Cofie. would like to add you on Skype

ATTN:

I am Charles Cofie director in charge of auditing and accounting section in Barclays bank Ghana, West Africa. With due respect and regard I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be very beneficial to both of us at the end of the transaction.

During our investigation and auditing in this bank, my department came across a very huge sum of money belonging to a deceased person who died on November 1997 in a plane crash and the fund has been dormant in his account with this Bank without any claim of the fund in our custody either from his family or relation before our discovery to this development.

Although personally, I keep this information secret within myself and partners to enable the whole plans and idea be Profitable and successful during the time of execution. The said amount was US$12.5M (Twelve million five united states dollars).

As it may interest you to know, I got your impressive information through my good friends who works with chamber of commerce on foreign business relations here in Accra Ghana. It is him who recommended your person to me to be viable and capable to champion a business of such magnitude without any problem.

Meanwhile all the whole arrangement to put claim over this fund as the bona fide next of kin to the deceased, get the required approval and transfer this money to a foreign account has been put in place and directives and needed information will be relayed to you as soon as you indicate your interest and willingness to assist us and also benefit yourself to this great business opportunity.

In fact I could have done this deal alone but because of my position in this country as a civil servant, we are not allowed to operate a foreign account and would eventually raise an eye brow on my side during the time of transfer because I work in this bank.

This is the actual reason why it will require a second party or fellow who will forward claims as the next of kin to the Bank and also present a foreign account where he will need the money to be re-transferred into on his request as it may be after due verification and clarification by the correspondent branch of the bank here the whole money will be remitted from to your own designated bank account.

I will not fail to inform you that this transaction is 100% risk free.

On smooth conclusion of this transaction, you will be entitled to 35% of the total sum as gratification, while 5% will be set aside to take care of expenses that may arise during the time of transfer and also telephone bills, while 60% will be for me and my partners.

Please, you have been advised to keep top secret as we are still in service and intend to retire from service after we conclude this deal with you.

I will be monitoring the whole situation here in this bank until you confirm the money in your account and ask us to come down to your country for subsequent sharing of the fund according to percentages previously indicated and further investment, either in your country or any country you advice us to invest in. All other necessary information will be sent to you when I hear from you.

I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible stating your wish in this deal.

My personal email address: charlescofie633@gmail.com

Yours faithfully, Mr Charles Cofie”

—-

REPLY: Dear Mr. Cofie:

Words cannot express my intense feelings upon the receipt of your Skyped message yesterday. The degree of respect and regard for me that you declared are abundantly clear as well as the respective potential financial effect upon both of us as a result of the successful conclusion of the transaction you propose. I am certainly surprised and pleased that I am known to the chamber of commerce on foreign business relations in Accra since I have never traveled to, or worked in, Africa.

I regret that I cannot immediately assist you and your partners in carrying out the brilliant and intricately designed financial transaction you suggest. The fact is that I have recently been arrested by the prosecutorial authorities here having been accused, unjustly of course, of a similar activity. Thus at present I do not have the full freedom to act that you presuppose. Notwithstanding, the good news is that my bail is a mere $10,000; therefore upon paying it I shall be able to flee the country and join your illustrious and industrious group in Ghana.

What is needed, of course is that you forward to me immediately, at the address you already have, a cashier’s check in the amount of $15,000 to cover my bail and airfare. Based upon your profession of faith in my character and business acuity, I am sure that I shall receive the needed funds within the next few days.

I remain truly and sincerely your humble servant.

Ripe Pickens, CPA, CIA, CFE

February 22, 2015

The Nigeria or “419” scam has become globalized

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 9:28 pm

“…a fool is born every minute.” –  If P.T. Barnum actually said that time has now proven him wrong! Or maybe it was profound back in 1890 even if, as some allege, he didn’t say it. Perhaps it’s due to the population explosion, but now it’s pretty clear that a fool is born at least every second…maybe even more often.

The proof of this is clear from the vast number of Ponzi Schemes, Nigeria Letters, cases of health insurance fraud, telemarketing and senior scams and innumerable similar innovations now being successfully applied by fraudsters across the planet often successfully separating gullible fools from their money.

Nigeria, from where the original non-digital “Nigeria letters” originated, unfortunately gets the credit for inventing or at least proliferating the type scam that has now become an embarrassment to that great country.  Wikipedia describes the Nigeria (or “419” scam[1]) as follows: “The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, which the fraudster requires a small up-front payment to obtain. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.”

Scamwatch, an Australian website, provides some warning signs:

  • “You receive an offer out of the blue to ‘help’ someone from another country transfer their money out of their country (e.g. Sierra Leone, Nigeria or Iraq).
  • The offer sets out a long and often sad story about why the money cannot be transferred by the scammer. This usually involves an inheritance or profits from natural resources that the scammer might say they are trying to protect from taxes or a corrupt government.
  • You are offered a percentage of the total amount transferred in return for your assistance.
  • The amount of money to be transferred, and the payment that the scammer promises to you if you help, is usually very large.
  • The email or letter is in very polite, but broken English.”

