tv Today in Washington CSPAN August 9, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT
character tho is known to do falconnti hunting with middle families and what if somebody important it is up the is compound if they carry the hellfire missile? so they've built a mock up of the afghanistan farm and that is where they practicedas how to possibly assassinate himwithout collateral damage before 9/11. at the end of the experiment the state department got involved and there was a lot of legalities of assassinations of they decided not to do do it. . . researching this
book that the atomic energy commission actually has a system of secret keeping that runs parallel to the president's system of secret keeping which is the national security system. that is not the way the constitution was written, but it is what the atomic energy agent of 1946 allowed, so when the charter was written right after world war ii for the atomic energy commission, they created the system of secret keeping which the slang for it is called born classified. scholars who looked into this secret keeping system say that it allows them to have unanswerable authority, and that is certainly the case, and that is why the atomic energy commission was able to do so many things. the bomb test i told you about
sending the bugs up to 90,000 feet, that thermonuclear bomb test involved 12,000 people in the middle of the pacific ocean. no one knew it was going on when it went on, so secret keeping it an important part of area 51 for some reason, but it's also not a good situation for other reasons, and it is the source who tells me the story in the end and i asked him, you know, looked into the crimes of atomic energy commission, how come he didn't find out about the rogue program that involves roswell, and i was told he almost found out bout it, but he didn't have a need to know. >> a question that goes back to the ufo story. why would stalin send the craft to new mexico instead of a more
populated area? >> that's not an answer i have. i'll ask the source -- i was kidding. no, i don't, you know, the thing i write in the end of the book is i'm very clear about saying he said this, and according to the engineer. there are some places in the epilogue where i speculate about things, and i go to some of my other sources and ask them. i ask the physicist, okay, could we really have had a stealthy flying disk? the physicist who worked if the cia had an interesting answer saying he recalled sometime in the 1950s kelly johnson, the head of works who built planes for the cia, kelly johnson had radar test round shape aircraft, and at the end of the day they decided it just wasn't -- it just wasn't, you know, appropriate for a pilot to fly.
it was a dangerous thing for a pilot to fly, so, i have as many questions as i have answers. i have more questions than i have answers, but i don't have the answer to that one. >> you write in the book the roswell air base was an important base. it was not an unimportant area in terms of national security. >> it was the most important area in the united states. las almos is where the testing was and roswell was the base of the 509, the bomber group. one of the guys i interview in the book is an amazing legend, colonel richard leghorn. he's 92 now and writing a paper on my book according to his secretary. [laughter] he just did an interview with the "capecod times" talking about my book, and he is
accredited in general with inventing the concept of overhead. our first post-nuclear -- post-war nuclear test was in 1946 in the pa sighing called operations crossroad, and colonel leghorn was involved with photographing those bombs from the air, and my interview with him was amazing. he explained to me how the base from which they left with all the camera equipment was the rose army air base -- roswell army air force base because at the time that was the only military base that had bombers ha could carry nuclear weapons. that area of new mexico could not have been more important to national security in 1947. >> somebody wants to know if it's possible, you answer this in the book, that many ufos were and are military aircraft that
the united states has been lying about. >> absolutely. one of the things i was absolutely able to source was the cia's obsession with ufos starting in the 1950s and they created their own ufo department based on declassified documents. it's funny to read through them because the guys in the cia in the 1950s were really still gentlemen spies and fancied themselves, you know, on the ground spies, and this idea of science and technology was there and you see in the memos where they have to deal with ufos saying why can't the air force handle this? in fact, out at area 51, the u-2 spy planing thed for over 50% of all ufo sightings on the west coast. it flew at 70,000 feet, which is about 1 # miles up, and when it was flying up in the sky, it
looked like a giant silver hawk, and you can imagine people on the ground seeing something up that high would wonder, and then, of course, it happened in the 1960s when this incredible cia spy plane called the oxcart was flying at mock iii higher up, and there's a couple great accountings from the guy -- accounts from the guys in my book. colonel slater is a cold war hero, the commander of the base for a number of years in the 60s, and he explained to me how often commercial airline pilots would be flying on the west coast, let's say at dusk at 30,000 feet, and they would see the oxcart fly over head at 90,000 feet at mock iii, and people in the plane would see it as well, and the pilots radioed in ufo, and colonel slater had
to send the fbi to wherever it was the plane was landing and make the pilots and people sign disclosure forms letting them know they would be in serious trouble if they told anyone about that. these things certainly added to the ufo lure and mythology. >> you have five oxcarts that crashed and as they went out to get the titanium covers and obviously these secret people went out in the desert and people saw them and it all looked like they were getting something secret, which it was, but not a flying saucer which brings us to the question why in your opinion has area 51 become such a popular element in u.s. and global popular culture? >> most assuredly because of the conspiracies attached to it. we talked about the ufos and the
aliens, but there's two other big conspiracy theories that embedded themselves into area 51. they are the lunar landing was faked and filmed at area 51. that's a big one. i interviewed a lot of conspiracy theorists for the book and interviewed the second man on the moon and found his testimony more believable than the other people. [laughter] that's just the journalist in me, but the thread, the link there is that the over at the nevada test site, the neighbor to area 51, is there's giant craters from the io tommic -- atomic bombs. i was lucky enough to go there with the guys who are in my book, and these craters are these giant cavernous things that look very much like the surface of the moon. i interview a man named ernie
williams, the tour guide for the apollo astronauts in the late 60s and early 70s, they went to the test site and put mockups on the back that they wore on the moon when they went there. the point is to roam around the geology of the lunar landscape, and i have some great photographs in the book of that, but i think that this gave way to some of the conspiracies about the lunar landing, and another one i'll touch upon was the -- a lot told me that area 51 is filled with underground tunnels, and that tease tunnels connect to other military bases across the country. what i found out was there are a lot of underground tunnels, certainly at the nevada test site under area 12 and 11. one of the tunnels is 4,500 feet
deep. that's very deep. starting in the late 1950s, the department of defense and the atomic energy commission used the tunnels to explode nuclear weapons to see what happened to different pieces of military equipment, to see what could survive and whatnot. that's where that mythology, i believe, comes from. >> there's something in the book that no one will ask about unless they read it, but talking about the scientific recklessness, something i never knew before reading this, was we did a high al constitute test that they knew could damage the o zone layer, but they just wanted to see what happened. true? >> when i heard about this i wondered whether when growing up in the 70s, we were told we couldn't use aerosols anymore. i said, it's not the deodrant.
i heard this from the weapons engineer who actually wired the bomb, but there's two tests code named pink and orange, and they took place down in johnston island in the pa sighing, not area 51, but the crew who worked regularly at area 51 wiring bombs went down there, and the idea, the president's science adviser at the time, he had such power and persuasion with the president that anything he did, he did not have to report to congress. later in his memoirs, he admits maybe that wasn't a good idea, but at the time, he authorized this two-headed nuclear weapons test, megaton thermonuclear
bombs. one was set up 28 miles up, another one 50 miles up, but 28 miles up is right where the ozone layer is, and at the time, there was -- i found in the declassified documents there was discussion among the scientists what might happen and could we make a hole in the ozone layer. this was an actual discussion, and the answer was yes, we could, but we believe the bomb turbulence would close the hole if it were made, so they went ahead with the test. >> there's question about sources. if everyone's interviewed is sworn to secrecy, how is everything valuable and believable, and variation on that, do you have a top secret clearance, and if not, what makes you think these people you interviewed told you the truth? >> what's interesting is some of
the things i've been talking about like the project 50s and the dirty bomb test that spread plutonium over 895 acres up there, people have asked that same question. well, that's not classified. those documents i located in the atomic energy commission archives. i even located photographs, but it didn't look to me like anyone else had looked at them, and i actually had a really difficult time trying to find them, but once i was able to find someone who had knowledge of that and knew it had been declassified, i was able to talk freely about him with that program, and he was able to give me some key words that allowed me to look up the program and access it. the program is called project 57, but everything was classified under 57 project. i mean, organized. so all of the programs that i
talk about except for the program in the end have actually been declassified. it's just that a lot of them are kind of hidden or perhaps people were not interested in them, in and of themselves. i think part of what makes my book interesting is that i try to give you the whole landscape of area 51 and its nearest neighbors and what was going on there. >> another one about the aliens who were, according to your source not aliens at all. were there autopsy done on the roswell victims? according to the story they livedded, but were -- lived, but were in a coma, and why would their remains still remain classified? >> the first part of the question was what again? >> the first part of the question were there autopsy performed on them.
>> oh, that i don't know. they arrived as bodies when they arrived according to my source, and they were comatosed, but still breathing, and one died shortly thereafter according to my source, and the reason why the program is still classified according to my source is what we touched upon earlier that the government decided to embark upon its own program. what i'm also going to say at this point which is interesting is one of the most interesting and disturbing pieces of information that my source shared with me was the individual who was the head of the program, and he was in charge of the manhattan project. he was the president science adviser, and he is the one who, you know, wasn't -- was in charge of this program that really is the mother of all black operations, that is the
manhattan projects, and all operations trickled down from that original idea in analogy and secrecy. >> you also point out for people who wonder whether something could be kept secret, the manhattan project, the budget amount and even the vice president had no idea that the manhattan project was underway. how many people were working and what was the budget? >> it's in the book. [laughter] it was huge. where the plutonium or uranium at the time was being processed in tennessee, that outfit pulled more power off of the united states electrical grid on any given night than the entire city of new york city, and yet no one knew it was there. that's how powerful a black operation can be. the vice president that you're referring to when the manhattan project was originally going on
was harry truman. he had no idea about the nuclear weapon until he became president. the person who told him was bush. why name it area 51? are there 1-50? if so, explain. >> that's a subject of great debate. a lot of my named sources in the book say that's just a quadrant they come up with, but according to my source in the end of the book, the reason it's named area 51 is because in 1951, the original equipment and the remains of the roswell crash came there. >> have you been called a conspiracy theorist this person asks? the net has been cast so wide and it includes reporters like yourself. in other words, you are thrown in with the 3 a.m. loons. >> i'll let you guys decide on that one.
you know, i've been accused of it. i've definitely been accused of being, you know part of the government conspiracy to hyde aliens because my theory does not push the idea that aliens have visited earth, and i did get a letter from a grown up or e-mail rather from a group in the u.k. furious with me when my book first published and said even we don't believe you. [laughter] >> the truth is still out there, not here. why did area 51 show up in the wikileaks document? due to weapons testing or about alien life or what? >> that's news to me. i don't know about that, so see me afterwards. [laughter] >> there was a lot of the book -- talking about reverse engineers because it comes up in talking about roswell and things. one of the most significant parts of the book and reverse
engineering at area 51, one of the greatest secrets was reverse engineering the mig hand delivered to the israelis. >> it's a great stories. it's one i more favorite. i tell it through an engineer who worked at area 51 on a number of projects. in 1966, the story you're talking about made headlines when an iraqi air force colonel defected from iraq to israel in a soviet mig, and at the time no one -- no western, you know, no member of the western world had ever had their hands on one. it's what all the arab nations flew, and it's obviously what the soviets flew, so the massad got a hold of it, it was a big deal to them and helped them win the six-day war, but what didn't make the news was after they were done with it, they made a deal with the cia to bring the
mig to area 51, and dt barns was on the team that reverse engineered that, took it down to its nuts and bolts, and looked at it to figure out what made it fly, and at the time, we were engaming in the vietnam war, and our pilots over there were getting shot down in this terrible ratio of nine to one and were really losing against the mig. the soviets were supplying the vietnamese with the mig. there was a dog fight while they worked on the it out there in area 51, and after they reversed engineered it, that was called the technical phase, and then they began a tactical phase putting it back together and flew it in mock dogfights, and the skies over area 51 to figure out how to beat the mig in
air-to-air combat, and what is not known until now or kind of known only to the men who worked on that program is that that was actually the birth of the famous top gunfighter school. >> there is another thing that comes of that being there that almost ousts area 51 and the projects there when a general basically decides to go joyriding in a mig. >> that's right. it's a controversial story. there's a general in charge of the f-117 bomber program out at area 51, and he became enamored with the mig according to source, and he wanted to take it for a flight, and he did, and the mig went out of control and crashed in area 25 next door to -- it's about maybe 20 miles from area 51, and where he crashed was right into this place where another secret
program was going on, surprise surprise, and so at the time, it was like my god, there's the mig program, the f-117 program, the nerva program at area 25, we have area 51, and you have a general who is dead so newspaper reporter was leaked information that the general had been flying the mig, and that program was outed in that way, and it allowed the other secrets to remain hidden. >> there's a number of questions about the advanced technology created at area 51 like mock iii # speed aircrafts and why this has not been released commercially. question that says it's odd that our current commercial aircraft can only travel as a fraction of these speeds compared to what area 51 technology had half a
century ago. >> i'm not a jet engine specialist, but i talked to one who developed the mock iii engine, and it was interesting talking to him about that, but my understanding would be, and it's limited, but that it takes so much jet fuel to fly mock iii, the oxcart spy plane was basically a flying fuel tank with a delta shaped wing filled with fuel getting from one cost to another coast in a little over 60 minutes. i don't think that's cost effective on a commercial airline and you would not have any place to put your bags. [laughter] >> plus all that midair refueling. >> that's tricky too. >> yes, and then a couple planes were lost in the stories you tell in the book. >> yes. well, i'll say one other thing. >> sure. >> i became a big fan of the cia's science and technology
department i must say because the things that they did out, and they did it in total secrecy without getting any credit for it, but to refuel the oxcourt was such an incredibly fast flying plane, the oxcart had to fly at its absolutely slowest speed, and the fuel tanker had to fly at its fastest speed, you know, at the same time, and, you know, the plane, the oxcart would sometimes almost stall. that's how slow it had to go. >> someone in the audience says why do you think the government was prompted to declassify this stuff and provide great stuff for your book? >> well, that's also interesting. they didn't declassify all this stuff. they declassified the a-12 oxcart in 2007. i don't know why. i asked people why, and there's different answers, none of which really answer the question. because if you're trying to keep a base secret, it would make
sense not to declassify one of the major programs there, but that is how i was able to speak to ed, the original source, and that is how i was introduced one to the next to the next to the next of all the different sources who make up the narrative of my book and to whom i'm very grateful because, you know, it was a real honor and privilege to be able to talk to these men who are really a group of cold war heros, scientists, spies, engineers, physicists who were known only among themselves, and now i think in reading the book you're able to see, have a really interesting window into what it's like to be someone who does all this work for absolutely no glory. ..
