Edward W. Brooke Is Dead

3 01 2015

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

He is gone, and it is sad.  He was not a rock star or a celebrity in today’s terms; and most Americans have never heard of him.  But he should be remembered; and I will always remember him fondly.  He was a trailblazer.

Brooke was a black man, and I was a white man, more than 20 years his junior.  He hailed from Massachusetts, and my home was California, on the opposite sides of the continent—and seemingly worlds apart.  We were both lawyers, and we enjoyed laughing together; and perhaps this is what I will remember most about him.  He had a charming, infectious laugh; a wonderful smile; and a good sense of humor.  I believe he tried to do his best, and I did too; and our paths crossed purely by chance.

I was an Army captain—fresh out of the Pentagon during the Vietnam War—when I went job hunting on Capitol Hill.  Before the military, I had worked briefly for a prestigious law firm in San Francisco, after graduating from law school at Berkeley.  They had offered me a job when my two-year Army commitment was finished; and instead, I wanted to work on the Hill, which I thought would be more exciting and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, before I returned to California.

As chance would have it—after having “back-up” offers from the Justice Department and the SEC—I was not hired to work for Senator Alan Cranston of California, which is what I really wanted to do.  His staff was headed by someone from New York, who seemingly cared nothing about my love for California, or my connections and credentials, because apparently he wanted to propel Cranston into the foreign policy arena nationally.  I even offered to work free for a month, so I could demonstrate my talents and enthusiasm, but it came to naught.

In the process of “pounding the corridors” on the Hill, an acquaintance told me that Ed Brooke was looking for someone to staff him on the Senate Banking Committee, which seemed to be an ideal fit.  In college, I had worked two summers as a relief teller at lots of branches of a Southern California bank.  Also, I was in the midst of finishing a second law degree at Georgetown’s law school, the LLM, with emphasis on international trade law that related to the committee’s oversight responsibilities.  I never met the senator nor knew much about him before I was hired by his very talented and superb chief of staff—or “Administrative Assistant”—Dr. Alton Frye.  He and I hit it off; and the next thing I knew, I had been hired.

Officially, I was on the “minority” or Republican staff of the committee—because the Democrats controlled the Senate—and the senator was one of the committee’s ranking GOP members.  Unofficially, I worked for the senator on legislative matters and speeches and dealing with constituents.  It was heady work, and I enjoyed it immensely.  John Sparkman of Alabama was the committee’s chairman; and he had been the Democratic Party’s nominee for Vice President in 1952, running on the ticket of Adlai Stevenson, when Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon trounced them.

Also, Bill Proxmire of Wisconsin was on the committee, who turned out to be one of the finest public servants I have ever met.[2]  Other senators included Ed Muskie from Maine, who ran for the presidency; Walter “Fritz” Mondale from Minnesota, who became Jimmy Carter’s Vice President and ran for the presidency himself against Ronald Reagan in 1984; and Charles “Chuck” Percy of Illinois, who had been president of Bell & Howell before he entered the Senate, and whose daughter married Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

On the committee staff, where my official title was “Assistant Counsel,” the first thing that I did was staff the Presidential Commission on Mortgage Interest Rates, which was an education unto itself.  We met in a room off the Capitol rotunda; and it was a joint Senate-House commission, chaired by Sparkman and Congressman Wright Patman of Texas.  Sparkman was 70 and Patman was 76; and both legislators were wily and shrewd like few people whom I had met in my life, up to and including today.  Also, both were delightful human beings.

Ed Brooke had been elected to the Senate two years before I arrived, so he was still very junior in terms of seniority.  However, because he was the first black U.S. senator since Reconstruction after the Civil War—with Barack Obama being the third—he was afforded a certain amount of respect and responsibility.  He had been Massachusetts’ Attorney General, and he was smart and charming; and his colleagues in the Senate seemed to genuinely like him.

