Hands off! Even from the grave,
journalistic pitbull Jack Anderson still ready to rumble
By Ted Pease
April 20, 2006 | For more than half a century, Jack
Anderson reveled in the rough-and-tumble that is high-stakes
journalism and politics of Washington, DC. Even now,
four months after his death at 83 in December, the journalistic
icon who covered and harried a covey of presidents and
scores more political poseurs is still seen as a threat
to the powerful.
In the past week, word has come that the FBI wants
to cull some 180 boxes of the Pulitzer Prize-winner
columnist's papers for possible breaches of national
security and classified information. Nothing could be
better designed to bring Anderson back to life than
the thought of federal agents pawing through his papers.
Anderson, a Utah native whose syndicated "Washington
Merry-Go Round" column began in 1969 and ran in some
400 U.S. newspapers, died of complications of Parkinson's
disease in December. His papers are archived at Brigham
Young University, though they have not yet been opened
to the scrutiny of historians and the public.
That, apparently, is what the FBI wants to head off.
FBI spokesman Bill Carter has been quoted as saying
that there may be secret government documents among
Anderson's papers. That's illegal, he says--especially
in these latter days when openness in government and
journalistic freedom are under attack.
Anderson's son, Kevin, a Salt Lake City attorney,
says his father "would not want FBI agents crawling
through his papers unrestricted." The family has said
it will not cooperate with federal agents on a fishing
expedition to confiscate Anderson's documents--many
decades old--that the government still may consider
More power to the Anderson family. Jack would have
been proud. The prospect of FBI agents pawing through
his papers would have sent Jack Anderson up the wall.
Since word came that Anderson's papers are under siege
in Provo, Utah, various journalists and First Amendment
experts have noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has already
long-since ruled in the Pentagon papers case on the
whole question of who "owns" government "secrets" in
a democracy. As Anderson himself surely would say, robustly,
his records over five decades of Washington journalism
and American politics are the property of the American
people. What, Anderson would wonder, are they trying
Jack Anderson, a devout Mormon who spent his career
asking uncomfortable questions of the powerful in the
defense of the powerless, would (and has) answered this
question for himself and for his view of American freedom.
As his son so mildly puts it, Jack Anderson would see
this posthumous effort to shut him up after a lifetime's
quest for truth and openness in government as emblematic
of government contempt for a well-informed citizenry.
Anderson was a good friend of journalism, of freedom,
and of Utah State University. As a member of the national
advisory board of USU's Department of Journalism and
Communication, he often visited the Logan campus, advised
the faculty and inspired yet more generations of student
journalists. In informal sessions with students in classrooms,
Anderson repeatedly argued for freedom and openness
with all his old fire.
The JCOM Department designated Oct. 18, 2002, as "Jack
Anderson Day" in honor of his 80th birthday, and awarded
him its Distinguished Service Award: "For more than
a half-century, Jack Anderson has inspired journalists
and intimidated politicians with something to hide,"
the announcement read. "Jack is fearless, committed
and tireless in pursuit of the truth and in defense
of American liberties."
In 1999, Anderson presented a Media & Society Lecture
to a packed ballroom crowd in the USU Taggart Student
Center. The text of his speech, as instructive today
as it was then, follows.
Introduction by Ted Pease
Good afternoon. My name is Ted Pease. I'm the head
of the Communication Department here at Utah State University,
andI'm pleased to welcome you to the third event in
this year's Media and Society Lecture Series. It is
a particular, personal and professional pleasure to
introduce today's guest. A lot of people say that so-and-so
is a legend, and Jack Anderson will deny this, but he
is certainly a legend in journalistic circles, both
good and bad, among both journalists and especially
the political people he has covered over 50 years in
Jack is a member of our advisory board in the Communication
Department. A good friend of Utah State University.
The founder of the School of Future, which resides in
our College of Education. We are real pleased to have
him here today.
A couple of words before I turn it over to him, because
he won't tell you himself. Jack is a Pulitzer Prize
winner. He has written a column in Washington, D.C.
that make the strong weak, and the mighty quake.
The Washington Merry-Go-Round for the last 50 years,
has been at the top of Washington journalism. He perhaps
invented investigative journalism long before either
Woodward or Bernstein were even a glint, perhaps, in
their parents' eyes.
