Boycott The GOP And Ignore Foreign Naysayers

11 12 2015

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan were great and heroic American leaders, who would be disgusted and saddened with their Republican Party today.  It has deteriorated into a clique of whining, puny “establishment” ciphers like Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell, George Will, Bill Kristol and Peggy Noonan[2]—who have never done anything great or heroic in their collective lifetimes, and are the worst of American politics.

They traffic in fear and implicit hatred of everything that Donald Trump stands for; they have been brutally divisive; and they are doing everything in their power to demonize and block the presidential candidacy of Trump[3], who is leading in the polls[4].  They are the reason why lots of Americans left the GOP years ago, and will never return except to vote for Trump, and only Trump.

If they were to succeed in preventing him from getting the party’s nomination, many Americans would vote for him as an Independent, or literally hold their noses and vote for Hillary Clinton[5], or not vote at all in the general election.  This would effectively “gut” the GOP, like Ross Perot did in 1992.  The American people are angry; and this includes very conservative GOP women, Independents, and Reagan Democrats.

One needs to work on or with Capitol Hill to realize fully how bad both national political parties are.  If one truly cares about our great nation and its future, the rejection of both parties is an easy and necessary decision.  This is why lots of Americans have become Independents[6], and will never become members of either national party again.  These Americans do not care what happens to the GOP.  If it goes down the drain, so be it.  The same is true of the Democratic Party.  Sometime in the not-too-distant future, an Independent will be elected as America’s president.[7]

However, the criticism of Trump is not limited to the Republican party, or the Democrats, but extends abroad as well, in countries such as the UK.[8]  Most Americans do not care what the Brits think about anything, much less our electoral politics.  The country is descending into irrelevancy; and that process will be accelerated when Scotland leaves and the Trident program is canceled[9].  The sheer stupidity of some Brits is mind-boggling though—until it is remembered that the UK might be speaking German now if the U.S. had not been its “salvation” in World War II.

They ridiculed Reagan too.  Lest they forget relatively-recent history, Reagan and George H.W. Bush set their sights on destroying the USSR, and it is gone now, without a shot being fired. The Brits and others in Europe would still be cowering at the feet of the Soviets but for the United States.  How many young kids today have ever heard of the Soviet Union or the USSR, or the Cold War?  Yet, in elementary schools in Los Angeles, as an example, students were taught to hide under their desks and cover their heads, and shield themselves from “falling debris”—stemming from a Soviet nuclear attack.

At some point, Trump and his lovely wife, Melania, may ask: “Do we really need this?”  The answer is clearly “no,” and he might drop out of the race—although hopefully not.  If he does, many Americans will never vote for a GOP candidate again, as retribution.  Perhaps Trump gains satisfaction from “fighting the system,” and trying to make America better, just as Ronald Reagan did before him.  Clearly, the “establishments” of both parties scream and “claw” at those who dare to challenge their power and orthodoxy.  It is like belonging to a private club that discriminates.

Trump is admired by vast numbers of Americans, from all walks of life, just as Reagan was.  Who would have thought that Reagan and Bush could have brought down the USSR’s thoroughly “Evil Empire.”  Russia and its KGB-trained brutal killer and dictator-for-life, Vladimir Putin, must be next.[10]  Reagan truly changed the world, which is why he is deified and “Teflon-coated” today—much to the disgust of the Democrats who hated him, just as they hated Richard Nixon and now Donald Trump.  The Neanderthals in the GOP are too stupid to recognize the parallels.

Like Reagan before him, Trump represents America’s glorious future, not its past.[11]

© 2015, Timothy D. Naegele

Donald Trump

_______________________________________________

[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 and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize 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 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]  Noonan is a perfect example.  Like Rove, Will and Kristol, she is full of herself and a raving Narcissist.  Her words have not been worth reading in years.  She considers herself one of the GOP “elites,” when in reality she and the others are nothing more than whining, puny “establishment” ciphers.  Her latest Trump “hit piece” in the Wall Street Journal is an example.

