The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished

8 09 2014

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1][2]

When I took and passed California’s bar examination and became a lawyer and a member of The State Bar of California, I was very proud of what I had accomplished.  I worked hard in law school at Berkeley—and later at Georgetown, for a second law degree—and I considered it an honor to be a member of the State Bar . . . but not anymore.  Under former California Governor Pete Wilson, for all intents and purposes, it was put out of business; and its uselessness was exposed for all to see, like the emperor in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”[3]

This stinging indictment should have been a wake-up call for California lawyers.  However, the State Bar has come roaring back with a vengeance; and it is worse than ever, and a true disgrace.  Once again it is a “rogue” trade association; a waste of its members’ and taxpayers’ monies; and a travesty.  It should be eliminated permanently, with its staff sent looking for other jobs.[4]  Or at the very least, it should become voluntary, with its disciplinary functions transferred to an independent arm of California’s Supreme Court—and its present staff of rogue prosecutors eliminated completely.

Today, I am ashamed to be a member of the State Bar; and I never thought that I would come to that conclusion.[5]  It is like belonging to a private club that discriminates, and is run by an inbred clique or cabal.  At best, it is a third-rate trade association—and Sacramento and Washington, D.C. are full of them.

Undergraduates in colleges, and others who enter law schools in California, have been lulled into the belief that being a lawyer is some “magical” ticket to success—which it is not—and that it is an honorable profession to join.  What they do not realize is that very successful lawyer friends of mine and I have recommended for many years that our kids and others never become lawyers or practice law . . . albeit I am proud of what I have accomplished as a lawyer.[6]

The value of this advice will be even more evident as California’s economy deteriorates during the balance of this decade, and fewer Californians are able to afford legal services.  The State Bar has defrauded would-be lawyers by failing to disclose that the debt obligation a legal education entails may encumber the students (or their parents) for much of their lives, and there may be no jobs when they graduate.[7]

A $15-an-hour job as a non-lawyer will not service a $150,000 debt incurred during law school, yet the State Bar never discloses this because it is knee-deep in fraud itself.  The first goals of any trade association are to perpetuate its existence and full-time employment for its staff members, which the State Bar has been doing with gusto since it essentially went out of business.[8]

Also, the State Bar has done almost nothing to police abuses by lawyers in California, relating to fraud in mortgage lending and other activities.  It has wasted valuable resources pursuing “minnows,” all the while allowing the “big fish” to escape unscathed.  It has never gone after the lawyers at Countrywide who participated in and/or condoned predatory lending practices; and one of Countrywide’s lawyers even testified on the State Bar’s behalf in a predatory lending case[9].

Equally disturbing, disconcerting and odious is the fact that divorce lawyers prey sexually on their vulnerable and distraught clients.  They should be automatically disbarred; and the State Bar is culpable and morally reprehensible for failing to act.  As in the case of other professionals—such as medical doctors and psychiatrists who prey on their vulnerable patients—the most stringent sanctions must be imposed, but they are not.  The State Bar turns a blind eye, which undermines any notions of morality and propriety that it purports to represent.

Its failure to disbar these divorce lawyers is inherently repugnant.  Women’s rights organizations especially should be up in arms, protesting the State Bar’s culpability.  Anyone is vulnerable during divorce proceedings, and this is particularly true of women.  Yet the State Bar does nothing.  If some lawyers can act with impunity in the context of divorces, what use is the State Bar to society—or to those lawyers whose conduct is above reproach?

Unlike the District of Columbia Bar, of which I am proudly a member—for example, because (1) it is more prestigious, with its members being recognized on a nationwide and worldwide basis, and (2) it does a far better job, and (3) its members are charged much less in terms of annual dues—the State Bar forces its members to satisfy Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) requirements every three years, which is absurd.  Financial “kickbacks” are standard for the State Bar, which is a travesty unto itself; and mandatory CLE is merely one example.