He has a new book out. His autobiography. That's not
why he is here today, but it's convenient. His autobiography,
Peace, War and Politics: An Eyewitness Account, will
be released next month. I will read a little bit from
"The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist reveals the
inside story behind events that shaped America. For
more than 50 years, Jack Anderson has been seen as a
crusader against corruption. His columns exposing fraud,
waste and abuse have shocked the world, and he has become
one of the most respected reporters of all times. In
Peace, War and Politics, Anderson gives us a through-the-keyhole
look at the personal side of many of our country's most
controversial figures. Anderson relates countless anecdotes.
Some are colorful, some pointed, some funny, some shocking
. . . Anderson recounts how he uncovered the truth about
the Kennedy assassination, the search for Nazis in South
America, broke the Savings and Loan scandal, discovered
the Iran arms for hostages scandal, uncovered the mystery
of Howard Hughes' death, and more."
We asked him here today to give us the same kind of
glimpse behind the headlines and through the keyhole,
if you will, looking at both the press and politics
in Washington, D.C. It's not a pretty picture, but it
is the picture we have, and we have a very apt and expert
tour guide on this sordid little tour. Please join me
in welcoming my very good friend, Jack Anderson.
Full text of commentary by
I listened to the introduction with grateful embarrassment.
It is nice to speak in front of a microphone you can
see. Thank you. . . . Any shaking that you may detect
up here has nothing to do with the audience. You do
not terrify me particularly. The doctors tell me it's
Parkinson's. I suspect that 52 years in Washington caused
I think it would be appropriate for me to open this
lecture by quoting a former president of the United
States. We may as well start high, except the president
that I'm going to quote is, well, earthy, I should warn
you. Let me introduce him to you. Let me introduce him
to you with an anecdote that took place when he was
vice president. He was presiding over the Senate and
he turned the gavel over to a subordinate, to a junior
senator, strolled out into the corridor, where I encountered
him. I had just a routine question: I wanted to know
if the Senate was ready to adjourn for the day. You
never got routine answers from Lyndon Johnson. "Well,"
he said, "Homer Capehart got a bowel pain, and he thinks
it's an idea. When he stands, the pain should leave
him, so we ought to be out of here soon." Well, that
is the way he spoke.
There was an occasion. I don't know whether I should
relate this one. Tender ears here in Mormondom. Well,
let me go ahead. I was visiting with him in the Oval
Office once, and he was furious at Congress. I can't
remember why, but he was furious. "Birds fly upside
down over Capitol Hill. It ain't worth shitting on."
That was the way he (Lyndon Johnson) talked. But it
was Lyndon Johnson who first explained to me that George
Washington was born in Texas. I hadn't known that before.
He said that little George, when he turned 8 years old,
was given a shiny red hatchet for a birthday present.
He tested out this hatchet on a pecan tree. When his
father came home that evening, and found the tree missing
from the family landscape he demanded to know who was
responsible, and little George stepped forward, and
said, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the
pecan tree." At that, the old man lifted little George
upon his knee, and said "Son, if you can't tell a lie
we are going to have to leave Texas." That's how they
got to Washington. That was Lyndon Johnson's version.
One sequel. I'm sorry, but we will get back to your
business later. One sequel. Lyndon told me he grew up
in poverty. This was obviously before he got into politics.
He grew up in absolute poverty on the banks of the (Pedernales),
one of the Texas rivers. They were so poor they couldn't
afford indoor plumbing. They were obliged to use an
outhouse that was perched on the banks of the river.
Little Lyndon was a mischievous fella, and couldn't
resist one day pushing the outhouse in to the river.
Not long afterward his father came roaring in to the
house full of outrage, demanded to know who was responsible
for this deed, and little Lyndon kept his mouth shut.
He decided that his best ploy was to keep quiet. When
the guilty finger began getting closer and closer to
him, at the last minute he changed his mind, he thought
his best ploy at that point, was to use the George Washington
gimmick. So he spoke up and said, "Father, I cannot
tell a lie. I pushed the outhouse in to the river."
At that, the old man whipped off his belt and gave little
Lyndon a strapping. The whimpering little Lyndon said,
"When George Washington told the truth about chopping
down the pecan tree, his daddy didn't whip him!" And
the old man said, "Yes, but his daddy wasn't in the
Well, let me open this discussion by quoting, as I
promised to do, the late President Lyndon B. Johnson.
And Johnson's words: "Let's lift up the cow's tail,
and look the situation straight in the face." The press
in America today is not particularly popular. It probably
does not deserve to be particularly popular. We have
adopted many of our mainstream organizations radio,
TV, newspapers have adopted the legal profession's way
of learning the truth. A lawyer can prove anything.