See http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-rash-leader-in-a-grave-time-1449793177 (“A Rash Leader in a Grave Time”—”Trump could bridge the divide between the elites and GOP voters. Instead, he’s deepening it”)

To his credit, Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—issued a warning to the Republican Party:

Throw your weight behind GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump now—or prepare to lose next year’s election to Hillary Clinton.

See http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/pat-buchanan-support-donald-trump-lose/2015/12/10/id/705327/ (“Pat Buchanan to GOP: Support Trump Now or Lose to Hillary”)

[3]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-7910 (“The Demonization Of Donald Trump”); see also https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-preparing-for-contested-convention/2015/12/10/d72574bc-9f73-11e5-8728-1af6af208198_story.html (“GOP preparing for contested convention”)

The Wall Street Journal has become part of the problem.

See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/06/islamophobia-is-un-american/#comment-7908 (“The Ugly Face of Islamophobia: Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens”)

Islamophobia is un-American, but a failure of any president to defend and protect the United States and the American people is unforgivable.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/06/islamophobia-is-un-american/ (“Islamophobia Is Un-American”)

[4]  See, e.g.http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/december_2015/voters_like_trump_s_proposed_muslim_ban (Rasmussen public opinion polling: “Voters Like Trump’s Proposed Muslim Ban”)

[5]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-7185 (“Clinton Fatigue”)

[6]  See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/#comment-3244 (“Record-High 42 Percent Of Americans Identify As Independents”)

[7]  Will it be Trump in 2016, if the GOP Neanderthals block his nomination by that party, and he runs as an Independent?

[8]  See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-7910 and http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21679792-america-and-europe-right-wing-populist-politicians-are-march-threat (“Playing with fear”—”Populist [or conservative] ideas need defeating. . . . Even when they are not in power, populists warp the agenda. . . . This newspaper stands for pretty much everything the populists despise”)

[9]  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_Trident_programme (“UK Trident programme”)

[10]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-death-of-putin-and-russia-the-final-chapter-of-the-cold-war/ (“The Death Of Putin And Russia: The Final Chapter Of The Cold War”)

[11]  By way of full disclosure, the author believed that former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin had a very bright political future, which turned out to be wrong.  Indeed, he believed that “two women might face off for the American presidency in 2012,” Hillary Clinton and Palin—which did not happen.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/sarah-and-todd-palin-the-big-winners/ (“Sarah And Todd Palin: The Big Winners?”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/sarah-and-todd-palin-the-big-winners/#comment-2048 (“Rethinking Sarah Palin”)





Washington Is Sick And The American People Know It

24 09 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Peggy Noonan, a former presidential speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, pens regular columns for the Wall Street Journal.  In her latest, she states:

This [November’s] election is more and more shaping up into a contest between the Exhausted and the Enraged.[2]

Amen . . . and Barack Obama and his Democrats know it.  Their supporters are exhausted, disillusioned and demoralized; and many are angry at his policies such as the Afghan War.[3] His detractors and opponents are angry, livid, galvanized and motivated; and they consist of Republicans, Independents[4] and disenchanted Democrats, some of whom are part of the Tea Party movement.

The handwriting is on the wall—and the blood is in the water—that he is likely to be a one-term president.  White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is rumored to be leaving; and Obama brain truster David Axelrod will be too, probably sometime next year.  Top economic adviser Larry Summers is departing; and the list goes on and on.  While there is generally attrition in any White House staff because of the long hours and staggering workloads and pressures on families, these departures can be viewed as “rats leaving a sinking ship.”

Noonan cites Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee as saying prophetically:

The more [voters] know, the less they like Washington.

At long last, the light is shining through.  The innate wisdom of the American people is in the process of being heard and felt.

When I left Capitol Hill after working there for three and a half years, there was one four-letter word that stood out in my mind, and it still does today: “S-I-C-K.”  I vowed that neither of my kids would ever work there.  I had seen raving narcissists and demagogues who were not nice people—and equaled or surpassed those in Hollywood where I had grown up.