I am apparently (and hopefully not deservedly) on the master list of the most ignorant fools in the world as I receive e-mail and Skype scam messages almost daily. I have received pleas for help from widows, divorcees, orphans, lawyers, executors of estates, bankers, current and former public officials, real estate investors, diplomats, senators, generals in the US Army, soldiers on duty in Afghanistan, the FBI Director, the US Ambassador in Kenya and most recently the exiled daughter of the late Muammar Al-Gaddafi the former president of Libya.  As a professional CPA and auditor, the one that finally became the last straw inciting my current ire was from the “director in charge of auditing and accounting section in Barclays bank Ghana.”

No one I know receives as many of these as I. At first I simply ignored them, deleting the e-mails and blocking the Skype messengers. But as they continue to proliferate in my inboxes I can stand it no longer. I am beginning to answer them. I can’t resist. Here’s one of the most recent with my reply below:

E-Mail Subject: “Re: Please Re-Confirm if you are alive or death: 16th Feb, 2015

Attn: Beneficiary,
Confirm This Information
It is totally against the ethics and civil service code of conduct in accordance with oath of secrecy for me to do this but I wish to do this on personal capacity believing you will not betray me but will surely come back to reward me for my sincerity, honesty and for my great effort made to secure a successful conclusion of this transaction in your favor.
Please confirm if truly the bank has communicated you regarding payment of your over due fund.
However, i wish to inform you that a woman submitted her name claiming that you were death and to be your next of kin, her details and banking particular was among the list certified for payments, see below and confirm for the account she submitted for transfer of your fund Valued at $5,400,000. 00 Million United States Dollars.
Beneficiary: Ms.Ronnette James
Bank Name: The Commerce Bank
Bank Address: 1072, Richmond av.
Staten Island, New York
Account Number: 4121097896,
Routing No:003-051-200,
Swift Code: CBNAUS33
I have inquired deeper to come to the conclusion that she and few powerful individuals are behind this dastardly act without due notices to you, As it stands now, you will certainly encounter enormous problems to convince the International Remittance Department that you have not been served with required number of direct notices.
You are therefore advised to submit your approval, as the bank will certainly not be held responsible for paying into a wrong account, It will serve you well if you would quickly get back to me so that i can issue instruction for re-verification on your payment file towards Online Transfer of your fund($5,400,000. 00) to you..
Please reply to my private email address : peterand147@yahoo.co.uk or call: +22891050877.
Yours faithfully,
Mr Peter Anderson.
Corporate and Commercial Banking.
(BSIC BANK OF TOGO).”

_________

Reply: “Dear Mr. Anderson:

Thank you so much for your most kind inquiry regarding the status of my health. I deeply appreciate the great trouble you have gone to in order to make contact with me regarding such an important financial matter involving my state of being as well as your admitted  sincerity, honesty and ethical conduct.  The woman you mention is NOT my next of kin and you are to be congratulated for bringing this matter to my attention.

However, it is my very sad duty to have to convey to you the news of my passage through the great door of eternity at 8:43 PM on the 29th day of February, 2014 in Quivilla, Peru where I unfortunately was drowned in the raging waters of the Marañon River. My body has never been found. May I rest in Peace.

Please be further advised that Ms. Ronnette James of Staten Island New York should rightfully receive the $5,400,000. 00 Million United States Dollars as per her claim. I will deeply appreciate your great kindness in collaborating with her to assure that she receives the aforementioned sum. While she is not exactly my next of kin, she was for 42 years my secret principal mistress through sickness and health, in good times and in bad, and I certainly desire that she receive the money as I have no other worthy heirs. As I am sure you have divined, the sum you refer to constitutes the proceeds of the insurance claim for my untimely death.

As inferred by you, I certainly wish to reward me for your sincerity in this matter. Therefore I have communicated to Ms. Ronnette James that she is to provide to you or the person you designate 20% of the $5,400,000. 00. In order to assure that this transfer takes place promptly please forward a cashier’s check in the amount of $10,000.00 to Ms. James at the address you indicated so that she may be able to expedite the transaction. Thereafter she will be in touch with you.

I do ask of you one additional great favor. Please keep this matter completely confidential as I naturally would not wish it to become known by my other mistresses, lovers, illegitimate children and ex-wives who might question it.

Please do feel free to contact me here below if I may be of any service to you in the nether regions. Thank you very kindly.

Ben. E. Ficiary, R.I.P.”

[1] The number “419” refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.

December 31, 2014

The New Year 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 10:00 pm

I never dreamed that I would live halfway into the second decade of the 21st Century. When I started out on this planet life expectancy was much shorter. I never knew my grandfathers and at the age of 13 when my maternal grandmother passed away six years following my mothers death, I was left the only living descendant on the maternal side of my family.