security guards is still classified. but what is classified as the fact the nuclear weapons test engineers on the other side of the fence were working to get a nuclear bomb to a shaft so they could explode on the weapons task so story came from the guys who were over on the other side of the sense who were working on
the nuclear bomb, not from the dysart area 51 who can't talk about it. but what happened is there was a weapons test going on, and the measure -- the system of measurement to get a bomb down is x number of yards and it has to get to a certain depth before it's considered secured otherwise it could still in essence be hijacked. so there's different layers of security watching this bomb go down and the gentleman in charge of the program my source in the book is in charge of it and there he is waiting for the thing to get down, the thing, the nuclear bomb to get down the hole and he hears suddenly we are under attack. and they have to treat that as if the russians were attacking or an enemy force because it made no sense otherwise, but as it turned out, it was a test by the security people who wanted
to see what would be like how the guards of the area 51 would respond to an attack and so they flew a helicopter over the guard gate and for mock shooting at it. the alert went all the way to the white house and according to the source, the nuclear subs on the west coast were also put on alert. >> sleep better hearing that. [laughter] and the nuclear weapon at the whole of the time. >> yes, and the test went on by the we. as the mcginn number of questions from people saying -- cheers one of them, many of the projects under difficult and very 51 including the stealth fighter. was the black hawk helicopter used in the osama bin laden read desolate in area 51? >> i would certainly like to know that but i don't have the need to know about that yet. [laughter]
sounds like you would be great place -- >> weather technology developed they're going through a variation on the previous question that the aircraft with the technology there, the famous question about teflon and the space program and all of that has gotten out into the commercial world at all or whether it's difficult to there is just so secret, which developed a theory 51 stays at area 51. >> that's a really interesting question coming and i haven't heard about any commercial or application. it tends to be military and espionage. >> including the stealth and all of that? >> yes. >> the first attempt of which was apparently, according to the book, something of a disaster. >> yes. they tried to originally make the u-2 stealthy because of the pilots like her feet stockman were flying over the soviet union the soviets were able to track them right away to lead they couldn't shoot them down
because they were - up but they were called on board to try to make dhaka u-2 stealthy. it didn't work and one of the pilots was killed flying one of the planes that had been doctored up with some paint that was supposed to be camouflaged and instead it made the plane over heat. >> unfortunately we've reached the point there is time for only one more question, and kind of open-ended for you. was there one particular story that you found most shocking or surprising of the things you learned about area 51? >> you know, everything there was told to me was very ornate and very interesting, and i think all circled back to allow me to create the puzzle so to
speak, all these individual pieces that in and of themselves for fascinating to understand the bigger picture of erie 51 was what i found the most rewarding certainly at the end to step back and say this makes sense and why it's secret and what went on even though i probably only know a small fraction of it. winston churchill once said about coming and he was speaking about russia, she said it is an enigma wrapped inside a puzzle wrapped inside a rebel and he could have been speaking about. 51. >> our thanks to annie jacobsen.
[applause] >> thank you for venturing out on this rainy spring evening. i think i'm going to start us off by quoting groucho marx to the effect that before i begin talking i have something to say. so the first thing that everyone, absolutely everyone asks me is how julia child some six-foot tube with that incredibly distinctive offer the police ever managed to slip incognita behind enemy lines. the answer is simple, she didn't. but we will get to that later.
the other thing is despite what you may ever this morning and in the usa today, bone appetit was not a secret code. now, more serious, the most common question that i get is what on earth brought me to this topic, how did i come to write about julia child and more to the point, how do i know that julia child, the popular french chef television fame worked for the country's first intelligence agency? the truth is i read it in the new york post. i happened to see a headline, "secret recipes of spy," and a reported she the been the head of oss, office of strategic service, which does most of you know was hastily set up by president roosevelt in the early days of the war. it is the forerunner of today's cia. anyway, i was in washington at the time -- this would have been the fall of 2008 -- and i was on my book tour for that irregulars, which happened to be but a group of british spies in the early days of the oss.
and at that time, the national archives released a huge stash of previously classified documents. this was a huge, huge haul of papers, classified records, and a detailed the 24,000 people that had worked for the oss during world war ii. these records identified, for the first time, the vast civilian and military network of operatives who had served their country during the time when was threatened by nazis and by fascists. and some of these people were very notable, but very unusual and the most unlikely agent. yeah among them supreme court justice arthur goldberg, the actor sterling hayden, white sox catcher and the history and arthur schlesinger jr. but perhaps the most notable and unusual was a chef, julia child. now julie worked for the oss made headlines across the country. everywhere rent on the book tour the next few weeks people would
stop and ask me was she really a spy? what did she do? where did she go? and i didn't know the answer to any of the questions coming and so i began doing some research and one thing or another lead to the beginning of this book. now, like so many wartime secrets, julia child's oss career really was not a secret at all. the basic fact of her intelligence career could be looked up as easily as the ingredients to her recipe for quiche lorraine. late in her life she opened up a bit about her past. she had broken her vow of silence and talked a bit about her oss and mentioned a few paragraphs about it in her memoir "my life in france." it was mentioned in various books, one movie about her and paul had a brief bit about, and it was in all the obituaries when she died in 2004. as soon as the huge treasure trove of archives was released, there was great excitement about the new material that might be on a raft and caused a bit of a
stir to read after all, the cia held on to the classified documents for many decades and had been reluctant to release them and it took william casey, the former director of the cia intervened and finally convinced them to release the records and they began slowly releasing them in 1981 and the records of the personal or the last batch of papers to be released and julia child's 130 page oss personnel file, a classified document, gave the detail of her dynamic career in the intelligence agency made for some fascinating reading. the first thing that became clear to me as i some through the document is contrary to all the newspaper headlines, julia was never actually spy, but she very much hoped to become one when she joined the agency in december of 1942. like so many young people in the wake of pearl harbor, she moved to washington and was determined to try to serve her country. she was single, 30 and unemployed with several failed
attempts at a career behind her. she was also looking for a second chance in life, a chance to remake her life, a chance to do something special. she was the daughter of a well-to-do pasadena rancher. she had graduated, but she had spent most of her post college years as she admits as a social butterfly to beat she spent a lot of time playing golf and tennis, attending parties and generally having a good time. she was keeping house for her widowed father and lifting a very sheltered life. she was, by her own account, a pretty plain person with no skills. she didn't speak any languages and she had never been further out of the country than a day trip to tijuana. she always felt she was bigger than life. she always thought she was destined for big things. but by 30 come degette miserably failed to materialize. still, she was tall, very athletic, she was sure she would be unnatural for the army or navy reserves. when she was rejected, the form
letters came, too tall, the stated. [laughter] she was bitterly disappointed. she used family connections and got a job at the war department. was a low level secretarial job and she was a typist and she lifted and was determined to work like a demon to get promoted. she did and got herself transferred to the offices of the legendary colonel william wild bill donovan, the newly appointed head of the oss, a mysterious and shadow new intelligence agency. well, as one reviewer recently noted, the cloak and dagger business was like bread and butter to the young and juliet. she found a mysterious agency citing a glamorous as she left her brilliant and extend your colleagues. she soon found herself assigned to an experimental research project called the emergency rescue equipment section. she was working with an eminent harvard zoologist to get his name was-year-old jefferson coolidge and he was no less than a descendant of thomas jefferson. she was developing a repel that
could be rubbed on pilots down at sea to protect them. the conduct it all kind of bizarre experiments in designing the rescue kits and julia's responsibility was to go to the fish market early every morning for the fresh cash. for the first time in her life, she loved her work and felt she had found her niche, the place where she belonged. the oss, for all of its selectivity, was a pretty strange group of people. there were a lot of colorful personalities come and they had that kind of idiosyncratic lenient atmosphere of a small liberal arts college, and it had the same tolerance for oddballs and eccentrics. she heard the donovans idea of the ideal female employee was a cross between a smith graduate, a powers model and katie gibbs girl. finally, for once, julia had all the right qualifications triet she even had a private income after her mother's death that made her appear above reproach. the rumor in washington at that time was that donovan only hired
people from the ivy league and the junior league because he believed if you were well off you are less susceptible to drives. this didn't make him the least popular and the critics scoffed the oss stood for "au so socially and secret." the actual fact was that the oss did not begin recruiting until well after all of the other services have had their pick, and so, then was forced to scramble to find a real talent. faced with building a huge intelligence gathering operation and administrative bureaucracy virtually overnight, he had to get creative. but he knew the specific skills that he was looking for. he needed someone with the brains to make decisions on the fly, the street smarts to know when to throw out the rule book, someone with an abundance of self-confidence and an over developed and underdeveloped sense of fear. of course, these same qualifications could be used to discard any number of very dubious characters and critics leader charged that donovan's
lacked standards meant that all sorts of dangerous people were employed as spies. still, donovan began by hiring lawyers from his own wall street firm as well as prominent attorneys from other firms and businessmen that he knew. he recruited a wide variety of academic everything from psychologists and interpol to stand linguists' to mathematicians and even ornithologists who chased rare birds across asia. he recruited an assortment of creative types including artists, painters, writers and inventors. the time being of the essence, simplified the vetting process by keeping it all within the family. if oss had a girlfriend or sister who happened to go to college and have a decent typing speed, she would be brought in and promised a better job and faster advancement. if by any chance she had any foreign languages or lived abroad, she would be whisked off to one of their secret schools and start intensive training. now, while working for the oss in washington, june lee became
fast times with a number of young women that were actually training to become spies and she was green with envy. one of them was a young woman named jane foster. gene, like julia, was from a wealthy, conservative, west coast family. she was an adventure this california girl, but they're the similarity. jane was widely traveled, she had briefly been married to a dutch diplomat and stationed in shot up and spoke several languages including fluently. jane was everything julie yet felt she was not, wildly sophisticated and loring, would be an outrageous, bold and daring enough to be true mata hari material. while jane -- while julia was stuck collating final, jane was taking a crash course in espionage learning everything from forgery, cartography, cryptography, to the fundamentals of what the oss called martelle operations, how to create subversive propaganda and rumor campaigns to demoralize the enemy and create defense. another oss coley became a great
friend julie was named betty mcdonald. she'd grown up in honolulu, and she had been a young reporter in one of the very first on the scene after the pearl harbor attack. she was recruited by the oss because of her working knowledge of japanese and her wartime experience. she and julie would disappear, she and jane would disappear weeks at a time on orientation courses and small arms courses where they learn how to master a thompson submachine gun and called 45. now julia was desperate to go to france. but after 17 years of high school and college french, she discovered she couldn't speak a word. she had no special skills to recommend her for overseas service. so when the word went out that donovan was looking for warm bodies, anybody, to help set up and run a network of intelligence these is in india, burma and china, she immediately volunteered. she didn't care where she went as long as she got to go and there was a shortage and a newly
formed oss was woefully understaffed it's important i think to remember that when you think of the oss, you generally think about the paramilitary and the guerrilla operations. they get all the glory. you know, you think of the guerini images of agents parachuting behind enemy lines. but the fact of the matter is of the 13,000 employees, about 4500 of which were women, the vast majority spent their time writing reports, collecting and analyzing information and planning missions. so the fact that many of the oss's of boxter activities could be conducted from behind the desk meant that the women could be equally as effective. and so, while the majority of the women did remain in washington, helping to support the oss's far-flung mission, a very small percentage went overseas, and an even tinier percentage ever went into active operations. but the small percentage that
did go overseas, like jane, like julia and betty, they carried out their assignments of the same mixture of audacity, self-reliance and seat of the pants ingenuity that the dawn of an inspired and every one that worked for him. now, julia got her wish and early 1944 and she joined a contingent of all birds that were sent to india. but on the long months long boat trip, her travel orders were changed and she ended up being rerouted because lord louis, the dashing new supreme commander of the combined operations, had decided it would be much nicer, not to mention much cooler, place for his wartime headquarters. now, candy, which was a mountaintop resort that had once been a tea planters oasis, was not a hardship post. nestled in the hills was a good thousand miles from the fighting and was a picture postcard pretty. it had a little buddhist temple and a scenic lake where you could get a boat and go rolling with your boyfriend.