I saw senators and congressmen chasing and bedding female staffers between the ages of about 22-26, and wrecking their lives in the process.  When the women reached about 28, they were considered “over the hill,” and a new batch of fresh young faces would replace them.  I saw attractive young female staffers flock to the politicians like groupies are attracted to rock stars and other celebrities.  I saw lobbyists providing women for sex to important committee chairmen.

I saw power trips that were way out of proportion to the actual power wielded.  I saw senators and members of Congress pontificate on empty chamber floors, and pass legislation that often did not help anyone, but merely “congested” and “polluted” government for both the regulators and public alike.  Laws were put on the books almost ceremoniously to display motion and activity, even if they were truly bad laws that made little or no good sense—and none were ever taken off the books.  Programs were still being funded even though they had outlived their usefulness years if not decades before.

I saw lobbyists literally run Washington, because they had the skills and knowledge that the politicians did not have.  House staffs were small unless the member had seniority.  Hence, the input of lobbyists was essential to the passage of legislation.  They wrote it; and they got it passed and their clients benefited; and somehow—by hook or by crook—the politicians benefited financially or in other ways.  It was dirty, but those participating simply looked the other way.

In short, the American people, God love them, are waking up bigtime to the mess that is Washington, D.C.—a corrupt, politically-polarized toxic city.  Throw in the present economic problems that this country has not experienced since the Great Depression, which will be with us through at least the end of this decade[5], as well as Obama’s no-win Afghan War and other national security worries[6], and he and his Democrats are potentially in for a very rough ride.  Like Lyndon Johnson in 1968, it is doubtful whether Obama will be able to run in 2012, much less be reelected.[7]

Noonan cites the role of women in the coming election, and the fact they are worried about how the economy has been taking an enormous toll on their families, which will only get much much worse.  She quotes Rep. Blackburn as saying: “I look at this year as the Rage of the Bill-Paying Moms.”  Amen to that too . . . or as Sarah Palin calls them: the “Mama Grizzlies.”  And most of us know that those who are wise never mess with a mother Grizzly.

The chickens are coming home to roost in America, at least economically and politically.  Hold on tight.  It is apt to get very ugly.[8]

© 2010, 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., http://www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/TheEnragedvs.theExhausted.pdf

[3] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/are-afghanistan-iraq-and-pakistan-hopeless-and-is-the-spread-of-radical-islam-inevitable-and-is-barack-obama-finished-as-americas-president and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/

[4] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/

[5] See, e.g., http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-great-depression-ii and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html and http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/10/11/greenspan%E2%80%99s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/

[6] See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/

[7] See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/are-afghanistan-iraq-and-pakistan-hopeless-and-is-the-spread-of-radical-islam-inevitable-and-is-barack-obama-finished-as-americas-president/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/the-speech—is-barack-obama-smoking-pot-again/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-end-of-barack-obama/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/barack-obama-america’s-second-emperor/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

[8] The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer has fine article about the Tea Party movement and the likely tsunami that will engulf Obama and the Democrats, which is worth reading too.  Among other things, he points out that in the bellwether state of Ohio, former President George W. Bush is preferred over Barack Obama by 50 percent to 42 percent.

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/23/AR2010092304746.html and http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_OH_901.pdf





Is Financial Reform Simply Washington’s Latest Boondoggle?

23 04 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

When I arrived in Washington, D.C. after graduating from law school in California, I spent two years at the Pentagon working as an Army officer in intelligence and budgets.  It was a great experience, and I have the utmost respect for our military, which is the best of our government.  One lesson I learned was that if Congress was breathing down the Pentagon’s neck, the easiest way to deal with the issue was to “reorganize,” which would throw them off the track—and the “bloodhounds” would lose the scent.