He may represent the defendant one day, the plaintiff
the next, and he can take whatever facts are available
on one side of the story and spell out a tale that proves
either side, and he doesn't much care which side he
is on. Depends usually on who offers him the biggest
fee. Increasingly tabloid television programs and tabloid
newspapers are doing the same thing. They decide what
would make a good story and then they go out to prove
the story, and they can prove anything there, investigate
your background, find out all there is to know, all
there is on the record about you, and take all the derogatory
stuff that I learned, and put it all in one column without
any compensating favorable information on the other
side, and I could destroy your reputation. Well, I appeal
to you, who are going in to this business, you who are
taking communications under a great communications director,
who will teach you right.
Let me tell you what I tell my reporters. I say I
want to know the facts. I want to know the facts as
they are, not as you think they are, not as you hope
they are, not as someone tells you they are. I want
to know the facts as they are, and I confess it is more
difficult for them to find out those facts than it is
for me to tell them to find out those facts. But I tell
them that politicians (whom it is our duty to cover
in Washington), that politicians are proud, egocentric
people. Most of them would give an arm or a leg before
they gave up their reputations, their good name. I can
tell you that a man named Bill Clinton is in absolute
agony over the stories about his personal life. He suffers.
He has complained petulantly to friends: "How can they
write these stories about Hilary and me? What do they
know? Only Hillary and I know what our relationship
is. How can they write these terrible stories?"
Richard Nixon went off his rocker for a short period
of time, over the agony of Watergate, and the stories
that we wrote about him. So I say to my reporters, "So,
if you enjoy doing this too much, I don't think I'm
going to like you." But I tell them it is our function
to do it. This is our function. Our Founding Fathers
understood, that government by its nature tends to oppress
those it has power over. Our Founding Fathers decided
that there must be, there had to be, there should be
and there is, an institution that keeps an eye on government.
That is what we do. There is nothing in the Constitution
about freedom to practice law; there is nothing in the
Constitution about freedom to practice medicine; there
is nothing in the Constitution about freedom to engage
in commerce; there is nothing in the Constitution about
teaching. But there is something in the Constitution
about freedom of the press. Our Founding Fathers understood,
that it would be necessary to have a watchdog on government.
Have we been good watchdogs? Sometimes. Sometimes
we serve you better than you deserve to be served. More
often, lately, we have done a poor job. But it is our
job, it is our function, it is what we are supposed
to do, and we do it just about as well as the politicians
do their job lately. And that isn't too well. You do
not give up freedom. That's what we are talking about
here. Freedom. Because without the watchdog, your freedoms
would be stripped from you. You do not give up freedom
for anything else. And if you do, you have made a bad
So Thomas Jefferson, that wise man, that sophisticated
man, that cultured man, that rich man -- he was a plantation
owner he understood. He advocated and supported a free
press, and yet Thomas Jefferson was savaged by the press.
He was excoriated by the press. He was abused more by
the press than Bill Clinton, or Richard Nixon, or anybody
that we have had in recent times. Thomas Jefferson was
savaged by the press. Excoriated. And he was human.
He didn't like it. He went nose to nose with a couple
of editors in Philadelphia. He said to one Philadelphia
paper: "Nothing in this paper is true, with the possible
exception of the advertising, and I question that."
And yet that wise Thomas Jefferson, in a moment of truth,
said, "If I had to choose between government without
newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn't
hesitate to choose the latter." After all he had been
through, he was wise enough to understand. And there
is no one here that has been through as much as Thomas
Jefferson. There is no one in Washington that has been
through as much as Thomas Jefferson, but he said, "If
I had to choose between government without newspapers,
and newspapers without government," he would take his
And so, I come to you today, to report as honestly
as I can, as sincerely as it is possible, what it is
my duty under the Constitution to report. What I don't
have time to report everything, you are going to ask
questions after if you have something, but there are
a couple of things in the past (to report). Looking
back as we must now, over the 20th century, because
the road to the future passes through the past. Let's
look at our past so we can understand better what to
do in the future. Let me report to you for example,
in the short time that I have, on the most dangerous
moment in the history of the world, that happened in
the 20th century. It happened on our back doorstep.
It happened in Cuba.
We had been keeping close surveillance with Cuba.
Pictures that could . . . one of my sources showed me
one of the pictures that they had taken. These pictures,
these photos were taken from 200 miles in space. It
showed a Soviet soldier standing in the turret of the
tank, and he (my friend) said, "What do you see?" I
said "It is remarkable. I see a tank, I see the Soviet
soldier standing in the turret. I can even see the tracks
where the tank has been." He said, "Look more closely.
