Monday, May 31, 2010
Blockade: blockade ( ) n. The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.
That's not so complicated as to be incomprehensible, even to those nitwits. A blockade is essentially a physical barrier telling people they cannot pass - at least without interception and inspection for items declared to be contraband (weapons, munitions, military/medical/food supplies, etc.) by those conducting the blockade.
The Gaza Strip, which was the destination of the flotilla's cargo, has been under the control of Hamas, one of many Islamic terrorist organizations, since 2007. Israel has every right to protect itself from attack, and the blockade is intended to do so by restricting the types and quantities of cargo allowed to pass.
Here's the problem - as the Israeli Commandos rappelled from helicopters down to the deck of the ship, they were immediately attacked by activists wielding knives, huge metal clubs (which are visible on AlJazeera's own video on YouTube), and "live weapons" (whatever those are - maybe the activists were swinging babies at the soldiers). Everybody knows that you don't whip out a knife or a club to assault soldiers armed with genuine military weapons. Sadly, 9-10 activist's lives were forfeited in the ensuing melee.
The entire incident could have been avoided - including the loss of life - had the Palestinians and their activist co-conspirators not tried to break the blockade. Once again: Blockade: blockade ( ) n. The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce. If you do not respect a military blockade you should expect to forfeit lives. Personally, I think they were fortunate that more of their number weren't killed, and that the ships weren't all scuttled. Deep sixed. Sent to Davy Jones' Locker. SUNK!
You can't antagonize a pitbull and not expect to be bitten. As for me, I assign blame to the organizers of the "relief" flotilla... they got exactly what they wanted.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Many people actually begin some sentences with "I mean". I ask you... how can a person clarify or expound upon something they haven't yet said? Say what you mean initially and you can avoid abusing "I mean". This grammatical faux pas has been with us for decades!
Then there's the issue of misusing "you know?"... and we all know people who inject "you know?" into their speech patterns as an interrogatory. If you are speaking in a language that the person you are speaking with understands, and if you avoid the excessive use of jargon, cant or idiom, your chances of engaging in an effective communication are greatly enhanced. You will alleviate the need to finish your sentences with "you know?". This one has been around longer than I have.
Interestingly, the three preceding items are generally only found in verbal communications, and rarely - if ever - in written communications.
The current King of Hackney seems to be the phrase "At the end of the day...". Those six little words have been worked to death over the past several months. Exactly where is the end of the day to which those people (primarily broadcast media talk show hosts and guests) refer? At what point in time has it been reached? Is it when they get off work? Is "the end of the day" at sunset, when it is no longer "day"time, but technically nighttime? Is it when they retire to bed for the evening? Or is it the end of the temporal day at midnight? They are talking about the culmination of something, but there are many other ways to express the concept of an activity which has reached fruition. Here are a few that express exactly the same thought:
"When night falls..."
"At the stroke of midnight..."
"When the chickens come home to roost..."
"As the sun sinks slowly below the western horizon..."
At the same time there are other "tried and true" hackneyed phrases that can be substituted for "At the end of the day...", such as:
"When the fat lady sings... (or the PC version, "When the BBW sings...")
"When all is said and done..."
"When it's all over but the shouting..."
"When there's nothing more to be said..."
I mean, at the end of the day it's like... whatever! We have gotten quite sloppy in our use of the predominant language of the USA. Give us another ten years and we'll have developed a competitor for Esperanto. If you consider yourself to be an adult then speak like an adult, not like some airhead kid.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Just out of curiosity I went to the Committee Offices of the U.S. House of Representatives to find out how well some of these "bipartisan" committees are balanced. I did not "cherry pick" the committees - I chose the ones I thought would have the greatest impact on John Q. Public. The following are the results of that inquiry:
HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: D-38 R-25
HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: D-24 R-15
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR: D-29 R-18
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE: D-35 R-23
HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: D-41 R-29
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY: D-19 R-14
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY: D-24 R-16
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM: D-25 R-16
THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION : The Joint Committee consists of ten members of Congress: five from the Senate Committee on Finance (3 from the majority party and 2 from the minority) and five members from the House Committee on Ways and Means (3 from the majority party and 2 from the minority).This committee has a staff of 72 non-elected personnel for whom no political affiliation is noted. The vast majority of the 72 people are well credentialed specialists in economics, law, accounting, taxation and computers.