Then I worked on Capitol Hill as a young attorney with the Senate Banking Committee, and realized that when there was a national policy issue that was “too hot to handle,” a presidential commission would be formed, not unlike reorganizations at the Pentagon.  Months and sometimes years would pass while people studied the issues ad nauseam; and in the interim, the monkey was off the politicians’ backs.  One of my first tasks on the Hill was to staff such a presidential commission.

Fast-forward to today, and no regulatory “overhaul” is going to make a tinker’s damn in preventing future economic crises or solving the present one.  By and large, the financial regulatory agencies (e.g., the Fed, the FDIC) do a fine job, often under very difficult circumstances.  There are career professionals who will keep doing their jobs, regardless of what Barack Obama or Congress propose or enact—which is high political theater and demagoguery, and not a whole lot more.

Recent reorganizations, such as in the intelligence community, have not produced better intelligence.  Similarly, changes to the financial regulatory structure will not prevent the economic meltdown that riveted the nation in 2008, and continues to this day.  It is a tsunami, and Man’s ability to stop or affect it is marginal at best.  Reorganizing the deck chairs on the Titanic, or closing the barn door after the horse is out, will never address future problems.  The flim-flam boys of Wall Street and other financial capitals will make sure of that.

Alan Greenspan unleashed the tsunami; and the words of Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance, are true and cogent to this day:

Greenspan was considered a master.  Now we must ask ourselves whether he is not, after [Osama] bin Laden, the man who hurt America the most.[2]

No financial regulatory overhaul will prevent a Fed chairman like Greenspan, or some other government official from making mistakes that produce massive suffering domestically and globally.  Perhaps if Paul Volcker had been in charge of the Fed instead of Greenspan, the economic meltdown would have been avoided.  After all, Greenspan admitted in testimony before the House that he never saw the housing crisis coming.

Like the emperor with no clothes in Hans Christian Andersen’s fable, no one was willing to call Greenspan a buffoon who was over his head—until he had unleashed economic pain, the likes of which has not been seen since the Great Depression.  It will continue to the end of this decade, in all likelihood; and there is nothing that government can do to stem it.[3]

With respect to the existing financial regulatory agencies, it must be remembered that they and their affiliated agencies (e.g., the FSLIC, RTC) dealt effectively with the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s.  In the process, almost 800 S&Ls failed, an enormous financial crisis was averted, and the ultimate cost to the taxpayers was less than expected.

Nonetheless, in 1999, Congress repealed the Glass–Steagall Act, which had controlled financial speculation since its enactment in 1933.[4] Under Glass–Steagall, there had been a separation between commercial banking and “investment banking”—or gambling by Wall Street.  Coupled with Greenspan’s mistakes and financial deregulation, which had been championed by him, a laissez faire attitude in Washington resulted in the massive problems of today.

Can greed on Wall Street and in other financial markets be stopped?  Never.  Can the SEC do a better job?  Can the existing financial regulatory agencies tighten up here and there, and do their jobs better with enhanced powers?  Sure, but the system is not perfect just as human beings are not perfect.  Utopia is not possible; and history repeats itself over and over again.  More government regulation will not prevent economic tsunamis and meltdowns from happening.  Anyone who says so might try to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn next—or ObamaCare.[5][6]

Yet, capitulation to political demogoguery and public anger is likely.[7] With the repeal of Glass–Steagall and financial deregulation, a blurring of the lines between commercial banking and investment banking took place; and now the chickens are coming home to roost.  The baby is in the process of being thrown out with the bath water; and the demogogues in Washington are strutting in full bloom.[8] A Wall Street Journal editorial states:

While the details matter a great deal, the essence of the exercise is to transfer more control over credit allocation and the financial industry to the federal government. The industry was heavily regulated before—not that it stopped the mania and panic—but if anything close to the current bills pass, the biggest banks will become the equivalent of utilities.

The irony is that this may, or may not, reduce the risk of future financial meltdowns and taxpayer bailouts.

. . .

