Ariel Sharon Is Missed

6 01 2014

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

It seems like ages since Ariel Sharon slipped into a coma from which he never returned, much less as a political force in this earthly world.  Yet, perhaps he was there after all, resting with the knowledge that he was a man of his times, who had shaped and reshaped history.

He was a complex human being who produced seemingly inconsistent policies.  By being the architect of Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank and Gaza, despite Palestinian and international protests, he appeared to be forever at odds with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and thus an opponent of peaceful coexistence between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and lasting peace in the Middle EastHenry A. Kissinger noted some years ago: “For most of his career, Sharon’s strategic goal was the incorporation of the West Bank into Israel by a settlement policy designed to prevent Palestinian self-government over significant contiguous territory.”

However, he came seemingly full circle and withdrew from Gaza and removed Jewish settlers from both Gaza and the West Bank, and returned their lands to the Palestinians.  Like the hard-liner Richard Nixon who opposed communists and their ideology throughout his life, yet opened the door to China, Sharon was an enigma.  Both were skilled chess players; and perhaps Sharon supported expansive settlements merely as a bargaining chip that would be discarded when it served the interests of peace, or no longer had any strategic value.

He seemed to be a pragmatist who concluded that it was in Israel’s best interests to defend only those lands that were militarily and politically defensible, and sacrifice the rest, and to jettison the settlers who had served as pawns in a larger chess game.  By zigging and then zagging, and by being a key player in the establishment of the right-wing Likud Party and then breaking from it to found the centrist Kadima Party, Sharon proved to be an able and skillful politician right up to the end of his career.

He fought in a Jewish militia opposed to British control; and he served in Israel’s war of independence with the Arab states and in subsequent wars, and was considered a war hero by many Israelis.  He was wounded in a battle to break the siege of Jerusalem and carried its effects all of his life, including near blindness in one eye; and he was grazed by a bullet in the head during a battle many years later.

He visited the Temple Mount to emphasize Israel’s claim of sovereignty, outraging Muslims and provoking widespread violence; and he is blamed for the ruthless killing and suffering of countless Palestinians.  Yet, his strength was being more in tune with Israeli public opinion than anyone else.  Ghazi al Saadi, a Palestinian commentator, described Sharon as “the first Israeli leader who stopped claiming Israel had a right to all of the Palestinians’ land.”  He added:  “A live Sharon is better for the Palestinians now, despite all the crimes he has committed against us.”

Like Yitzhak Rabin before him, whose mantle he assumed, history will judge Sharon’s accomplishments and speculate as to what a difference his continued leadership might have meant in the future.  It is certain, however, that Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu is no Ariel Sharon, nor does he hold a candle to Rabin.  Indeed, Rabin’s widow Leah—who was described by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres as a “lioness”—believed it was the climate of hate that Netanyahu created during the election campaign of 1995, which laid the groundwork for a Jew to assassinate her husband.  She never forgave Netanyahu and detested him.[2]

The fact that Netanyahu attained his coveted goal of leading Israel again, after his scandal-ridden previous attempt at it, may have changed the region’s history forever.  He was the nemesis of both Rabin and Sharon, two giants; and his return from political oblivion may still be marked by untold chaos at a time when political and military adventurism and demagoguery are the last things that are needed from the leader of Israel.

It was a fateful day, however, when a born-again Christian and a Jew, one slim and fit and the other decidedly rotund, shared a helicopter ride; and Sharon gave then-Texas Governor George W. Bush a tour over the Israeli-occupied territories.  On that day and in the days that followed, a bond of mutual respect emerged between Bush and Sharon that would survive the roller coaster of international politics.  They were a political odd couple who seemed to instinctively trust each other at a time in history when trust was a rare currency vis-à-vis the seemingly intractable problems of the Middle East.

Trust has been a missing ingredient during much of the political life of Netanyahu, who has been perceived as being untrustworthy by countless Israelis and leaders of other nations.  Indeed, he has served as a foil against which Sharon’s accomplishments may be viewed and measured.  Sharon emerged as the right leader for Israel at the right time, just as Rabin had done before him.  Netanyahu’s presence on Israel’s political scene makes Sharon’s greatness and that of Rabin stand out in bold relief by comparison.

Sharon’s stroke and coma deprived the Bush administration of its closest working partner in the Middle East.  The clock began ticking in the region again; and there have been reports that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear installations.  I am forever reminded of what a prominent American (who is a Jew and a strong supporter of Israel) told me several years ago: “I have long thought that Israel will not make it, if only because of what are cavalierly called WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and its very tight geographical compression.  All else is immaterial, including the Palestinians, or us, or the nature of Israel’s [government].”

I was stunned by this person’s words, and I have reflected on them many times since.  Henry Kissinger added several years ago: “Far too much of the debate within the Palestinian camp has been over whether Israel should be destroyed immediately by permanent confrontation or in stages in which occasional negotiations serve as periodic armistices.”  I do not subscribe to the notion that anything is inevitable or “written.”  However, it is courageous and visionary men like Rabin and Sharon who have guided Israel through perilous times, when lesser men would have foundered.

Netanyahu campaigned on a hard-line platform that would grant to a new Palestinian state only a fraction of West Bank land; and effectively, he has brought the peace process to a screeching halt because he opposes such a state entirely, whether he articulates it or not.  When Likud suffered a defeat in the Israeli elections, with Netanyahu at its helm, he characteristically tried to deflect blame from himself by claiming that a comatose Ariel Sharon was responsible for the political “crash.”

The Wall Street Journal put it mildly in an editorial:  “[Netanyahu’s] attempt to blame a dying and helpless Mr. Sharon for Likud’s drubbing . . . was not a class act.”  Indeed, it was tasteless, opportunistic, and among the reasons why so many people view Netanyahu as being pathetic and demonic—but it was certainly consistent with his treatment of both Rabin and Sharon.

