New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 12, 1984, New Braunfels, Texas
4 New Braunfels Heta\d-Zeitung Thursday, January 12,1984Opinions
Hsrald’ZfltiiitfJames KilpatrickThank you Jesse Jackson for peace
WASHINGTON - The Rev. Jesse Jackson brought off his mission to Damascus with all the success of the Great Gretsky scoring three goals in a single night : Jackson won the release of Navy Lt. Robert O. Goodman Jr.; he left President Reagan with egg on his face; and he revived a Democratic presidential race that was about to expire from terminal boredom.
This was a triumph. Under the rules of the game, Jackson is entitled to wring every possible ounce of publicity and political advantage from his enterprise. His private audacity succeeded where the government's formal diplomacy had failed. Ho-ho-ho, and as Everett Dirksen used to add, heh-heh-heh as well.
But before the waves of adulation subside, this must be said for the record: Jackson’s success in this particular instance ought not to detract from a long-term public policy. It is simply unwise — it is also unlawful — for private citizens to negotiate with foreign governments. This has been the rule for nearly 200 years, and the rule is sound.
The wisdom of the rule is not diminished by the success stories we remember. The first of these stories, involving a pacifist and conscientious objector by the name of George Logan, is strikingly similar to the story of Jesse Jackson. Just as the United States and Syria today are embroiled in an undeclared war in Lebanon, so the United States and
France in 17% were locked into an undeclared war at sea. Just as Syria had captured Lieutenant Goodman, so the French had captured a number of American sailors. Even the political situation offers parallels. Logan was an ardent Jeffersonian, a liberal Democrat by contemporary labeling; the president was Federalist John Adams, a progenitor of today’s Republicans.
Logan went to Paris on his own. He talked with Foreign Minister Charles Talleyrand. He wined and dined with Philippe-Antoine Merlin, head of the Directory, and exchanged toasts toward peace with him. Logan won the sailors’ release and brought back messages from Talleyrand. Jefferson later acknowledged that Logan’s
efforts “did much toward preventing declared war with France.”
Adams saw matters differently. He denounced the “temerity and impertinence of individuals affecting to interfere in public affairs between France and the United States.” The Senate passed a resolution asserting that messages carried by private individuals rather than by accredited representatives should be rebuffed. Such interference would produce confusion and disorder, and would “separate the people from their government.”
In 1799, as a direct consequence of Logan’s mission, Congress adopted what has become known as the Logan Act, forbidding such negotiations by private individuals. Undeterred,
Logan undertook another mission in 1810, this time with England — and this time he failed. Since then dozens of private citizens have played a hand at diplomatic tables. Cyrus Eaton appointed himself tas ambassador at large to the Soviet Union. At the time of the Cuban missile crisis, John Scab, who was then an ABC correspondent at the State Department, served as a conduit between the White House and the Soviet Embassy.
No one ever has been prosecuted successfully for violation of the Logan Act, and it is a lead-pipe certainty that no charges will be brought against Jesse Jackson. “Nothing succeeds like success,” goes the maxim, and Jackson’s success will vault him at least temporarily into third place
among the Democratic contenders.
But there is another proverb worth recalling. It is to this effect, that success ought never to be confused with talent. Let us be grateful that the Syrians, for whatever reasons of their own, decided the time was ripe either to pursue peace or to play a game of political put-down with Reagan. Jackson’s mission provided a handy opportunity for Syria to make a diplomatic move without embracing a diplomatic commitment. The gentleman’s charismatic pleading, we may fairly assume, had little to do with the resulting gesture. Even so, let us hear a round of cheerful applause. Welcome home, lieutenant.
And thank you, Jesse.
Johnson& Johnson, FDA dispute
WASHINGTON - It takes a corporation the size and strength of Johnson & Johnson to survive the evaporation of $100 million. That’s the estimated loss in profits and damages from the publicity over the poisoned Tylenol capsules.
Now just as the pliarmaceutical company is climbing back from the brink, another product has attracted unwelcome headlines. It’s the painkiller Zomax, which has been associated with IO deaths and 2,161 mild-to-critical allergic reactions among consumers.
At least that's what the Food and Drung Administration alleges in the files it has kept on the popular painkiller during the two-and-a-half years it las been on the market. The harried company withdrew Zomax from the market last March, but it is eager to get the medication back on drugstore shelves.
Zomax is produced by a Johnson & Johnson subsidary, McNeil laboratories, which has circulated a •briefing paper” in the cloakrooms of Congress and back rooms of the Food and Drug Administration. Regretfully, I have to challenge this propaganda document just as the Tylenol embarrassment is beginning to dissipate and become blurred in the Musts of the ill-remembered past My associate Tony Capacdo has compared the “briefing paper” with sworn testimony and internal documents before the Food and Drug Administration.
Here’s what McNeil claimed in the briefing paper: “Zomax was approved because the FUA and McNeil concluded that rat tumor findings did not indicate that Zomax would be carcinogenic in man.”