Look at the soldier." He was wearing a helmet and goggles.
"I can see the goggles . . . you tell me that you took
this picture from 200 miles in space?" He said, "Look
more closely." So help me, God. He handed me, at this
point, a magnifying glass. He said, "Look under the
magnifying glass. At the soldier's face." I saw, from
200 miles in space, that this Soviet soldier need a
shave. True. True. But one thing these cameras can't
do, is see through clouds. They don't see through clouds.
And there was cloud cover over Cuba for a few weeks.
When the clouds dissipated, the pictures that they took
so alarmed them, that they rushed them to the desk of
President John F. Kennedy. He looked at those pictures,
and they showed that the Soviets, under cloud cover,
had delivered nuclear missiles and nuclear warheads
to Cuba, bringing for the first time the cities of America
within range of nuclear explosives.
John F. Kennedy called the best brains he could assemble.
He gathered them from as far away as Moscow. Every embassador
that served in Moscow that was still alive was present.
The brightest people that understood the Soviet Union
were present. They met every day for three weeks. They
became so cozy that President Kennedy began calling
them his crisis club. His crisis club. And they warned.
They said, "Mr. President, don't back Khrushchev in
to a corner. He is an impulsive man. He is an impulsive
man. You remember when he took a shoe off at the United
Nations and banged on a desk. He might very well push
a button that will send missiles toward the United States.
Don't back him in to a corner. Give him room to maneuver."
That was their advice.
John F. Kennedy did not take it. He decided, he went
before the crisis club after about three weeks and he
said, "Gentlemen, I have decided on a boycott. We are
going to have to stop any more missiles from going in
to Cuba, and we are going to call upon the Soviet Union
to withdraw the missiles that they have already planted
there." One in the crisis club said, "Mr. President,
what you are describing is an act of war. Are you prepared
to wage war with the Soviet Union?" The president said,
"We'll make it as easy as we can on the Soviets. We'll
offer to take our missiles back from Turkey and Greece.
They are worn, useless missiles that we were going to
take back anyway, but on the world's stage, it may give
them, save them some loss of faith. So we will offer
to take back our missiles from Turkey and Greece, but
we will insist that they remove their missiles from
Cuba, and if they don't, we will have to stop them."
One of the members of this group said, "Mr. President,
what if they don't stop? What if the Soviets turn you
down, and continue sending missiles to Cuba, and you
order them to stop, and what if they don't stop?" The
president said, "We will follow the procedures of the
sea. We will fire a warning shot across the bow, and
if they don't stop then, we will attack." One of the
members said, "Mr. President, what if the situation
were reversed? What if the Soviets tried to stop our
ships on the high seas and maybe even fired a warning
shot. What would you do?" Jack Kennedy thought that
over a bit. "Well," he said, "it would depend on the
circumstances, of course, but most likely I would have
to take military action." And this man said, "And what
makes you think the Soviets won't do the same?" Now
there were a lot of Monday morning statesman afterward
that said they knew that the Soviets would back down.
I am here to report to you, because I had sources in
that meeting, in those meetings. They told me exactly
what was said. President Kennedy said, "I don' t know
what the Soviets will do."
And so he prepared the ultimatum worded as delicately
as he could word it, and still insisted that it would
say what he said it would say. And he ordered our military
forces around the world on red alert. It was not announced,
but he didn't hide it too well. He kind of wanted the
Soviets to know. Our intercontinental missiles were
cranked up, ready to fire. Our nuclear missiles were
on station ready for combat. Our B-52s were in the air.
They sent them up in the air, their bomb bays pregnant
with H-bombs, so they wouldn't have to waste time taking
off as fast as one needed to be refueled. It would either
land and get refueled, or in some cases, planes flew
up to refuel them - tanker planes. Then. Then. John
F. Kennedy issued his ultimatum
There was a task force loaded with Soviet missiles
steaming toward Cuba. We watched that task force closely.
It didn't even slow down. It headed straight for Cuba.
The president called the Joint Chiefs into the Situation
Room in the basement of the White House. This is exactly
what happened there -- I had a source there too. President
Kennedy took a thumb tack, and he plunged it in to a
map of the Caribbean. He said, "Gentlemen, when that
task force reaches that thumb tack, you are going to
have to stop them."