Most Israelis believe at least one of two long-time dreams is unattainable; namely, the idea of a “Greater Israel,” and of a negotiated peace with the Palestinians.  Contrariwise, the Palestinians have steadfastly refused to repudiate their dream of a “greater Palestine,” stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, which—in the words of Yossi Klein Halevi, an Israeli journalist and writer—“would supplant and destroy the Jewish state.”

Halevi further opined: “The settlement movement ignored the moral corruption of occupation and the demographic threat to Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state posed by the forcible absorption of several million Palestinians into Israeli society.”  And he added: “Israel will almost certainly find itself without Greater Israel—and without peace.  . . . Confronted with the possibility of a nuclear Iran committed to Israel’s destruction and with a terrorist state emerging in Gaza and the West Bank, Israelis need the sustenance of dreams.”

President Bush pledged to help create an independent Palestinian state before the end of his second term, which suffered a fatal blow with the loss of Sharon, and ended Sharon’s personal ambition to set Israel’s permanent borders too.  The Times of the UK quoted one official as saying: “It [was] unbelievable.  He was the Prime Minister.  Nothing moved without going through him.  Everything was connected to him and then he faded away,” the official said, with a click of his fingers.

Perhaps the return to business as usual showed the strength of Israel’s democracy and political system, which has been surprisingly stable; or maybe it was a sign that his stroke had not shaken the country to the same extent as the assassination of Rabin.  Or maybe it was simply another reminder of how fame is fleeting, and the public’s attention span is short in Israel and other media-driven societies, especially in the age of 24-hour news cycles.  Yet, Sharon is missed; that much is certain—and I never thought that I would write those words or feel this way.[3]

I disagreed with his settlement policies for many years, believing they were harmful to the settlers who trusted him because ultimately they would feel betrayed; and that such policies were unnecessarily confrontational and antagonistic to the Palestinians.  However, I have missed “Arik,” and I know people in various parts of the world, Jews and non-Jews alike, feel the same way.  He was a giant of Israeli politics.  More than that, he was a lion—albeit a rotund one—God love him.

© 2014, Timothy D. Naegele

Ariel Sharon


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2]  See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/ (“Israel’s Senseless Killings And War With Iran”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ (“The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu”) (see also the comments beneath both articles).

[3]  See also http://world.time.com/2014/01/03/israel-wakes-up-to-ariel-sharon-as-former-prime-minister-nears-death/?iid=gs-main-lead (“Israel Wakes Up to Ariel Sharon as Former Prime Minister Nears Death”) and http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/ariel-sharon-war-of-independence-disengagement-settlements.html (“Ariel Sharon’s decisions shaped today’s Israel”) and http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/01/23/060123fa_fact_shavit (“THE GENERAL”); compare http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/03/ariel-sharon-final-mission-peace-israel (“Ariel Sharon’s final mission might well have been peace”) with http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/35072-sharon.html (“The Guardian Laments Sharon”)






Justice And The Law Do Not Mix

15 07 2013

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1][2]

Justice is in the eye of the beholder, and not some absolute standard that is clearly and quantifiably definable or identifiable.  However, human beings have a sense of what is just and what is not, which is often governed by their belief systems and experiences in Life.  The law, on the other hand, is an imperfect discipline governed by grossly-inflated egos and political considerations, and flavored by incompetence and arrogance.

Is the law ever just?  Perhaps this question is the proper starting point.  “The law” is not some idealistic and intellectually pure result, resting on a cloud somewhere.  Rather, it is a hard-edged and hard-fought amalgam of competing ideas and biases, dictated by judges who are imperfect at best—and often egotistical, callous, mean-spirited, power-hungry, self-righteous, condescending and, yes, incompetent and arrogant.  They can smile at you, just as easily as they can slit your throat and never think twice about doing it.

How on earth can the dispensers of that magical ingredient, justice, do so when they are “unsavory” themselves?  How can they judge another person when they often bring distorted realities and moral visions to the process?  Many of them, at least in the United States, are former prosecutors who seemingly have never laid eyes on an innocent criminal defendant.  To put on black robes does not change their mindset.  Indeed, many seem to relish the power trip.  Shakespeare’s famous quotation—“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”—must have been written in some light-hearted moment with the dark and sinister characteristics of judges in mind.

Having been a lawyer for more than 45 years, and having received two law degrees from prestigious American law schools, I can honestly say that the thought of becoming a judge has never crossed my mind.  Indeed, when I arrived at Berkeley for my first year of law school, I was stunned by how many of my classmates had dreamed of becoming lawyers most of their lives.  The pinnacle was to become a judge, which was repulsive to me.  While I read many learned and well-written opinions in law school, I never figured out why anyone would want to be a judge.

We had fine law professors who taught the best of the law; and they instilled in us a belief in the purity and sanctity of the law.  Forty-five years later, I do not doubt their sincerity at the time, but I have never encountered a sitting judge who met their expectations.  The best reason for being a judge was told to me one day in chambers by a California Superior Court judge, who said that it was easier than practicing law.  I respected him for his honesty and candor, and his willingness to tell the unvarnished truth.  Most judges would never do that.  It was refreshing.  He smiled when he said it, and did not slit my throat or even come close.  In fact, he decided in my favor.

If the law is little more than decisions made by judges based on whether they got up on the wrong side of their beds or not, or took umbrage with a lawyer or client, then is there any rhyme or reason to it, which makes sense judicially?  I concluded ages ago that the proceedings in most American courts are remarkably close to “Law West of the Pecos by Judge Roy Bean,” the hanging judge.  In Bean’s court, the law was what he said it was, and nothing else mattered.  Too often in U.S. courts today, very little has changed.  Judges have become the law unto themselves.  Any citation of legal precedents is met by judges whose eyes glaze over, because many of them were taught in law schools where the purity and sanctity of the law did not matter.  Brute force governs far too many courtrooms.

State courts—certainly those in California—are a total joke. Judges routinely ignore the applicable law, or twist the law to suit their desires. It is a travesty, and really no law at all.  Our federal courts are somewhat better, only because federal judges have law clerks who actually research the law; and federal judges are mindful of the fact that they can be overruled on appeal.  Owing to the fact that our Supreme Court takes so few cases these days, and most of its cases are heard for political reasons, our federal courts of appeal become the only real checks on the actions of District Judges.