Now I am entering a new year for the 81st time in my life, an unexpected and unplanned privilege. I hope I have gained a bit of maturity and wisdom along the way but I’m not too sure. I have always been rather independent and non-conformist and still am. One of my favorite quotations is from Mark Twain, who said: “Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” I usually change sides when I do that.

My life has been long, interesting and challenging and I coincide with Confucius who said:

“At fifteen, I aspired to learning.
At thirty, I established my stand
At forty, I had no delusions.
 At fifty, I knew my destiny.
 At sixty, I knew truth in all I heard.
 At seventy, I could follow the wishes of my heart…without doing wrong.
To the above, since I have lived longer than Confucius, I can add:
At eighty, I can be outspoken from my heart and mind openly and sincerely
giving no mind to whether someone becomes offended.
Every new year opens a new challenge and opportunity to think and speak the truth.

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Day 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — jimwes @ 12:58 pm

Following the example of my Peruvian friend Luis A. Sanchez   I posted daily on Facebook my gratitude to God from November 1 until Thanksgiving Day Nov. 27, 2014 as follows:

I thank God for:

LEA, the angel he sent from Peru to be my companion for the past 39 ½ years.

His son, Jesus Christ, living guarantee that I will “…not perish but have eternal life.” (The Bible,John 3:16)

My Father Rev. James Pickett Wesberry, who showed me, his only son, the depth of God’s love for me and all persons.

The  privilege of  being a citizen of the United States of America, that despite its human failings and weaknesses, has been, and is still the country that offers more hope, opportunity and freedom than any other in the history of civilization.
The privilege of being a retired immigrant, permanent resident of the Republic of Ecuador, most beautiful, comfortable and amiable country in the world.

My  SEVEN children, THIRTEEN grandchildren, ONE  great granddaughter and their EIGHT spouses.

My THREE mothers (my father outlived two wives): Ruby Lee Perry Wesberry, who passed away when I was seven, Mary Sue Latimer Wesberry, who raised me through school and Margaret Spratlin Wesberry, who shared my father’s last ten years

My grandmothers: Leila Abigail Perry, who cared for me after my mother’s death and Lillian Galloway Wesberry, who read to me as a child.

Being able to be with our children in the USA for the birth of three new grandbabies this year.

Our home in Cumbaya, Ecuador, among the beauty of God’s works in the heights of the Andes.

My one and only (so far) great granddaughter, Anna Torres, daughter of my granddaughter, Hannah Wesberry Torres.

Guiding me many years ago (and to my surprise) into the Public Accountancy profession where I have had wonderful professional experiences.

The overwhelming splendor of the great volcanoes in “volcano alley” where we live.

The  opportunity of spending a beautiful Saturday in Otavalo and Imbabura, Ecuador with a Mexican friend, Francisco Rullan, my colleague, Edison Estrella, and our wives.

The two churches of my childhood and youth where my father was pastor: First Baptist Church of Bamberg, South Carolina and Morningside Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia.

Over 60 mentors, older than I who inspired, guided and encouraged me throughout my professional career.

The Davoll family, Jeff, Deanne, Amanda, and Lukas, now leaving Quito after pastoring the Connection to Hope Baptist Church in Cumbayá for the past four years.

The opportunity given me since 1967 to work in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, the Philippines and the USA over several years as well as short activities in almost all Western Hemisphere countries.

Our eight Chihuahuas whose love and loyalty bind us to them.

Our two excellent helpers en our house and garden, Gladys and Manual, who work with enthusiasm, loyalty and vigor to support our home.

The technological achievements that over the past three centuries have permitted us to advance from an illiterate, selfishly governed, disordered and uncommunicative world to this day when we can gain education, choose our future, try to improve our government and reach each other across the planet via electronic communications.

The guidance and inspiration of his Word in the Bible.

Protecting me from the six great scourges of human life: hunger, sickness, poverty, riches, fame and power..

Restoring my soul; leading me in the paths of righteousness; being with me in the face of evil, comforting me in the dark valleys of life; saving me from temptation; pardoning my failures and sins; overflowing my being with goodness and mercy; and offering me eternal life.

The opportunity to reflect upon his blessings and express my gratitude along with millions of others on this Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014.

Día de Acción de Gracias 2014

Siguendo el ejemplo de mi amigo peruano, Luis A. Sánchez  yo presentaba diariamente mi gratitud a Dios desde el 1 de noviembre hasta el Día de Acción de Gracia de los EEUU el 27 de noviembre, 2014:

Doy gracias a Dios por:

LEA, angel que El envió a ser mi compañera sobre los últimos 39 ½ anos.
Su hijo, Jesús Cristo, garantía viviente que yo no me “…pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.” (La Biblia, Juan 3:15).