the personnel was put up in a joint british colonial hotel called the queens hotel. it was run down and overrun with rats and mosquitos but it looked grand. the office headquarters detachment for 04 of the oss and candy, was held on an old ki plantation a little bit out of town, and was made of scattering been depleted huts. the palm trees and the neat little patch of this running between the bungalows and the tidy little green tennis court made the whole place seem more like an island retreat than a wartime headquarters. while the setting was dreamy and romantic, julia's child was anything but. she was put in charge of the oss registry, known as the camp nerve center, and it contained all of the most of secret documents. the military plans and operations, classified cables from the joint chiefs of staff in washington, the code books, as well as the locations of all of the oss missions around the world and the real identities
and the various code names of the oss agents in the field. it was an important job. it carried a grave responsibilities, and it came with the highest security clearance. julia joked she even developed a high top-secret twitch from analyzing so much highly sensitive material. so, while she was never an operational agent going behind enemy lines, she did become a very able and effective intelligence officer. by her last few months in china, where she served in a remote military outpost at the foot of the burma road, she was working through very, very difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions. she carried on through a devastating flood that swamped the base, a raging cholera epidemic, an occasional outbreak of crossfire from the chinese revolution that was over running the camp. by the end, she was a seasoned veteran of the oss and she would allow slices of opium to the need of agents from a large loaf
which she said reminded her of boston brown bread but which oss staffers euphemistically referred to as the operational payroll. now, julia what often see leader looking back at the war meet me. it was her personal and political coming-of-age. it and used her with a new confidence and curiosity about life and it is where she met her mentor and her soul mate, paul child coming and embarked on a life altering a romance. julia met paul, who designed rooms for the allied general on the porch of a tea planters bungalow in ceylon, and she was immediately smitten. she was 41, a decade older and a head shorter. he was grow weary, withdrawn and somewhat difficult. his colleagues regarded him as a loner, moodie and said in his ways, not an easy man, julia confided to her diary. an artist, paul started out by skipping college and running off to work as a sailor.
he studied painting and sculpture in paris and spoke impeccable french kid he was a self-taught photographer, black belt, house builder and jack of all trades. he considered himself a connoisseur of the finer things in life. art, food, fashion, poetry, women. she romanced the officers in the attachment and after his initial advances were rebuffed became the best friends with jane foster who described from the diary as a wild messy girl always in trouble, always be an irresponsible he adored and admired her. jane had become famous while infamous in ceylon for her inspired scheme to release propaganda materials and encased condoms. her plan was to have a summary released off the coast of indonesia and they would flow to assure bearing their friendly messages of allied support.
donovan was skeptical but gave her the green light. [laughter] now during the year they were all in ceylon and jane and paul became inseparable and julia was left to ponder a man who took little notice of her. although it pained her, she wrote in her diary that she knew he was not attracted to her and like to more worldly bohemian types. she was not wrong in this and he did not reciprocate her feelings. paul wrote long letters to his twin brother, charles, in which he raised about her maquette personality and hilarious wartime escapades. and he would note in passing that julia was a nice girl with good legs. she dismissed her as a grown-up little girl, noting that 31 julia was as inexperienced and overly emotional and a virgin and was busy trying to be brave about being an old maid. not one to give up and sold, however, julia soldiered on coming into an early 1945, she and paul were transferred to
china while jane stayed behind where she was training the need is a chance and of running a subversive radio broadcasts. seizing her chance, julia monopolized paul's detention and went exploring with him to the out of town areas venturing to all kind of back alley chinese and tried to prove her mettle by guaranteed exotic delicacies from bb frog legs and pig's knuckles and sweet and sour sauce this resulted in days of the series commonly known as the rapids and the shanghai shits. [laughter] sorry, can i say that on c-span? [laughter] anyway. she was head over heels in love and paul, well, paul was still on the fence. he feared that they were from very different backgrounds, and she dreaded meeting her right-wing father. he worried that julia would revert from being a pasadena socialite at the end of the war.
she referred to the peace time lies to see how they like each other in civilian clothes. as they return to the states and the mentor separate ways. paul beckham washington and juliet to california. and she embarked on a mission to win him over. she subscribed to "the washington post" and "the new york times" much to her father's work so she could read what paul read. she even took up the novels of henry miller which she found x-rated but all adored and she took her first cooking lesson so she could make him a homemade kneal when he came to visit. well, after six months of a long-distance courtship and in increasingly steamy correspondence, paul succumbed to julia's charms. he allowed his heart to overrule, his hand to overrule his heart, and they were married in september, 1946. in 1948, two years later, the tunnels moved to paris. paul went to work for the usis, which is a branch of the state
department, and julia continued her cooking lessons of the kornbluh school to lead the reconnect with their old friend in paris who was a painter, and the founder married to a very odd of russian man, but as paul wrote in his diary that day jane was just as lazy, hazy, in practical and lovable as she had always been. the happiness of their reunion was short-lived, however, as they were all soon embroiled in the red spy scare. in only a few years after the war, the euphoria of victory had been replaced by new fears about the spread of communism and the cold war. ..
>> he kicked off his anticommunist crusade in 1950 with a peach in -- speech in wheeling, west virginia, and he had a list of communists employed in the state department. julia and paul were on the way to their post when the book-burning began. they were banned from the shelves of the usif libraries in
europe. paul had to take the books off himself and see that they were destroyed. rumors about where mccarthy's smear tactics might lead spread like wildfire. julia and paul watched in spay as career foreign officers they served for in china, among them some of their closest friendes, were accused of disloyalty and forced out, while others quit in disgust. somehow, mao's victory was being seen as part of a master kremlin plot. enabled by a bunch of secret communists in the state department known collectively has the china hands. j edgar hoover, the ambitious head of the fbi, was out to destroy general donovan's reputation, who reviewed as a threat to his espionage empire. donovan started burning the oss records of his former personnel. knowing that many of them, like
jane and paul, had been left of center. julia and paul's poignant alerts capture their atmosphere of fear and paranoia that permeated their small diplomatic circle. julia considered mccarthy to be a desperate powermonger and viewed his intimidation was destroying a country she loved. i'm terribly worried about mccarthyism she wrote her friend in 1954. what can i do as an individual? it's frightening. i'm ready to bare my breast, small sitessed though hey they may be. will sacrifice cats, cookbooks, husbands, and finally, self. inevidently, jane foster and paul childs became caught in the buzz saw of mccarthy's red spy hunt. on april 7, 1955, paul received an urgent telegram summoning him
to washington. their old friend, the reckless and pam flint jane -- flamboyant friend jane faster was being arrested as an spy. when she was arrested in paris, the authorities ransacked her apartment and found paul childs' name in her address book. paul and julia found themselves in the middle of a terrifying nightmare, full scale fbi epsage investigation, lengthy interrogations, and a drawn out, disspiritting state department investigation. friends, neighbors were questioned about paul's past, hi communist proclivities, his loose lifestyle, and his latent homosexual tendencies. if you want to have some verbal fun, he wrote julia in kess say, try to prove the two fbi guys you aren't a lesbian. how do you prove it? julia and paul decided they
would not be intimidated and chose to stand by their friends and their principles, no matter what the cost. in the chaotic months to come they had to -- -- ultimately, they would also have to come to a very painful decision about what jane was really a soviet spy or the victim of an overzealous fbi and an unscrupulous double-agent. i'd like to say that in the point of this book was to examine the complex issues this close knit group has to face in that controversial history yack era, and to explore the spragueing ways that personalities become destiny and how these two very adventurous california girls who came to be wartime friendses and intelligence colleagues came to
meet such different fates, one becoming a beloved american icon and the other ending up a lonely compile in -- lonely exile in france. thank you. [applause] >> do we have any questions? no questions? great-yes? >> how long did it take you to write the book? >> it took probably about three years. i had done the previous book about the oss, so i had a great deal of material, which helped speed up the process, and i was very into the period and the characters. but the last book i did was from the british side and this is from the american side and is
based on paul and julia's diaries and letters and i had a vast and colorful archive to work with. >> were the families any help to you? >> yes. all the families were very cooperative. in fact some of the families, even of minor characters in the book, who were oss colleagues of theirs, who were on the boat to india, work with them in champion, people gave me their letters and diaries, so the vivid descriptions, you get a lot of dialogue and a lot of scenes that make you feel as though you're there? the reason is they're drawn from so many die riz because i had so many characters, i limited the number of characters i named but all the incidents were true and happened, and julia stood out for obvious reasons, for her height and her very vivacious
personality, and jane, because she was very outrageous and infamous during her time there. so almost everybody had story to tell and an anecdote they remembered. >> that was my question as well. where did you get all the letters? were they found? >> they were from families. after that -- jane foster's family offered me personal letters and diaries. there's a huge archive that paul and julia childs left to harvard. other families also provided me with letters and die riz, and then i did an enormous amount of research in the military libraries, and repositories, where i found all the telegrams and intelligence reports that they filed, many of julie's memos, jane foster's reports, all of their superior's reports about them, and so i could really tell they were and what they were dug much of -- doing
much of the time they were abroad, and they all stayed close friends and exchanged letters throughout the '50s, and the letters are very moving about their fear of losing their jobs and what is happening to their friend. you can get a feeling for the times. during the time of the inquisition in washington, were the american people sympathetic to julia child? is there any record how they responded? >> it was paul that was taken in for the full loyalty inquiry, and actually because they didn't know it was happens, julia was still in europe. they were living in germany at the time, and he got this telegram summoning him back, and the telegram was very vague, and they even thought in the beginning perhaps he was going to be offered a promotion. and when he got there, nobody would talk to him, nobody would
meet his eyes or tell him what he was doing there, and it finally became clear he was in some sort of serious trouble, and then he was pull in for this long fbi interrogation, and he cabled julia in germany, saying, it's kafkaesque, and that went on for almost a month. they were able to unite again in paris, and it was several more months until he managed to get himself cleared, though in fact they continually investigated him for the next year. >> so it didn't become public in that sense that there weren't headlines about it. in fact, the sad thing is, hundreds and hundreds of people were under investigation in the '50s. the hollywood ten already happened. charlie chaplin had been under investigation for months and had fled to europe. so you had very high profile people that were under
investigation every day, and so paul child did not make the news. julia was not famous yet. she hadn't published her cook book. they weren't celebrities but their friends all knew and everybody in the state department knew, and it was humiliating, and terrifying, and they -- paul rightly predicted that his career would probably not recover from it. >> was paul brought before the committee itself or just by the committee investigators? >> he was subjected to a full loyalty inquiry that was the fbi investigated him. the united states information service investigated him. his past, going back ten years, and all of that, but he wasn't dragged before a senate subcommittee. in the end, even though they
thought he was about as liberal as you could get without being a communist, and they thought he was probably a homosexual and accused him of other sort of nefarious acts, julia was from a wealthy right ring family and her father was one of the earliy supporters of nixon and she pulled every string she could in washington and he was finally cleared. >> what role did paul play in her celebrity? >> that's an interesting question, and a complicated question to answer. if you look at the arc of their relationship, she was really a very insecure, as he put it, inexperienced girl when he met her, and she turned herself inside out to become someone he
would admire and one day love, and he in a way became her mentor, he eye educated her, shaped her interests, and through that she took up cooking, and fell in love with french cuisine, and she emerged from all of that a completely different person, a much more confident, outspoken, really charismatic individual, and she really credited him so much with that, that when she became a celebrity virtually overnight with the publication of her cookbook -- she worked on it while he supported her for ten years, it took, the first cookbook, and it came out, and it was an overnight success, and she literally stepped from being a nobody into the limelight and becoming a celebrity. and it was interesting, she would always you the plural, "we," we did that. in referring to herself and paul because of the tremendous debt
of gratitude she felt she owed him. >> i'm interested in the genre, the historical genre. >> that's a good question. i'm from a war family. my grandfather, was the president of harvard when world war ii, in the early days of world war ii, and he was appointed by president roosevelt to be one of the men that led the organization of the manhattan project and the development of the bomb. so, i grew up in the far east, and in came -- cambridge, surrounded by politicians that led the war effort and i got hooked on war stories and war movies at an early age, and it just stuck. >> what other books have you written? >> i wrote a book called "tuxedo
park" about a group of physicists who began experiments with radar and ultimately would lead the wartime project that developed all of the radar systems that helped win the war in europe. then i wrote a book about the development of the bomb in los alamos, and then i wrote a book about british spies, and the development of the oss, and that was called "the irregulars." so you can sort of see a theme. >> the lady in pink. >> what happened to jane? >> i can't tell you that. you have to read the book. but i'm glad you're curious. you have to find out. >> any other questions? yes, sir?
