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Open Thread - 11/18/2012

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Open Thread, Video )

- 2008 days ago -
Personal news, a Jig Zone puzzle, 3 short takes, and a homemade cartoon (shown).

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Jim P (3257)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 10:22 am
"I can’t help remembering how Potomac Pinocchio and Dead-eye Dick used to have to hide from the locals, when traveling abroad."

They still have to hide even traveling in US... lol...

Kudos for Democratic U.S. Representative Ron Barber for winning in Arizona... We need more democrats

Still remember Jonestown as unimaginable...

Ty, Tom.

JL A (281)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 11:46 am
As a Californian, the Jonestown anniversary reminder led me to reconnect with grief: a story with political connections.
The Jonestown Massacre also remains the only time in history in which a U.S. congressman was killed in the line of duty.
The Jonestown Massacre

By Jennifer Rosenberg, Guide

Historical Importance of the Jonestown Massacre: The Jonestown Massacre, which had a death toll of 918 people, was the most deadly single non-natural disaster in U.S. history until September 11, 2001. The Jonestown Massacre also remains the only time in history in which a U.S. congressman was killed in the line of duty.

Date: November 18, 1978

Overview of the Jonestown Massacre:

The Peoples Temple

Founded in 1956 by Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple was a racially integrated church that focused on helping people in need. Jones originally established the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana, but then moved it to Redwood Valley, California in 1966.

Jones had a vision of a communist community, one in which everyone lived together in harmony and worked for the common good. He was able to establish this in a small way while in California but he dreamed of establishing a compound outside of the United States.

This compound would be fully under his control, allow Peoples Temple members to help others in the area, and be far away from any influence of the United States government.

Jonestown: The Settlement in Guyana

Jones found a remote location in the South American country of Guyana that fit his needs. In 1973, he leased some land the Guyanese government and had workers begin clearing it of jungle.

Since all building supplies needed to be shipped in to the Jonestown Agricultural Settlement, construction of the site was slow. In early 1977, there were only about 50 people living in the compound and Jones was still in the U.S.

However, that all changed when Jones received word that an exposé was about to be printed about him. The exposé article included interviews with ex-members. The night before the article was to be printed, Jim Jones and several hundred Peoples Temple members flew to Guyana and moved into the Jonestown compound.

Things Go Wrong in Jonestown

Jonestown was meant to be a utopia. However, when members arrived at Jonestown, things were not as they expected. Since there weren't enough cabins built to house people, each cabin was filled with bunk beds and overcrowded. The cabins were also segregated by gender, so married couples were forced to live apart.

The heat and humidity in Jonestown was stifling and caused a number of members to get sick. Members were also required to work long work days in the heat, often up to 11 hours a day.

Throughout the compound, members could hear Jones's voice broadcast through a loudspeaker. Unfortunately, Jones often would talk endlessly on the loudspeaker, even through the night. Exhausted from a long day's work, members did their best to sleep through it.

Although some members did love living in Jonestown, others wanted out. Since the compound was surrounded by miles and miles of jungle and encircled by armed guards, members needed Jones's permission to leave. And Jones didn't want anyone to leave.

Congressman Ryan Visits Jonestown

U.S. Representative Leo Ryan from San Mateo, California heard reports of bad things happening in Jonestown and thus decided to go to Jonestown and find out for himself what was going on. He took along his adviser, an NBC film crew, and a group of concerned relatives of Peoples Temple members.

At first, everything looked fine to Ryan and his group. However, that evening, during a big dinner and dance in the pavilion, someone secretly passed a note with the names of a few people who wanted to leave to one of the men from NBC. It then became clear that some people were being held against their will in Jonestown.

The following day, November 18, 1978, Ryan announced that he was willing to take anyone who wished to leave back to the United States. Worried about Jones's reaction, only a few people accepted Ryan's offer.