The committees are the first stop a bill makes in the process of becoming a law. Roughly 96% of all bills die in committee. Committee is not only the first stop though - for most bills it is also the last stop. Whose bills are most likely to get through committee - Dumocrats or Republicans?
(I have heard that Las Vegas bookies are giving 5-1 odds if you'll take Republicans +3.)
Our "system of checks and balances" seems to be seriously out of balance. The Legislative Branch is in bed with the Executive Branch, and Obama wants to liberalize the Judicial Branch by adding Elena Kagan and having the Supreme Court of the United States make it a 3-way. And yes, she does look like one.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Much ado has been made about Arizona's SB-1070. Liberal socialist-progressives (and illegal aliens, naturally) are decrying it as "Nazi-like", "racist", "profiling", etc. What has Arizona actually done? They have passed a state law allowing them to enforce federal law, inasmuch as the federal government has chosen not to do so. The State of Arizona has a responsibility to ALL it's citizens to protect them - not just in a physical sense but in a legal and economic sense as well. Arizona has implemented the provisions of Amendment X to the U.S. Constitution, commonly known as "States Rights" in order to protect their legal citizenry. What does the new Arizona law actually say? Basically it says, "If you haven't broken the law you have nothing to fear."
I have read SB-1070, and found that it made perfect sense to me, and it specifically denies law enforcement the ability to use racial profiling as the sole criteria to inquire as to one's citizenship. If you are interested, you can read the same document at:
If the feds won't do their job of protecting the nation somebody has to do it for them. Kudos to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer for having the courage to sign such a bill into state law. (There are currently 17 states considering similar legislation.)
Legalistic minutia and the much abused "What if.." game aside, let's talk about fairness:
1. Is it fair that American taxpayers are picking up the tab for high numbers of illegal aliens in this country who are working our social programs for all they can get?
2. Is it fair that the federal government is not enforcing it's own border protection charter?
3. Is it fair that after the Campeon-Ramos debacle of 2006 (shot a drug smuggler in the butt), and the ensuing political imprisonment of these two Border Patrol agents, that there was a "chilling effect" on the Border Patrol to do less than their jobs require?
4. Is it fair that the State of California, several geographically separated sanctuary cities, and the liberal socialist-progressives in this country have called for a boycott of Arizona businesses in an attempt to coerce Arizona into doing less to protect it's citizens?
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Granted, Miss Fakih is drop dead gorgeous, but beauty is not supposed to be the only consideration. Most recently the pageant producers apparently introduced... personal beliefs and morality as areas of competition. In 2009 Miss California, Carrie Prejean, was confronted by a gay judge who posed the quicksand question (and whose name is long since forgotten), "Do you believe that every U.S. state should legalize same-sex marriage?" Her answer, "Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And, you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that, I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman." Even though she phrased it delicately, her answer cost her the crown.She expressed her belief, which was exactly what was asked for by judge Fruitloop. She was immediately excoriated by the butt-bandit for being a homophobe. Eventually she was reinstated as Miss USA by "The Donald" himself, only to be dethroned by him about a month later for "breach of contract"over some professional semi-nude-back-to-the-camera-showing-nothing modeling she had done.
Miss Fakih, in a 2007 "stripper pole contest" earned prizes for her winning performance, including "jewelry, gift cards, adult toys and a stripper pole for home use." Not that I have anything against stripper poles, but I see an apparent inconsistency of the application of rules here. There were no reports that she refused or returned any of the prizes, so the assumption must be that she put them all to good use. If poor taste or bad judgment disqualified Carrie Prejean from being Miss USA, why wasn't Rima Fakih DQ'd for the same reason? Could it be that she was the politically correct choice at this point in time? And, if she's a Muslim, where was her burkah during the competition? Or, did she get a special dispensation from the Grand Ayatollah to be clothed in scanty western apparel for this event? Will she be killed by her family in order to regain their "honor", or stoned to death by an angry Muslim mob for dressing and performing like a western whore? Can her apparently successful acculturation be in harmony with her Muslim faith?