At the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., there is a statue of “Justice” with blinders on her eyes to depict the impartiality and objectivity that the word justice is supposed to represent.  However, another interpretation can be given to the statue; namely, blindness to injustices that occur each and every day in our legal system.  More than eight thousand petitions for certiorari are filed with the Court every year, yet the number of cases that are heard is usually less than one hundred.  Justice William Brennan was the last jurist to read such petitions.  They are now read exclusively by the individual justices’ law clerks, who decide which cases the Court hears and those that are never heard.

As a practical matter, the American system of justice no longer exists—because the presumption of innocence no longer exists.  In U.S. courts, even though it is not articulated—certainly by the judges themselves—there is a presumption of guilt instead of innocence in criminal cases.  Any appearance of bending over backwards to help the defense is window dressing and largely form over substance.  Many judges are courteous, but their long knives come out before the process is completed.  Others do not mince with words, and are tyrants from Day One.  Still others defy one’s imagination with respect to how they got there.  They do not understand the law or facts of the cases, nor do they care; and they seem to be political appointees who have overstayed their welcome.

 The United States is a nation where rogue prosecutors reign, whose goals in life include the prosecution of even the innocent. Federal, State and local prosecutors ruthlessly and gleefully pursue countless numbers of innocent Americans for a multitude of crimes that were never committed; and the judiciary has allowed this to happen.  Corruption is rampant among federal prosecutors and those who work with them, such as FBI agents.  No amount of rational thinking or discourse can be applied to a system that is inherently and systemically corrupt.

A federal official with reason to know told me that between 15-20 percent of the indictees in our federal courts are probably innocent.  Some are elderly who have been charged with cheating the Social Security system—America’s retirement benefit program—and they are scared to death, so they agree to plea bargains rather than fight for their innocence.  The latest figures indicate that 97 percent of convictions in federal courts were the result of guilty pleas.  In 2006, the last year for which data was available, the corresponding figure for State courts was 94 percent.

Indeed, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in a recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion—quoting other sources:

[Criminal justice today] is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials. . . .  [Plea bargaining] is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system.[3]

He added—again quoting other sources: “[L]onger sentences exist on the books largely for bargaining purposes.”[4]

What Kennedy neglected to mention is that “criminal justice” today in the United States is not a system of justice at all, at least for many Americans.  It is appalling that so many innocents are swept up in our criminal system.  Even if they do not go to prison, the mere fact that a prosecutor comes after them and they have to deal with the system is brutal and tragic.  Lives are wrecked in the process by zealous prosecutors and callous judges, who should be consigned to prison life themselves—where they would come to understand the true meaning of justice.

Fortunately, America has a very good public defender system, at the federal, state and local levels; and this helps a great deal, although far too often its lawyers are burdened with very heavy caseloads, and the accused may not understand that they can avail themselves of such assistance.  Anyone who thinks that prosecutors are advocates of truth and justice is living in a “Mary Poppins” fantasy world, and knows nothing about how our legal system really operates.  It is seldom if ever discussed or written about, yet it is often said—by lawyers—that the only thing separating prosecutors from guilty criminals is the “badge.”

Also, in criminal prosecutions, there is often the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence, in some instances intentionally, which gave rise to the guilty verdicts against former United States Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska being set aside, and a dismissal of the case against him.  It is another travesty and miscarriage of justice that three years after the federal judge set aside the verdicts, the wrongdoers within America’s Justice Department have not been subjected to criminal prosecution, convicted, and sent to prisons—where true justice would be meted out—instead of getting “slaps on the wrist” for their criminal misconduct.[5]

To be fair and put things into perspective, victims of criminal conduct need and deserve protection as well; and the guilty must not be sheltered or coddled if there are to be deterrents against the commission of crimes, especially those of a violent nature.  Also, many crimes are not reported or dealt with, such as rampant fraud that is occurring over the Internet each and every day, and bilking sophisticated and unsophisticated Web users out of billions of dollars.  Clearly, none of us would like to be a “jailed innocent,” but similarly we do not want to be harassed by vicious or other criminals either.  Those people who are truly innocent should not enter the criminal system; and innocent victims must be protected at all costs.

It has been noted that if we want to be 100 percent certain that no innocent will end up in jail, the inevitable result is that nobody will be in jail.  There is no such thing as perfect evidence or a perfect judge.  Indeed, as noted at the beginning of this article, the law is an imperfect discipline and process.  Also, it must be recognized that the cost of criminal and civil litigation in the United States and globally is staggering; and it takes years to resolve complex litigation.  The cost of business litigation in America’s federal courts often exceeds $1 million on each side of the action; and this figure does not include the cost of a trial or appeals.

Lawyers are trained in law schools to be advocates, and sometimes this becomes a curse.  When they represent clients in divorce proceedings, the last thing that estranged couples need is their respective lawyers “stirring the pot” to earn greater fees, and increasing the acrimony that exists already.  However, it happens, which is why lawyers are ill suited to handle such proceedings.  Also, male lawyers prey sexually on their distraught and emotionally vulnerable female clients, which should give rise to automatic disbarments.  Both the American Bar Association and State bar associations “turn a blind eye” and do little or nothing to curb such abuses.  Like rogue prosecutors who are sheltered from discipline, so too are lawyers in divorce proceedings who abuse their positions and power.  This is among the many reasons why non-lawyers in the United States and elsewhere view lawyers with such contempt and disdain—not dissimilar to how they view leeches and vermin.

Without the law though, we would have anarchy and chaos.  Yet, there is a certain amount of inherent anarchy and chaos within the legal system itself.  Harsh economic times produce demands on lawyers and courts, and bring citizens in contact with the system who otherwise might not be there except for their economic plight and hardships.  Whether the issues involve housing foreclosures or evictions, or the loss of jobs or dissolution of marriages, the American legal system is taxed like seldom before.  Budgetary constraints dictate shorter court hours and over-burdened judges, and closed courthouses and furloughed prisoners to ease overcrowding.  What is certain is that the situation will become worse between now and the end of this decade, at least in the United States.