The Soviet task force reached the thumb tack. Reached
the thumb tack. President Kennedy called the Joint Chiefs
back into the Situation Room, slowly withdrew the thumb
tack from the map, and moved it over. Then he jammed
it back in, and said, "Gentlemen, we are going to give
them a little more time. But this is as far as we will
let them go. When they reach this point, attack." The
task force came within eyesight of our warships preparing
for attack. They noticed that warships were gearing
up their guns. They sent an urgent message to Moscow,
coded message. Got a coded message right back, and that
task force slowly turned around and steamed back to
the Soviet Union. Our secretary of state (Dean Rusk)
was sitting with a couple of aides. He turned to them
and said, "We've been eyeball to eyeball, and the I
think the other fellow just blinked."
That is the world that we used to live in. Is it as
bad today? In some respects, it is more dangerous. Instead
of a stable, sober, responsible government in the Soviet
Union, owning all the missiles that the Allies didn't
own, there has been a proliferation of missiles. They
are in the hands of irresponsible dictators who are
going to be perhaps impossible to control, and worse
than that, there are suitcase terrorists capable of
bringing into this country -- carrying in suitcases
with our wide borders, our long seacoasts and our long
borders -- poisons. Nerve gases. They can wipe us out.
Wipe out large . . . I don't think they have anything
that will wipe out the whole country at once. Are we
in danger? Probably more danger than we were then. Well,
it is your country. It is my duty to report to you,
the sovereigns who own this country, what the situation
is, and that is the situation. I know Boris Yeltsin.
I met Boris Yeltsin before he gained power. He convinced
me he was a leader of men. Now, I have lost a lot of
faith in him. He has declined in health. The last time
I talked with one of his aides, they told me that he
has puffed up from too much drinking, that he is not
clear all the time in his mind. He could be succeeded
at any time by a hard-liner who would even take the
Soviet Union back to where it used to be.
The Soviet people, when I went to Moscow and mingled
with them, went to Moscow and met them, they loved freedom
so much that when the first debates were held of the
Supreme Soviets, their parliament, unlike Americans
that don't watch much C-SPAN . . . the absenteeism in
Moscow went up 20 percent. People stayed home watching
freedom. Watching how democracy works. But they didn't
really know how democracy works. They wouldn't know
because they had been brought up on 70 years of communism.
During that 70 years of communism, they were given a
distorted view of the United States. A view they had
become to believe, that you might compare to the view
you would get looking in to a funhouse mirror. A distorted
view. They believed that distorted view, and they looked
upon the United States as the new leader that was bringing
freedom, and they imitated the distortions instead of
the reality, and you have Moscow, and you have in Russia,
a land of chaos where the mafia is all powerful, where
people are in danger when they venture out in the streets.
Where I cannot see how we can leave our (church) missionaries
there much longer. It is too dangerous.
Do I have time? Let me tell you one more instance.
Here is one that I think you do not know about. I don't
think you knew the whole story that I just told you,
either. If you did, you are better reporters than I
am, because most of this occurred behind closed doors.
Let me tell you something else that was disclosed behind
closed doors. Let me tell you about the greatest victory
in the history of the United States. We won World War
III without firing a shot. Do you realize that? World
War III had been raging for 45 years. We called it the
Cold War, and we won it without firing a single shot.
Who deserves credit for that? The credit belongs to
a man who has been abused by the press. A president
who is much greater than history is willing to portray
him, because he was not their kind of guy. A grandfather,
a father, who is now suffering from Alzheimer's. Can't
think straight. Doesn't know where he is. Ronald Reagan.
I got to know Ronald Reagan quite well. I proposed
to him at one point the founding of a Young Astronauts
(organization). I said, we've got to do something to
prepare our kids for the technicological age. The space
age. And they are not getting it in the schools. And
they weren't, and you still aren't, getting enough.
We are behind all the rest of the industrial nations.
We ought to be ashamed at ourselves. The United States
the world's number one military power, economic power,
the world's number one cultural power you name it we
are number one in everything but education. But you
people . . . stand for failure.
I told him: "I got a lot of grandkids, and they are
excited about space, and if we turned science into space
adventures, I think they would learn a lot more." He
said, "That's a good idea. Let's do it." And he dictated
a memo to a secretary. I didn't hear from him for a
year. He had turned it over to be studied, and in Washington,
that's what they do mostly. They study things, and then
they study studies. Everything is studied, because that's
how you employ more bureaucrats. And the more you study,
the more bureaucrats you employ and the happier they
are, and that's the number one enemy of the American
people. It's the bureaucrat. It's a benign enemy. Let
me describe him for you. The master bureaucrat is a
strange creature with about 10 arms. Like an octopus.
It pampers member of Congress, the people we elect.