I was responsible for the senator’s legislative matters pertaining to banking, securities, international trade, and housing.  The committee’s jurisdiction included oversight of the Federal Reserve Board, the Treasury Department, HUD, the SEC, and the bank regulatory agencies such as the FDIC.  Among other things, I participated in drafting laws, in addition to assorted bills on various subjects such as Standby Letters of Credit.  Most importantly though, I authored the Anti-Tying Provision of the Bank Holding Company Act Amendments of 1970, which remains the only federal antitrust law enacted by Congress that deals specifically with predatory lending practices by banks and other financial institutions.[3]

Also, I authored two pieces of housing legislation as part of the Housing and Urban Development Acts of 1969 and 1970, with respect to which I will always be very proud: the “Brooke Amendment” relating to public housing; and the national “Housing Allowance” program, which morphed into the Section 8 housing program that has helped millions of Americans.  Unfortunately, there is scant mention of the first program in the senator’s book, “Bridging the Divide: My Life”—which is contained in one paragraph.[4]  No mention of the second program is made at all, yet both have helped enormous numbers of poor Americans, many of them elderly.

Others contributed to the writing of Ed’s book; I did not.  Presumably they had no idea about the origins of the Brooke Amendment, nor how many Americans were helped by it and Section 8.  The senator told me one day that he was concerned about the plight of public housing tenants in Massachusetts, especially the elderly.[5]  Hence, I went to work and tried to determine what could be done.  One person who was central to my efforts was a wonderful black man, the late Tony Henry, who headed a group called the National Tenants Organization.

Tony gave me the idea of capping the rents that public housing tenants paid at 25 percent of their incomes, with the federal government picking up the difference; and providing other financial assistance to the crime- and poverty-stricken projects.  This became the Brooke Amendment; and in turn, the Housing Allowance program was an outgrowth of that—without tying the government assistance to particular projects, but providing “vouchers” that allowed the poor to choose.  Literally millions of Americans have been helped; and without the senator, it never would have happened.  Indeed, I used to read handwritten thank you letters to Brooke from the elderly, which moved one to tears.

Members of his personal staff and I established a summer program for disadvantaged kids in Massachusetts—on behalf of the senator, in conjunction with the Pentagon—which involved underutilized military facilities in the State, such as the Boston Navy Yard and Otis Air Force Base.  This wonderful idea came to me from the late Bob Goralski of NBC News; and the program served approximately 100,000 kids during its first year alone, which was impressive.  The senator and I traveled to Massachusetts with then-Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird to review the program and its progress.

Prior to his reelection campaign in 1972, the senator asked me to head his Senate staff, as his Administrative Assistant, which I did—even though I was a Californian.  However, he never really had any serious challengers, so our elaborate campaign plans were truncated, and the job proved to be boring.  I was not happy, because I wanted to work on substantive matters; and it turned out to be a mistake.  The senator was gracious as always; and as we had agreed, I left the Senate in January of 1973 following his reelection, to join a Washington law firm as a partner.

Thereafter, I represented all of the banks in Massachusetts, the Prudential Insurance Company of America and other clients, and came in contact with the senator and his staff on a regular basis.  He was helpful and kind; and I always wanted the best for him.  He had been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate at times, but it never came to pass.  He divorced and remarried; and from all accounts, his second marriage was happy and fulfilling, to a wonderful woman, which pleased me greatly.

In the final analysis, how would I rate the man, based on my years with him—and being around other important figures in contemporary history?  He never reached his full potential politically, although he achieved a great deal.  Among other things, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.  The courthouse in Boston bears his name; he is the only African-American reelected to the Senate; and a school was named in his honor.[6]

Perhaps the most important comparison might be to Barack Obama.  In a sense, Ed Brooke paved the way for Obama’s presidency.  There is no doubt about the intelligence of both politicians.  However, Obama was elected to the presidency when he was 47, while Brooke was elected to the Senate at the same age.  Obama shot into the stratosphere politically, while Brooke never had that chance.  I believe he knew it, although he was flattered when people mentioned him for the national ticket.

Brooke did not try to change America because of any hatred of whites or our capitalist system.  After reading Obama’s “Dreams from My Father,” most Americans will have few if any doubts why he associated with and befriended Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.  Their radical views seemed consistent with his.[7]  Ed Brooke was not a radical, or even close.  He grew up on the American mainland; whereas, Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia, and never set foot on the American mainland until he attended Occidental College in Southern California.