Most CLE courses that are required have no bearing whatsoever on a lawyer’s legal specialty and practice.  Over the years, I have never seen a successful lawyer who failed to keep up with the nuances of his or her specialty.  Indeed, truly proficient lawyers do it each and every day that they practice law; and there is no need to take mandatory CLE courses to accomplish this.  Quite to the contrary, it is a waste of time—but the State Bar mandates this because it enhances the State Bar’s financial coffers and insures the perpetuation of the trade association’s existence and power.[10]  

The contrast between the State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar is striking in almost every respect.  Aside from costing much more, the State Bar is grossly inefficient in serving its members.  For example, I received a check from a purported “client” in what turned out to be a fraudulent “phishing” scam; and I contacted both bar associations to ask what I should do with it, ethically.  The D.C. Bar got right back to me; and one of its attorneys was very thoughtful and helpful.  No one from the State Bar ever called me back, and I gave up trying to reach them.

To say that the State Bar is totally worthless—and lawless, and does not pay its bills—is not to exaggerate one iota.[11] When I was sworn in as a California lawyer, I was in awe of the State Bar.  However, this has not been true for many years.  It is just one more fraudulent trade association, whose existence is perpetuated to serve its staff members above everyone else.  Lawyers are held in low esteem today, inter alia, because rogue organizations like the State Bar exist, which are bankrupt morally and ethically.

Its support from financially strapped Californians and the equally strapped State of California[12] is wasted and must be eliminated completely; and its membership must become voluntary, at best.  Clearly, enough political forces coalesced to effectively put the State Bar out of business when Pete Wilson was California’s governor.  The same thing must happen now—this time to accomplish the job once and for all, and eliminate what is probably the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States.

In a quotation attributed to the Irish-born statesman Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [and women] do nothing.”  California lawyers must rise up and say enough is enough, and mean it this time.  Perhaps it is naïve, optimistic and idealistic to believe this will happen, but hopefully not.  American justice requires nothing less.[13]

© 2014, Timothy D. Naegele

Ban State Bar of California


[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/documents/TimothyD.NaegeleResume.pdf).  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]  Note: The author has held these personal opinions for many years, probably since the State Bar was effectively put out of business (see infra n.3), and he and other members woke up to problems with the Bar.  The author paid dues, but worked full time in Washington, D.C. then, and did not pay much attention to the Bar.  He began drafting this article in 2012, long before he heard the names Erin McKeown Joyce, Thomas A. Miller or Lucy Armendariz; and he made refinements (i.e., principally to its footnotes) before it was published here.

[3] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Bar_of_California#Member_fee_authorization_process (“Member fee authorization process”) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

[4]  Two general counsel (i.e., “the State Bar’s lawyer,” or chief legal officer) have served during this time frame: Joseph Starr Babcock and Thomas Allen Miller.  Babcock came in to pick up the pieces after the State Bar essentially went out of business; and Miller came on board recently after practicing law.

Miller has taken a “hands’ off” approach, by saying that his “Office of General Counsel” has no “direct involvement” with “the exclusive jurisdiction of the Office of Chief Trial Counsel,” despite the fact that Miller was told by the author that (1) one of his lawyers in the latter office—Erin McKeown Joyce—has totally ignored the law nationally, as enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit and California’s Supreme Court; (2) the State Bar owes the author a substantial sum of money stemming from his deposition testimony as an expert witness, and payment is required by a California statute; (3) another member of the State Bar is reportedly subject to criminal prosecution for fraud, Lloyd J. Michaelson (SBN 94145), yet no actions have been taken by the State Bar; and similarly (4) the State Bar has not taken action against a second attorney, Richard H. Lubetzky (SBN 154032), even though he suborned perjury with respect to testimony before the State Bar, and his troubled history with the State Bar began before his admission to the Bar.  See also infra n.11.