It holds them in its embrace. It does favors for them.
It kills for them, and it picks our pockets while it
is doing that. Do you know how much of your yearly income
you are paying in taxes? No you don't. We cannot know.
Because that is one of the things that they hide from
you. That is the greatest secret in Washington. They
do not want you to know you pay in so many hidden taxes
that you don't realize what you are doing. We fought
the Revolutionary War over a 1 percent tariff that the
British had brought upon the colonies. That's what irritated
us. That's why we got teed off. That's why we fought
the Revolutionary War.
My friends, through the mail, and through your normal
activities, you without protest, well, maybe a little
protest, are paying 43 percent of your income that we
could track, and we miss a good deal of it. I swear
to you that at least 50 percent of your income is going
to the government. And I can further tell you, I happen
to be chairman of Citizens Against Waste. That's the
old Grace Commission, that Peter Grace established,
and he deserves credit for it. He dug out massive waste
in government. He asked me to be co-chairman, and it
was his baby, so I stayed in the shadows while he went
out on his crusade against government waste. And then
the old curmudgeon, he was a great old curmudgeon, a
wonderful guy, died on me, and I was the only chairman
left. Now, I'm chairman of this organization. And I
can tell you as chairman of Citizens Against Government
Waste, the chairman of the Grace Commission, that the
worst possible way to accomplish anything is to have
the federal government do it. That is the worst way
to get anything done.
Well, back to the war we won. Back to the winning
of World War III, without firing a shot. President Reagan
did it, by establishing something that he has been denounced
for. Criticized for. Castigated for.
Star Wars was not established to shoot down incoming
Soviet missiles. That was what we said we were going
to do with it. That was the purpose that we announced.
But that wasn't the real purpose. We had discovered
that the Soviet Union was near economic collapse. We
knew that we had a stronger economy; that we could out-spend
them, and we knew that they were crazy enough to continue
to try to keep up with us, so we started Star Wars for
the purpose of crashing the Soviet economy. And we succeeded.
The Soviet Union came crashing down. The citizens in
the Kremlin didn't want to do it. We now know, we didn't
know then. They are now a little more free with us,
telling us some of the secrets that they used to keep,
and their civilian leaders didn't want to do it. They
said, "We can't afford it. We've got to go ahead and
let the Americans go ahead and prepare for Star Wars."
The military said, "No, we have the responsibility to
defend the Soviet Union, so we must develop Star Wars
too." They ran out of money. They went bankrupt. They
When they collapsed, Reagan was talking to me one
day, in the Oval Office. He said, "I'm frightened that
they might do something desperate. The Soviet Union
is going down in flames right now. They might try to
save themselves by starting a desperation war. I've
got to assure them that we are not going to take advantage
of them." I said, "Mr. President, why don't we start
with the children. You've formed the Young Astronauts.
Let me send some of my Young Astronauts over there.
Invite the Soviets to form the Young Cosmonauts, and
try to explain to them, talking through the children,
that we all live on the same spaceship, that any damage
to this spaceship called Earth will injure, perhaps
destroy, all the passengers."
He said, "That's not a bad idea. Why don't you write
a letter to Chernenko," who was then the chairman, "Write
a letter to Chernenko, and ask him to form the Young
Cosmonauts." And I said, "He's not going to pay any
attention to me, Mr. President. You write the letter."
"No, you write it. I called them the Evil Empire, and
they are pissed at me." He said, "You can mention in
the letter that you have White House approval if you
want." I wrote the letter. I gave it to my daughter,
Tanya. That's a Russian name. I thought that would be
good. She got on a plane and flew to Moscow and tried
to hand deliver the letter. But when she tried to see
Chernenko, his Chief of Staff said, "The Premier is
ill," which turned out to be true, we can verify that,
"but I will hand deliver this to him." They had read
the letter in advance at the airport. They checked my
daughter's baggage, and they opened the letter, and
they read it, and they knew what they were getting.
They invited her to come to the Kremlin. She delivered
Two weeks later, I got a call from the Soviet Embassy,
deep Russian voice, "WE HAVE RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER
TO CHAIRMAN CHERNENKO."
I said, "What is the response?"
He said, "THE RESPONSE IS FAVORABLE."
I said, "That's great. I'm glad to hear it. What do
we do next?" And we discussed what we do next, and then
he said, "DID TANYA ENJOY VISIT TO SOVIET UNION?"
I said, "She had a grand time. She came away greatly
impressed with your country." And he said, "TOO BAD
SHE DOESN'T WRITE COLUMN."