Mi padre, Reverendo James Pickett Wesberry  quien demostró a mí, su único hijo, la profundidad del amor de Dios para mí y todo el mundo.

El privilegio de ser ciudadano de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, que a pesar de sus fallas y debilidades humanas ha sido, y todavia es el país que ofrece más esperanza, oportunidad y libertad que cualquier otro en la historia de la civilización.

Doy gracias a Dios que tengo el privilegio de ser inmigrante jubilado, permanente residente de la República del Ecuador, país más lindo, confortable y amable del mundo.

Doy gracias a Dios por mis SIETE hijos, TRECE nietos, UNA biznieta y sus OCHO esposas/os.

Doy gracias a Dios por mis TRES madres (mi padre sobrevivió dos esposas): Ruby Lee Perry Wesberry, quien falleció cuando yo tenía siete  años, Mary Sue Latimer Wesberry, quien me crio durante los años escolares y Margaret Spratlin Wesberry, quien acompaño a mi padre durante sus últimos tres años.

Mis abuelas: Leila Abigail Perry, quien me cuidó después de la muerte de mi madre, y Lillian Galloway Wesberry, quien me leyó libros cuando niño.

Por nuestro hogar en Cumbaya, Ecuador entre la belleza de la labor de Dios en los altos de los Andes.

Mi única (hasta ahora) biznieta, Anna Torres, hija de mi nieta, Hannah Wesberry Torres.

La belleza y majestad del amanecer sobre las grandes montañas Andinas donde vivimos.
Guiarme hace muchos años (y a mi sorpresa) hacia la profesión del Contador Publica en la cual he tenido maravillosas experiencias profesionales.

El esplendor asómbrate de los grandes volcanes en el “callejón de los volcanes” donde vivimos.

Haber podido pasar un lindo día sábado en Otavalo e Imbabura, Ecuador con un amigo mexicano, Francisco Rullan, mi colega, Edison Estrella y nuestras esposas.

Las dos iglesias de mi niñez y juventud con mi padre de pastor: Primera Iglesia Bautista de Bamberg, Carolina del Sur y Iglesia Bautista Morningside de Atlanta, Georgia.

Más de 60 mentores, mayores que me motivaron, guiaron y alentaron a lo largo de mi carrera profesional

La familia Davoll, Jeff, Deanne, Amanda, and Lukas, ya saliendo de Quito después de ser pastor de la Iglesia Bautista la Conexión a La Esperanza en Cumbayá  durante los últimos cuatro años.

La oportunidad dado a mí desde 1067 a trabajar en Perú, Ecuador, Bolivia, las Filipinas y los EEUU sobre algunos años tanto como actividades de corto plazo en casi todos los países de las Américas.

Por nuestros ocho chihuahuas cuyo amor y lealtad nos atan a ellos.

Nuestros dos excelentes ayudantes en nuestra casa y jardín, Gladys y Manuel, que trabajan con entusiasmo, lealtad y vigor en apoyo de nuestro hogar.

Los logros en la tecnología que en los últimos tres siglos nos han permitido avanzar de un mundo analfabeto, egoístamente gobernado, desordenado y sin comunicaciones a este día en que podamos ganar una educación, elegir nuestro futuro, tratar de mejorar nuestro gobierno y conversar entre nosotros sobre todo el planeta a través de las comunicaciones electrónicas.

La guía e inspiración de su Palabra en la Biblia.

La belleza y Gloria de Su creación.

Protegerme de los seis grandes azotes de la vida humana: hambre, enfermedad, pobreza, riqueza, fama y poder.

Infundirme con nuevas fuerzas; guiarme por sendas de justicia; acompañarme frente a la maldad; reconfortarme en las valles tenebrosos de la vida; salvarme de las tentaciones; perdonar mis errores y pecados;  llenar a rebozar mi ser con bondad y misericordia; y ofrecerme vida eterna.

La oportunidad de reflexionar sobre sus bendiciones y expresar mi gratitud junto con millones de otros en este Día de Acción  de Gracia 27 de noviembre de 2014.

September 22, 2014

FOUR SCORE and counting…

Filed under: Wisdom — jimwes @ 2:36 am

Today I have reached my fortieth birthday…

                                 …for the second time

                                                                   — a time for some serious thinking.

Benjamin Franklin’s words upon the conclusion of the successful US Constitutional Convention in 1789 are appropriate for me as well twenty-two decades later:

“…having lived so long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”

It is easy for me to be excited about the the ongoing macro-changes in technology, but I am likewise vulnerable to discouragement from present and coming macro-changes in our culture. I do hope that the judgement of others will prove superior to mine.

Rarely do I read a book twice. But I’ve just finished reading for the second time Billy Graham’s book Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well written as he nears the end of his great ministry. It contains the much of the wisdom he has accumulated over the years.. He reiterates that “Scripture is filled with examples of men and women whom God used late in life, often with great impact – men and women who refused to use old age as an excuse to ignore what God wanted them to do.”