Perhaps the only saving grace about the American legal system is that it may still be the best in the world, albeit very imperfect and flawed.  Indeed, it is the only legal system that I can address with a modicum of understanding and authority, having spent my entire career thus far dealing with it.  Unfortunately, too few lawyers are willing to speak out and criticize the profession, and “tell it like it is.”  The judiciary is almost completely blind to the problems, because its members are at the root of many of these issues.  Also, the American Bar Association is essentially worthless; and State bar associations are not much better.  I am a member of the District of Columbia Bar, which I have always been proud of though.

These are a few of the very serious problems that face our system of justice and fairness for all, which demand attention.  They are not easily fixable or remedied, yet they are at the tip of an enormous iceberg of problems.  There is a real question as to whether our system can be “fixed.”  Much like family members or loved ones of alcoholics or drug addicts, it is arguable that we cannot fix or change our legal system.  All we can do is take care of ourselves, and hope that we never come in contact with it.  There are even those who believe that quantitative and qualitative analyses can and must be applied to “redesign the judicial structure . . . into a practical process with an understood functionality and imperfection”—in the words of one engineer with a keen sense of justice.

© 2012, 2013, Timothy D. Naegele

Twill Magazine version of the article 

Justice And The Law Do Not Mix

(Image: Andrè Azevedo)


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2]  This article was published originally in Europe and distributed globally by Twill Magazine; see http://www.twill.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/justide_and_the_law_do_not_mix.pdf (issue #15, pp. 8-11); see also http://www.twill.info/ and http://www.twill.info/?p=1850

The author wishes to thank Fosco Bianchetti, Twill‘s Editor In Chief and Manager, for publishing it.  He was a pleasure to work with, always.

[3] See Missouri v. Frye, Case   No. 10–444. Argued October 31, 2011—Decided March 21, 2012 (emphasis in original); see also http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-444.pdf

[4] See id.

[5] See also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/





Is Obama The New Nixon?

1 03 2013

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Barack Obama said recently:

I am not a dictator.[2]

For many Americans who detest him totally—at the very least—this statement is all too reminiscent of Richard M. Nixon’s famous words:

I’m not a crook.[3]

The parallels are emerging rapidly; and Obama may suffer a similar fate.

Both had serious psychological issues: in the case of Obama, stemming from the fact that he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia without his natural father; and his mother shipped him off to live with her parents in Honolulu, at a very young age, where he remained until he left to attend college on the American mainland.[4]

He is a Narcissist and a demagogue; and his reelection in 2012 merely elevated and reinforced these qualities in him.  Indeed, he has come to believe that he is invincible, politically; and he has set about to change America, much like Nixon did after his landslide reelection victory in 1972.

In an earlier article about Obama, I asked:

In the final analysis, will he be viewed as a fad and a feckless naïf, and a tragic Shakespearean figure who is forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history?  Will his naïveté have been matched by his overarching narcissism, and will he be considered more starry-eyed and “dangerous” than Jimmy Carter?  Will his presidency be considered a sad watershed in history?  Or will he succeed and prove his detractors wrong, and be viewed as the “anointed one” and a true political “messiah”?  Even Abraham Lincoln was never accorded such accolades, much less during his lifetime.  And Barack Obama’s core beliefs are light years away from those of Ronald Reagan.[5]

Has Obama reached the apex of his presidency; and will his fall from grace, high atop “Mount Olympus,” be devastating for the United States and the American people?  Only time will tell.

© 2013, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/03/01/obama_i_am_not_a_dictator_im_the_president.html

[3] See, e.g.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh163n1lJ4M

[4] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

On most issues, I was politically in tune with former Senator Edward W. Brooke, for whom I worked; I am not with Barack Obama at all.

See, e.g.http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[5] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/





Abortions And Autos Kill More In America Than Guns

20 12 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Tragedies have struck again and again, with women and young students being killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado; and elsewhere.  The loss of these lives was senseless and unfathomable; and enormous pain and shock waves have been visited upon our great nation.  Advocates of gun control believe it is the solution.  However, the killer at Sandy Hook used his mother’s weapons; and she apparently knew that his mental health issues were a potential powder keg, but she could not stop him and he killed her too.  Also, at essentially the same time as the Sandy Hook killings, 22 children and one adult were injured by a knife-wielding man outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes.[2]

Guns do not kill; people do. Criminals and wackos can get their hands on guns and other weapons and commit violence, and there is nothing that can be done to prevent them—except to stop the crimes before they are committed, owing to mental health treatment, better intelligence and law enforcement.  These are violent times, which will only get much worse between now and the end of this decade; and lots of innocent people will suffer globally.[3]  However, such killings must be placed in perspective: abortions and auto accidents kill far more in America than guns do.  Indeed, there is no comparison.  Also, the FBI has reported that all homicides committed using firearms have been declining.[4]

The Second Amendment to our Constitution states in pertinent part:

[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms [] shall not be infringed.[5]

It is part of the American culture, which is protected; and the Constitution will not be changed in this regard.  Indeed, gun sales have been rising because Americans want the ability to defend themselves as crime increases in our country, which will only get worse as the budgets of law enforcement decline during the balance of this decade.

Also, violence is glorified on TV and in films worldwide.  If Americans truly want to reduce or eliminate violence (e.g., “copycat” murders), the depiction of violence should be banned. It instills the wrong values in the kids of this world. And there is no question that Hollywood promotes and glorifies violence.

America’s resident, angry Narcissistic Brit, Piers Morgan, has been trying to change our culture—which he does not understand—by crusading for gun control, despite the low ratings of his CNN talk show, which replaced the legendary, unflappable Larry King.  Hopefully Morgan returns permanently to the UK as soon as possible, and stops “preaching” in our country.[6]

As American lawyer, conservative social and political commentator Ann Coulter has noted:

Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from [multiple-victim shootings]: concealed-carry laws.