Well, I'd better quit this. Well, why don't we quit
on that note. We have won World War III, we almost got
destroyed in the 20th century, the danger is still with
us, it is my duty to tell you that, and if you have
specific questions about who you ought to vote for,
and who you ought to kick out, I will tell you.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ted Pease: Questions?
Question: You talked a little bit about this committee
you are involved in, Citizens Against Government Waste,
and you told us about it, what are some ways that we
can get involved, and . . .
Jack Anderson: Ways to get involved-- and I see people
leaving, and I invite anybody who's got a class to go
to, that you'll be better off in class than here, probably.
I won't be offended, please go, but those that want
to stay around, I will even stay a little later if necessary
to respond to your questions.
What can you do? This government belongs to you. You
are the sovereigns. Richard Nixon said in an interview
with David Frost that the president was the sovereign,
he thought he was, and that is why he got in trouble.
He was not the sovereign, Bill Clinton is not the sovereign,
the people of the United States are the sovereigns,
this country belongs to you. You not only should think
of things that you can do, you have a duty to do them.
You have the duty, and with rights and freedom, and
the things that we stand for a believe in.
As I said, I think in the beginning, comes responsibility.
You are the sovereigns. When Thomas Jefferson was elected
president of the United States, he checked into a rooming
house -- he was a wealthy man, but he dressed plainly
-- he checked in to a rooming house like any ordinary
citizen, he walked to his inauguration. There he looked
at the inaugural crowd, and he said, "If there be any
among you, who do not agree with our form of government,
let him rise as a monument to the safety in which errors
of opinion can be held, where there is freedom to combat
them." But that isn't the point of the story. The story
is, that after his inaugural address, he was surrounded
by well-wishers who came to shake his hands, congratulate
him. Disappeared, one by one. He was left alone, and
he walked back to the rooming house, and dinner was
already being served, there wasn't a plate left for
him at the table, and history records that the president
of the United States went up to his room that evening
Trivial incident? Footnote in history. That was probably
the most important thing that happened that day, because
Thomas Jefferson understood that he was the servant
of the people, and not the master, and that is the position
you hold. It is your country. It is your government,
and if you do not take part, if you are so turned off
on the scandals that we have been writing about, that
you don't turn out on Election Day, you have failed
in the most important duty in America today, the duty
of the citizen. The owners of the country. So do whatever
you have to do, but take part in the democratic process,
some way or another, however suits you best, and (in)
studies that you take here, understand what the country
is all about.
I read a poll, a survey, taken not long ago, it's
been about two weeks ago, it said that one-half of our
college graduates do not understand their heritage.
Don't really understand fully their history. Don't understand
the government, the country that they live in. What
they don't understand, they can't value. What they don't
value, they won't defend, they will lose. Anything else?
Question: Is it so important that we know if George
Bush has done cocaine?
Jack Anderson: No, if I had been handling George W.
Bush's campaign, and I hope that I never get in to that
position, I would have said, "Tell them, 'Sure, when
I was young and wild, I smoked cocaine, but I didn't
inhale.'" That would have ended the whole controversy
right there. That's what he should have said. My friends,
may I say to you that every politician I have ever known,
every politician I have ever investigated, and a lot
of the politicians that I haven't investigated, all
have human frailties. Don't judge them by their feet
of clay -- they all have feet of clay, at least one
foot, maybe there are a few with only a big toe of clay,
but there is some clay in there. Don't be turned off
by that. The way to win them over, I can tell you, very
simply, I have read from my church history. I happen
to be a Mormon. I have read from our church history,
that Joseph Smith once prophesied, and I don't know
if it was a legitimate prophesy or not, because it was
passed on by Eliza R. Snow, and that's not the way we
usually get prophesies. But she was an honorable woman,
I don't think she would have misquoted him. She said
that the Constitution of the United States would one
day hang by a thread, and that it would be our people
who could save it.
How are we going to do that? Are we going to send
an army to Washington? No. That won't work. That' s
not the way. Are we going to send lobbyists? No. There
are lobbyists that are far better skilled in spreading
wrong doctrine. No. The way we can do it, the only way
we can do it, those of you that are familiar with the
Book of Mormon, will recall that the Gaddianton Robbers
defeated the Nephites by living righteously, but not
partaking of their products. We, you and I, as individuals,
as families, as communities, as churches, we need to
live wholesomely. We need to reintroduce the wholesomeness,
the moral values, the ethics that our Founding Fathers
established here at one time.
Oh, they had a lot of faults too, but they established
a wholesome system, and that is what made us great.