As in health care, Democrats are intent on ramming this reform through Congress, and Republicans ought to summon the will to resist. Absent that, the only certain result is that Washington will be the new master of the financial universe.

Amen, and then some![9]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  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

[2] See http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html

[3] See, e.g., http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html and http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/10/11/greenspan’s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/; see also http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

[4] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass–Steagall_Act

[5] Harvard professor Niall Ferguson and Wall Street investor Ted Forstmann state in a Wall Street Journal article:

By all means let us regulate the derivatives market—beginning with a reform that makes it a real market. And let’s clamp down on excessive bank leverage. But let us not believe we can abolish both bailouts and depressions, other than by creating another layer of government regulation.

See http://www.naegele.com/documents/BacktoBasicsonFinancialReform.pdf

I agree with their conclusion.

[6] See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-great-depression-ii/

[7] See, e.g., http://www.naegele.com/documents/AScoldingforWallStreetHonchos.pdf; see also http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704830404575200580858688618.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLEThirdNews

[8] Real problems with the legislation may be considerable.  See, e.g.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703876404575199582764862248.html

[9] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/TheNewMasterofWallStreet.pdf





Jefferson, Lincoln And America

22 03 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Three books are worth reading about Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and America: the “Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson,” which was edited by his great-granddaughter, Sarah N. Randolph[2]; “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald[3]; and “A History of the American People” by Paul M. Johnson.[4]

Jefferson was a giant, and the first book chronicles his extraordinary life through his letters and the letters of others, lovingly assembled and edited by Randolph.  At various points, the book is moving and tearful; elsewhere it is joyous and humorous. At all times, Jefferson’s seemingly-unlimited talents and brilliance, as well as his qualities as a decent human being and his erudition, shine forth.

The greats of American history come alive through their correspondence and Jefferson’s letters to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Patrick Henry and Alexander Hamilton, to name just a few—along with the Marquis de Lafayette and Napoleon Bonaparte of France.  We witness firsthand the American Revolution, this nation’s founding, Jefferson’s years in Paris, the French Revolution, and his presidency.

Perhaps three things stand out most of all: the depth of his love for his family and the meticulous care with which he nurtured each family member; his love for Monticello and his desire to return there and be rid of the burdens of public office; and his relationship with Adams that, once breached, is finally restored at the end of their lives.

Remarkably, both presidents died on the 4th of July, 1826.  To paraphrase the words of Jefferson, two “Argonauts” sailed on, leaving this country forever changed and better because they had passed here.  “I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving Fear astern,” Jefferson wrote to Adams in 1816.  From being Secretary of State and Vice President to two terms in the presidency, involving the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Jefferson never lost his love for or his belief in this great country.

He was a farmer, scholar, scientist, diplomat, a leader and a politician.  He was an accomplished horseman who was faithful to his belief in the need for at least two hours of exercise each day.  He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; and he loved music, birds and his gardens in Albemarle County, Virginia.  And he was an American.

In the second book, “Lincoln,” Donald writes brilliantly, and truly spans Lincoln’s life and gives one a sense of being there.  Perhaps most striking is how the tide of events carried Lincoln and changed his views (e.g., with respect to the slavery issue alone, from colonization to emancipation).  Also, Donald describes Lincoln as a master, very calculating politician, not unlike the politicians of today.  He was certainly not the folksy backwoods caricature that often is presented, although he used that to his advantage (e.g., to disarm opponents and garner support).

Despite being wonderfully researched, and spreading out the facts for all to see, one gets the sense that what truly made Lincoln “tick” was unknowable, from a deeply personal standpoint.  Having worked on Capitol Hill, my sense is that most senators are that way, possibly because they have been compromised again and again to reach high offices, and to be all things to all people.

Also, it was interesting how Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman “saved” Lincoln politically, while many of his other generals were either indecisive or utter buffoons.  Lincoln knew that changes were needed, but he was often hesitant to “rock the boat” and make them.  After his reelection in 1864, he seemed much more self-confident, which was cut short by his tragic death.  The reader is left to wonder what he might have accomplished during his second term.