Rut here’s wluit FDA’s internal documents show Male rats, fed small doses of Zomax over a two-year period, developed tumors that were “statistically significant.” Though Zomax was OK’d for marketing because the lab findings were not considered ‘sufficiently ominous,” it was required to iiave a strick warning label.
Dr. Robert Temple, FDA’s director of new drug evaluation, acknowledged: “We accepted the
idea that tile findings could represent some degree of carcinogenic risk in man.” Even an internal McNeil memo notes Uiat the company had established a “clearly significant” cancer risk rn rats.
The briefing paper also claims* “A careful evaluation makes clear that the rat tumors do not give reason to believe Rial Zomax is carcinogenic in animals or man and do not give reason to Ital Umgterin user of Zomax.”
But this is disputed by the EDA, which declares: “A significant increase in tumors observed at such a low dose in rats is an observation that must be assessed as clearly relevant to human exposure.” Temple also wrote me in October that reintroducing Zomax for chronic use “would be unacceptable because of animal tumorgenicity. ’ ’
McNeil persists: “The absence of evidence cif malignity ... leads to the conclusion that the tumors were not
related to carcinogenic activity of Zomax, but to the known unique proclivity of aged male rats to develop this one kind of tumor...” Comments the FDA: The only agency pathologist to review the rat tumor slides diagnosed them as “malignant.”
Footnote: McNeil accused me of quoting FDA material out of context and said that "these complex scientific matters are difficult to discuss and understand outside the scientific forum.” But FDA experts agree with my account.
Scandal of the week
A blistering report of foreign aid by the inspector general of the Agency for International Development charges that an American contractor will make more than $2 million in “windfall profits” because AID officials approved outrageously
generous contract provisions. The IG's audit report termed the waste “criminal.”
The company, Dans Berger International, a New Jersey firm, was hired for projects in Somalia and Kenya. AID paid "more ... than it should have, because of poor contract negotiations ... and questionable contract provisions,” Hie IG found. For example, the report states that:
— The company received more than $1.2 million in unnecessary advances, wluch cost Hie taxpayers about $112,000 in interest.
— Though State Department employees lost tiller cost-of-living allowances when Somalia devalued its currency, the constructor's technicians continued to draw $400 a month in cost-of-living payments The auditors estimated this windfall would cost AID $250,000 over the life of the contract.
— In addition v employees got exorbitant payments for housing, storage and oilier services. One American technician in Kenya, for example, was paying $810 a mouth for rent and utilities — but was given a housing allowance of $1,320. The IG characterized this as “unconscionable.”
— Some employees collected $3,000 for vehicle expenses even though they had no cars. They drew $106 a month for storage — and paid $1 a month. The allowance for guard service was even more generous $135 for one Somali shilling’s worth of guard duty.
Spy vt. Spy
Don’t get the idea that Syrian President Hafez Assad is paranoid, but he has at least eight — count ’em, eight — internal spook-security agencies trying to protect him from real or imagined rivals, according to State Department sources.
Although all the security organizations are powerful, the most dreaded is the one headed by Assad’s brother, Rifest. It’s called “Saraya Al-Difa” (Brigades of Defense of the Revolution).
• kW U
Reagan's problems don't die, they just fade away
By JAMES GERSTENZANG Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A recent incident on the White House South I .awn neatly illustrates a hunch by President Reagan’s advisers that the less uttered publicly about a problem, the greater the chance it will just fade away without political damage to the president.
leaving the White House for a helicopter waiting to carry him to Camp David, Md., Reagan strolled over to a group of reporters and made some remarks about the just-announced drop in the unemployment rate in December.
The green and white Marine Corps helicopter sat, its rotors still and its engine silent.
Then Hie questions turned to the sticky subject of Charles Z. Wick, the old Reagan friend and director of the U.S. Information Agency who has acknowledged taping office telephone conversations without telling some of those on the other end of tile line.
Suddenly, the chopper’s rotors began whirling and the engine’s deafening whine forced an annoyed Reagan to speak louder and louder, as he praised Wick for “a splendid job” and said he would remain on the job.
As the reporters pressed their questions, a military aide moved
quickly to Reagan’s side and whispered, “Mr. President, Mr. Deaver says it’s time to go.” The impromptu news conference quickly ended.
Michael K. Deaver, deputy White House chief of staff, frequently is the man in such situations who tells Reagan it is time to cut off the questioning
Disclosures of Wick’s taping recordings have come at a time when two other Reagan appointees hastily quit over allegations of questionable financial dealings before they took office.
Paul Thayer resigned as deputy secretary of defense after telling the
president that the Securities and Exchange Conunission was looking into his role in insider stock trading before he joined the administration one year ago. The next day, the SEC charged that Thayer had illegally helped eight people make $1.9 million in stock-trading profits.
One White House official, speaking on condition that he not be identified said Wick’s recent public apolog) goes a long way toward defusing Um political impact of the taping disclosures.
The official said Wick “would nevei have been fired. Hie president jus! doesn’t operate that way, particular!) with longtime friends.”
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