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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE FINAL WORD

PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

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 "sensitive."

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 to hide?

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 Washington, D.C.

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 back:

"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 Jack Anderson

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 it.

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 pecan tree."

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 bargain.

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 morning paper.

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.

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 collapsed.

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 the letter.

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 without dinner.

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 new heights.

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.

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