When the book ends somewhat abruptly, one’s interest has been whetted.  It is only too bad that Donald did not do an appraisal of “what might have been.”  There is no question that Lincoln was brilliant, and he was really maturing as a political leader when he was killed.  What a remarkable four years might have followed.  Also, with essentially no protection at all, it is surprising that more leaders of that time were not killed by the John Wilkes Booths of this world.  Lincoln, God love him, was fearless and a true fatalist—or at least that is how Donald depicts him.

One is led to think about Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, who was so important in Lincoln’s life, and his thoughts about Lincoln’s life and death.  Also, Grant’s memoirs—which are said to be the finest done by an American president—are wonderful to read, along with books about Reconstruction, the diaries of Lincoln’s two male “secretaries,” etc.

Years ago, I read an article about how one could only understand the Southern “mentality” by appreciating how conquered peoples—or the vanquished—have been able to survive throughout history under the rule of the victors; and Donald’s book sets the scene for that to take place.  Also, one cannot help but be impressed by what a monumental struggle the Civil War represented, and the human carnage that it left as well as the deep scars that remained.  This book is truly fascinating, and Donald provides a brilliant “birds-eye view,” which is well worth reading.

The third book is “A History of the American People” by Johnson.  For all of us whose ancestors came from distant shores, or however we ended up as “Americans,” this book is rich in details, events and trends that have been woven together to describe our history and what it means to be an American.  This reader gained a new sense of pride in what America is and how our history has evolved, and where we are apt to go as a people in the future.

The United States is a melting pot, or a rainbow of different colors, religions and ethnicities, and therein lies its soul, strength, creativity and diversity, and yes tensions.  Johnson’s weaving of minute facts into a tapestry that is “us” deserves to be read and reflected on by all.  We may not agree with each and every observation or conclusion, but we cannot help to be impressed by the sweep of history that Johnson chronicles and how he methodically marshals the facts into a remarkable and coherent whole, of which each of us is an integral part.

I only hated to see this book end—which was true of the other two books as well—and I wished that that I could read about the next 100 years of this “grand experiment” called democracy, but those pages are being written in history with each passing day, month and year.  While it took the arrival of a new millennium for Johnson to share this monumental undertaking with us, let us hope that similar brilliant works are forthcoming.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  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

[2] See http://www.amazon.com/Domestic-Thomas-Jefferson-American-Classics/dp/0804417598/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

[3] See http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-David-Herbert-Donald/dp/068482535X/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

[4] See http://www.amazon.com/History-American-People-Paul-Johnson/dp/0060930349/ref=cm_cr-mr-title





America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life

26 02 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

What makes a country special and, yes, great?  Its land, its people, its history, its culture, its belief systems or its soul?  All of these, and so much more—including intangibles that most of us never think about.  The United States is that country, unlike any other on the Earth.  There is no need for Americans to flaunt it or be arrogant or condescending or aloof.  Those are not the American way.  Deep beneath the surface, there is love for people everywhere, and an appreciation of each person’s God-given gifts and uniqueness.  In a recent interview, I said:

I believe in this country, and I believe in Americans of all colors, faiths and backgrounds.  The United States is the only true melting pot in the world, with its populace representing a United Nations of the world’s peoples.  Yes, we fight and we even discriminate, but when times are tough—like after 9/11—we come together as one nation, which makes this country so great and special.  Also, all of us or our ancestors came here from somewhere else.  Even the American Indians are descended from those who crossed the Bering Strait—or the “Bering land bridge”—according to anthropologists.[2]

Most of us spend a lifetime dealing with issues and challenges that we believe, rightly or wrongly, are not of our own making; and we react accordingly.  Some are big, but most are small and petty, albeit each seems so important at the time.  For example, last night I bought a new Apple iPod on which I loaded music and other data from my laptop, but I could not find the icon on my desktop this morning.  I called Apple’s technical support line, and was routed to a fellow in India.  He was very nice and courteous, but I told him that I wanted to speak with someone in the United States.  When he said that he would let me talk with his supervisor, I thanked him but said no, and hung up and called Apple again.  The same thing happened, so I tried a third time and a very nice woman came on the line named “Abby.”  I detected a slight accent and asked where she was located, and she said the Philippines.  I thought about hanging up a third time, but decided against it.