When I had lived in Peru and Ecuador for over ten years and my father was almost despairing that I would ever return, he wrote me reminding me that Moses did not actually begin his life’s work until he was 80:

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. 

 Moses was eighty years old and

Aaron was eighty-three when they spoke to the king. (Exodus 7:6)

So I’m still counting on whatever the Lord holds for my next 40.

Here’s a great positive outlook:

“LIFE BEGINS AT 80”

by Frank Laubach

I have good news for you.
The first 80 years are the hardest.
The second 80 are a succession
Of birthday parties.

Once you reach 80,
Everyone wants to carry your baggage
And help you up the steps.
If you forget your name,
Or anybody else’s name,
Or an appointment,
Or your own telephone number,
Or promise to be three places
At the same time,
Or can’t remember how many
Grandchildren you have,
You need only explain that you are 80.

Being 80 is a lot better than being 70.
At 70 people are mad at you for everything.
At 80 you have a perfect excuse,
No matter what you do.
If you act foolishly,
It’s your second childhood.
Everybody is looking for symptoms
Of softening of the brain.

Being 70 is no fun at all.
At 70 they expect you to retire
To a house in Florida
And complain about your arthritis.
And you ask everybody to stop mumbling
Because you can’t understand them.
(Actually your hearing is about 50% gone.)

If you survive until you are 80,
Everybody is surprised that you are still alive.
They treat you with respect
Just for having lived so long.
Actually they seem surprised
That you can walk and talk sensibly.

So, please, folks, try to make it to 80.
It’s the best time of your life.
People forgive you for anything.
If you ask me, life begins at 80.

I hope it’s so.

The Book of Job tells us:

‘Older people should speak, and

those who have lived many years 

should teach wisdom.’ (Job 32:7)

I intend to continue to speak and write always praying for wisdom that I may be able to share.

My own opinion is that all a man needs after eight decades is:

  1. A loving spouse or other relative for care
  2. A dog for continual companionship
  3. A home and meals
  4. A rocking chair for exercise, not loafing
  5. Contacts with family and old friends
  6. Good books to read
  7. A job or task to do daily to feel productive

…and number 7. may be the most important of all.

Abraham was the great example:

Abraham was almost a hundred years old,

much past the age for having children, and

Sarah could not have children.

Abraham thought about all this, but

his faith in God did not become weak.  

He never doubted that God would keep his promise, and

he never stopped believing.

He grew stronger in his faith and gave praise to God.

                                          (Romans 4:19-20 NCV)

 

January 1, 2013

Thinking about the new year 2013: Opportunities Increase in the TOP Quartile of Life

If your Creator gives you His highest honor of rising into the TOP Quartile of Life (between 75 and 100 years of age) and of retaining reasonable health,

…you are blessed with opportunities like never before:

  • The opportunity to stop thinking and worrying about things you cannot control.
  • The opportunity to think and comment positively and optimistically on any subject that others speak negatively about.
  • The opportunity to stop counting…minutes, hours, days, years, calories, money, exercise motions, pool laps, etc.
  • The opportunity to forget the unpleasant and remember what brings you joy.
  • The opportunity to sit quietly and watch a flower bloom.
  •  The opportunity to enjoy the company of your closest loved ones and friends.
  • The opportunity to caress your favorite pet and enjoy its love.
  • The opportunity to rock in your rocking chair or recline in your recliner.
  • The opportunity to listen to your favorite music.
  • The opportunity to read you favorite literature.
  • The opportunity to enjoy nature.
  • The opportunity to be free from those temptations that ensnared you in the three lower profiles.
  • The opportunity to think, unpressured by distractions.
  • The opportunity to be a blessing to others, whether through service or inspiration.
  • The opportunity to contemplate life and communicate with your Creator.

…And all of the above without feeling you are constrained by lack of time or by what others may think or say.

As in the first three Quartiles of Life, your life is what you make it.  But in the TOP Quartile of Life you are free to redefine yourself and your heritage by being a positive influence for your own happiness and that of others or by being a negative source of criticism and complaint.  If you truly deserve this highest honor you will choose to be positive and optimistic as you look down from the summit of your life’s long journey. The beginning of a new year is a good time to resolve to be optimistic and positive in all you do and say.

February 14, 2011

Needed: Internal Self Control

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 5:25 pm

The basic concept of internal control as a tool of the accountancy profession was developed after many business failures during the great depression and finally set out formally in accountancy literature around 1948. Its entire theory rests upon the premise that one out of every two persons is honest and will not fall into temptation. Thus the basic rule of internal control (among many other lesser ones) is that no one person should be in complete charge of a single transaction from its beginning to its end.