>> after these investigations were over, did the help -- >> that's one of the things that sort of very nice about the book, is you see different people's reactions. betty mcdonald went through this whole process as well. in fact she was married to colonel helper hepner who had bn their boss, and he helped burn the papers of the oss personnel before the fbi could get them. but she as well as julia and paul, never became bitter about the u.s. they were very bitter about that period, and they really hated mccarthy, but they stayed very optimistic in the ability of people to learn and change and, after all, they all returned to the united states and lived very happily in the united states, from 1960 on. so, they weren't bitter about
that but they did have very sad and complicated feelings about the 1950s, even though that's when so much good happened to julia and her career. she would always have very mixed feelings about that period of time. [inaudible question] >> i'm sorry. how helpful was the government to you in getting information? >> well, you don't want to say unhelpful. that's an active term. they make it hard for you. i had to order all the oss documents, and then for almost every character in the book, the fbi files. now, jane foster's fbi file is more than 65,000 pages. if you can imagine -- now, as
you get further in the book, you'll meet a number of other characters whose fbi files are longer. so, you get these papers in sort of packets at 200 at a time. everytime you request them, you need to wake and it takes three months. it's just a very arduous process to go through what we call the freedom of information act request. it takes the patience of a saint, and you don't get everything, and when you do get the fbi files, they're redacted. a lot is blacked out. whole sections are whited out. then you can go through a whole nuther set of appeals to argue they should give you those papers. i have a feeling i'm going to be receiving fbi files on paul and japan for -- and jane for years to come. i hope i don't find anything shocking. >> since they were such letter
writers, did julia or paul ever write a letter to mccarthy? >> no. not that i know of. so it's possible. i wouldn't think so because they pretty much hated him on sight from the beginning and it only got worse. they wrote an awful lot of letters about him, though. there's reames and reames of sort of angry portions against him in the hers and diaries, and it's fascinating to read how it darkens from the 1940s through the hollywood ten when they watched the persecution of the artists and directors and actors in hollywood, and then he moved and set his sights on the state department. you see their fear and anxiety deepen and it's really compelling reading. >> thank you all so much for coming today. [applause] a little less than an
all of washington's letters, so you can imagine our surprise the number of years ago when we received a letter from george washington. [laughter] >> written to us. >> he was alive and living, where else, but in cincinnati. [laughter] >> actually, it was a gentleman who claimed to be the reincar nation of george washington who was eager and willing to offer us his help in understanding the great man's life. sometime after that, a group of very well-dressed individuals came into our office and our then-editor in chief, bill abbott, met with them, and they said they had some materials and information pertaining to george washington they'd be delighted to share with us and help us out. so they seemed to be very respectable, so he invited them in and sat down, and they placed themselves near the only exit to
his office so he couldn't get out without passing them, and at that time they revealed they were spiritualists who had gotten in touch with washington's spirit and were in daily conversation. and willing to share information. again, about how washington lived and who he was. so on and so forth. so he had to sit there and listen to them for a while before they finally left. and a short time after that, i received an e-mail in my in box from a tabloid reporter in england, and he revealed that a number of volumes of washington's diaries, which had been thought lost, had been discovered in a scottish castle, and these diaries were particularly fascinating because they revealed what washington had done at valley forge and how he had really been able to get through that terrible winter encampment. he received aid from a strange
and unknown source that there was a mysterious tribe of indians living in the for rest -- forests, and washington thought they were greenish and called them the green skins and they lived in a big aluminum teepee in the woods, this reporter concluded with good reason that space aliens helped washington to win the revolutionary war. thus my inspiration for this book. [laughter] >> it truly is amazing, working at the washington papers, on the one hand -- and i've been there for 15 years now -- and working with washington's letters, and getting to know how he lived, how he breathed day-to-day, what his everyday concerns were on the one hand, and on the other hand the constant barrage of queries and questions and
information volunteered to us by the general public, and a lot of it is really very useful. there are people who are actually still discovering washington letters in their attics. there are people who have local information, who understand their local history, say, from alexandria, or fredericksberg or other areas where they really have information that can be very valuable to us. but on the other hand there are people who ask us questions like -- one person asked me, is it true that washington died in russia on an engineering expedition? or people we get a lot of queries from the press, and from others, asking about, did washington really say this? is it really true that washington said this? and there's so many washington quotations floating around now, and so many washington legends floating around now, especially on the internet, that it really
intrigued me, where is all this stuff coming from? what about all these statements that washington supposedly said about politics, about religion, about morality, about everything you can imagine? what about these stories that he did or didn't do that thing. what about, for example, the story that is floating around now that he smoked marijuana? that he grew it at mount vernon and liked to smoked for relaxation? where is this coming from? so, it intrigued me, and of course we all know the stories of parson weems, the cherry tree story, and now heres these modern stories, and how do we create a link? what does it mean about us and our relationship with george washington? washington died on december 14,
1799. and to us it seems like -- this is a victorian rendition, mid-19th century rendition of it -- it seems like a very peaceful scene, actually. there's a gentle sadness about it. it seems like he died peacefully at mount vernon, and americans shed a few collective tears. the great man has passed. and we are now going to move on and live by his example. actually, it was for most americans a wrenching emotional moment. it was an event that cast us into a state of anguish. we were mortified. we were terrified, what's going to happen now? the great man has passed away. we're on the cusp of a new century. into the 1800s. we are at war.
a lot of people don't realize that when washington died, he was in active military service as the commander in the field of our armed forces. when we were expecting at any moment we might be invaded. by france. there was period called the quasiwar. it was an undeclared war between the united states and france, and there was this fear that the french were going to invade to impose their will, and remember, this is really only a short time after the revolutionary war. less than 20 years. most americans could remember what war was like, and here it might come again. washington had been put by president john adams in charge of the army, and washington left a lot of the day-to-day business in alexander hamilton's care. still, he's the man. at every moment, at every crisis in our history, we had turned to george washington. so when he died, this wave of
emotion swept across the country as news began to spread very slowly across the country and americans learned that washington was gone. there was this outpouring of grief and public memorials and eulogies, remembering washington and who he was, and thinking about his example to us. ... the return of george
washington, and thus our friend par -- parson weems. he'd known george washington briefly in the 70's and had been a visitor not mount vernon and married into a branch of the family, and he had a kind of -- he was one of the many people who walked through mount vernon and drove them crazy when they were alive because there were so many visitors coming so she was one of them. so right after george washington dies, mason weems rights to his publisher in philadelphia and he says washington has just died. millions of people large gaping to read something about him. we can make a lot of money. that is what he immediately saw come and parson weems, i will keep calling him parson weems just to be nice to him, parson
weems saw the dollar bill in the washington long before washington was on the dollar will. [laughter] i'm glad you like that. i made it up myself. [laughter] but he did. he was in this for the money. he was in this to make gobs of money but he also to give him credit he wanted to bring washington to everyday americans. right after washington died, there were a number of biographies of washington that were published the best known by george marshall -- john marshall you can still get now. it's available, but was a huge ponders biography. john adams compared it to a mausoleum. [laughter] it's very dull, hard to get through, and it created a washington who's a very distant, who is that man of marvel, that statute, that image. the genius of parson weems was
he understood the was not enough. the statute was not enough. the painting, the image, the face was not enough. washington needed to be real for us. he needed to bring washington to schoolchildren, to grandparents, to farmers, pioneers, workers, to everybody. the best way he knew to do that was to tell a series of anecdotes about george the would make him into a real human being and make him into somebody the devotee could feel they could shake his hand and looked nti and tell him their stories and george washington would understand. it's almost as if they can feel i'm a farmer, i want to tell george washington to share with him what it's like for me to be a farmer, what it's like to tell
phil land, what it's like to raise children on a form three all of my struggles and george washington would be just like me. he would say yes, i am stand. it created a sense of connection not just with washington, but with the country to make people feel that they were truly citizens of this country. so parson weems tells these stories and they are very gentle, very easygoing. you get this feeling of love that flows through so george washington and his father, george is a little boy walking with his father and talking about the beauty of the trees and plants and the creation d.c. about them, and they come across this package, this cabbage patch and george looks at the cabbage and he says wow, the cabbage have sprouted and they say the name george washington and his
father had planted them that way and so the father goes on to say let's talk about the creator. let's talk about where we come from. and again, it is a very gentle. he's not wagging his finger and swatting at him and telling him what to think. she is inspiring him to think. and the cherry tree story is the same thing. it's a very gentle story about george washington learning the lesson of truthfulness. this painting that you see here is a satire created by a man named grant wood in the 1930's. it's called parson weems's table. this is a very different era and as you can see. it was a very cynical era, and it was a time when americans were tended to look back on these legends with a lot of contempt and cynicism.
and so he shows parson weems pulling back the curtain and seen a father talking to the boy and of course he has this ridiculous head of an old man. [laughter] but the other element that's here that is unusual is the sleeves in the background. and again, slaves were in visible really in the time after washington's death in the 19th century. people didn't talk about them in the context of george washington's wife, and it wasn't really until the 1920's and 1930's people began to see look, here's this other aspect a few washington was and must take a hard look at this and what this means. as of the painting of parson weems's sable has the same time that satirical element that is also a very serious element to it, too. there's a time of reappraising
from who washington was coming and i will get back to that in a moment. one of the things that helped weems to be so successful in his followers in the 19th century in creating these stories and these images of george washington was the tragedy of what happened to washington's papers. now when george washington was alive, he had fought very seriously about the value of the papers. he called them -- this is a direct quotation, a species of public property secret in my hands. when he was on his deathbed, and his last words he asked that his will be brought out. he wanted to know that martha was going to be taken care of but almost his last words were do you have record and preserve my papers? they were very important to him. after she died, the first thing that happened is that martha
burned the correspondence. there were only a few letters left, and there are three of them i discovered a fourth i will talk about in a moment. but all the arrests were burned. there were two things. one is that this was common at that time and these big planner family is that when one of them died the other one of one-third of their correspondence as a way of maintaining privacy but i think that martha also wanted to feel there was one part of george she would keep to herself because she had given him to the public, to the country throughout his life she let him go to serve the nation, and i think that she was feeling in some part of the mind this is one piece of my husband that i will always keep for myself in many cases the letters are gone the worst thing after martha died in the t-note to the
descendants of the washington family beginning with washington and going down through the years were careless about the papers, and they let pretty much anybody who wanted to come in and carry off any of letters they wanted. the hand them out to friends, they give them to people who were writing biographies of washington, and in particular, my arch villain, jared sparks, who was a historian from harvard, and he wanted to write the first submission of the writings of george washington and would only be selected letters that he wanted to write a biography and he believed washington was a great man, the greatest man who ever lived. as he went to mount vernon and asked can i have piles and piles of washington's letters come to come up to boston and i promise i will give them back, stultz
honor. will he didn't. a few years later he gave back a portion of what he had taken and he kept the rest, thus several volumes of washington's diaries have indeed disappeared. and are lost forever unless some have turned up in the scottish castle. there were many other letters that were scattered all over the country and all over the world. many of them were destroyed. we still find some that we have records in the 19th century so many people looking at them they literally fell apart. even now people are selling letters on ebay. there is an unfortunate tendency somehow unscrupulous manuscript dealer's think again earn more money if the capital seven to three word sections. sell each of them for a couple thousand dollars and again, these letters are lost forever. so we have a lot to thank jared sparks and his friends for. the washington papers were
deposited in the library of congress but there was only a portion of the original, and we found letters all over the world as far away as russia and japan and in private homes all over the country. use of the other george washington letter before. this looks like washington, but it isn't. this is a forgery by a man named robert spurring. the lots of washington's letters made it easy to create a new washington because the document was scattered. it was no longer there. but another thing that it enabled was the growth of forgeries. i mentioned nason weems as being the one who saw the dollar bill in george washington. there were many who followed. in the 1830's and 1840's, george
washington letters and founding fathers letters became big business. people still have this year ending to touch them and feel of the founders and feel that they were there and there is this craze to own a piece of washington and washington's legacy so there will be lockets of his hair spreading around and you think if all of these are authentic he probably had a huge main rather than just a regular head of hair, all this stuff but people were very interested in getting letters, washington letters. it wasn't long before the over journal letters became very hard to find and expensive so robert and his friends and scrupulous forgers and hucksters decided i can just copy washington's handwriting, make some kind of in significant note and select. they did the same thing with franklin later on in the 19th
century, they did with robert e. lee and with everybody. and so these forgeries are still floating all over the country. worse for people who exploited others in the name of making money off of george washington. and the first of those was p.t. barnum. a lot of people don't realize p.t. barnum made his name, made his original fortune off of george washington. but he did in the 1830's is he won off to kentucky and found an elderly slave named joyce have. he bought her and brought her back to the east coast and coached her, told her you are now 161-years-old. and you were george washington's nanny, and you're going to get
up on stage and in new york city and philadelphia and other major cities and you were going to talk about what it was like to be with george on the farm in mount vernon so he coached her with stories like the cherry tree and other stories from parson weems, put her on stage and then had her give her should be all over and over. she worked her 12 hours a day, 16 hours a day up to 20 hours a day. eventually she began to break down and collapse. people would come in, he would have her in a room, kids would come down and start walking her and try to get her up stet where she would start cursing and eventually completely broken down and she died. that wasn't enough for a hour good friend, p.t. barnum. he knew people were talking about how she was a hoekstra that none of this had actually happened, so he had her put on stage, her body and had a doctor
dissect her publicly. and knowing very well the doctor was meant to see was she really 161-years-old, the doctor dissected her and proclaimed know, she was only in her eighties to be devotee started yelling and hollering and p.t. barnum was joking and laughing with the rest of them. he thought it was hilarious. to move on to a somewhat more pleasant subject, sally fairfax. in the 19th century, in the mid-19th century and up to the late 19th century, publishers began to understand the feminine market for books that women love to read and books that were written appealing specifically to the women as to the interest. americans again women just like
men are very interested in the founder and want to understand him and feel like he could sympathize with them. so the interest developed in washington's life. chief among these interests was sally fairfax. now sally fairfax was a member of the wealthiest and most powerful families in virginia, the fairfax family. she was married to one of washington's best friends. well, it was rumored that georgia and sally had some kind of an affair, and in fact there was a letter that popped up that washington had written to sally just before he married martha, and he recalls a thousand tender passages that pass between house and passed. and some people were really
fascinated by this. and scandalized and they began to develop the story is that washington was a really ladies' man and that before he married martha and after he married martha she had all these affairs, all of these love affairs and he became really a very fascinating romantic figure. the other ingalls to that is what happened to martha to read what happened to her image in the 19th century. martha became the stereotypical victorian grandmother. worse than that people began to claim she was ugly, she was grouchy, she was always nagging george, she was stupid, she was a terrible, terrible and the george couldn't stand her she only married her for money but sought solace in the arms of other women such as sally
fairfax. none of these stories were true. it may well be before george got married to martha he had some episodes with other women and they had a dalliance with sally before he got married to martha but there's not one scud of evidence he was ever on faithful to martha during their life during their married life together. all the evidence shows to the contrary first all when they got married yes, martelle was wealthy but she was also a beautiful young woman, a widow but still a beautiful young woman. yet she was not formally educated but she was still very intelligent and the even more during their life together, they began to depend on each other. and as you see through the revolutionary war, that every crisis moment of the revolution, places like dolly forge, george needed martha to be there, and
she came and shared much of the world with him. martha's letters in some ways more fed it herself a disservice because the loss of her letters that people to speculate what was going on behind the scenes and found a number of years ago fourth letter the retreat known to survive. there was a note written during the revolutionary war met on the back of a letter from us that child to george and on the back was a note and the note said my love i wrote to you in my last letter about the silver cup that i purchased and here is what weighed. seems like an insignificant little note, nobody had paid attention to it but my left in this casual note in treatment
and we found out as martha's handwriting to georgia casual moment about an everyday thing and calling him my left and the did true love each other. the other aspect of washington in the 19th century that growth was the image of a pious washington. the image of a christian washington. this was important to people even immediately after washington died and parson would talk about washington and talk about him as being an outstanding christian man who's an example to the nation. in the mid-19th century in the late 19th century which is a very pious time when americans felt very seriously and strongly about their faith and religion and they also felt passionately about george washington, he was almost inevitable that the two
with connect and that the image of washington as a pious christian, the man who craved daily would be compelling to people but as a part of this need, part of the passion that need to believe that this was true inevitably also slipped in because people wanted to believe them. the image of washington playing in the snow at the laforge was originated by parson weems in one of the leader additions to the biography of washington. there's a story that when washington was at valley forge a quaker named isaac potts had happened upon washington out in the lives and she'd seen him kneeling in the snow and praying for deliverance for his army and
that the squeaker who before this had been completely natural in the revolutionary war he hadn't wanted to take sides that he was inspired by this not only in his own religious faith, but also he decided if a man like this can be in his knees and pray in the snow for this cause it must be a good cause. so he became converted to the revolutionary cause. this is a story that parson weems made a very compelling but it was a story that evolved over time and new versions of it developed and new stories developed. and so all kind of dozens, hundreds of stories entered into our folklore of washington getting discovered in prayer. this is the newest and most popular rendition of washington kneeling in the snow at jolie for java and i can give a whole lecture about how that image of washington kneeling in the snow developed over time.