Abby was delightful, and really tried to help.  Having been an Apple customer for about 20 years, I know how diligently she tried.  Finally, she routed me to “Amy,” who turned out to be located in Boise, Idaho.  Amy was delightful too; and we tried everything, but nothing worked because the “Made in China” iPod is apparently defective and needs to be replaced.  In the course of our discussions, I learned that Amy hailed from California, where I was born and raised.  Having had bad experiences with HP recently—where Amy’s husband has worked—in terms of its nonexistent customer support, I was pleased to tell Amy how I had gone through Apple’s ups and downs, but have been generally quite pleased with its telephone support.  It has kept me in the fold and a loyal Apple customer through thick and thin.  Something struck me in the gut though, about companies like Apple farming out calls to India, the Philippines and other countries.  It just seemed very un-patriotic.  It meant the loss of jobs that might have gone to Americans; and it was the first time that I found Apple doing it.

If I had purchased Apple stock at about $12 per share many years ago, I would have made out like a bandit.  If I had bought stock in Ford when it reached a low of $1.01 in November of 2008, which was not too long ago, I would done very well.  Ford has announced plans to hire more American workers; its new cars are great looking; and their quality is apparently superb.[3] Despite the fact that the U.S. may be in the “doldrums” for the rest of this decade, I have been pleased to tell friends and acquaintances that Ford is back, or so it seems, just like Apple came roaring back.  My first four cars were Fords, before I switched to foreign brands—with two Chevrolets thrown in—and it is nice to think about Ford once again and to have an American automaker to be proud of.  Lots of people are avoiding cars from Barack Obama’s “Government Motors” and Chrysler, and I share their views.

Whether it is a computer-related product or a car or almost anything else in life, there is a newfound pride in buying American that is surfacing in this country.  Will it result in harmful protectionism that sent the global economies into a tailspin during the 1930s?  I do not believe so because at the very least, complicated products like cars and computers often have parts that are made abroad.  However, as times get tougher, Americans and others may buy their own country’s products before turning abroad.  This is human nature; or their decisions may be dictated solely by price not sentiment.  Apple’s iPod and its computers are made in China, but even that might change—although it seems unlikely anytime soon.

In April of 2009, I wrote: “America and other nations are in uncharted waters [economically, politically, and in other ways]; and their politicians may face backlashes from disillusioned and angry constituents that are unprecedented in modern times.”[4] Even harder days are ahead, and politicians may experience electoral “bloodbaths.”  These will be years of taking stock, and of being thankful for the little things—for families and helping others.  The limits of hedonism, godless secularism, and paying homage to the false gods of materialism will become self-evident.  We may opt for simpler lives because we have to, and because we come to like and prefer a return to the basics.

When I decided that I wanted to work on Capitol Hill after spending two years in the Army, rather than rejoin a prestigious San Francisco law firm where I could make more money, I tried to get a job with then-U.S. Senator Alan Cranston from my home State of California.  To my surprise and disappointment, his staff was headed by a fellow from New York who apparently wanted to propel Cranston into the foreign policy arena, and was less interested in hiring Californians like me.  Hence, I pounded the Senate corridors and learned that then-U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke—the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War, with Barack Obama being the third—was hiring an attorney for the Senate Banking Committee.