See, e.g.http://www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/detail/a_paramount_problem/8566/ (“The suits claim that from 2008 through early 2010, defendants Nicholaus Skultety and lawyer Lloyd Michaelson were scamming millions of dollars from individuals and businesses across the United States by fraudulently promising to fund construction projects in exchange for an up-front cash fee of 2 percent of purported loans. . . . Various people . . . , including some of the alleged victims, said they have been in contact with the FBI”) and http://redcatsboards.yuku.com/topic/34142/Local-men-charged-in-real-estate-loan-scam#.UOyJ5LtWpkg (“Local men charged in real estate loan scam – Complaint says they collected fees for loans that were never delivered”) and http://www.californiarealestatefraudreport.com/archives/date/2011/03

While Miller may be competent, and the “new kid on the block,” he is in charge now.  If he will not take actions (1) to rein in abuses by lawyers in the “exclusive fiefdom” of the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, and (2) to address other serious problems with the State Bar—and he allows such problems to fester—who will?  Ultimately, he is responsible and the buck stops with him, yet he is turning a blind eye to wrongdoing by those who work for him.  Indeed, others beneath him have taken the State Bar down a path that must end.  Investigations by California’s legislature and its Governor are warranted and needed; and there must not be a “whitewash.”

[5] The author has debated for some time whether to go “inactive,” or resign from the State Bar altogether.  He applauded the actions that essentially put it out of business.  While it may be best to fight it from within—because only a relatively small number of lawyers know how truly corrupt it is—the State Bar costs the author money, and it wastes his time satisfying useless CLE requirements.

Since being admitted to the State Bar, the author has handled very few matters in California, and less than a handful for individual clients.  Mostly, he has purchased banks there from the federal government for large business clients located elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas; served as an expert witness for the FDIC, in connection with a failing national bank case; and served as a special consultant to the State on banking matters, during the first administration of Governor Jerry Brown.

[6] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/justice-and-the-law-do-not-mix/  (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article) and http://www.naegele.com/documents/Twill-Naegele-JusticeAndTheLawDoNotMix.pdf  (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix”); see also http://www.naegele.com/documents/TimothyD.NaegeleResume.pdf

[7] See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/ (“The American Legal System Is Broken: Can It Be Fixed?”) (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[8] If one looks hard enough at the State Bar’s Web site, its staggering budget is set forth, although nowhere is an overall summary presented.  See, e.g., http://www.calbar.ca.gov/AboutUs/Reports.aspx (“2015 Proposed Final Budget”).  Its members must be provided with such information in great specificity, because they pay dues; and the public must be as well, because the State Bar’s budget is part of the General Fund support for California’s judicial branch.  Also, funds for the State Bar should be eliminated entirely.

For 2015 alone, more than $5 million is shown for the Office of General Counsel, even though the State Bar’s lawyer apparently will not “intrude” in the activities of his lawless Office of Chief Trial Counsel (see infra n.4 & 11), whose budget for the same period is shown to exceed $30 million.  Both individuals are shown to earn $200,000 per year.

At the State Bar’s Web site in July, 2014, it was stated:

The bar’s programs are financed primarily by fees paid by attorneys and applicants to practice law. In 2011, the bar’s general fund budget was more than $64 million, over 75 percent of which funded the bar’s attorney disciplinary activities.

See http://www.calbar.ca.gov/AboutUs/StateBarOverview.aspx (“How is the State Bar funded?”).

Surely, the State Bar must cite figures that are more recent than three years old; and 75 percent of “more than $64 million” equals almost $50 million.  This means that the Office of Chief Trial Counsel’s budget is likely more than that amount today, rather than the amount shown in the “2015 Proposed Final Budget.”  And this money is paid to rogue prosecutors, who are seeking as many “scalps” as they can take.  Not many lawyers can afford to fight this vicious and unholy juggernaut.  See infra n.11.

[9] James Goldberg of Bryan Cave LLP, San Francisco, represented related persons and entities—for example, Bank of America, N.A., Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., ReconTrust Company, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. and Kelly Germa (hereinafter referred to collectively as “Countrywide”)—which have been defendants in a lawsuit alleging predatory lending and fraud; namely, Kaleb v. Bank of America Home Loans, et al. (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Case No. 3:09-cv-05958-RS).