The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally.

Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed. But a criminal planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.[7]

On a personal note, I was a U.S. Army Infantry Officer during the Vietnam War, and I was trained with guns and know how to use them.  However, I gave away my father’s duck-hunting weapons, and do not like the idea of any weapons being around.  Accidents can and do happen.  However, I understand why so many Americans want them for hunting, and for their own protection.

Lastly, it bears repeating: abortions and auto accidents kill far more than guns do in the United States.  Abortions should be banned, and auto accidents should be curbed, if Americans and others truly want to deal with deaths instead of merely spouting rhetoric as Piers Morgan does.

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://www.enniscorthyguardian.ie/breaking-news/world-news/22-children-hurt-in-knife-attack-3325857.html

[3] Whether it is (1) Elizabeth Smart who was abducted from her Salt Lake City, Utah, bedroom, or (2) Jaycee Lee Dugard who was kidnapped in Northern California at the age of 11 and was found alive 18 years later after having given birth to two children fathered by the man who kidnapped her, or (3) sweet Madeleine McCann who disappeared in May of 2007 when she was on holiday with her British parents and twin siblings in the Algarve region of Portugal, or (4) the attack that took place at the shopping center in Southern California where I bought an Apple laptop that I am using to type this—which is across the road from where my son and his family used to live—this is a violent world in which innocent people (especially women) are preyed on by wackos.

See, e.g.http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/12/shots-fired-at-fashion-island-mall-lockdown-in-place.html; see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (“Poverty In America”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (“The Economic Tsunami Continues Its Relentless And Unforgiving Advance Globally”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/ (“Illegal Immigration: The Solution Is Simple”)

[4]  As of the date that this article was published, more than 1.2 million abortions had taken place in the United States this year alone.

See http://www.numberofabortions.com/; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States

Last year, motor vehicle deaths in U.S. totaled 32,367.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

By comparison, it has been reported:

[T]he most recent data suggests gun violence is declining in the United States.

The number of homicides committed using firearms dropped from 2006 to 2010, according the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

In 2010, 8,775 homicides using firearms were reported to the FBI. In 2006, 10,225 homicides using firearms were reported to the FBI.

See http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/fbi-crime-reports-show-homicides-using-firearms-dropped-in-usbetween-2006-and-2010

[5] See http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment

[6] See http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/12/19/piers-morgan-calls-pro-gun-advocate-unbelievably-stupid-dangerous-you

[7] See http://www.humanevents.com/2012/12/19/ann-coulter-we-know-how-to-stop-school-shootings/

As a lawyer-friend of mine commented, after reading and recommending Coulter’s article:

I think one of the jurisdictions that is pretty satisfied with concealed carry laws is [the District of Columbia, or Washington, D.C.], where a lot of the minority women carry weapons when they live in unsafe areas.

. . .

The bad guys aren’t as likely to bother them as they were before many of them started carrying.





Is Google Becoming Microsoft Or Worse?

25 04 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

The users of Google’s Gmail were just forced to adopt its newest version, whether they wanted to do so or not.  They were never given a choice, although they were warned that it was coming and given temporary “opt-outs” of the impending switch—which lasted only a brief period of time.  Then boom, it happened.  All of a sudden, the time-tested, simple and elegant version was swept aside, and in its stead is the “ugliest of uglies.”

There is an old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Simply put, this means that change for the sake of change does not make good sense.  If there is no evidence of a real problem, and fixing the “problem” would not improve the product or service, then don’t waste time and energy trying to fix it.  Microsoft changes Office to sell more products; however, only true geeks understand the changes, much less completely.

What seems clear is that Google—like Microsoft—does not care about what its customers think or want.  Indeed, it may be in the process of morphing into Microsoft or worse, inter alia, because Google does not provide customer support or any interface with its Gmail users directly.  The new version seems to be the latest example of Google’s “geeks gone mad with power.”  The company might have given its users the option of staying with the old version, but this was not to be.  Imposing the new version was a crude exercise of raw power, which is not a good omen for long-time supporters and lovers of Google.

Many of us have been with the company and supported its products almost from Day One, when it began with a simple search engine that has not changed—at least from the perspective of its loyal, non-geek users—which undergirds its astonishing success.  This rather inauspicious and humble beginning has resulted in its owners becoming rich beyond their wildest earthy dreams, because of customer loyalty.  I advertised with Google, and was given advanced access to Gmail many months before it was available publicly; and I loved it, and sent “invitations” to others who began using it as well.

Sadly, Gmail is no longer what it was.  Google may be headed in the direction of Microsoft, a company that stopped caring about its users many years ago, and instead has shoved products down their throats that were hopelessly flawed, like its Vista operating system.  Rather than change Gmail completely, Google might have tweaked it with changes that constituted “incremental refinements.”

Even Microsoft does not kill off earlier versions of Word for the Mac, which I have been using for about 20 years.  Granted one cannot open documents created with them unless the older versions of the software have been retained, but anything is possible.  After using Office (and Word) 2008 for the Mac successfully, I became a member of a Microsoft advisory group relating to the next version, Office 2011—called the “Office for Mac Advisory Panel”—and I was given a copy when it was first released.  To my great surprise, its Word software would not open documents created with the previous version, Word 2008.  I brought this to the attention of Microsoft’s Mac team, and never heard from them again.

Customer support like this drives the “faithful” away, who feel cheated and “used.”  However, Google has gone a step farther and mandated the use of Gmail’s newest incarnation.  One might think that the company would have learned from the fact that its time-tested search engine’s customer interface has not changed, while ill-fated Google products such as Chromebooks and Knols have never gained much of a consumer following and are disappearing.  Also, Google does not address problems with its Chrome browser.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of customer service and satisfaction, are WordPress, FedEx, Costco and Canon—which go out of their way to keep things simple and help their customers, who inevitably become dyed-in-the-wool, enthusiastic advocates for the businesses, and spread the “gospel” about them far and wide.  While Google has not succumbed to the level of disdain enjoyed by Microsoft yet, its heavy-handed changes with respect to Gmail and other similar actions may take the company in that direction and beyond.