As for me, I share Marcellus' belief that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.", as there are several things surrounding Rima Fakih that do not compute. If she is indeed a Muslim then she has violated at least one of the basic tenets of her faith. If she does not practice the Muslim faith then she should not be identified as a "Muslim" - the old adage "In for a penny, in for a pound" applies equally to religious "convictions". There's another saying too - "Fair is fair."
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Let me take that line of thought a couple of steps further. Inasmuch as there is so much stupidity in our laws, and lawyers are running amok within the system, let's put some common sense into the judiciary! Why should the SCOTUS be composed of people with law degrees?
Here's my design for the makeup of the new, improved Supreme Court of The United States of America:
1. The Supreme Court will be composed of nine American citizens who have no political affiliation.
2. All nominees must have an above average IQ as verified by the administration of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-III).
3. All nominees must be capable of logical processing of information made available to them.
4. The membership of the Supreme Court will be:
a. One engineer or architect (good for linear thinking).
b. One archaeologist (puzzle solver).
c. One medical doctor.
d. One successful small business owner.
e. One law school graduate.
e. Four working-class/technical people all of differing backgrounds (mechanic, baker, law enforcement, teacher, plumber, driver, postal employee, homemaker, communications worker, roofer, gardener, computer programmer, etc) without duplication of skill sets.
f. Membership shall be one black, one Hispanic, one Native American, one Asian, one ethnic Jew, one naturalized citizen, one white male, and two females of different racial backgrounds.
5. Abstentions from voting are not permitted. You are a Supreme Court Justice - make a decision and DO THE JOB. In cases involving a conflict of interest a justice may recuse him/her self, but to avoid a deadlocked decision, one other justice must be excused from hearing that case before the court. The other justice excused will be selected by secret ballot among the justices.
6. Supreme Court appointments will be for 10 years only, with a possibility of reappointment at the end of term.
A Supreme Court composed of intelligent, aware, and rational people hearing the facts and rendering logical decisions may return balance and equity to the legal system, insuring that punishment is meted out when justified, and none when not justified.
I guess Obama rationalizes it this way - "I didn't need any real-life experience to become Emperor... ummmm, I mean President... why should the SCOTUS nominee?" Yeah... we can see how well that's working out.
Caterpillar, the world's largest construction machinery manufacturer by sales, said it's particularly opposed to provisions in the bill that would expand Medicare taxes and mandate insurance coverage. The legislation would require nearly all companies to provide health insurance for their employees or face large fines.
The Peoria-based company said these provisions would increase its insurance costs by at least 20 percent, or more than $100 million, just in the first year of the health-care overhaul program.
"We can ill-afford cost increases that place us at a disadvantage versus our global competitors," said the letter signed by Gregory Folley, vice president and chief human resources officer of Caterpillar. "We are disappointed that efforts at reform have not addressed the cost concerns we've raised throughout the year."
Their solution is quite straightforward and easy to comprehend - they will not participate in the government's national health care plan... they will simply pay the fine instead.
GOOD JOB WASHINGTON!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Once again - for those of you who may have missed it originally - the "TEA" in TEA Party stands for Taxed Enough Already. It is not an acronym for Terror, Enmity and Anarchy. The TEA Party participants, overall, are not "anti-government". What they are against is bloated, gargantuan and ever-expanding, intrusive, tax-and-spend-like-there's-no-tomorrow socialist-"progressive" government!
The TEA Party participants, by and large, are Constitutional Traditionalist Conservatives. They believe in a government that serves the people according to the Constitution as it was written and intended. This belief particularly applies to the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which are also known as the "Bill of Rights".
The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the citizens from the inherent greed and lust for power of those elected to represent them in the Federal Government. Most state constitutions are closely modeled after - if not carbon copies of - the Constitution of the United States of America. In 1861, seven states, led by South Carolina, seceded (departed) from the United States because the southern states felt the federal government was becoming too strong and dictatorial in telling them how they should live. They then formed the "Confederate States of America". Union soldiers occupying Fort Sumpter at Charleston, SC refused to leave the fort when ordered to do so by the Confederacy, which resulted in the opening shots of the "Civil War". To date, that is the only rift resulting in the separation of the union of states.
The Socialist-Progressives in this country have, in effect, declared war upon the relatively silent, conservative-traditionalist majority. That war is being coordinated by our Congress and higher government officials, financed by billionaire socialist George Soros and other like-minded left wingers, and reported by the liberal media. Thus far it is a war of words... or more specifically, a war of misinformation, commonly known as lies.