In turn, Goldberg testified on behalf of the State Bar in a predatory lending case before the State Bar Court, In the Matter of Sharon Lapin, 165919, A Member of the State Bar, in which Countrywide’s wrongdoing was an issue.  Clearly, the State Bar has zero problems with (1) allowing the “fox” into the “chicken coop,” and (2) not pursuing the lawyers at Countrywide—which was headquartered in Calabasas, California—for their wrongdoing, despite the fact that Countrywide has been the “poster child” for fraud in America’s mortgage lending scandals.  Also, all of this occurred before State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz, who presumably had no problems with it either.  See also infra n.11.

[10] Instead of eliminating CLE requirements altogether, the State Bar has actually advocated increasing them, which is patently absurd—and simply underscores how irresponsible the State Bar is.

See http://calbarjournal.com/August2013/TopHeadlines/TH3.aspx

Furthermore, the State Bar is wasting money auditing thousands of its members—to ensure compliance with the requirements—which is absurd, abusive, and another reason why the trade association should be abolished.

See http://calbarjournal.com/July2014/TopHeadlines/TH6.aspx (“5,500 attorneys expected to go through MCLE audit”)

Education of California’s lawyers can and does take place on an individual, very personal basis.  Also, there are many private organizations, such as universities, which provide superior educational resources.

[11] For example, the author testified as an expert witness before the State Bar pursuant to its subpoena on June 27, 2012, with respect to matters involving another member of the State Bar.  Section 1986.5 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure states in pertinent part:

Any person who is subpoenaed and required to give a deposition shall be entitled to receive the same witness fees and mileage as if the subpoena required him or her to attend and testify before a court in which the action or proceeding is pending.

See http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/CCP/3/4/3/2/s1986.5

The State Bar has not paid the author, and one must assume that it has not paid others as well.  In its defense, on September 12, 2013, it produced a handwritten “Clarification order,” dated July 9, 2012, for the first time—which had been signed by State Bar Court Judge Armendariz, and purported to shift the fees and costs away from the State Bar.  However, it did not override or nullify the California statute; and arguably the State Bar Court judge is “complicit” in the State Bar’s lawlessness.

How many people have been “cheated” financially by the State Bar?  Indeed, it must be determined—by means of an independent investigation—how many other times the State Bar has used the State Bar Court or other ruses to cheat people out of monies that are owed.  The spotlight must be focused on the State Bar’s employees and State Bar Court judges who engage in such abuses.

Clearly, the State Bar is dodging the courts and the laws by turning to its own State Bar Court judges to bless its decisions.  The State Bar’s rules and those of the State Bar Court are Byzantine at best, and are skewed against lawyers in California.  See, e.g., rules.calbar.ca.gov and www.statebarcourt.ca.gov/ProceduresProgramsandRules.aspx (“Rules of Practice and the Rules of Procedure, which govern State Bar Court proceedings”)

Next, a “Senior Trial Counsel” with the State Bar, Joyce, told the author that the “black letter law” decisions of federal courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) do not count as far as she was concerned, nor do decisions of California’s Supreme Court.

In essence, she was saying that the “law of the land” could and should be ignored.  Needless to say, the author was stunned and flabbergasted by her ignorance and naïveté, yet these are the types of lawyers who are apparently employed by and represent the State Bar.  They are lawless; and hence, when the State Bar acts through them, it is lawless.

Evidently the performances of the State Bar’s prosecutors are measured by how many “scalps” they take, which gives them enormous incentives to go after the State Bar’s members, whether they are innocent or not—and grotesquely distorts the prosecutorial process.  When State Bar Court judges override existing laws, without thinking twice about it, one understands how corrupt the system is, from one end to the other.

Most prosecutors seemingly have never laid eyes on an innocent defendant.  As the author has written:

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.”

See infra n.6.  Imagine a life spent hurting people.  Joyce may be a perfect example, and the question is: how many people has she hurt?

Unlike some state bar associations such as the District of Columbia Bar, where the membership is worth something, the State Bar is a burden and not something to be proud of.  When it essentially went out of business, it was not missed except by its staff members, who had been feeding at its trough.