The Attack at the Airport

When it was time to leave, the Peoples Temple members who had stated they wanted out of Jonestown scrambled on board a truck with Ryan's entourage. Before the truck got far, Ryan, who had decided to stay behind to ensure that there was no one else who wanted to leave, was attacked by a Peoples Temple member.

The assailant failed to cut Ryan's throat, but the incident made it obvious that Ryan and the others were in danger. Ryan then joined the truck and left the compound.

The truck made it safely to the airport, but the planes weren't ready to leave when the group arrived. As they waited, a tractor and trailer pulled up near them. From the trailer, Peoples Temple members popped up and started shooting at Ryan's group.

On the tarmac, five people were killed, including Congressman Ryan. Many others were severely wounded.

Mass Suicide at Jonestown: Drinking Poisoned Punch

Back in Jonestown, Jones ordered everyone to assemble at the pavilion. Once everyone was assembled, Jones spoke to his congregation. He was in a panic and seemed agitated. He was upset that some of his members had left. He acted like things had to happen in a hurry.

He told the congregation that there was to be an attack on Ryan's group. He also told them that because of the attack, Jonestown wasn't safe. Jones was sure that the U.S. government would react strongly to the attack on Ryan's group. "[W]hen they start parachuting out of the air, they'll shoot some of our innocent babies," Jones told them.

Jones told his congregation that the only way out was to commit the "revolutionary act" of suicide. One woman spoke up against the idea, but after Jones offered reasons why there was no hope in other options, the crowd spoke out against her.

When it was announced that Ryan was dead, Jones became more urgent and more heated. Jones urged the congregation to commit suicide by saying, "If these people land out here, they'll torture some of our children here. They'll torture our people, they'll torture our seniors. We cannot have this."

Jones told everyone to hurry. Large kettles filled with grape flavored Flavor-Aid (not Kool-Aid), cyanide, and Valium were placed in the open-sided pavilion.

Babies and children were brought up first. Syringes were used to pour the poisoned juice into their mouths. Mothers then drank some of the poisoned punch.

Next went other members. Some members were already dead before others got their drinks. If anyone wasn't cooperative, there were guards with guns and crossbows to encourage them. It took approximately five minutes for each person to die.

On that day, November 18, 1978, 912 people died from drinking the poison, 276 of whom were children. Jones died from a single gunshot wound to the head, but it is unclear whether or not he did this himself.

Only a handful or so people survived, either by escaping into the jungle or hiding somewhere in the compound. In total 918 people died, either at the airport or at the Jonestown compound.

John B (185)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 2:25 pm
Thanks Tom for the post.
Move on: Jon can tell it like it is with such great humor. Representative Ron Barber will be a very asset in the House. Congrats to him.
Potomac Pinocchio and Dead-eye Dick still would dare to travel there.
I Remember Jonestown and thanks J.L. for the for providing the recap.
Read and noted.

Yvonne White (229)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 2:50 pm
I remember the insane Jonestown cult suicide - I'm not surprised that he used grape flavored Flavor-Aid (not Kool-Aid), it's cheaper..but that is where the saying "don't drink the Kool-Aid" came from anyway. They made a TV movie about the nut-puppy & the compound in the 80's - The Guyana Tragedy : The Story Of Jim Jones- Starring Powers Boothe, Randy Quaid, Veronica Cartwright, James Earl Jones And Ned Beatty.

Robert Tomlinson (62)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 5:12 pm
Tom, congrats on the Broncos win today. Not bad with a rookie QB. HA!HA!HA!

. (7)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 7:52 pm
Thanks for the info. about watching Comedy Network if in Canada to catch the Daily show. I watched it but couldn't get the Papa Johns & Watching Fox News, sorry to have missed it. With -25 at night I'm ready to go back to Calif.!! I remember the Jonestown cult suicide very well, who could forget?

JL A (281)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 9:47 pm
You are welcome John. There are way too few members of today's House I can imagine taking their oaths of office as seriously as Rep. Ryan did and who would take that kind of personal risk...adds an extra layer of grief for what has happened in this country.