now the truth is there's no evidence for this ever happening for washington kneeling in the snow, but that hasn't stopped it for being a powerful image. president ronald reagan left to refer to this. he said the image of washington kneeling in the snow at valley forge is the most sublime an edge in our nation's history. so, more and more stories develop. there is a story that got to the point of being a rather ridiculous there is a story of washington praying in his tent during the revolutionary war and it was a very special time for him. everybody knew don't bother the general when he is praying. well, nathaniel greene much to his sorrow blundered into the tent george washington stood up and fired his pistol at him. fortunately he missed, but nathaniel greene was terrified and ran away and didn't ever bother him at prayer again. and this was the story that
spread through the 19th century many people believed it to be another story the was very popular and developed in the story of george washington's that some. this is again the story that there was no solid evidence that anything like this happened but it developed and gather strength for the time and the 19th century people passionately wanted to believe it and they spoke about washington first being baptized. the original story was that this happened at all the forge. in the winter at valley forge. [laughter] that washington went to parson and said i've been convinced of the truth of god's word and i would like you to baptize me in the water. and of course like many stories of this type, washington usually says now this has got to be private. i don't want anybody to see this. so there are no witnesses. but is supposedly happened. i like to imagine what it was
like really going into the river and in january of 1778 climbing out. the story later developed and changed and it was shifted to a somewhat warmer location and the potomac river. he said he was baptized there. this is the reverend who supposedly it did it but then i was moved north again and somebody said no, it was in hudson. [laughter] all of these reflect, again, a powerful and passionate need to feel that washington was one of us. if we are believing christians and we believe in our nation, there is this powerful need to believe that washington was with us, that he would understand come he would support us. and now this image of washington a christian has become a compelling. there are quotes that gwen becker likes to use and sean hannity that washington supposedly said it is impossible
rightly to govern the world without a dog in the bible, and this quotation is all over the place, you can find it on the internet there's no evidence washington ever said or wrote it and was most likely made up in the 19th century by somebody else. but again, there's this need to believe it. now, what was washington, was he a christian, what did he really believe is a very difficult question to answer to be to weaken the surgeon on the one hand he was not an atheist. he was not a deist, he was also on the a forehand not an evangelical christian. he was not powerful the interested in the theology and the forms of christian religion to be heated to church but he was careful not to take communion and not to kneel. why he felt that we we don't know. he didn't mention jesus christ and his correspondence, and he didn't talk about on his
deathbed. i believe he was a very moral man, very virtuous man. he was influenced by the stokes and he took his feelings about morality very seriously. and indeed, if you had asked him are you christian, he might well have said yes. but his sense of christianity is very difficult to get ahold of. we just know it wasn't on one of the extremes. >> welcome that is a very powerful image of washington and this is another powerful image of washington. [laughter] developing in the late 19th century the early 20th century is the washington lithology gathers strength and develops in the centennial in 1876 of the revolution, the declaration of independence and beyond that. americans became fascinated with historic homes and historic buildings.
well, now you know if you own a restaurant or if you owned the historic in or bed-and-breakfast there is one thing you need to succeed you have to have a ghost. in the 19th century you have to have george washington, you have to say that washington slept here. it became a very kind of powerful tourist attraction so people all over the country and in these old buildings would put washington slept here in the windows and sure enough it attracted people. they get to the point they would handle souvenirs and the acclaim after washington tumbled out of bed that morning in the revolutionary war they couldn't bring themselves to make the bed again savitt closed-end tumbled and everything and said this is how they loved it. they also enjoyed displeasing washington's chamber pots. [laughter] they were a little bit more coy about that, but they did do it. it got to the point in the early
20th century that the washington media became washington got out of control. washington cigar wrappers and washington apples, washington ceremonial hatchets that he shot down a cherry tree with supposedly. it's all over the place. inevitably there is a reaction to it after the first world war moving into the 1920's and 1930's it's a different time from the 1800's. it's a time when people believe they needed to overturn the old ways of thinking, the old ways of doing things and patriotism and abroad and world war i has shown and the payment lead to destruction we have defined a new way. in the 1920's in america people
began to feel that washington was part of that old way. and then entered robert hughes shown here rupert was a hollywood mogul and author and with another man named w. a. woodward decided they would keep on washington as being representative of the old ways there were quite cynical about it, they bowed to the stories about where that originated from and is popular in the 1920's and was associated with henry ford and how she liked to say to me and nonsense. wa woodward and robert hughes and the elected troops being deloused in a world war i and said it can be deloused, washington can be debunked. that is where the word comes from. that's where started and they didn't try to destroy the washington left the tour
washington down to the daughter. they claimed that he was a cigar smoking champion cursor who had deformed hands and was an incredibly ugly and looked like an ape and appalled at any woman that came his way and they were always jolting him that he blundered his way for the revolutionary war. all this stuff got completely out of control, and the reaction was washington was torn down so far and they were so successful tearing them down that americans lost interest. even after 1930 to the bicentennial of washington's first it was a gala affair people talked about washington but was always a flat two dimensional image as washington who really doesn't have any meaning to him to read in the
cold war you never see washington propaganda you don't see in movies except in one really bad movie i talked about in my book called when the redskins were in 1951. he's gone, he becomes this very kind of distant two dimensional figure in americans lose interest. the author of still one of the best selling biographies of washington ever known he decided that washington would be his indispensable man but he became washington's indispensable man because he breathed life back into washington, but he did it in kind of an unscrupulous way. he was a great writer, a great storyteller and he decided let's not just rely on the documents any more. i can start telling stories to
make him come alive so he would start with a document that said a letter washington was sick and he came home from the french and indian war, a good deal. she writes the story from that of washington sagging on his horse riding up to the doors of mount vernon sliding out of the saddle staggering on to the doorway pounding and crawling up the stairs in his room throwing himself on his bed and then a letter arrived from sally fairfax and he bolts of his bed and suddenly he's full of energy again. this was his gift he was a storyteller, and he was very successful. as we enter into the era of ronald reagan and his biography is turned into a series on television and ronald reagan is talking about george washington,
a new era of george washington mythology begins and a whole new era of founding fathers pathology begins the founders are very popular now. and george washington is very popular now. and i'm going to end on this. washington as renowned as he should be. he exhibits such as this one at mount vernon, and mount vernon's new visitors center and orientation center of is absolutely amazing. if you haven't been there you need to go of making washington again into a living and breathing human being who lived in action filled life who have all kind of exciting things and continued to be a leader and the authentic at the same time better now this george washington, this man on horseback, this man of character
still swirled dozens and hundreds and thousands of myths and stories, stories that we believe often because we want to believe them, because they seem to bring washington to us and bring him into our lives. the one lesson this shows is that we still need the founders. we still need george washington. all of us are still fascinated by it and not to be a two dimensional image we want them to be real. is it a mixology bad thing? i will leave that to you to decide if. it can be funny, it can be infuriating, all of the false quotation, the false stories, they can make you laugh like a space alien story or they can make you angry like the false
story that he had a child with a slave or the store that she smoked marijuana as ultimately ridiculous and annoying because it's not true. but do they help us to feel inspired? to the help us to feel the interested in washington as not just, you know, some and tried a steeper but somebody who is still part of our society. if you see washington and mount vernon and see them on horseback, it looks like we don't need to worry because washington is still with us. thank you. [applause] >> i will be happy to take questions. i believe that our folks here will be calling on people and to
ending the microphone. >> you have an estimate of how much washington's papers are missing percentage weiss? >> we have at the washington papers only copies, but we have identified copies of 140,000 documents. i would say that a number of documents that are missing or have been lost or are still out there and undiscovered are probably in the realm of 20 to 30,000 or possibly more. it's hard to say but it's a good percentage. like i said, several volumes of the diaries are still going to re-enter periods in the correspondence like now we are working in a revolutionary war there are huge gaps everything is gone, and so there is quite a bit still out there.
>> with all of the books about george washington, how can one be sure that what they are reading is really off into a courtroom? >> that is a really, really good question. >> you know if i wrote it. [laughter] truthfully there are many authors who can write beautifully and be very engaging who also make a strong effort to do the research and to base what they are saying on actual facts. i think ron sharnak is a wonderful job of that. he really tried very hard to make sure that he was basing what he said on the actual documents and actual truths, but he's also a beautiful writer. so, you look at their notes, their bibliography. i hate this trend now. so many history books to get rid of the notes and the
bibliography and the index because they think somebody will look at that and say this is going to be boring academic book. if that stuff is not there, if the author isn't saying where they got their story from within the kind of weary. just because it sounds good doesn't mean that it's true. >> the letters found in the bank and alexandria several years ago in the last ten years, and we happen to know what happened to it and who has the content? >> unfortunately i don't know what has happened with that >> it's an interesting question because these types of things are still turning up in the attics and an old trunks, but even when that happens, it
doesn't mean necessarily that they are authentic. there is a quote on quote george washington prayer book that was discovered in an old trunk in the 19th century and sold by a very reputable house in stand thanks as being george washington's book that he supposedly read every day but it was a hoax. there was a forgery. so these discoveries are being made and they are wonderful and fascinating, but we still have to look at them very carefully to see if they are real or not. >> what was the general position on the native americans your? how do you relate to them and what was the philosophy about them? it's been a question about washington's's of philosophy on the native americans is a very sensitive one, and there is some people who have published books and articles recently claiming
that washington was brutal and wanted to exterminate the indians and hated them. that is not true. washington did have high regard for native americans. he tell you their culture and believed that they would be great allies as they were great fighters during the revolutionary war. so, he got to know as he was on the frontier as a young man working on the frontier he got to have experiences with indians to meet them, to learn about their culture. yes, he didn't understand them entirely, and yes, he felt sometimes the only way to deal with them as by force during the revolutionary war he sent out something called solvents expedition to put down the confederacy and did so quite brutally, but washington had a kind of an ambivalent view but very interesting.