The current president of the United States, finds the TEA party movement to be "humorous", rather than an expression of dissatisfaction with the way our government is being run. Those in his left-wing socialist administration have labeled those in the TEA Party as "wing-nuts" and "terrorists". The TEA Party movement has been described in the media as a "violent anti-government" movement, yet there have been no acts of violence from the TEA Party. There have, however, been acts of violence and intimidation conducted against them by the Obama-endorsed SEIU and other radical elements of the left-wing socialist progressive movement.
The intent of those who have aligned themselves against the TEA Party movement, is to undermine (if not eliminate) that irritating Constitution of the United States of America. That seems to be the document that prohibits them from converting our country from a Democratic Republic into a Marxist-socialist-progressive state. A pseudo-Utopian state where the rewards of the labors of all are shared with those who labor not. They will have reduced the status of a world-class technological, financial, economic, military and social super power to that of some third world banana-Republic. Once we are reduced to that condition we (the working class) will be punished for having the audacity to apply ourselves and become successful in our chosen field of endeavor. The fruits of our labors will be collected by way of taxation - direct and hidden - and redistributed to those who did not apply themselves. The politicians will not suffer, nor will the leaders of big business or the union officials. They will be rewarded for their unwavering support in the destruction of our once-great nation.
Margaret Thatcher said, "The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people's money." She was correct. Who will willingly continue to labor for the support of those who do not? When the majority of the populations quits working will the socialist-progressives create forced-labor camps, as suggested by U.S. Army Regulation 210-35 "Civilian Inmate Labor Program? The regulation specifies "the Army's primary purpose for allowing establishment of prison camps on Army installations is to use the resident nonviolent civilian inmate labor pool to work on the leased portions of the installation." (Camps of this type were quite popular with the German Nazi party during World War II. There were the Soviet gulags and Siberian labor camps for political dissenters into the mid-to-late-20th century, and camps of this type are still popular today in China and North Korea.)
But let's not worry about any of those things. Keep your eyes open for those violent, terrorist-anarchists of the TEA Party movement! They may complain that their Constitution has been usurped by the Luciferian left.
At last count, thirty-three states had re-asserted their sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, but none of the Constitutional amendments will mean anything once the Constitution has been undermined, usurped, or otherwise destroyed and re-written in the leftist, socialist-progressive, Marxist manner our current government desires. Perhaps by then thirty-three states will have seceded from the "union"...
The Greek government, with its high taxes and profligate spending to support large bureaucracies and social programs, is bankrupt. Its bonds have been downgraded to junk status."
WHAT IF the United States borrowed money from either the International Monetary Fund or China in order to prop up the Greek economy? Then you could simply change the words "Greek Government" in the preceding paragraph to "U.S. Government", and the message would still be accurate.
Is Washington unaware that we are in dire financial straits ourselves? If this idiotic government were in charge of maintaining the oceans, they would be bone dry in 10 years.
WHAT IF there were a "global currency", as recommended at a G-20 meeting a bit over a year ago? The Euro surprised me by lasting more than 18 months. Why? Because the result was the successful European economies were keeping the less successful afloat, by reducing the value of all currencies to somewhere in the middle! A global currency would have the same impact... everyone's currency would be worth the same, but it would be worth less. Can somebody explain to me how this is different than "redistribution of wealth"? It's exactly the same thing, just on a grand scale!
WHAT IF instead of taking from rich individuals, the global currency would have the practical effect of taking from the more prosperous nations and redistributing the currency to the less prosperous nations? How does national prosperity become anyone's responsibility other than the government of the nation in question? How do our taxes become another country's prosperity? (Global currency is closer to reality than you may know - Russia introduced their proposed version of it at a G-20 meeting a bit over a year ago.)
WHAT IF our Congress followed the original intent of the Constitution, rather than trying to find ways to defeat it?
WHAT IF our elected representatives in Washington D.C. actually represented the people instead of big business, lobbyists, and their own personal interests?
WHAT IF all the members of the House and Senate, who are up for reelection in November, are replaced with people who do not believe that the road to national prosperity is paved with more bureaucracy, bigger government, and increased borrowing, spending and taxing?