Brooke was an American, and proud to be one.  He did not engage in class warfare like Obama has.  He did not have deep-seated racial anger, nor exacerbate racial tensions and violence.  And he was not a Narcissistic demagogue like Obama is.  Brooke grew up with a stable family life; Obama did not.  I have zero doubts that both men faced unbelievable discrimination because of their skin color, especially Brooke—because of the times when he grew up.  However, I never experienced any racism on his part.  Because he was a U.S. Army officer in Italy during World War II, where he saw combat, there was no anti-military hostility or prejudice like Obama has.

If Brooke had an Achilles’ heel or more than one, they involved women and possible links to the Mafia, which were unsettling.  His affairs with white women such as Barbara Walters have been documented.  However, most disturbing were his affairs with young white women on his Senate staff, before I arrived in his offices.[8]  Many of their lives were changed forever by the experiences.

The first links to the Mafia apparently arose during his tenure as Attorney General, and continued when he was in the Senate.  I met his “contact”—to whom I shall refer as “Norman”—when he visited the senator on numerous occasions in the Russell Senate Office Building.  Indeed, the man advised me against investing with the senator on the island of Saint Martin (also Sint Maarten) in the Caribbean, where the senator owned a home and came to know Anne, his lovely second wife and the mother of his son.  I always appreciated the advice, and knew it was for my protection and well being.

Perhaps it is these “skeletons” that prevented him from achieving more—or maybe it was simply the racism of the times.  No one may ever know.  Most of the senator’s professional staff was white; and the only black member who worked for him while I was involved became very dissatisfied because the senator was not more “active” on the issues that concerned their race.  However, I will never forget that a black man gave a young white man, me, a chance to work at the highest levels of American government; and I will always be deeply appreciative of this.

I am sad that Ed Brooke is gone.  He is missed.  He was not perfect; no one is.  Yet, he made a difference—in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and in American politics and life.  He was an American leader before Barack Obama was even born; and he was a conciliator, not a rabble-rouser or racist.  And I will always remember his wonderful smile and laugh.

© 2015, Timothy D. Naegele

Ed Brooke


[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 https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-1799 (“When A Giant Named Senator Bill Walked Through Washington”)

[3] See 12 U.S.C. § 1972; see also Timothy D. Naegele, “The Bank Holding Company Act’s Anti-Tying Provision: 35 Years Later,” 122 Banking Law Journal 195 (March 2005); “The Anti-Tying Provision: Its Potential Is Still There,” 100 Banking Law Journal 138 (1983); and “Are All Bank Tie-Ins Illegal?” 154 Bankers Magazine 46 (1971) (http://www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles).

[4] See Edward W. Brooke, “Bridging the Divide: My Life,” p. 177.

[5] Many of these elderly were black; and they were preyed on and intimidated by young black thugs and hoods in the public housing projects and elsewhere.  Tragically, this happens all too often today; and Ed Brooke wanted to put a stop to it.

[6] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Brooke

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

On most issues, I was politically in tune with Ed Brooke; I am not with Barack Obama.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[8] One of the women told me that her goal was to bed the senator, which was consummated later—many years before he and Anne were married.

See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/#comment-2830 (“The Truth About Martin Luther King, Jr. Emerges . . . Finally”)





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 https://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.https://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 https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/





The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu

8 03 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

. . .

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

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

The New York Times has reported:

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

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

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

The following bears repeating:

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

This is absurd, and simply political theater.

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

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

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

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

See www.gtr5.com

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

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

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

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

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





Poverty In America

7 02 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney made one of the dumbest and most insensitive comments that I have ever heard from an American politician since I became involved with politics:
You can choose where to focus.  You can focus on the rich; that’s not my focus.  You can focus on the very poor; that’s not my focus.  My focus is on middle-income Americans.

He went on to explain that “[w]e have a safety net for the poor.”  And “[i]f there are people that are falling through the cracks, I want to fix that.”[2]

However, the fact that America’s poorest citizens theoretically have access to food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers[3]—which Romney cited—does not constitute much of a “safety net” at all.  Some Americans, such as senior citizens, are too proud to accept any governmental assistance (other than Social Security and Medicare benefits) or handouts.  They have worked all of their lives; and to find themselves in poverty is embarrassing and deeply depressing.  They and others are often turned away or sanctioned by the government bureaucracy that can be brutal and cruel, especially to people who are truly in need.[4]

Those Americans who had moved into our “Middle Class” will lose their homes and everything else, which is happening already.  The idea that colleges and professional schools were guaranteed pathways to success will also evaporate.[5]  Our society and that of other countries will be upended.  And yes, there will be “class warfare,” which Barack Obama and his surrogates are fanning already.  Leave aside the fact that he will add more debt than all 43 prior presidents combined, demagoguery is in season and full swing.