>> one of the stories of washington is that he had copied on the rules of stability and carried around with him. is that so, and if so, where is that a copy of captured in the documents? >> the rules of some devotees, washington's rules of civility this is another thing when people first read them, they assumed he had written it himself when he was a young man that he had made them up. there are dozens of them that talk about everything from how to speak well and be polite to things like don't spit into the fire and don't scratch under your arms. it turned out that what they had come from is the copied them from an old boy believe 16th century prayer book or book of morals that he hadn't made them up himself. people still debate to they believe they should follow them or did he write them as a
penmanship exercise just to learn how to develop his hand. i tend to believe it was more of the penmanship side them the moral side but there's plenty of room for debate. i do think of it there is no question that the moral rules and principles of behavior and etiquette are extremely important to washington. >> i actually have two questions. one is recently i talked to two different people and one said that washington was an atheist and the other said he was a deist. is there evidence to say that what is religious beliefs were and what do you believe there were and the other question is how do you often tickets the documents are genuinely from washington? >> i'm sorry, the question was over here. >> how do i feel about washington's belief? as i read his letters and a fertile of them over 15 years of
the things that i see creeping through is the influence of stoicism and the ideals of stoicism which had much to do with christianity, and the sense that there was an all wise, all knowing providence as he called it who governed or helped to direct the actions of men. this was still listed. he didn't think we just about down and accept how things are predestined to happen but he believed that each man, each woman was given a choice of roles in life to follow. they were given a choice of duties and responsibilities to follow. he felt for him as others providence let out a path for him of duty, responsibility, country to family and to everything else he was actually a very idealistic thinker and people don't quite get there. it there was a lot of talking as
a pragmatist, he was an idealist, he believed in sacrificing himself. how he felt about his face fifa and relationship with god is something that we will never be able to know for sure. we can say the forms of their religion or something that is going to george baker church facing daily prayers and wasn't something that he really followed carefully. there's no evidence he said prayers daily and there's no evidence you read the bible because he quotes from and sometimes, there is no evidence that he ever did that. did he respect people of different faith? absolutely. and he did believe that religion was important. the free exercise in practice of religion is important to a free and ordered society. and he went to protestant churches and catholic churches,
synagogues, he attended different faiths but he didn't actively participate so i think we need to keep him away from the extremes on one side or the other. >> the masonic temple in alexandria, can you comment on the contribution making the stature of george washington? >> that's a really good question, and washington as a mason, masonry was important to washington. he was a mason, he followed, he attended the masonic ceremonies, she was an active participant, but it's important to remember that freemasonry was extremely important in the 18th century as an entry into social life, political life really if you were anywhere in the upper tier society you are in politics or
governance you have to be mason. it was a very important fraternity, and if you were not a member you were going to have trouble getting by. so, part of it was something he had to do. it appears she actually enjoyed it as well but how he felt about the freemasonry we don't really know. however since washington's death obviously they led his funeral, his funeral was a masonic funeral, and since washington's death it may have been active in promoting washington as one of them and some of their efforts they have created just like it reveals a kind of washington lithology as washington as a mason and is supposedly being the only primary thing in his life which it wasn't, it was one of many things in his life.
in australia, there is an enormously high level of patriotism that comes with voting. people seeking as a civic duty. -- people see it as a civic duty. fred says he cannot show up and make a statement. is far more effective to show up and vote for none of the above and not to turn out where we do not know why people are failing to turn out. let me address the ignorance issue. i am as appalled, perhaps more so than fred, about the level of ignorance of these is in the society, and i might make a deal with you, if we could have these tests for presidential candidate so we no longer get one who says what we really need is to read the constitution and then quotes from the declaration of independence, another one who says that a shot fired round the world came from new hampshire, if we could get a more better
understanding of history of people running for office, maybe we could find a different way. >> that raises an interesting point. since you are denouncing disinterested voting -- should there be than a literacy test so people who have a certain level of knowledge? knowing that the word literacy test is hardly freighted our society, but you may be eager to point. but it is not an ignorant point. it is a rational point. people spend very little time -- we're all busy people, to learn about things about which they can do during -- very complicated, it's a low priority item. those people have problems, what they are going to do on vacations, what college they should go to, and most people, and this audience and i are different, most people cannot read the federal register before they go to bed at night.
there are other things that occupy their time. they're not stupid. they are rationally ignorant in political science terms. people allocate their times in ways they see as having value to themselves, and voting in most situations does not fall into that category. some do. nor certainly does. i do more than most. most people in this city care about politics and about it a lot. for most people, does it matter whether your senator's name is murkowski or mikulski? occasionally, and it is important, we reach these periods, the green party perot tend to say we do care.
we will vote and that people do because they are and passion, they care deeply, and they vote. norm wants people who are boring and spend their time voting. it says it does not matter much if your name is mikulski or murkowski? would it matter much if your name was obama or busch? taking a glib exam all, universalizing it to imply that elections have no consequences, and are not important to people because they have private interests, because that also clear -- care about what they pay in taxes, whether their child will be a well educated -- fred implies elections to the matter. >> i disagree with that, and of course, if your name is mark kautsky -- murkowski -- was
bumped off the ballot in alaska because a small group of extreme voters decided they did not want her to have the nomination. there's a difference to me if your name is bob bennett, a conservative figure whose instinct was to solve problems along or a man who has replaced .n call mike lee, i think it does matter, and i should of other things. we have lots of research that shows that it is not as if nonvoters art this group of apathetic the ignorant people, while voters are engaged and much more involved in fact, the little bit as between voters and nonvoters in a larger sense are not much different. the difference, once again, is we are creating a group of
candidates, and we are creating the focus on issues that has moved away from what most voters think or what. i will go back to the examples, a majority of republicans think that part of the deficit solution is in increasing taxes on the rich. you cannot find a single individual in office in congress who believes that now. and we have a process of voter suppression. in fact, we have a party is actively engaged in trying to make sure that the other side's voters do not vote. >> why do people not vote? probably not one single reason, but fred implies tweedle dum, italy, and anybody is allowed to run if you're over 25 or 30 for the house or senate. >> some choices arhave difficuly identifying what their ideology
is. politicians tend to camouflage those with the compliancy of the media who are not interested in -- >> not every election is of no consequence, not every election is not to kill them, tweeting ee. d actually, we voted half the rate of western european countries, which had conditions comparable s? our spiri >> i hope if we manage to get mandatory attendance at the polls, it would force the other changes in our election system. the and i did state is the only significant democracy -- the united states is the only the marcy that puts the burden on
the citizens and not on the state, and we make it a difficult process. we make floating a difficult process. we need floater registration modernize aging. we need to change this process so it becomes easier for people to register and to vote, and among other things, i helped create at organization called why tuesdays? it is not because it is written in the constitution. it is because it is on market day. i would like to move our elections to the weekend. they have a couple of days of early voting. he to make it easier for the of the vote, easier for people to register, you need to move away from the missions that there are incentives to keep this limited to a french or small crew of activists, and open up the crisis, and make it less the vehicle for people to vote, even
as we provide a modest hurdle if you do not vote. >> before i asked frederick why people don't vote, if those reforms you suggest occur, just began voting, a holiday, as it is in port re, curly voting, which is a majority of voting, same-day registration, campaign finance reform, why not try that, a critic could say, before jumping to mandatory voting? >> and for all of those things and work hard in those areas. in some respects, we are slipping forward down. the supreme court issued another misguided decision today, keys in arizona, basically making that the starke logical argument on the usual 5-4 vote that more speech is suppressive speech his cause these multi millionaire candidates, if somebody has a
little bit of money, putting their own money into the campaign, it will deter them from spending their money. a logic that just escapes me. we're not moving the right direction there in terms of getting a broader pool of good people to run. some of these registration and other who for various move very slowly. that is not to say that he should not do any or all of them, and it is not to say if we did all the other things, maybe we would not need to move in the direction of mandatory attendance at the polls. >> why do you think are turnout in voting is so low, and you, would you support some of the reforms short of mandatory voting, that nor has articulate? >> we are getting to one of the core differences of the debate, we're talking about process changes within a status quo order.
government is still going to be making decisions on where we go to war, who will be subsidized in our society, gets to marry him, so forth. when government has those kinds of power over our lives, massively more than they did in the founding towns, naturally we engage those who have the intensity about those the greatest. the things that norm concerned about is stemming from the fact the government is skirling too many people's today in many ways. norm once a world when everybody gets along lies, when everybody is nice to each other. i cannot know if that is existed. he sees gridlock and difficulties in government getting its critical work on as a problem. i see it as one of the greatest
things possible. given the things that government has done, which take away freedoms, it is time to think carefully about why is it that people vote last put because government is so big it becomes increasingly harder for us to monitor it, and we say i would do the best i can, and a little island of freedom that survives, let others figure out to take the responsibility to -- >> it is easy to say government is too big, because none of us know if she be however the. may i get specific. he said the government is more -- intrusive than at
the founding. george washington did not know about nuclear power, did not know about wiretapping. i assume he did not think about same-sex marriage. what you are seeing is that if he simply shrink government, are you saying we should not regulate the nuclear power? should we continue to isolate marriage the opposite-sex couples to wiretapping is the free market. if the government wants to eavesdrop without a warrant, they can, gets the senate. don't you want the best people to -- deciding these issues, or nt want government not deciding these issues? >> i want government to decide these issues. the political sphere gives us the kinds of questions we have been discussing the state,
people who are less informed, less caring, less concerned, making -- being encouraged to make decisions that affect my life. one of the great things about -- there are areas that are that with greater complexity comes greater need for control. the opposite is clear. with greater complexity, we have to use the dispersed knowledge and concerns of more people, and that means this person now. we're not d centralizing it. policies are what are, but they are not more brilliant or knowledgeable as we are in our entire day. we need to find ways -- marriage -- how did marriage become a state-sanctioned value? we created america in part to get away from state-sanctioned the use. catholics and protestants kill each other's by the millions in
your. why -- who can be married to him as a relationship become a question of staying power where some states go one way, other states go the other way? should not be a private matter? wicca -- we are so blurred -- in the personal lives we've lived, we end up with a kind of poor story that and norman and i believe it. i do not want government making these decisions. >> i a respect fred does not want government making these decisions. that is different from the livelihood tomorrow, that if indian. decides to build a nuclear plant next year, he would want to know if there were seized and their it's beyond that as the owners of indian point. let's presume government will
continue to regulate and intervene in ways that all modern economies suggests. bibby fred will overrule that. until then, can you respond to his arguments that if the answer is always the government, is always too vague, and political elections are not important enough to motivate people to learn more about the candidates? >> as i was thinking about his restaurant analogy, i was thinking how much he will and enjoying it if we did not have the plant/animal inspection service at the department of agriculture. the fda, inspect the additives in food coming from china, the meat inspections took 9 million pounds out of the restaurants and off the shelves, and the marketplace could handle that. you see people dropped it in restaurants and you say i do not think i will go there anymore. i am not sure i like that kind acrof --
>> when the fda screws up, its budget goes up. there is a difference in the visible between a political mistake and the private mistakes. >> with your friends, congress has been ready to slash the number of meat inspectors, which means many more pounds of tainted meat. i believe in meat and poultry and added it inspection. >> e-coli bacteria spreading? ta.k at the day did they subsidize it? >> i do not want to flip it to a debate of mandatory -- fred suggested there is a relationship between the size of
government and the drop in turnout required that has not happened. we have had problems with turnout, and the drops in the recent decades, it actually went out in 2008, but the drop as far more to do with the regulations of registration that government provides and the enormous mobility that we have in the country. it's those things, it is not whether in the history of turnout is people getting turned off by the size of government. one other point -- fred said i want a world where everybody ax nice. -- acts nice. want to have a rough-and-tumble debate where we is share a common set of facts and the outcomes on issues. i want to have a wide range of and irepresented t and,
want a larger segment of disparate views represented in washington, not those who reflect the large and disparate society we have. >> fred said there is a loss of liberty, and it may be small, but he is concerned about that. i find it when this topic comes up that people go to that argument first. i will say 30 years ago when i worked for ralph nader, i would interview law students, 100 a week during the season, and i would ask them, the you think of mandatory voting, because i knew they had never thought of that, just to see if they could think. 99-1 people were against it, because their first impulse is we do not have it -- let me ask you a question of principle. you can have a territory and
quist of authoritarian governments like russia, or you can have most people thinking too weak governments, the articles of confederation, which did not have adequate ability to conscripts to fight the british and to tax. what are the principles that would distinguish between a government taking away your liberty, compulsory jury duty, vice, and when is overbearing and wrong? how do you distinguish? >> there is a continuum here. i would start with one realization that we all want to have. this is not going to happen because americans react against mandatory things and they will react against mandatory voting. if you look at societies and countries like portugal and
belgium and australia that have versions of mandatory attendance at the polls with modest fines, you do not find a set of that loss of freedom that citizens feel. you find instead the opposite reaction, a pride in getting out the vote because it is a civic duty and responsibility. i just do not see this when i look at the potential for changing our dialogue and moving from the course of this that we have now toward something that might be better. different incentives making it easier for people to vote and broadening the pool of people who are willing to run for office against having to write a letter to get out of paying a $15 fine, i just did not see it. >> what are the universal principles, because right now somebody can inoculate my child, inject them, even though i may not want it, someone make it script him or her, forced him or
her to go to school, what is acceptable government coercion, and what is unacceptable by your standards? >> that is the core question. we are a society based on that the government, and deciding where those limits are is a critical question. norm set a continuum. the difference between qualitative distinctions is made in the constitution, and quantitative distinctions which is what we so often are talking about today, what poverty level should be set, he should be subsidized and who not? those are more complicated because there is no moral principle. there is nobody who is thought to fight a battle over 5.5% and change in something.
during that nuclear age, nuclear power, nuclear weapons down to very small tonnages. it was deadly important because people of the stored when qualitative lines had been crossed, so the court's interpretation, but a constitution concept is to create barriers for much government shall not go or must go. a black-white situation. to modifyprocess fo those distinctions. when we go to a continuum concept where everything is more or less by little bit more, there is no moral of a anymore because we are in a world of the a little bit more, a little bit less, who cares?
what can i do about it? there's a difference between quality the government and quantitative government, and one of the things i fear is america lip, still world were government can do anything. >> let me pull it back to voting, because we could have a debate, may be in your head to series, whether children should be inoculated against disease, by the government, if the parents do not want it. that is an interesting subject, and there is a 99-1 majority not against mandatory voting, but for in chocolate and children. that means -- for inoculating children. he did not simply on a tuesday, as in industrial timeslot schleop to the voting booth.