As the author has written in an article cited above:

Can our legal system be fixed, and will the American people come to trust and respect lawyers and judges again, and believe that justice not only exists but prevails in this great nation?  Maybe . . . if the profession is restructured, and if it attracts those people who believe that the law is sacred, sacrosanct and pristine—truly a shining city upon a hill—and they put such principles into practice.  The profession does not require saints, but it does need something different than “Law West of the Pecos by Judge Roy Bean.”  And it needs people who are different than it has been attracting: who are often driven, ruthless, unprincipled, money-hungry, and power-hungry.

See infra n.7 (emphasis in original).  At the very least, Joyce seems to be Bean’s successor.

On July 29, 2014, Joyce commenced a disciplinary action against the author based on (1) “Failure to Update Membership Address,” and (2) “Unconscionable Fee” and “Failure To Refund Unearned Attorney Fees.”  The charges were totally false, bogus and constituted pure harassment—and this article was written well beforehand (see infra n.2)—but she brought the action anyway.  And Miller did nothing to stop her, even though both were briefed fully about the issues.  See, e.g., infra n.4.  It is unrealistic to expect even a modicum of justice from a rogue prosecutor such as Joyce, or a judge like Armendariz to whom the author’s case was assigned,  who ignores the law.

It is interesting that on the same date, July 29, 2014, the homepage of the State Bar’s Web site asked in a banner headline: “What can the State Bar of California do for you?”  Above that question in bold print appeared another headline: “MCLE audit will include more than 5,500 [members].”  See infra n.10. Below the question appeared another headline: “State Bar Court recommends three-year suspension for prominent ex-prosecutor.”  This is the State Bar today: hurting its members in every way possible, to justify its bloated budget and staff.

The author has maintained and paid for the same Post Office address continuously since 1989, but some mail was returned to the State Bar through no fault of his own.  Also, the author and a legal team that he assembled lost a class-action, RICO Internet fraud case against the national infomercial company, Guthy-Renker, despite the fact that its agent in Texas testified as to the full extent of the fraudulent scheme that hurt large numbers of Americans.  Other attorneys (including one who is a federal judge today), law clerks and the author worked hard to win the lawsuit; however, “success has many fathers, while defeat is an orphan.”

There is no way to predict with certainty how a federal judge will act: lawyers are not fortune tellers or seers.  A new District Judge decided against the author’s clients, just as the judge decided against a major Hollywood movie studio where a friend of the author is Executive Vice President and General Counsel.  Hence, the former clients came after the author—even though no lawyer can guarantee success, and the author made that clear to them—and Joyce was only too happy to oblige.

Imagine every lawyer in California being harassed by the State Bar when he or she loses a lawsuit, which is Joyce’s modus operandi and constitutes nothing more than a witch hunt.  The author ceased to represent the former clients more than ten years ago. Hence, the case is time-barred by “Rule 5.21 Limitations Period” of the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California, which states in pertinent part: “[T]he proceeding must begin within five years from the date of the violation.”  The case was baseless for other reasons as well.  However, this did not matter to Miller or Joyce, or deter them.

The tragedy is that Californians and other Americans were defrauded by Guthy-Renker, yet the federal judge did not care; and certainly, neither Miller nor Joyce care, even though Guthy-Renker conducted its fraudulent scheme from and in California.  Just as the State Bar does not take action against Countrywide’s lawyers—or against (1) attorneys who prey sexually on their vulnerable clients in divorce proceedings, or (2) Michaelson who is reportedly subject to criminal prosecution for fraud, or (3) Lubetzky who suborned perjury with respect to testimony before the State Bar, which is a crime—so too it looks the other way regarding Guthy-Renker and its lawyers.

[12]  Lots of Californians and Americans are hurting these days, including lawyers.  See http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (“Poverty In America”) (see also the comments beneath the article).  California has severe financial problems.  However, the State Bar continues to spend like a “drunken sailor,” which is unfathomable and reprehensible.

[13] Also, it is not beyond the pale of reason to believe that boycotts of the State Bar and its activities by members may occur; mass refusals by them to pay State Bar dues may take place; and California lawyers may refuse to satisfy the State Bar’s CLE requirements.





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/








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