Ideally one person initiates or authorizes a transaction and another executes it. More than two persons may be involved in more complex transactions but at a certain point involving too many individuals in the process of approval results in the dilution of control until it becomes a false control and no one is accountable.

Therefore there normally should be no less than two persons, nor more than 3 or 4 involved in transaction processing and approval.

Where am I going with this long lesson in Internal Control 101?

The bottom line is that sound internal control depends upon the innate honesty of at least 51% of the persons…in the case of a government, 51% of its employees…in the case of a nation, 51% of its citizens.

If the culture of a business, a government or a nation is such that at least 51% of the persons in it are not honest, then the entire concept of internal control collapses.

When the theory internal control was developed at the midpoint of the 20th Century this was a fairly safe assumption in many of the “developed” countries of the world. That appears to no longer be the case in any country.

Internal control is really only possible where at least the majority of the persons exercising it are capable of, and in practice exert self control (i.e. are virtuous). Without personal self control, there can be no internal control within an organization.This also was a fairly safe assumption at mid-point of the 20th Century in many of the more developed countries. Likewise, it appears to no longer apply.

Notwithstanding, we still try to implant internal controls in financial management systems and in many other activities. But we hit a stone wall when we assume that 51% of the persons involved are capable of, and practice self control, and thus are honest enough to “blow the whistle” or disapprove the transaction of a person who possesses no such control.

The sad fact is that collusion overrides internal controls every time. Therefore the following conclusions may be drawn:

* Where self control is limited of nonexistent among persons, internal control cannot function.
* Where collusion prevails among a group, internal control fails.

As a result, the weaker the internal/self control, the greater the need for unpleasant, but necessary, external controls in the form of laws, regulations, auditors, investigators, police, justice systems and punishment. The greater the circle of collusion, the greater the need for forceful, even militaristic, external controls.

There is at present a worldwide weakening of internal/self controls…almost a contempt for virtuous living. Therefore we are seeing a weakening of the concepts of popular democracy and an upsurge in authoritarianism…fertilized and fortified by a quite natural eruption of corruption.

Christ taught self control by living a completely self controlled life. His followers, especially St. Paul, taught self control as a fundamental tenet of Christianity. What happened to it?

September 21, 2010

KLEPTOCRACY RISING

Filed under: Corruption, government, Honor, Integrity, kleptocracy, politics — jimwes @ 3:49 am

The greatest enemy of Democratic government in the world today is Kleptocratic government.  Kleptocracy is a worldwide phenomena and a worldwide threat to Democracy.  

Today we are witnessing a growing tendency toward abstinence from accountability…the refusal to recognize that one is accountable to any higher authority.  This is the seed of Kleptocracy, planted by the irresponsible – the unaccountable, fertilized by human greed and watered by a flow of untruth, that grows as the roots of corruption reach deeply into the fertile soil of human culture producing the fungus of corruption that rapidly covers all it touches with the invisible slime of unbridled evil. It can stealthily displace any and all political ideology or form of government.

Kleptocracy comes to power neither by force, nor by ballot.  It simply grows like a fungus corrupting more and more persons until it takes control.  Almost everyone then becomes corrupted as corruption becomes a way of life, payoffs become salary supplements, collusion spreads because everybody’s doing it and gradually the entire country, or at least its business and governmental leadership and its public service becomes corrupted.

The great poet Alexander Pope described this process aptly when he said of vice and corruption:

Vice and Corruption

“Seen too oft,

familiar with her face,

          we first endure,

               then pity,

             then embrace.

Kleptocracy is “government by thieves.”  There is nothing new about it.  Kleptocracy may in fact be the world’s oldest form of government.  It simply consists of the institutionalization of one person’s or one elite group’s greed for resources and power in the form of the apparatus of the state.  Most monarchies deteriorated over time into Kleptocracies.  Most great empires were driven by Kleptocracy’s inspiration. 

The plunders taken by conquering armies in times of war and the hated tributes extorted by tax collectors in times of peace…all in the name of government…permeate the pages of the history of our so-called civilization.  Karl Marx saw the Capitalists as the most horrible of Kleptocrats exploiting natural and human resources driven by greed.  But his own disciples did exactly the same…even as they praised his name.

We have seen the domino effect of the people’s disgust with Kleptocracy among the former Soviet states. But the disillusionment expressed by many former communists has not so much been with ideology but with the corruption which discredited the utopian promises and their promisors.

It became apparent to the world in the last decade of the 20th Century that Kleptocracy had actually displaced Communism in a number of countries.

Beware!…it can displace Democracy just as stealthily.

The big challenge to democratic  governance today is how to protect itself  from Kleptofungus, perhaps now dormant, but still permeating a society which has become accustomed to it.  Often throughout history one Kleptocracy has been overthrown by disgusted citizens only to be replaced by another under another brand name…then by another and another for years.