if you registered that day, there was a whole history of mutual sounding standards, poll taxes, literacy tests, that discriminated by race. are you or were you for any of those reforms, short of mandatory voting? >> that early voting we should come back to, the of registration, i cannot see why that is a bad idea, although one of the things route had me read was a discussion of the jesse ventura campaign, and acorn was involved with setting up people until last week or so when the realized everybody was going to vote for ventura. early or late registration allows those surges which may or may not reflect wise thinking. the second one was -- >> all the reforms. >> voting by mail -- that kind
of premise voting bothers me in the following sense. one of the great things we have had our society, and many societies did not have, the secret ballot. he may be subject to massive pressures from friends, family, a your employer, your roommates, but you go into the boat and no one knows what you're doing, and i think we are confident that happens. if you have or early voting, what is to stop your friend from coming over and say let's do our wallets together -- our ballots together? >> i have been a strong opponent of vote by mail because you lose a zone of privacy and you trivialize the voting. as for early voting, i am only for early voting for two or three days. some people go away for the
weekend or they are not around. you can address that by having voting on the wednesday, thursday, friday before the weekend where you go to an official place, cast a ballot in secrecy, and then the ballot is secret. and other problems with vote by mail is you can have weeks of people voting before you actually have all the information from a campaign. >> a more fundamental question that is that particular regulation, candidate, acorn, jesse ventura, we can have counterexamples easily. critics of the current registration voting system say our entire democracy has a class bias against low-income people, minorities, younger voters, because they give less money,
which is self-evident, suppression office -- efforts often work against them, as we know historically, civil war reconstruction, etc. let me start with norm, the you think there is -- of your people, over $100,000, vote in twice the turnout of people as being under $30,000. the class bias assume by this question, is that a problem? are you for mandatory voting, or is it something that the government cannot do something about? >> and that sends, if you have -- since, if you have mandatory attendance, he will go away with a class bias out there. we're getting all kinds of things going forward like restricted voter i.d. laws that
make it much more typical for people without means or without mobility, and that includes a elderly people, who may not have the right documents and to get those documents you have to pay money. and not against voter i.d. in principle, but it needs to be something that is provided for free the people that is easy for them to obtain. they do not have to go 30 miles -- >> argument is the overall class bias would get worse. >> that is part of what i think in the current system that we have is we are going to get a selective voter suppression for reasons of not just class, but who people are right to vote for. it is not a driving reason for me to push for mandatory
attendance at the polls, but it is one. >> to agree there is a built-in class bias because public campaigns are privately funded and poor people have less money, and historically turned out less frequently because of suppressed efforts? >> historically people had strong resurgence, and as i think our gagne -- and most i think are gone. in australia, we find people whose ballots are spoiled and exactly the people who would not have voted anyway. we are not seen a difference in that situation. >> excuse me for interrupting. before, they had 47% rate of voting. now they have 95%.
they have increased the voting. >> that people whose votes are spoiled, they're not filled and, to for reasons, but the majority of those reasons are because those are the people who find it hard or are embarrassed ask assistance, and people would have been excluded, who would not have gone to the polls if we had not had mandatory voting. if we had mandatory voting, then what would be the incentive of the powers that be to enforce those laws against the nonvoter? when they go more aggressively against those who would be likely to vote for them and push them to the polls and larger numbers, leaving alone those who were not current to vote for them, and let them sit it out there is always a danger, and i think experiments like this, which involves an element of
coercion, are likely to lead to unexpected consequences, and as the acorn experiment said, an effort to get out of the disease when they realized the boat they were trying to get out was not on their side. >> any administration, the obama administration could enforce the civil rights laws, the tax cuts, get the democrats, that the republicans. of course there is discretion. fred raises a fair point. mandatory voting will require more resources to enforce, and sent people like jehovah's witnesses, people who are too ill to vote. you creating an expensive bureaucracy, and is there a risk of unintended consequences is it risk of unintended
consequences? >> we've had at times italy and bolivia, and i have not seen any specific instances where governments selectively punished those from the other party. any more than governments now which administer parking regulations decide they're going to enforce parking tickets against those whose license plates tell them live in a part of a city that wouldn't be voting for them. that's not likely to happen. as for the enforcement, it costs money. a trivial sum in relationship to a $14 trillion economy. but what we also know is it you look at the system for enforcing parking tickets, for example, this is not a difficult thing to do. you know who is on your voter
registration roles. you know who shows up. you know whether they've sent in a letter or found some reason for an excuse. just now if you get a parking ticket and don't pay it, a month later you get a notice saying you haven't paid your parking ticket. it works the same way. >> in australia, one way you avoid this is by not registering. i don't know enough about this law. if you don't register to vote then you're not under this law. >> if you don't register, you're not under this law. what they do in australia and almost all of these countries -- it's not true in all of countries. in some countries you have to register and you have to vote. in many of these countries they make it very easy to register and the burden is on the state and there are less than 20% now in australia but people don't register. >> what is it in america? >> we have in america about 40%
who don't register. >> hold your questions for each other. but let me pursue the point what do you do if someone doesn't vote. if you have mandatory voting or voter duty like you have jury duty, do you have voter duty and could you have a positive incentive? for example, there is a country to motivate people to vote, if you vote you could be in a national lottery with a small but mathematically sure benefit of potentially winning. you could say that only if you vote can you be eligible for a public sector job. let's exclude in america or anywhere that you imprison people for not voting -- you're not for executing people if they don't vote, correct? too much government. >> only in texas do we execute people if they don't vote. and there will nobody pardons in texas, also.
>> are there positive ways for voter duty or mandatory voting, so you avoid the problem of fining poor people if they don't vote? >> i would say if we have a lottery and a billion dollar prize, you'd probably up your turnout very, very significantly. maybe you get to audition for "dancing with the stars" or "american idol." >> let's get serious. is that a plausible, positive motivation? >> it's actually been suggested in some localities and other places. and when we do see the mania over some of these lotteries, you know, perhaps that would work. of course doing something like that does get you dangerously close to officially sanctioning gambling but since we tend to do that all across the country anyhow, maybe that wouldn't be so bad. >> now, do any of you have a sense of any history in this
country of mandatory -- i read the state of georgia in 1777, so by that example you know it's not very current. but fred, what do you think about, is there any historical examples this has been tried and failed, public reaction? and what do you take from the 30 countries around the world that have mandatory voting, only about a dozen of which enforce it? the others are simply exoratory. >> i read on this research, there were a number of states that looked at this. i think none of them fully implemented it. i think a few municipalities have done it from time to time. internationally it's obviously been experimented with in a lot of categories. norm keeps bringing up belgium. does belgium have a government yet? >> belgium does not have a government in place but i spent time in belgium and it runs
very, very well. >> what it suggests is people are happy and have no government and apparently no elections. i don't know about mandatory voting and the fact they have gridlock. the variation among nation states, our own states, are interesting and may suggest alternatives we wouldn't have considered. i guess we got the ballot in america from australia, didn't we? >> it's the australian ballot. >> with took some parts of it. of course in any system, one knows, some classes -- we talked about wealth is making it easier to vote. but academically. look at the election in america and note the often discrepancy between the university community and the rural communities. there's always a cap and gown distinction, an intellectual distinction, credential distinction because intellectuals aren't
necessarily any brighter than the average american. but look at those distinctions in america. but we don't worry about academic voting biases but we do worry about wealth to some stents. different people are going to be driven by different intensities and different concerns and abilities and the best we can do is try to make sure none of those barriers are artificial, as they were of course in much of america. i came from the south during the segregation period and discrimination was a state enterprise in those areas. >> let me get to moderating and asking questions and our gators and then you in the audience start jotting down a question on the paper you have, and if you could, write the name of the debater and pass it to people walking up and down the aisle, john richard, if you're here, if you will then pass it on to me. two quick questions that are different.
norm made the point that if you had mandatory voting, you would encourage more centrist, low-interest voters to come out because the current system encourages parties to appeal to their hard core base. i think michelle balkman and dennis kucinich presidentially. do you think putting aside the big government aspect that mandatory voting has one good aspect in that more people would vote and it would be more roughly representative of the whole society? >> that's an empirical question, obviously. but we know it does have participatory voting -- i mean mandatory voting and that's not planned politics and canada doesn't and it has fairly nicely run politics and can't
imagine a country more centrist than canada, maybe switzerland who have lower rates than we do. but it doesn't correlate well between centrists. america is not a country -- look, i'm a libertarian. the problem with libertarians, two of them agree, so each of the other one has sold out. but that's part of america. we want to be a tolerant country but not a country that demands we all agree to consensus. and i think a lot of the contentions we feel about, can't we all be nice is our unhappiness that not everyone agrees with us. many of the examples norm gave are true. i mean, yes, chris got bumped out of florida, but there are many, many reasons why i would think any logical liberal conservative or libertarian would have been perfectly happy to see chris bumped out and it wasn't extremists, it's that he did some things i think were unconscionable and bad.
but that's not the point. being the center, consensus stuff is kind of where -- a consensus, it's the process by which everyone on any side of an issue gives up the things, the beliefs they really hold and agrees to something that none of them really agree with. i don't think that's the purpose of america. i don't think it's the purpose of the voting process him -- process. >> norm, do you think mandatory voting, or voter duty would a, encourage better educated voters because they know they can't just opt out, but they have to get a little more engaged because they have to attend, and then more likely vote? and robert putnam wrote this heralded book, "bowling alone." there was a measureable decline in many metrics of voter
participation, civic participation, attendance in bowling leagues. unlike de tocqueville when everyone was bumping in the market square that civic engagement has been on the decline. so would mandatory voting help make a better citizen and lead to more education in elections, a point that fred says often occurs? >> i think there would be a lot of incentives in a political system to change the nature of our debate and for people who are going to vote to perhaps spend a little more time or pay a little bit more attention and it might move a little bit away from what we have now. and let me acknowledge that -- well, first of all, let me say again, i'm not looking for everybody to be nice. much of the disparity or the differences, you look at canada or some of these other countries, is cultural. and you're not going to change the culture overnight. you're not going to make any of
these reforms in a fashion that are going to change things dramatically, and our political system was built on deliberation, debate, and argumentation. there's nothing wrong with argument and people having very intense views. the problem as i see it is that we have their odd the rang of those views in a fashion that turns off a lot of voters. and i think it might change a little bit, you might see some different incentives if we moved in different directions and if we move in a direction we deemphasize the role of organizations like acorn or people like karl rove who now have enormous incentives to create a different dialogue and can make money in a different fashion, i don't think that would be bad in terms of what it might do to pique interest of voters. >> you made notice to liberty or loss of liberty which is a powerful principle starting in our revolution and current elections.
two weeks ago, in fact, i had jury duty and i went. and for two -- i'm never called . when they see me they go you're out. but for two days i sat there and i actually felt kind of excited, i was part of something, people from all walks of life and classes were there, and i thought people felt good about it. jury duty, for two days minimally, and i almost was on a criminal trial that would have taken two weeks. it's far more absorbing and time consuming and liberty losing than a vote by mail or on election day, especially in a holiday. so what's the big problem when, by the way, in elections you can't educate voters, they can ignore it in new york city, we send out a booklet, each person
writes 100 words on who they are and what they think the issues are. so if a person wants to get educated, it comes right in the mail. >> yeah, i think that's very different. as i said earlier, i think there's a very big difference from the jury system and the voting than would be a voting obligation because the jury duty, as you point out, is a pretty serious thing. we have -- we need to have some way of deciding the guilt or innocence of a person that commits violence against another. that's what a jury system tries to do. we're human beings and are fallible. two sides look at each one of us and typically reject both of with us, i suspect norm, too. so often you have the feeling they're trying to get someone who has no opinions on anything or knowledge on anything. when they go through the voir dire where they ask you questions, have you ever been involved in government?
have you ever been involved in the occupation of this individual? have you ever had a family member -- pretty soon you start thinking about, is anybody left in the class who have not had any of these things happen? i guess they vary from jury duty -- from judgeship to judgeship but thank you it seriously because if you get picked you'll be up there for up to two weeks and you'll be instructed by both side. and yes, you do feel a sense of civic pride there because it's not a throw away, drive-by voting incident. it's a serious issue. >> voters, tv viewers usually see both sides, depends on how much money you raise obviously, and you can get in the mail arguments about both, you said a jury system is very important, life and death and incarceration and whatnot, that's true. who we elect and make warranties and taxing and environmental decisions you acknowledge is very important
even though you would prefer there be fewer of it. if the state can compel me to take days or weeks at a time and almost nobody objects to that, why are you so concerned about the requirement that you vote when you can vote none of the above or spoil your ballot? >> you of course can't vote none of the above in the united states. >> you can vote for you, you can vote -- you can write in your spouse. >> but none of the above is a quite different idea. none of the above essentially says the voter should have the right to reject the current list of candidates coming out of the two major parties. >> let me withdraw the words "none of the above" which happens in nevada. >> let's add "none of the above" to the ballot and then we can go to mandatory attendance at the polls. >> you think having none of the above would improve a lot of things. but why don't we have none of the above? because the presumption is neither party wants to be that
embarrassed. they really like the idea of faux democracy and faux legitimatization and i think that's a danger here. and i think without none of the one of it -- none of the above it would be worse. we can discuss if none of the above would have less opposition. i'm not sure enough to make me endorse it. >> if i add in a cash payment, would that -- >> we have cash payments of a type in the system already. for years it's been said would you like to donate a dollar not out of your pocket to support political candidacy funding and all of us -- what is the participation rate? pretty damn low. certainly i never do it. >> at this point, i don't know whether you have questions of each other we haven't yet covered. fred, you feel something compelling to ask of norm? >> you don't have to. >> no, i don't. >> and norm indicated fred convinced him we're done.
