The Obama Great Depression

16 01 2016

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1][2]

Soon after the presidency of Barack Obama began—on April 8, 2009—the  McClatchy-Tribune News Service published an article of mine entitled, “Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”[3]  In it, I wrote:

Barack Obama is euphorically optimistic, but neither he nor the leaders of other countries can hold back an economic tsunami, just as mankind is helpless to stop the wrath of natural tsunamis in the oceans.

. . .

According to the Rasmussen Reports, most Americans—53 percent, in fact—believe the United States is at least somewhat likely to enter a 1930s-like Depression within the next few years. If so, the repercussions are unfathomable.

. . .

Years from now, economic historians may look back at this era and conclude that the world’s central bankers were overwhelmed and Depression-era “safety nets” did not work; and global market forces ultimately determined the depth and duration of the economic meltdown, not the politicians in Washington or anywhere else.

The tsunami that was released when the housing bubble finally burst may not run its course until about 2017-2019; and its effects will be devastating worldwide. There are no legislative solutions or quick fixes to the problems. The carnage between now and 2019 will approximate the Great Depression. . . .

. . .

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.

It is interesting to reflect on these comments and others contained in the article, as well as those in an companion article that I wrote for the American Banker—the daily newspaper of the U.S. banking industry—and in an interview that I gave on these subjects.[4]  Today, it is as though the economies of individual countries are “careening,” creating a “cascading” effect.

This is not 2008 all over again. It may be much worse, even eclipsing the Great Depression of the last century.  A “perfect storm” has been gathering for a long time now; and when it hits with its full force and fury, 2008 may seem like a “blip” by comparison.  America’s Fed and the other central banks of the world will be overwhelmed; Depression-era “safety nets” will not make any difference; and panics may ensue.

The biggest worry in Washington for many years has been that there would be runs on the big funds, which are uninsured, and that a “liquidity crisis” of unfathomable proportions would occur—which would be unstoppable.  Americans and people of other countries have lost trust in their governments, which will only compound the problems.

Hold on tight. Things will get very scary between now and the end of this decade.[5]  Whatever happens will be attributable principally to Barack Obama’s failed presidency.  Indeed, there are so many tragedies he has spawned that it is impossible to do justice to each of them in a short article like this one.

For example, he has set back race relations in the United States by years if not decades. He has been a divider, not a healer.[6]  With respect to his so-called major policy “accomplishments”—such as Obamacare, limited gun control, and the Paris man-made “global warming” accords—they can and probably will be undone by executive orders on Day One when the next American president takes office less than a year from now.  Americans are clamoring for this to happen.[7]

Obama may go down as the worst president in American history, even eclipsing Jimmy Carter, which is a remarkable feat unto itself.  History may record that Obama became a “transformative” or revolutionary president, which is not what the majority of Americans wanted. Perhaps because he was not raised on the U.S. mainland, his perspective is not that of most Americans . . . even blacks.[8]

With the global economy imploding, and Obama being an impediment to the U.S. growth that has occurred, his place in American economic history may rank next to or below that of Herbert Hoover.

Today, Barack Obama is like a minstrel wandering the land, with respect to whom no one will listen.

© 2016, Timothy D. Naegele

Obama-gone

_______________________________________________

[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] Note: This article is an expansion of earlier articles and comments at this blog.  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (“The Economic Tsunami Continues Its Relentless And Unforgiving Advance Globally”) (see all of the comments beneath it) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/#comment-8016 (“Barack Obama: A Failed American Presidency”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-8011 (“Helter Skelter Is Arriving With A Thud, Sell Everything”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-7614 (“Doomsday Clock For Global Market Crash Strikes One Minute To Midnight As Central Banks Lose Control“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/#comment-7646 (“The Surging Ranks Of America’s Ultrapoor”) and  https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-8006 (“The EU’s Collapse In 2016?“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/global-chaos-and-helter-skelter/ (“Global Chaos And Helter Skelter”)

[3]  This article has been republished by RealClearPolitics, and can be found at the links that follow.

See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”) and http://www.naegele.com/documents/Commentary-EuphoriaortheObamaDepression.pdf (“Commentary: Euphoria or the Obama Depression?

[4]  See http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html and http://www.naegele.com/documents/GreenspansFingerprints.pdf (“Viewpoint: Greenspan’s Fingerprints All Over Enduring Mess”); see also http://marketshadows.com/2012/05/21/greenspans-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/ and http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/2951-market-shadows/31177-interview-with-timothy-d-naegele and http://www.naegele.com/documents/InterviewwithTimothyD.Naegele-ilene–SeekingAlpha.pdf (“Greenspan’s legacy: more suffering to come”)

[5]  Not factored into these comments explicitly are the effects of (1) the terrorist strikes on Paris and elsewhere in the world; (2) the immigration issue that is tearing Europe and the Middle East apart; (3) the military implosion that is taking place in the Middle East, with much worse yet to come; and (4) the effects of our adversaries (e.g., China, Russia, North Korea, Iran) on peace, and on the American and global economies.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/we-are-all-parisians/ (“We Are All Parisians”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive”) and 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”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/ (“The Next Major War: Korea Again?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/ (“Human Trafficking”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/06/islamophobia-is-un-american/ (“Islamophobia Is Un-American”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/is-israel-doomed/ (“Is Israel Doomed?”)