Ultimately, customers might spurn its products; however, like Microsoft, Google’s owners and management may not truly care.  IBM followed that arrogant path years ago, and suffered greatly because of it.  Other companies have come and gone completely.  Will this be Google’s fate?

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele





The United States Department of Injustice

21 03 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

The truth has begun to come out about the federal prosecution of former United States Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. In an article entitled, “Inquiry slams prosecution of Stevens corruption case by Justice Department,” the Washington Times reported:

Justice Department prosecutors bungled the investigation and prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens, a probe that was permeated by the “systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence,” in some instances intentionally, that would have independently corroborated his defense and testimony, a court-ordered report released Thursday says.

In a blistering 514-page report, Special Counsel Henry F. Schuelke III said Justice Department prosecutors never conducted a comprehensive review of evidence favorable to the Alaska Republican and failed to disclose to defense attorneys notes of witness interviews containing significant information.

The report also says two federal prosecutors intentionally withheld and concealed significant information from the Stevens defense team that would have seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.

Months after a jury convicted Stevens in October 2008 of accepting and concealing money for home renovations and other gifts, the report says, a new team of prosecutors discovered, in short order, that some of the exculpatory information had been withheld. At that point, it says, the Justice Department moved to set aside the verdict and dismiss an indictment with prejudice.

New prosecutors were assigned after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, in a stunning rebuke, held two prosecutors in contempt for failing to comply with the court’s order to disclose information to Stevens‘ attorneys and to the court regarding allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, which were made after trial by an FBI agent who worked on the case.

In throwing out the case against Stevens, Judge Sullivan said, “For nearly 25 years, I’ve told defendants appearing before me that in my courtroom they will receive a fair trial and I will make sure of it. In nearly 25 years on the bench, I have never seen anything approaching the mishandling and the misconduct I have seen in this case.”

. . .

The Schuelke investigation lasted two years and involved the examination and analysis of more than 128,000 pages of documents, including the trial record, prosecutors’ and agents’ emails, FBI reports and handwritten notes, and depositions of prosecutors, agents and others.

. . .

Since the Stevens case was dismissed, [Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney] said, the department has instituted a “sweeping training curriculum for all federal prosecutors and has taken “unprecedented steps” to ensure that prosecutors, agents and paralegals have the necessary training and resources to properly fulfill their discovery and ethics obligations.

“Justice is served only when all parties adhere to the rules and case law that govern our criminal justice system,” she said. “While the department meets its discovery obligations in nearly all cases, even one failure is one too many.

“But it would be an injustice of a different kind for the thousands of men and women who spend their lives fighting to uphold the law and keep our communities safe to be tainted by the misguided notion that instances of intentional prosecutorial misconduct are anything but rare occurrences,” she said.

Kenneth L. Wainstein, counsel for Alaska federal prosecutor Joe Bottini, said the nation’s criminal justice system is based on principles of fairness and due process and the fundamental requirement that criminal accusations should be leveled only when a person intentionally violates the law and not when one simply makes mistakes.

. . .

The Schuelke report does not recommend that any criminal charges be brought, but blames prosecutors for intentionally withholding and concealing evidence.[2]

It is another travesty and miscarriage of justice that the wrongdoers within the so-called “Justice Department” have not been subjected to criminal prosecution, convicted, and sent to prisons—where true justice will be meted out—instead of getting “slaps on the wrist” for their criminal conduct.

While Judge Sullivan’s words and actions have been commendable, the Stevens case is not an isolated incident of the Criminal Division’s wrongdoing. Tragically, adequate resources do not exist to ferret out the depth of the Criminal Division’s wrongdoing, or to bring its corrupt lawyers and others—such as FBI agents—to justice.

At best, Sweeney’s comments constitute lies, obfuscation and a perpetuation of the Criminal Division’s cover-up of the systemic corruption within its ranks. The same thing is true of Wainstein’s comments.

As I have written:

[A]buse of our criminal justice system by prosecutors is “unreal” today. According to one civil trial attorney with years of experience, it is akin to “KGB material”—as rogue prosecutors go after innocent people and try to convict and imprison them.

. . .

“[L]awyers who are prosecutors are often less interested in fairness and justice than they are in winning at all costs, and exercising their raw power and hurting others in the process—such as those who are innocent but are convicted anyway.”

. . .

And I added:

“A federal official with reason to know told me that between 15-20 percent of the indictees in federal courts are probably innocent. Some are seniors who have been charged with cheating the Social Security program, and they are scared to death, so they agree to plea bargains rather than fight for their innocence.”

Anyone who honestly thinks that prosecutors are advocates of truth and justice is living in a “Mary Poppins,” fantasy world, and knows nothing about how our legal system really operates. The truth about this system is not found by watching TV shows or films. Indeed, it is seldom if ever discussed or written about, yet it is often said—by lawyers—that the only thing separating prosecutors from guilty criminals is the “badge.”

Lastly, how many innocent people have been wrongly executed for crimes they did not commit? Even more startling may be the number of innocent people who have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned. Perhaps the best remedy for such abuses is to have the “guilty” prosecutors incarcerated; and let justice be meted out with respect to them, by those in prisons.[3][4]

In a long-overdue editorial entitled, “Department of Injustice”—and subtitled, “Prosecutors in the Stevens case deserve severe sanctions”—the Wall Street Journal added:

Something is very rotten at the U.S. Department of Justice. No other reasonable conclusion can be drawn from an independent report on the 2008 prosecution of then-Senator Ted Stevens.

. . .

Most damaging to Justice’s credibility is that, three years after Judge Sullivan set aside the guilty verdicts against Stevens, the department still hasn’t disciplined the men and women involved. Nor has it instituted harsher penalties for future abuses. Attorney General Eric Holder told a Senate committee last week that a separate internal inquiry at Justice is almost done, but he would not promise to make all the results public.