WHAT IF We the People - the employers of those in the House and Senate - decided to fire the lot of them? Would their replacements be intelligent enough to understand the message we were sending to Washington? Just in case, here it is in plain English:
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
2. Create an environment that is inhospitable to those who enter our country illegally.
a. Suspend all Constitutional protections for those who are not legal citizens.
b. No public services of any kind may be provided to anyone who is not a properly documented citizen. Hospitals and Emergency Medical personnel may only provide life saving services.
3. Any person caught employing, housing, or harboring an undocumented resident will be fined at the rate of $25,000 per individual per occurrence. (Ten illegals = $250,000 in fines)
4. All levels of government - city, county, state and federal - will enforce state and federal immigration laws.
5. Public educational services shall be prohibited to anyone unable to prove U.S. citizenship.
6. All official publications shall be printed only in English. This would not apply to textbooks designed to provide foreign language instruction. If you are going to live here, LEARN THE LANGUAGE!
7. There will be no recognition of babies born to illegal parents as "natural-born U.S. citizens". If your parents were here illegally, then you are illegal as well. This follows the logic of the legal doctrine popularly known as "fruit of the poisonous tree" (the Exclusionary Rule). ANCHORS AWEIGH!
Monday, May 3, 2010
"The act or an instance of open revolt against civil authority or a constituted government.", and as synonymous with "rebellion", which is defined thus:
"rebellion: a rebellion against the government or rulers of a country, often involving armed conflict."
Insurrection has been described as not only necessary, but as a virtual obligation - "When the government violates the people's rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensible of duties." -- Marquis de Lafayette
(For those of you who may not remember the finer details of our early-American history, the Marquis de Lafayette was a French noble who served in the Continental Army, as a Major General, during the American Revolution, 1777-1779 .)
"The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given more alarm than I think it should have done. Calculate that one rebellion in thirteen states in the course of eleven years, is but one for each state in a century and a half. No country should be so long without one. Nor will any degree of power in the hands of government prevent insurrections." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787.
How did we reach a point in these United States, 145 years after the "Civil War", that the word insurrection would be mentioned in any sentence relating to our internal affairs? The Civil War as also known as the War Between The States, which is more accurate, inasmuch as there is no record of any of the combatants requesting permission from an opponent to shoot at him, or apologizing after the fact for his termination. The war wasn't the least bit "civil".
Perhaps the Marquis de Lafayette and Jefferson were correct. The will of a free people can only be ignored by their elected government for so long, before there are grumblings of anger and resentment against that government. But, as they say, "talk is cheap" (unless it's a 60 second Super Bowl commercial on TV). Actually, according to our Constitution, talk costs nothing as it falls under the First Amendment's "freedom of speech". Of course we know that it means we are free to say that which is on our mind, but nobody has any obligation to provide us with a free venue for presenting those thoughts. But, I digress...
Insurrection could be very loosely interpreted as any expressed disagreement with the government or other ruling body. However, the word "insurrection" has historically been used to describe an armed and violent expression of such disagreement. Are we on the verge of such an expression? I still slightly doubt that we are. Are the dangerous TEA Party participants ready to usurp authority of their government? The question itself is ludicrous. The only acts of violence involving TEA Parties have been brought to the party by outside influences - such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) egging vehicles at the recent Searchlight, NV TEA Party. SEIU members have also been filmed invading the "personal space" (the space between colleagues during a normal conversation, is usually about 20 to 36 inches. If the person is not well known to us,we will stand from 2 to 4 feet away during a conversation.) of others and "getting in their face" in an attempt to provoke a physical reaction. So far these tactics have been unsuccessful, but... sooner or later the liberal, government-sponsored union thugs will get just what they want from somebody. And when they do, it will be plastered all over the media for days! Who are the people threatening violence and name-calling in Arizona over their new immigration law? Is it the conservative right (who are supporting their Governor's efforts to enhance their safety) or the liberal socialist left (who believe that anybody should be allowed into our country at any time without any documentation)? And which side has the President's support? Those who would like to see the federal government live up to it's Constitutional obligation to secure our borders, or those would would like "open borders" - which is the equivalent of NO BORDERS at all?