When I worked in the U.S. Senate as a young lawyer with its Senate Banking Committee and later headed the Senate staff of Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass)—the first African-American in the Senate since Reconstruction following our Civil War, with Obama being the third—the senator and I met with Mitt’s father who was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1969-1973)[6], and I was very impressed with him.  At that time, I was working on the passage and implementation of the Housing and Urban Development Acts of 1969 and 1970, which included the “Brooke Amendment” relating to public housing; and the national “Housing Allowance” program, which morphed into the Section 8 housing program that has helped millions of Americans.  The senator, George Romney and I talked about these programs at length.

On behalf of Senator Brooke, I also established a summer program for disadvantaged kids in Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Pentagon, which involved underutilized military facilities within the state (e.g., the Boston Navy Yard, Otis Air Force Base) and served approximately 100,000 kids during its first year alone.  Indeed, the senator and I traveled to Massachusetts with then-Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird in his private plane to review the program and its progress.

In making my observations, I am not singling out Mitt Romney for condemnation.  I have believed in Mitt for a long time now, and will vote for him—in no small part because I share most of his positions with respect to the economy and national security issues.  However, lots of politicians and other successful Americans are “tone deaf” when it comes to the needs of the poor.  They do not relate to them at all, and they cannot understand them.  To be poor is a sign of failure in our success-oriented and driven society.  Our advertising touts beautiful bodies and fancy cars and materialistic dreams.  In no way are the poor glorified, much less given dignity.  Shame is heaped on them, which is wrong.

When I was graduating from grade school in Los Angeles, my mother came to the ceremony in a wheelchair, and I was mortified.  No other mothers were present like that.  She had suffered the convergence of two debilitating illnesses, which robbed her of her beauty and almost killed her.  By the time that I was entering high school, her right leg had been amputated, which stopped the onslaught of what she had gone through; and during the Vietnam War, she walked with an artificial leg and was named the “Woman of the Year” by the local chapter of the Red Cross—for her outstanding volunteer work.

What all of this taught me was that her faith in God had sustained her, and given her courage, hope, joy and great love.[7]  And that stigmas and discrimination attach, especially in Southern California, to those people who are physically or mentally “challenged” or handicapped, the poor, and to those who are not “beautiful.”  Hollywood has gone nationwide and worldwide since then, with a vengeance; and life-threatening illnesses and poverty are not part of the “American dream,” which has been embraced by people globally.  As the U.S. economy declines more between now and the end of this decade—which will happen to an even greater extent in countries around the world—poverty, human suffering, misery and anger will increase dramatically.[8]

The core issues will be how Americans adjust to their poverty and hopelessness, which will be just as rampant in this decade as during the Great Depression of the last century that did not end until the onset of World War II, at the earliest.  There are no easy solutions to losing one’s job, home, car and everything else.  As State governments scramble to avoid bankruptcy, programs that might have helped the poor will no longer exist.  For example, in California, State parks are being closed; and the nightly price for staying at those that remain open equals the cost of a cheap motel already.  Where will the poor stay, especially if they have no family members who can—or are willing to—take them in?  How will they afford food to eat, and find transportation to get from one place to another (e.g., looking for work)?  When inclement weather sets in, how will they survive?

The published numbers of “poor” do not begin to tell their tragic stories; and the human suffering will increase and become unfathomable during the balance of this decade, whether Romney is president or not.  Pure economics will dictate this; and there is nothing that can be done governmentally, by any politician.[9]  And yes, many of those poor will be “middle-income Americans” or those who had been members of our Middle Class.  They will be devastated; suicides and divorces will increase[10]; and families will be torn asunder.  Mitt Romney and the wealthy of the United States—which includes Obama and most members of Congress—need to wake up now, and begin to demonstrate real compassion.  The problem is that they have no earthly idea of what it is like to be poor.