let me read questions from the audience, an administrative question. what about the homeless, who decides what's a valid excuse? this goes to the implementation rather than the theory behind mandatory voting. >> you are going to have some difficulties, as every society does, in going out and registering people. they're a little bit more difficult in the u.s. than they are in some other countries because we have a federal system. australia and canada do as well. where your residence matters. it's not like you're just voting for a national candidate and we have a substantial amount of mobility. but other societies manage, and of course you are going to find some people that will slip between the cracks and includes homeless people and may include some others. and what they do in most of these countries is they have a set of categories that are
valid excuses and that of course includes being ill, traveling, some of the same excuses we have now that are requirements if you are going to do a vote by mail. those are disappearing in many places as we move towards no excuses, absentee voting. but that's a trend once again in one area where fred and i agree where it's troubling. you know, i don't want to trivialalize voting. unlike fred, i believe if you have mandatory attendance in the polls and the experience of other countries suggest it enhances the notion of voting. it becomes a civic duty and that's a good thing. but vote by mail which is the same as filling out a publisher's clearing-house ballot does trivialize. >> there's a question that relates to something that was mentioned but not discussed in depth which is a bias against less well off people. clearly the supreme court and the 5-4 citizens united
decision now allows corporate treasuries which raise money from shareholders, given limited liability to economically invest, to take those several trillion and potentially spend it politically in elections so to the extent, does it trouble you if a you -- that you said there always will be differences in wealth but was a specific decision that made it easier to put it on the scale, does that argue for more aggressive voter reform measures, probably including mandatory voting? >> politics, as certainly we all know and i'm sure most of you know, is about interest group disputes. interest groups come in flavors and the two major flavors are ideological, groups that have a conceptual frankwork in how the
views should work and economic, groups worried about the problems of government, either reducing or increasing their wealth and good or bad and there are good and bad in the economic and ideological camps, they fight it out. that's the nature of politics. it's not at all clear to me that economic forces are more powerful. most of the dangs -- changes in the world certainly in the last century came about because of ideological pressures, not economic pressures. but the argument nonetheless is it we suppress one of the two factions, suppress economic voices, drive the market out of the marketplace of ideas, we're left withoutize logical ideas. we're libertarian, classical liberal, and many of the people i work with would be more on the ideological coin. i think our voices are important but they're not any more important or less important than those who believe that earning wealth and keeping it is a worthwhile thing or wealth should be
redistributed to them. i don't like corporate, corny capitalism but in our political system they certainly play a role. i wish other businesses played a role in countering capitalism but that's a debate i challenge and i don't think ralph or i have figured it out yet. >> i left off instant runoff voting from among the many reforms that could occur. but if you have a multicandidate field, maybe roosevelt or washington, that if no one gets 40% or 50%, the lowest vote-getter is automatically dropped the night of the election until you get down to four, three or two people, so someone gets a
majority. so quickly, do either of you have an opinion short of mandatory voting how instant runoff voting would work with mandatory voting or inconsistent with it? norm and then fred. >> the exclusive possibilities and different forms of runoff voting or preference voting or things that are very much worth exploring and i'd like to see them tried in different places, perhaps in states or municipalities. along with many of us watching very, very carefully the california experiment in open primaries which may help as well. >> if you want to answer. >> there are a lot of things i don't know much about. >> let me ask on technology. clearly, if a bank -- if records that my bank keeps on me are largely private, please put aside the issue of packing
for a second. we could get to the point very soon where voter rolls are secure and you could register online and vote online, so is that a less onerous alternative to mandatory voting? do you have any problems with encouraging more people voting so long as the ballot is secure online is the question. >> the big problem here, all that encryption, all of that stuff can be done but how do you know who is in the room with you when you press the keys to vote for candidate a or candidate b? is big brother looking over your shoulder or bigster or your friend or your union guy or your boss? i don't know. somehow we need the concept we're going to go to this and the damages of remote voting. how do we ensure when we vote no one is exercising undue influence on them? >> norm, you've thought about this more than i? >> i draw a distinction between
registering online, and i think we have many ideas of voter registration modernization that include, you know, allowing states to share information about registration and there are many places now where they are doing registrations online and it works very well. voting online i have the same problems fred does. and it's just not that you're not sure who is in the room, but you lose all of that zone of privacy. and what we're now seeing with the sophisticated hacking going on is that you really can't be sure what might happen in a system of this sort, so i much prefer voting in person at the polls. and we need to make that easy and convenient for people as we possibly can. >> one point about this following it up, talking about hacking per se, but remote transcription of information is via the web and the web is a big system with lots of points of entry. voting booths, even the electronic ones are isolated
and not part of a web, at least i don't think anyone is hooking them up in a web yet, and i don't think they should either. >> fred, there are thousands of laws and regulations affecting the economy and families. is it reasonable to require that people participate in who makes those laws and then they'd be more likely to be obeyed because people would understand even if they don't like paying your taxes are staying in afghanistan, there would be greater compliance because everyone would feel like they had a shot at affecting the thousands of rules and regulations even though you want them to be in the low single digits, there are thousands. >> there's a report every year called 10,000 commandments which discusses the number of regulations the government does compared to god. yeah, we are worried about that kind of thing. but the question is, again, was
-- >> well, if there are going to be thousands of laws with government officials affecting us, shouldn't it be reasonable to ask people to vote or vote -- write in? >> i think it's certainly important that anyone concerned about the process, as i suspect everyone in this room is, become involved in some way, whether voting or writing or talking or mobilizing. there's lots of ways you can try to influence those who are going to decide very important things about your life. voting is one of those. i think it's not the most important one and therefore i don't think we should do undue weight on that idea. there are other things can you do, and maybe your voting actually encourages others to vote. i don't think the gimmicks of weak -- a new holiday, if we had a new holiday, how many people would take a new holiday and would they really use it to sit home and vote all day? >> i asked a rhetorical
question which usually means you don't know the answer. you ask would it really mean all that more would people vote? is there not experience abroad that -- a lot of people say why didn't you vote? and they go, i was working, i was busy, i didn't find the time. would voting increase if it was saturday voting, sunday voting? god bless veterans day, we have memorial day and veterans day. let's have one of them be democracy day, and then wouldn't more people actually vote? >> there's evidence abroad certainly if you have voting on a holiday or on a weekend, there's an increased turnout. we don't have enough of a base here to know empirically what would happen here. i'm convinced that if we actually did something significant like move to a 24-hour voting period from noon saturday to noon sunday so you ogviate the sabbath problems and for example, if we move more and more towards vote centers which is something
they've done extremely successfully in larimer county colorado where you have voting places centralized in wal-marts or cosco's or supermarkets where people can park and you go in with an ample supply of machines and workers and the like, you do those type of things and you'll get an enhanced turnout. you can make it work better. those things also seem to me to be critical elements if indeed you did move towards mandatory voting. you cannot move towards mandatory attendance at the polls unless you make it much less burdensome for people to go to the polls. >> whether it's mandatory attendance, voter duty or mandatory voting, we have spoken about it more than anybody else collectively combined in the last 10 years. and so i want to thank norm an ornstein and our audience to thank norman ornstein and fred
smith for their participation and their preparation and insights, and i certainly want all of us to thank ralph nader for coming up with the concept of debating not tattoos, which not if you are in the nba, and i want to make sure that you know, as route said in his opening, as of july of this year, there will be a debate on the website debating. debatingtaboos.org. i am guessing, and i think there is a consensus that mandatory voting or voter duty will not be enacted this month or this year.
the most important right women could have was the right to vote, because it affected every other right. in 1882, a constitutional amendment was first proposed, which was ratified and became law in 1920, so we will be reconvening in 78 years to see whether fred is right or norm is right. thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you very much and good afternoon. thank you ar for the kind introductions and thank you for showing that very nice little clip regarding the sanitation workers into the hall of fame at the upper and of labor. i also want to recognize one of my good friends and heroes this year among us and that is none other than president johansson representing the u.s. c.w.. thank you for everything you do. [applause] give him a round. [applause] i didn't see another colleague who is here or i believe will be, larry cohen for also having the foresight to begin this great organization almost a
quarter-century ago. [applause] thank you for everything you do. and also to each and every one of you for coming here today and spending your saturday because it means so much that to care. and i just have to say to you from the bottom of my heart thank you for being here and supporting jobs with justice. in spanish, [speaking spanish] , that's what that means. we have labor leaders, community leaders, and i know students and are fighting every single day representing working people in 46 cities and in 24 states across the country. you're doing very hard things, very hard things i know are going to change the lives of working families and our communities. and everyday that you're
working, you're helping energize so many people in our community. you're giving them a voice, inspiring so many young people coming toward enhancing their skills and ability to organize, organize, organize. and every day that you're mobilizing folks, you are in our neighborhoods, in our coffee shops in the streets and our churches, and you are knocking on doors and our neighborhoods. and this is how this movement will grow, and this is how we will rebuild our economy to gather. and this is how we will fight off those other obstacles in the challenges that we are facing today and that our brothers and sisters are facing around this country. brothers and sisters, i tell you, this is how we will win, by working together. and i want to ask you -- i know it's early in the morning -- but just by reading your program and seeing what you've already committed to and when you started yesterday and when you're going to be committed to today and tomorrow and the next
day, i ask you, are you fired up? are you really fired up? are you ready to go? ready to move? and i say yes, we can. yes we can and yes we will. thank you. if anyone here today doubts what's going on, they don't understand what is happening in our society. you know, and as your labor secretary, i'm telling you that everything that you're doing here today really does matter. the day after president obama named the labor secretary, i said, and others said alongside with me there's a new sheriff in town. there is a new renewed faith in government. [applause] i understand what is meant here. you know that for the most part most american businesses plan by
the rules. they pay their taxes but there are a few bad factors that don't. and the need to understand we won't let them take advantage of our lobbies that govern our country and the workplace. and after being sworn in, you need to know because of the help that we had from this administration i was able to hire up for the first time and may be more in a few decades well over 300 new investigators to work in wage and hour and to help ensure that workers are paid properly in the workplace for work that they have already completed. and you need to know that we have collected hundreds of billions of dollars in back wages from employers who cheated their workers out of money that they are legally owed to them. but even with this extra
manpower, even with our enforcement success, we all know the department of labor can't be at every single worksite in this country. and that's why i am proud to institute an open-door policy to make sure that we are listening to the workers, that we allow for organizations like jobs with justice to join with us. and i share that commitment to help protect all workers and especially most vulnerable workers such as those who come to this country in many different forms, but one that i want to point out to you are the workers that come here under the h tooby visa program. groups like yours serve an important role helping to sound the alarm when a guest workers are abused, exploited, underpaid and cheated, and exploited and sometimes threatened with
deportation. you all know about this case. it's the vanderbilt landscaping case in asheville. you have helped lead the fight to correct the injustices that the workers have faced because of your tireless efforts this has helped to pay off. here we are eager to 42 latino h to be guest workers that have come to the country seeking a better life and a decent wage. but vanderbilt landscaping paid the workers less than minimum wage. they finally did not write a fairly broad standards act, they won't violate rules governing the beach to the visa program and they misrepresented workers themselves and their plans for these workers, they thought they could get away with plotting the law. but guess what, folks, they didn't. and why not? because jobs with justice helped discover the violation and to get the word out.
[applause] just last month we resolved our own case against vanderbilt landscaping. we collected back wages for these workers. we assessed fines and penalties against that company. but we didn't stop just there. because of its violations, vanderbilt landscaping won't be able to high year a single h2b worker or any guest worker ed all for the next three years. [applause] together, with the excluded workers congress, you have fought for these guest workers and justice that they deserved. wage fraud, as you know, is a legal, and in my opinion in morrill. brothers and sisters, we simply cannot stand by. and i am excited to be here today for so many of those
reasons. your energy in your enthusiasm is contagious. [applause] and you need to know that your work here at jobs with justice is even more important now than ever. every day that i wake up life and about ways to help find americans and workers good paying jobs. and this administration, the obama administration wants to build upon that. they want to in fact help provide more jobs for construction workers to help build and repair our roads and bridges and waterways. and if president obama wants to extend the payroll tax for middle class families so they can have more disposable income to buy goods and keep our small engine of growth, small business is growing and keep people employed. you know the president is also fighting for an extension of the
unemployment benefits that will soon leave us after december if we do not move on that. [applause] these are things the president is calling us to act on and not just people here today, but the congress and the senate. we must let them know these are all issues that have been spoken about and debated in prior years and months and in many cases they are supported by both parties. so we need to make sure we continue that. we also must continue to grow jobs in this new service sector that are called the green energy economy. where we can create new high-tech industries that will produce high school high-paying jobs for everyone, and that's why i author the corrine jobs at almost four years ago. it was because i knew the power that could be unleashed to help put people into better paying jobs. and why not allow for all, all
of the workers in the country to reach those benefits? that is my standard. that is what i would like to see happen as we continue to push out our green jobs and innovation. we want to invest in education by also expanding those that need support, financial support, the pell grant program, very important that helps lift families of to be able to send first-generation students like myself who was able to go to college because the pell grant program the pell grant works. [applause] and we want to make sure our trade policies actually don't export more jobs, that they actually enable us to provide product is here that we can send overseas that other people will buy. we need to promote things that are made here