Kleptofungus is invisible.  It grows anywhere there are human beings. In its early stages it is unnoticed.  At midgrowth it begins to get hold of every possible activity.  In its later stages it reproduces with geometric progression so that it quickly takes complete control before it can be stopped.

The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson said

The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is

before they  shall have gotten hold of us.”  

We are now seeing the late stage of the growth of Kleptofungus throughout many countries of the world today – the geometrically progressive stage.  It has already gotten hold of us, especially in the world’s major cities…and in quite a few countries.

Once in control Kleptocratic power tends to become more and more centralized in one person or group which holds the franchise on all forms of corruption.  Lower level concessionaires become the economic slaves of the rulers passing them ever larger amounts of graft which must be financed by squeezing tighter those below.  The  Kleptoconstrictors continually apply more and more pressure until the lowest levels rebel in desperation or are saved by an outside force.

We have much to learn from the real life illustrations of the astounding vitality of Kleptocratic menace which are reported daily in the media.  History is filled with case studies of kleptofungal growth and domination.  We need a scientist who can invent an effective Kleptofungicide!

Sadly, science never seems to solve human problems.  The solution to Kleptofungal growth lies within us.  We can prevent Kleptocracy.  We can control corruption in government.  But we can do this only by changing people…seeing that they accept their duty to be accountable…that they restore honor as a goal in human behavior, integrity as a prerequisite to respect and admiration  and doing our best to decontaminate the culture around us.

Integrity and honorability constitute the real Kleptofungicide

By recognizing the importance of integrity and honorability we cannot eradicate corruption from our planet, but we can control it, prevent much of it, discover most of it and take more effective and immediate measures to punish those responsible for it.

But if we are to win over corruption we must determine to whom we ourselves are accountable. If we are to defeat corruption we must first recognize that we are accountable to our Creator, our family, our nation, other persons and our own selves, then, and only then, we will have the right and duty to insist upon accountability by others.

To accountability we must add integrity, to integrity we must add honesty, to honesty we must add ethical conduct and to ethical conduct we must add credibility through truthfulness and transparency. Then we will merit honor…and we must not let honor fade away.

Integrity and honorability can overcome Kleptocracy’s  corrupt and dishonorable threat to Democracy

August 26, 2010

Fading Honor…..

Filed under: Corruption, credibility, Honor, Integrity, Wisdom — Tags: , , , , — jimwes @ 7:18 pm

Honor..

Honor is what others think about us. Integrity is what we ourselves think about our own character. Honor is a reflection of what we look like to others. Integrity is what we see when we look at ourselves.

Honor is earned by what we do when others see us and know what we have done. Integrity is defined by what we do where no one can see us or find out what we have done.

The importance of both is defined by our conscience.

Honor” is an endangered word…a devalued verbal currency. It is seldom used properly, often applied inappropriately, hardly ever deserved, frequently visibly violated, rarely properly applied, recurrently sought by the undeserving, uncommonly found in the prominent, regularly unrecognized in the commoner, inhabitually merited though quite oft used in government, regularly diminished in sports, scarcely visible in society, generally ignored when deserved and often conferred upon those who merit it least.

Yet we tell ourselves that we are proud of our honorableness as a person, as a family, as a country, as a culture, as an ethnic group, as a civilization, as a human being.  Are we?

Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.

– Proverbs 22:1

Do we deserve to be proud of our honor?  Who yet is honorable?  Is there any one noble left on the planet?

At one time it made a difference…presently it may not.

The word noble is already long gone from our vocabulary.  When was the last time you heard anyone described as noble or having done something noble?

The anonymity of the megacity has relegated honor to the garbage heap of history.  Personal invisibility within the mass of humanity has obviated the need to be honorable or even honest.  Who cares what others think?

In parallel honor is being bestowed as a feel good medication.  Students in some schools are now being given maximum grades whether they have learned anything or not and a few really up-to-date schools are now “honoring” scores of valedictorians at graduation ceremonies…just so no one will feel bad.

Thus we see that simultaneously with the diminishing importance of honor its meaning is being diluted into nothingness.

If there ever was on Planet Earth a culture of nobility and honorability, it has now been replaced by a culture of corruption…if ever a culture of integrity existed, it has been superseded by a culture of dishonor.

The cult of corruption has become the credo of civilization in Century 21…and honor, though not yet dead, like the proverbial old soldier of the ballad…is just fading away.

Ballad: Old Soldiers Never Die
—-
There is an old cookhouse, far far away
Where we get pork and beans, three times a day.
Beefsteak we never see, damn-all sugar for our tea
And we are gradually fading away.

Old soldiers never die,
Never die, never die,
Old soldiers never die
They just fade awa
y.

It is said that once upon a time on this relatively tiny sphere of whirling matter where we temporarily are imprisoned by Newton’s Law the inhabitants acted honorably, spoke honorably, dressed honorably, respected laws honorably, treated their parents honorably, raised their children honorably, defended their country honorably, served their government honorably, worshipped their God honorably  and lived their lives honorably.