Edith B (146)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 9:52 pm
I can't believe it has been that long since that horrible event. It is sad that so many people died for such a dumb reason.

Lynn S (235)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 10:54 pm
Puzzle — 4:15 I need a Bromoseltzer after that Bromeliad!

MoveOn — Unfortunately, couldn't find a "New Rules" but I am sure it was funny.

Chicago Tribune — I'll bet Battle Ax Brewer is perfectly livid at having a Democrat represent her state again in Washington. Brewer is like the rest of the Republican/Teabaggers — irrelevant and close to extinction. Good for Ron Barber!

USA Today — Ever notice how the Republican/Teabaggers have a lot of people with the first name of "The"? — The Donald, The Dick, The Crawford Caligula aka The Potomac Pinocchio. As I understand it, The Dick would not even travel to Toronto because he felt it wasn't safe any more — too many Canadians called for his arrest when he was here on his book tour earlier.

Mr Obama will also visit Myanmar at the request of Aung San Suu Kyi, the previously jailed opposition leader. I heard a news bit this afternoon as I was driving where Mr Obama, in response to "… some international human rights group [which] object[ed] to the Myanmar visit, saying Obama is rewarding the country's government for a job they regard as incomplete."

"… Obama denied he was going there to offer his "endorsement" or that his trip was premature. …"

"On the other hand, if we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is we'd be waiting an awful long time," he said [Mr Obama] (From MSNBC

I must admit that, after 15 months of listening to the Republican/Teabagger BS and watching their anything but democratic shenanigans of voter and election fraud, disenfranchisement ad nauseam, I had a chuckle at the expense of the US over Mr Obama's words "achieved a perfect democracy". Like all countries that say they are democracies, we all have a ways to go to be a perfect democracy.

Cartoon — I remember all the press well and then read some more from Wikipedia. Such a sad, sad situation — 918 men, women and children murdered or who committed suicide. If I recall correctly, there were several other cults over the following years that committed suicide, one of which was located in Québec, Canada and France. What is it that attracts people to such cults? I can only think that some form of mental illness was at play to have so many brainwashed.


TomCat S (129)
Monday November 19, 2012, 8:02 am
Thanks to all but John. Kudos to JL.

P A (117)
Monday November 19, 2012, 9:12 am
Thanks for the precis about Jonestown, JLA - tried to give you a star, but couldn't yet. Awful, awful situation. I remembered Congressman Ryan - a heroically brave man, as were those with him - may God bless them.

David C (131)
Monday November 19, 2012, 1:17 pm
good to see your Broncos doing well, even if Peyton is a little too conservative for me......just one more reason to not mix politics and football...

Dianna M (16)
Monday November 19, 2012, 3:38 pm
Fox News is right--the iceberg IS getting bigger!

--In their heads . . .

Yes, I watch Jon Stewart every chance I get.

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday November 19, 2012, 4:20 pm
Noted. Ah, yes, I read Rolling Stone's very lengthy expose' about Jonestown so many years ago, and then saw the TV movie. It was terribly sad. On another note, we saw the votes see-saw for Barber as the Early & Provisional votes were counted after the election here in So. AZ. It would've been very depressing if McSally had won.

Susanne R (234)
Monday November 19, 2012, 8:32 pm
Fox News --the only news network that never let's the truth get in the way of its reporting! After seeing the clips from Fox News that were featured in the Jon Stewart video, I felt as though I'd seen the bottom of a particularly foul barrel. You have to feel sorry for the people who keep going back for another look at what's at the bottom of it because, unfortunately, they seem to have developed tunnel vision.

Very happy to hear the Democrats retained Gabby Gifford's seat! The Arizona state government can't afford another Republican. "Brewerstan" is dysfunctional enough already!

It's hard to believe that 34 years have passed since the Jonestown Massacre! A very sad day in history...
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