Speaking of public scrutiny, you’ve probably never heard of Matthew Friedrich, Rita Glavin, Brenda Morris, Joseph Bottini, James Goeke or Edward Sullivan. But maybe more people should know them, and learn the various roles they played in a prosecution that not only trampled on the rights of the accused, but denied the people of Alaska a fair election and literally shifted the balance of power in the U.S. government.

. . .

Guilty verdicts against the Republican Stevens arrived less than two weeks before Election Day in 2008, causing the previously popular Senator to lose a close race to Democrat Mark Begich. Mr. Begich would go on to provide the 60th Senate vote to pass ObamaCare in 2009.

Virtually the entire case against Ted Stevens hinged on the testimony of the government’s star witness, VECO Corporation CEO William Allen. To protect his credibility, prosecutors withheld from the defense evidence that he had suborned perjury in a separate criminal investigation. Nor did prosecutors say a word in court when, according to the report, Mr. Allen offered testimony that the prosecution knew to be false.

The government’s seven-count indictment for false statements accused Stevens of accepting free home renovations from Mr. Allen’s company and then not reporting these gifts on federal disclosure forms.

Mr. Stevens and his wife said they had paid $160,000 for the renovations and as far as they knew that was the total cost of the work. What the prosecutors learned in interviewing witnesses—but never shared with the defense—is that even the foreman on the job site shared the Stevens’ understanding that they had been appropriately billed for all the work. Instead of sharing this evidence supporting Stevens’s defense, prosecutors selectively quoted the foreman to make it appear as if he had said the opposite, and they used his comments to falsely attack Stevens.

. . .

It would be nice to think these abuses were rare lapses. But we wonder what else we might learn if every DOJ prosecution was subjected to a review like the one Judge Sullivan wisely demanded.

. . .

Americans hand prosecutors an awesome power—the power to destroy fortunes and futures, and in this case to reallocate national political power. We are seeing a pattern of abuse of this power, in order to win big cases. To help prosecutors remember that their job is to do justice and not simply to beat the defense team, there should be automatic and severe penalties for Brady violations. Prosecutors could also be required to turn over more raw data with potentially exculpatory evidence, except in cases where it threatens national security or endangers witnesses in a criminal case.

Mr. Holder claims to have addressed the problems in the Stevens case by expanding training programs and the like. But as the nation’s chief law enforcer, he should know that harsh punishment is the appropriate response when anyone violates the rights of a citizen as badly as prosecutors did in the Stevens case.[5]

Why should anyone be the least bit surprised that the Justice Department’s Criminal Division is corrupt?  Like the fish rots from the head down, the Criminal Division does as well. Anyone who differs with this conclusion has never dealt with the Division, its lawyers, or their injustices.

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/15/inquiry-slams-prosecution-stevens-case-justice-dep

[3] See also http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-02-06/ted-stevens-prosecutors-justice-department/52922922/1 (“Taxpayers pay to defend prosecutors in Ted Stevens case“)

[4] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/#comment-1700 (emphasis in original)

[5] See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304459804577283371409080312.html?grcc=b0ae03d96c2400ec757f4df24c4ff8bcZ0&mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion (emphasis added); see also http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/03/15/law-blog-doc-dump-ted-stevens-investigative-report/





The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu

8 03 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

The recent sober assessment of Arnaud de Borchgrave—the distinguished editor-at-large of The Washington Times and of United Press International—is worth reading and reflecting on:

U.S. three-star generals and admirals, Defense Intelligence Agency and CIA sources, along with three former CENTCOM commanders and the three former chiefs of Israeli intelligence services who retired last year—a formidable array of military and civilian experts who share impressive expertise on the Middle East—are all waving a red flag against unilateral Israeli or bilateral U.S.-Israeli bombing of Iran’s nuclear installations.

They can see such actions triggering a wider conflict spreading to the entire Middle East and the rest of the Arab world.

. . .

A three-star with much recent experience in the Middle East says an Israeli strike could move the entire region in the wrong direction.

Iran can close the Strait of Hormuz, not just for a few hours, as the Israelis say, but long enough to drive oil prices into the stratosphere. An admiral with years of experience in the region at different times of his career said privately Iran can sow thousands of mines in an area that handles one-fifth of the world’s daily oil requirements. They are below the surface and can be detonated by remote control as a warship sails over them. Iran’s shore line, which covers the entire eastern side of the Persian Gulf, is pock-marked with concealed missile sites.

The Iranians would also use hundreds of small boats in a swarming configuration that U.S. warships are prepared to cope with—but one or two are bound to get through a curtain of fire and punch a hole in the hull of a U.S. or NATO minesweeper.

Such a small boat in Aden harbor in October 2000 punctured the hull of the USS Cole, a $1 billion Arleigh Burke class destroyer, killing 17 sailors, and putting the warship out of service for 18 months with a $220 million repair bill. Cost of the operation to al-Qaida: $10,000 plus three volunteer suicide bombers.

The response of Israeli naysayers is that such tactics would hurt Iran far more than any of its intended targets. U.S. generals and admirals respond that the Iranian leadership wouldn’t be averse to cutting off its nose to spite its face.

The Iranians can also absorb temporary belt-tightening far more readily than Western Europeans. And with gas at the pump suddenly selling at $10 to $15 a gallon, U.S. President Barack Obama’s updated resume wouldn’t look too appealing at the ballot box in November.

. . .

U.S. Navy 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain is vulnerable; two-thirds of its population is Shiite Muslim and rooting for Tehran in the current conflict.

. . .

Most Iran watchers in the intelligence community say that one Israeli or U.S. bomb on Iran would push Iran’s youthful protesters right into the arms of the government they despise.

. . .

More important than his meeting with Obama is Netanyahu’s speech to the annual AIPAC convention. The endorsement of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Washington’s most powerful lobby, is tantamount to solid congressional approval.[2]

By attacking Iran, Netanyahu and Israel will stir up a hornet’s nest in the Islamic world, and achieve little or nothing militarily. Israel does not have the means of destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities; and it is likely that the mission would end in failure. Also, what Arnaud de Borchgrave neglected to mention in his fine article is that in the Middle East, in Europe and worldwide, Israelis and other innocent Jews can be targeted by Islamic fascists; and there is nothing that Israel or its Mossad can do to prevent it.