A myth?  Ancient history? Obsolescent?

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.

Sophocles

It is best to live with honor for just a day than with dishonor for many decades

– Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian                    Spiritual Leader

A quick look at the English language tells us that honor was, at least in the past, considered very important but it has been greatly devalued like an overvalued currency in a depression.

For example, there are several words in the English language meaning meritorious of being honored, that is deserving to be honored or the quality of being worthy of honor or respect.

  • Honorificabilitudinitatibus
  • Honorificabilitudinity
  • Honorableness
  • Honorability
  • Honorable
  • Honoree
  • Hon.
  • The oldest, honorificabilitudinitatibus, the longest word in Shakespeare’s works, used also by Dante, is said to be  9th longest word in the English language as well as the longest word featuring alternating consonants and vowels. Honorificabilitudinity was apparently a later shortened version. Neither is commonly used today. Honorableness and honorability are seldom used. Honorable or Hon. are only occasionally used to address high officials.

    Simultaneously honorees are proliferating into a meaningless herd as everyone must be honored to preserve their self-respect. If everyone becomes an honored honoree, no one is really honored.

    These words have become obsolete, meaningless or are fading away.

    This leads us to the word honor and to the questions I have for you.

        • Is honor fading away too?
        • Will it become obsolete?
        • Do we, as individuals, deserve to be honored?
        • Do our parents and families deserve to be honored?
        • Does our country deserve to be honored?
        • Does it make any difference anymore?
        • If honor fades away, what will replace it?

    What is an Honorable Man?

    • An honorable man is one who deserves honor. He deserves honor because of his character.
    • A man whose children look up to him as an example of a great father deserves honor.
    • A man whose wife can respect and love him for his integrity, honesty, and faithfulness deserves honor.
    • A man whose family and friends respect him for his decency and goodness deserves honor.
    • A man who holds the intent to live the best life he can, deserves honor.
    • A man who dedicates his life to making the world a better place, deserves honor.
    • Honorable men are those whose lives inspire us, enrich our world, and make the planet better by being here.
            • – Jennifer  Jones

      A person is not given integrity.

      It results from

      the relentless pursuit

      of honesty at all times.”

      -author unknown

      Let’s talk now about the inverted relationship between integrity and corruption that converts honorability to dishonor.  Here are the character equations:

      Integrity + Honesty + Accountability + Ethics + Credibility = HONORABILITY

      Corruption + Fraud + Bribery + Irresponsibility + Inveracity = DISHONOR

      The traditional antonyms of integrity are corruption, disgrace, dishonesty, and dishonor.

      Those of honor are blemish, disgrace, dishonor, ill repute, and stigma.

      But times are changing.

      In today’s modern media shaped, celebrity adoring society it is becoming obvious that it is no longer always a disgrace, blemish or stigma to be corrupt, dishonest or dishonorable.  Notorious contempt for formerly high standards is now often worn as an ornament of pride, rather than a blemish of shame.  And speaking of shame, this is another word that has been outmoded.

      Over a century ago the great Cuban patriot Jose Marti, Cuba’s equivalent of Jose Rizal, commenting on the decline of shame said:

      Shame must be made fashionable

      Jose Marti, Cuban Patriot

      Instead it appears that shame has been repealed.  Those who should suffer shame are now big mouthed heroes who have defied tradition, law and honor and are always “innocent” whether or not proven guilty.

      We once had a very colorful governor in my home state of Georgia who visited all the public prisons and asked each inmate, “Are you guilty of what they have accused you of?”  Only two out of hundreds of prisoners said “Yes”.  He went back to his office and immediately pardoned both of them saying “We’ve got two honest men in jail.”

      Integrity and honor are no longer such shining and inspiring goals as they once were.  Corruption and dishonor likewise are no longer such evil vices as they were once considered.

      Acts and actions formerly considered despicable now are welcomed by the media and give the actor glory by achieving “15 minutes of fame” with little or no risk of disrepute.

      It is not only governments that have become more corrupt, it is whole societies.

      In the Orwellian “Newspeak” of 2010:

      Disgraceful acts are honorable

      Corruption is opportunity

      We have gradually and unknowingly entered the new age of cultural change…the Age of Aquarius has finally evolved into the Age of Kleptoquerius, perhaps we have actually entered the first Kleptocentury.  Today the pollution of the human character is a far worse danger than environmental contamination or global warming.

      Corruption has always been with us.  It has gone through cycles of growth and diminution over the centuries.  Now it is again on the upswing…but the swinging is higher and faster than ever.

      Since an intelligence common to us all makes things known to us and formulates them in our minds, honorable actions are ascribed by us to virtue, and dishonorable actions to vice; and only a madman would conclude that these judgments are matters of opinion, and not fixed by nature.

      – Marcus Tullius Cicero

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