Here's the bottom line - governments provoke an insurrection by thumbing their nose at the expressed will of the people, and/or instigating confrontations between government agents (official registered agents, like law enforcement - or unofficial government sponsored thugs, like the SEIU) and normally non-confrontational groups (like the TEA Party participants).
The worst abuse of government power thus far within our borders was undoubtedly the use of the United States Army against the "Bonus Army". In 1924, a grateful Congress voted to give a bonus to World War I veterans - $1.25 for each day served overseas, $1.00 for each day served in the States. The catch was that payment would not be made until 1945 (the obvious hope being that many of those veterans would die before they could receive that which they had been promised). However, by 1932 the nation had slipped into the dark days of the Depression and the unemployed veterans wanted their money immediately.
The Bonus Army was composed of 10,000-15,000 American veterans of World War 1, most of whom were conscripted (drafted) into service. Their cause during the summer of 1932 was to pressure the government into living up to its promise of "adjusted compensation" for their lost earnings during their service. These men did nothing violent - they were simply an embarrassment to the government. Insurrection at a more controlled level. But violence was brought upon them by the Hoover administration (see accompanying video).
Major George S. Patton Jr. The lesson to be learned from this encounter is that our government is not above using our military to control civilian dissent.
An insurrection is provoked in the same manner as a barroom brawl. Somebody pushes somebody else, either physically or emotionally, until the "pushee" responds in some manner. The response could be verbal: "You #$@!&**#!", but it provides the pusher with enough justification to retaliate and not immediately be seen as the jerk he is by onlookers. A response of physical force ameliorates the pushers culpability even further: "He swung first, so he deserved to be crippled when I hit him with that bar stool!"
In an ideological insurrection it becomes more difficult to determine which party is the provocateur. To my way of thinking though, the responsibility should always lay upon the shoulders of the provocateur. The provocateur is the one doing the "baiting"... similar in most respects to what the law now refers to as "entrapment" by law enforcement personnel. If you don't call a black man by the feared and awesome "N" word, he probably won't beat the hell out of you with the first handy object he finds. And if you do use the feared and awesome "N" word, when he does beat the hell out of you, he - and most witnesses to the event - will feel he was completely justified in doing so. (Whatever happened to the legal concept of "sticks and stones"?)
So, if you are ever faced with legitimate opposition, and you feel motivated to squelch that opposition:
First - make sure you label the aggrieved party(ies) as "right-wing nuts", "loonies", "Nazis" and/or "racists". That makes you the "good guy"... and you get to wear the white hat. Your opponents immediately get to wear the fools cap and the idiot mittens.
Second - insure that your mirrors are all polished to a high luster and that your smoke machines are fully loaded.
Justify, justify, justify - No matter how idiotic your position might be, justify it! There are copious numbers of dullards in the world who will believe you if you are charismatic! (Almost three decades ago an unusual series of events led to the deaths of more than 900 people, led by the Rev. Jim Jones of "Jonestown" infamy, in the middle of a South American jungle. After relocating to California in 1965, the church continued to grow in membership and began advocating their left-wing political ideals more actively. In November 1978, California Congressman Leo Ryan arrived in Guyana to survey Jonestown and interview its inhabitants. After reportedly having his life threatened by a Temple member during the first day of his visit, Ryan decided to cut his trip short and return to the U.S. with some Jonestown residents who wished to leave. As they boarded their plane, a group of Jones's guards opened fire on them, killing Ryan and four others. Jones told his followers that Ryan's murder would make it impossible for their commune to continue functioning. Rather than return to the United States, the People's Temple would preserve their church by making the ultimate sacrifice: their own lives. Jones's 912 followers were given a deadly concoction of a purple drink mixed with cyanide, sedatives, and tranquilizers. Jones apparently shot himself in the head.)
As you can see, even a lunatic can generate charisma. Jim Jones, Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder of the KKK), George Lincoln Rockwell (founder of the American Nazi Party).. the list goes on and on. Charismatic leadership is nothing more than "a rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm." They do not have to be honorable, well-intentioned, or even particularly intelligent people to be charismatic. They can however, focus the wills of like-minded individuals on the accomplishment of a single goal... for example national health care, or government control over critical industries such as manufacturing and finance... or the elimination of Jews from the face of the Earth.