In Greece today, parents are giving away their children because they cannot afford them.  Kids are being dumped in streets or abandoned at shelters with notes attached to them, saying that one or both parents are at wits’ end.[11]  Poverty breeds inhumanity on a scale that is unknown to most Americans; and it also breeds crime (including massive Internet fraud[12]), which will increase in the United States as money for law enforcement declines and as our prisons are overcrowded and prisoners are released.  Reality is crashing down with a thud like never before in our lifetimes.

As I wrote almost three years ago:

America and other nations are in uncharted waters; and their politicians may face backlashes from disillusioned and angry constituents that are unprecedented in modern times. Also, the limits of godless secularism and paying homage to the false gods of materialism may become self-evident.[13]

The chickens are coming home to roost, in spades; and the “good times” are ending for vast numbers of Americans and their counterparts around the world.

Others will remain rich, or attain great riches[14]; and I do not begrudge it to them at all.  I do not envy or covet what another has.  I have never done so.  My parents taught me that, by their own words and actions.  In my lifetime thus far, I have had lots of money, and none.  I have friends with many millions, and one with several billions; and others who have nothing.  I have treated them all the same—with love, respect, dignity and compassion.

I lived in a tent for months at a time—with water everywhere inside it, during the rainy season—because that was all I could afford.  I have had two cars repossessed, as well as a boat.  I have been evicted; and lost my dream house, as well as most of the possessions that were important to me, including priceless family items that had been handed down over generations.  When I was in law school, I had a pair of shoes resoled so many times that I was told it could not be done anymore; and I have struggled to make ends meet for food.

I do not wish any of this on others.  However, I realize that many Americans have experienced losses, pain and suffering that are far worse than I ever have; and this is true today of people abroad who are dying of wars, diseases and malnutrition, and are being forced into slavery and prostitution.[15]  I have great faith in God, the United States, all Americans[16], and people everywhere.  I believe we will survive like my mother did.  However, we will be tested like never before.

© 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://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/02/politics/campaign-wrap/?hpt=hp_t1

[3] As discussed later in this article, “housing vouchers” are an outgrowth of the national “Housing Allowance” program that I crafted as a young attorney with the Senate Banking Committee—which was complementary to the “Brooke Amendment,” and morphed into the Section 8 housing program that has helped millions of Americans.

[4] As I have written:

[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.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/

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.

See id. at n.8.  This is truly frightening, and cruel.  Also, those who are engaged in prosecutorial misconduct are “sheltered” by the government, which is a travesty unto itself.  Aside from any civil remedies against them, such prosecutors should be prosecuted and disbarred.

See, e.g.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”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/#comment-1700 (“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”)

[5] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/#comment-1977 (“Law School May Amount To The Worst Investment Of Her Life!”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/are-colleges-dinosaurs/ (“Are Colleges Dinosaurs?”) (see also the footnotes and all other comments beneath the article)

[6]  See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Romney#Secretary_of_Housing_and_Urban_Development

[7] See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (“What And Where Is God?”) (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[8] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-1960 (“Global Economy Could Endure Disaster For a Week”) (see also the article itself, as well as the footnotes and all of the other comments beneath it)

[9] See, e.g., http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html (“Greenspan’s Fingerprints All Over Enduring Mess”) and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”); see also http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/10/11/greenspan’s-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/ (“Greenspan’s legacy: more suffering to come”)

[10] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/divorces/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[11] See, e.g., http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2085163/Children-dumped-streets-Greek-parents-afford-them.html (“Children ‘dumped in streets by Greek parents who can’t afford to look after them any more'”)

[12] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/lawyers-and-internet-scams/ (“Lawyers And Internet Scams”) (see also the footnotes and all of the comments beneath the article)

[13] See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html

[14] See, e.g., http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2012/02/02/the-youngest-and-richest-people-in-america-from-mark-zuckerberg-to-sean-parker-photos.html (“The 10 Youngest Richest, From Sergey Brin to Mark Zuckerberg”)

[15] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/ (“Human Trafficking”) (see also the footnotes and all of the comments beneath the article)

[16] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/ (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”) (see also the footnotes and all of the comments beneath the article)