A “silent” holocaust might take place globally, which would be unstoppable.  There are 1.3–1.65 billion followers of Islam worldwide, while Iran’s total population is approximately 78 million; and there are 14–18 million Jews worldwide, of which 6 million live in Israel.[3]

It is the Narcissistic demagogue Netanyahu who must be stopped, before he triggers actions in the Middle East and elsewhere that might be truly catastrophic.  His goal is to provoke an American attack on Iran, which is outrageous, reprehensible, and similar to the pressures that were brought to bear before the United States invaded Iraq.  There are no limits to his arrogance, or the extremes to which he will go to provoke the American attack.  He and Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Russia’s Putin are “moral equivalents.”[4]

America is not Israel’s surrogate; the two countries are not tied at the hip; and Iran is not America’s fight.  The American people are bone-tired of fighting wars in the region, and want out.  And our valiant and heroic military forces have been stretched far enough.[5]

The New York Times has reported:

Thomas E. Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, . . . spent two days [in Jerusalem] recently, along with a team of intelligence and defense officials, meeting with Mr. Netanyahu and his lieutenants. Both sides contended that the meetings were highly successful. The Israelis were told that the administration not only says it would use military force if sanctions against Iran failed, it is also doing the planning for it.[6]

Not a single drop of American blood should ever be spilled to protect or defend Israel, period.[7]  It is on its own, sink or swim.  It is a pariah state worldwide because of Netanyahu, who continually seeks to dictate and distort U.S. foreign and national security policies.  Barack Obama was right in reaching out to the Islamic world—and he must block all warmongering actions by Netanyahu.  An Israeli attack on Iran would undoubtedly draw fury from Islamic nations and the followers of Islam around the world.  America is not at war with Islam; and Netanyahu must not be allowed to provoke this.

On some level Obama views the Israelis as the oppressors, or the “enemy,” and the Palestinians as the oppressed—reflecting his deep-seated beliefs about Apartheid in South Africa, which he viewed as pure evil.  If one has any doubts, read his book, “Dreams from My Father.”[8]  Hence, there is no kinship whatsoever between Obama and Netanyahu; and it is not surprising that Obama would treat him with outright disdain and contempt.  Viewed in this context, one can understand what Obama is doing and why he is doing it.  To him, it is likely that Netanyahu personifies that oppression.

The following bears repeating:

[Netanyahu] was hated by former Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin—and especially by Rabin’s wife Leah, who blamed Netanyahu for her husband’s assassination. She saw “only doom for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” with Netanyahu at Israel’s helm; and her views were prescient.[9]

Perhaps most surprising—and disturbing—is that the Israeli people have not ousted Netanyahu before now, despite the warnings of Sharon, the Rabins and others.  One of my Jewish friends who follows Israeli politics closely is convinced that the problem lies in its fractured parliamentary democracy. Small splinter groups, such as Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, are allowed to dictate Israeli domestic and national security policies.

It is a case of the “tail wagging the dog,” and Netanyahu has skillfully maneuvered this political system to his benefit.  Indeed, there appears to be little likelihood of change, certainly before he marches his fellow Israelis—and potentially Jews worldwide—to the edge of an abyss, of unfathomable depths.

In advance of Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu, the Los Angeles Times reported:

Obama said he plans to tell Netanyahu that he will order military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program if the current international sanctions are not successful in deterring its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

. . .

“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” Obama said. . . .[10]

This is absurd, and simply political theater.

Obama has cut and run from Iraq, like a dog with his tail between his legs.  He is in the process of doing the same thing in Afghanistan, and losing the Middle East to Islamic fascists.  And he is trying to “gut” our great nation’s military might.[11]  The idea that America’s “Hamlet on the Potomac”—and “Jimmy Carter-lite”—would all of a sudden reverse course and launch the United States into a potentially devastating war with Iran and the Islamic world is nonsensical.

He is a political actor, pure and simple, and not much more.  Any notion that he has “Israel’s back,” and will protect it, must be viewed in the context of how he has protected the Iraqis, the Afghans, and dissenters in both Iran and Syria—which is not at all.[12]

The path on which Netanyahu is leading the Israelis is fraught with peril for their tiny Jewish nation . . . and potentially for Jews worldwide.  He is determined to take the United States and the American people on the “joy ride” with him, which is utter madness.

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com; see also Google search:Timothy D. Naegele

[2] See http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2012/03/01/Commentary-Geopolitical-maelstrom/UPI-88241330603862/ (“Geopolitical maelstrom”); see also http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-1880” (“Is Netanyahu’s Next Irresponsible Adventure An Attack On Iran?”)

[3] See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups” (“Wikipedia: Major religious groups”) and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-2002 (“New Attacks On Israelis Have Begun, Which May Spread To Other Jews Worldwide”)

[4] See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/; see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/9125129/2012-is-not-1944-Netanyahu-invokes-Auschwitz-in-warning-to-Obama-over-Iran.html” (“’2012 is not 1944′: Netanyahu invokes Auschwitz in warning to Obama over Iran”)

[5] See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/#comment-2027; see also http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/opinion/iran-israel-and-the-united-states.html?_r=1” (“[T]here must be no illusions about what it would take to seriously damage Iran’s nuclear complex, the high costs and the limited returns”)

[6] See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/world/middleeast/for-obama-and-netanyahu-wariness-on-iran-will-dominate-talks.html” (“For Obama and Netanyahu, Wariness on Iran Will Dominate Talks”)

[7] Many Americans will never forget the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.  As stated at a memorial to those who died and were injured:

On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it.

. . .

Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded.

See www.gtr5.com

[8] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

[9] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/

[10] See http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-obama-interview-iran-20120302,0,7234351.story (“Obama on Iran: ‘I don’t bluff’”)

[11] See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1959

[12] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-2028 and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1959 and http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/#comment-1883








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