Some historians who have chronicled the rise and fall
of civilizations say that the greatest cause of their
downfall was moral decay. Moral decay has set in here
in the United States, and if we are to change it, we
must change it here, in Logan, in your home, in your
church, in your schools, in your organizations. That
is the place to start here. Start now if you want a
quick pledge, I've even composed one for my Young Astronauts.
"If it isn't right. . . Take this down if you'd like
to, I'd be honored to have you join in with me. Make
this pledge to yourself. Don't have to make to me, or
anyone else, or Ted. Watch out for Ted. I . . . got
you. Are you going to take the pledge?
Ted Pease: Best advice you've given so far . . .
Jack Anderson: If it isn't right, I won't do it. If
it isn't true, I won't say it. If it isn't mine, I won't
take it. That's easy enough. Let's start with that.
Question: In light of what you have just said about
"if it's not right, I won't do it," and "the Constitution
is hanging by a thread." If you would have been a pilot,
would you have obeyed the order to shoot people in Kosovo?
Jack Anderson: Of course I would have obeyed the order.
I did not approve of the war. I thought the war was
a foolish one, I continue to think it is a foolish one.
We just don't have the resources nor the manpower to
police the world. To go around shooting people that
we disagree with. We are going to have to set a moral
example. The way America has achieved, has been through
the kind of government we offer the world. I can tell
you, even after all has happened, after what you complain
about, after some of the other things that we have done
wrong, after all the mistakes we've made, after the
kind of men we are electing to office, as I travel around
the world, people still look up to the United States.
We are a unique nation. We are the greatest nation
in the history of the world, and we did it by our wholesome,
righteous, inspired conduct in leadership. Most American
citizens today are still as their parents, as their
grandparents were, honorable. It's not too late. We
are on a fast slope. We are going down. We might go
down like other civilizations have gone down, through
moral decline. That's our biggest problem. We may go
down, but we have the capacity to go up, to soar to
I have found it here at Utah State University. The
center for the future. The School of the Future, and
we are talking to people that tell us that the future
is just unbelievable, what we are learning. We doubled
the world's knowledge the last two years, we doubled
the world's knowledge. The more we learn, the faster
we learn, and the faster we learn the more we learn.
We are just down here in Logan, Jim Sorensen, a friend
of mine, in collaboration with Utah State University,
has developed an eye that can see around the world on
copper tubing, on the regular copper wires that are
already in place, and we can talk to anybody who gets
his equipment, and the equipment that we developed here
at the university, through university people working
with the Sorensen vision. We will soon be able to communicate
through (a much faster and more powerful) internet,
which will become the greatest source of information,
the super highway of information, information super
highway, and we will then be able to talk back and forth.
We will be able to negotiate, we will be able to install
in the president's White House this equipment, and instead
of having to travel all the time for face-to-face diplomacy,
he will be able to do it over the internet.
We are soaring, we are going in to a golden age, as
we go in to the millennium. Wow. I wish I weren't so
doggone old and sick. I wish I could go with you, you
young people. You have a great future ahead of you.
But like everything else, when God created the earth,
he did not censor the wicked; he did not censor the
evil. It's not censored on the internet either. It is
a reflection of the world itself. It is up to us to
stop that stuff. To stop that stuff. It is up to us
to live in such a way that we become the example.
We have in Washington leaders who govern by polls.
And these polls are usually phony. They even are reported
as Democratic pollsters, or Republican pollsters. How
can it be a true poll if it takes one side or the other?
We have spin doctors in Washington whose job it is to
lie to us. They are professional liars. And the way
they lie is the most effective way. People, what they
do is counterfeit the truth. They counterfeit the truth.
Now, you know, if you got a hundred-dollar bill, and
it's counterfeit, and it's got a red back on it, you
are not likely to take it. You are likely to say hey,
this doesn't look genuine to me, and you will lay it
aside. But we have counterfeiters of hundred dollar
bills in Iran today. They can make a hundred-dollar
bill look so much like a real one, that banks can not
tell them apart. That's why they changed the design
on the hundred-dollar bill. That's true of the counterfeiters
of truth. The spin doctors that you read about in Washington
are counterfeiting the truth, and they make it so much
like the real thing that you are deceived.
Ted Pease: On that note, this is the real thing, and
my job is to take it to lunch, so I would like to thank
you all for coming. I'm sure he would be glad to talk
to you, anyone, that would like to come up and ask him
another question. Thank you all for coming.
Jack Anderson: Thank you.