[6]  See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/#comment-8016 (“Barack Obama: A Failed American Presidency”)  and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”)

[7]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/a-34-trillion-swindle-the-shame-of-global-warming/ (“A $34 Trillion Swindle: The Shame Of Global Warming”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/abortions-and-autos-kill-more-in-america-than-guns/ (“Abortions And Autos Kill More In America Than Guns”)

[8]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/edward-w-brooke-is-dead/#comment-7434 (“Disappointment In Obama Leads Some Blacks To Ask Whether Voting Is Worth It”)





Global Chaos And Helter Skelter

1 07 2015

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

For many Americans, the world seems upside down or topsy-turvy, and headed for unbelievable—if not unprecedented—chaos, calamity and helter skelter.  This is true economically, militarily, socially, and in countless other ways.  Countries and regions are coming apart at the seams; accepted institutions are attacked; lives are uprooted, or ended in truly savage ways; and little seems sacred or even predictable anymore.  Many lives appear to move at light speed, while others barely move at all.[2]

An unfathomable global economic crash is predicted, unlike anything that we have witnessed in our lifetimes.[3]  The murderous Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has seized portions of Georgia and Ukraine (including Crimea), and may expand his aggression into Europe.[4]  China is flexing its muscles in the Pacific[5]; North Korea continues to be a loose cannon[6]; the Middle East is imploding, with much worse yet to come; and terrorists stalk the world, creating death and destruction.[7]  Human trafficking flourishes, while there are problems with adoptions and illegal immigration.[8]

Accepted views of marriage are being rewritten; and divorces occur too often.[9]  The inmates are running the asylum.  Organized religion is under attack.[10]  America’s history is challenged for being racist, with attempts being made to rewrite it.  Riots have been occurring in American cities, provoked by hoods, thugs and criminals.  So-called man-made “global warming” and “climate change” are being pushed worldwide, even though it is clear that our planet has gone through warming and cooling periods for millions of years.  Also, other natural disasters are occurring.[11]

Americans’ trust in business[12], Congress and our elected officials[13], the law and judiciary[14], the police, government in general—and in the future—are shaken each and every day.  The old “norms” seem to be gone.  Replacing them appears to be anarchy, certainly in the Middle East and Africa, where countries and regions are fragmenting, and order and the value of human lives are in short supply.  Those who stay abreast of the news see barbarism in action, which is all too reminiscent of what is portrayed in Hollywood films.

Yet, whether one is a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent or something else—and regardless of one’s skin color, ethnicity or religious beliefs—there is hope and plenty of it.[15]  We are Americans!

© 2015, Timothy D. Naegele

Bald Eagle and American Flag --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis


[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/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/2012/04/25/is-google-becoming-microsoft-or-worse/ (“Is Google Becoming Microsoft Or Worse?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/are-colleges-dinosaurs/ (“Are Colleges Dinosaurs?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (“Poverty In America”).  But see https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (“What And Where Is God?”)

[3] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/ (“The Economic Tsunami Continues Its Relentless And Unforgiving Advance Globally”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/will-the-eus-collapse-push-the-world-deeper-into-the-great-depression-ii/ (“Will The EU’s Collapse Push The World Deeper Into The Great Depression II?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-great-depression-ii/ (“The Great Depression II?”) and http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/tms/politics/2009/Apr/08/euphoria_or_the_obama_depression_.html (“Euphoria or the Obama Depression?”) and http://marketshadows.com/2012/05/21/greenspans-legacy-more-suffering-to-come/ (“Greenspan’s legacy: more suffering to come”) and http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/173_212/-365185-1.html (“Greenspan’s Fingerprints All Over Enduring Mess”)

[4] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/russias-putin-is-a-killer/ (“Russia’s Putin Is A Killer”)

[5] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”)

[6] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-next-major-war-korea-again/ (“The Next Major War: Korea Again?”)

[7] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-madness-of-benjamin-netanyahu/ (“The Madness Of Benjamin Netanyahu”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/israels-senseless-killings-and-war-with-iran/ (“Israel’s Senseless Killings And War With Iran”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/the-silent-voices-of-stalin’s-soviet-holocaust-and-mao’s-chinese-holocaust/ (“The Silent Voices Of Stalin’s Soviet Holocaust And Mao’s Chinese Holocaust”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ (“EMP Attack: Only 30 Million Americans Survive”)

[8] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/ (“Human Trafficking”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/problems-with-foreign-adoptions/ (“Problems With Foreign Adoptions”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/ (“Illegal Immigration: The Solution Is Simple”)

[9] Even the great Alexander is rumored to have been bisexual, inter alia, because those were the mores of the day.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/alexander-the-great/ (“Alexander the Great”)

See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/divorces/ (“Divorces”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/abortions-and-autos-kill-more-in-america-than-guns/ (“Abortions And Autos Kill More In America Than Guns”)