I was hired by his chief of staff, Dr. Alton Frye, without ever having met the senator.  I was honored that a white man from California was working for a black man from Massachusetts, but that is how America works.  I went on to write the “Brooke Amendment” relating to public housing; and the national “Housing Allowance” that morphed into the Section 8 housing program, which has helped millions of Americans.  The nicest thing that some people might say about me is that I am “outspoken.”  Ed Brooke put it another way one day, when he said that I lacked “tact.”  Perhaps this is the beauty of being an American.  Each of us can speak our mind on any and every issue, without qualms about doing so.

I criticize President Obama regularly, often in scathing terms, but I almost voted for him.  Even though I disagree with almost everything he does, because I am much more conservative than he will ever be, I would prefer him any day of the week to a leader like Russia’s murderous dictator-for-life Putin.[5] Perhaps I will never forget the way Obama wrote lovingly about his mother and his maternal grandparents, “Toot” and “Gramps,” in his book “Dreams from My Father.”[6] Yet, after working in Washington, D.C. for 21 years nonstop, the one lesson I learned is that government does not work; and the Obama presidency is a shining example of that.  Only the Pentagon—where I spent two years as an Army Officer—and our military are remotely efficient and effective.  The rest of government is a vast “wasteland,”  even though there are good people working at all levels of government.

America is magnificent geographically, whether one thinks about the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and other breathtaking parks, or its deserts, mountains, lakes, inland waterways and coastlines.  Its metropolitan areas are unparalleled, be it New York City or San Francisco, or thousands of cities and towns in between.  Its people are like a rainbow, with diversity undergirding all.  Its culture is rich because of the many cultures that have been blended into the American experience, which is unique in all the world.  Its belief systems are as varied as there are colors in the rainbow.  And its soul . . . ah yes, its soul . . . embraces the souls of more than 300 million people, woven together into a rich tapestry of life.

When we have decisions to make or feel that we are being called in a particular direction, our strength comes in putting our faith in God within and trusting the guidance we receive through prayer, intuition or love.  As individuals and as a country, we walk by faith not by sight.  Yes, America is great . . . from sea to shining sea—and deep in the Pacific where volcanic peaks of the Hawaiian Islands loom, and in the majestic northernmost reaches of Alaska’s tundra, and in the azure Caribbean too.  God blessed us beyond belief, although we take it for granted much of the time.  Everyone does.  This is human nature.  After all, we are not perfect.  Neither is America.  Only God is.[7]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele

Statue of Liberty


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  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

[2] See http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/10/11/greenspan’s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/ and http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/2951-ilene/31177-interview-with-timothy-d-naegele

[3] See, e.g., http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=F&a=00&b=3&c=2008&d=01&e=2&f=2010&g=m; see also http://www.ford.com/about-ford/news-announcements/press-releases/press-releases-detail/pr-ford-kicks-off-2010-with-24-31945 and http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html#autosalesE

[4] See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html; see also http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html

[5] Compare https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-end-of-barack-obama/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/barack-obama-america’s-second-emperor/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ with https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/

[6] See Obama, “Dreams from My Father” (paperback “Revised Edition,” published by Three Rivers Press, 2004), pp. xii (“[S]he was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and . . . what is best in me I owe to her”), 89 (“[Toot and Gramps] had sacrificed again and again for me.  They had poured all their lingering hopes into my success.  Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would”), 343 (“I looked out the window, thinking about my mother, Toot, and Gramps, and how grateful I was to them—for who they were. . . .”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/

[7] Some years ago, I had a law student from UCLA who worked for me as a law clerk doing research and legal writing.  He made a small mistake in a brief, but one that I considered important.  I jumped all over him.  He had worked in Saudi Arabia as an engineer before coming to law school; and he stopped me, and asked if I knew how the Saudis made Oriental rugs.

Some were made by hand and others by machines, he said, but in every case there was an intentional mistake inserted somewhere in each rug.  He asked if I knew why, and I said no.  He said the Saudis believed that only Allah—or God—is perfect; and of course I believed that too.  Since then, when I have jumped all over myself for making mistakes, or thought about criticizing others, I have recalled his story.  None of us are perfect.  Only God is.