[10] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/the-duggar-family-v-anti-christians/ (“The Duggar Family v. Anti-Christians”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/the-catholic-church-at-a-crossroads/ (“The Catholic Church At A Crossroads”)

[11] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/earthquakes-the-big-one-is-coming-to-at-least-los-angeles/ (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles”)

[12] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/toyota-and-lexus-vehicles-are-unsafe/ (“Toyota And Lexus Vehicles Are Unsafe”)

[13] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/are-all-tea-partiers-wackos-misfits-and-extremists/ (“Are All Tea Partiers Wackos, Misfits And Extremists?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/sarah-and-todd-palin-the-big-winners/ (“Sarah And Todd Palin: The Big Winners?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/ (“John F. Kennedy: The Most Despicable President In American History”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/ (“Washington Is Sick And The American People Know It”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/is-financial-reform-simply-washingtons-latest-boondoggle/ (“Is Financial Reform Simply Washington’s Latest Boondoggle?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/the-rise-of-independents/ (“The Rise Of Independents”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/is-redemption-possible-for-tiger-woods/ (“Is Redemption Possible For Tiger Woods?”); and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/is-obama-the-new-nixon/ (“Is Obama The New Nixon?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/barack-obama-is-a-lame-duck-president-who-will-not-be-reelected/ (“Barack Obama Is A Lame-Duck President Who Will Not Be Reelected”) and 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/ (“Are Afghanistan, Iraq And Pakistan Hopeless, And Is The Spread Of Radical Islam Inevitable, And Is Barack Obama Finished As America’s President?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/the-speech—is-barack-obama-smoking-pot-again/ (“The Speech—Is Barack Obama Smoking Pot Again?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-end-of-barack-obama/ (“The End Of Barack Obama”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/barack-obama-america’s-second-emperor/ (“Barack Obama: America’s Second Emperor?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/ (“Obama In Afghanistan: Doomed From The Start?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/ (“Is Barack Obama A Racist?”); but see https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/edward-w-brooke-is-dead/ (“Edward W. Brooke Is Dead”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/ariel-sharon-is-missed/ (“Ariel Sharon Is Missed”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/jefferson-lincoln-and-america/ (“Jefferson, Lincoln And America”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/ulysses-s-grant-an-american-hero/ (“Ulysses S. Grant: An American Hero”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/ansel-adams-has-an-heir/ (“Ansel Adams Has An Heir”)

[14] See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/the-state-bar-of-california-is-lawless-and-a-travesty-and-should-be-abolished/ (“The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/justice-and-the-law-do-not-mix/ (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/the-united-states-department-of-injustice/ (“The United States Department of Injustice”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/the-american-legal-system-is-broken-can-it-be-fixed/ (“The American Legal System Is Broken: Can It Be Fixed?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/lawyers-and-internet-scams/ (“Lawyers And Internet Scams”)

[15] See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (“What And Where Is God?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/ronald-reagan-and-john-f-kennedy-a-question-of-character/ (“Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy: A Question of Character”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/ (“America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life”)





The Duggar Family v. Anti-Christians

4 06 2015

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

All Hell has broken loose on American TV and in media outlets around the world because one of the stars of the very popular TLC reality show, “19 Kids and Counting,” fondled younger girls including his sisters when he was a minor—age 14 to 15.  He confessed this to his parents; and the girls were sleeping when it happened, and they learned about it from their parents.

The family has been targeted by non-Christians, anti-Christians, Gays, Lesbians and others, who have definite agendas.  The parents voluntarily reported the incidents to the police; and the sealed juvenile records have been released illegally.  The Duggars feel betrayed; and there is little question that they have been victimized by others.

Also, there is no question about what was done by the minor: it was wrong, and the Duggars made this clear to their son and to the rest of their family when they learned of it.  Far too often, apparently, members of families “grope” other members, especially when all are juveniles.  Whether it is part of the learning process about sexuality or not, it becomes a crime when the perpetrator is no longer a child.

The show focuses on the life of the Duggar family who are devout Independent Baptists, and frequently discusses values of purity, modesty, and faith in God.  For those of us who have grown up in Hollywood (or Los Angeles), and known people in the movie, TV and other entertainment businesses, one wonders why anyone would want cameras intruding in their lives day after day, and why they would want their lives to be an “open book.”

Perhaps those who have attacked the Duggars are jealous of their popularity, or offended by their Christian beliefs.  Nonetheless, the rage and hate that have been directed at this family lately—as reported repeatedly by the UK’s trashy Daily Mail and other media outlets—are almost unfathomable.  The family members are called hypocrites; Christian beliefs are castigated; and the family seems to have become a lightning rod for the disgruntled and haters of this world.

Surely, as people are being killed savagely in the Middle East and elsewhere, and dying as a result of other human tragedies, the focus should be turned elsewhere.  As Jesus said:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.[2]

No one is without sin, period.

© 2015, Timothy D. Naegele

Duggar family


[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 John 8:7, King James Version; see also https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8:6-8&version=KJV





Ariel Sharon Is Missed

6 01 2014

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2014, Timothy D. Naegele

Ariel Sharon


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

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

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






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