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”)





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)





Ulysses S. Grant: An American Hero

21 03 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

It is been said that Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs are the finest written by an American president, and this assessment may well be true, which is among the reasons why I wanted to read them.  Abraham Lincoln held Grant in very high regard, and credited both Grant and General William Tecumseh Sherman with winning the Civil War militarily and thereby preserving the Union.  Grant returned Lincoln’s respect and praise, both in the words that he wrote and in his decision not to become a presidential candidate in 1864—and probably become a very formidable rival, according to Lincoln’s keen political judgment.

It is a shame that Grant did not write about his own two-term presidency, and instead concluded his memoirs with the war’s end.  However, he died of throat cancer in 1885, twenty years after the “rebellion” ended and less than a week after completing work on the memoirs, which were written in large part to provide much-needed financial security for his beloved wife, Julia Dent Grant.  They accomplished their purpose, and were encouraged and edited by his friend, Mark Twain.

While I am not a student of the Civil War, nor of the other campaigns in which Grant served—all of which are discussed in great detail—his memoirs give the reader a window into the man and the war that wrenched and transformed this nation, and produced so much carnage on both sides.  Like Dwight D. Eisenhower and other famous generals, Grant concludes: “[T]his war was a fearful lesson, and should teach us the necessity of avoiding wars in the future.”

However, Grant adds: “To maintain peace in the future it is necessary to be prepared for war.  . . .  [U]nless we are prepared for it we may be in danger of a combined movement being some day made to crush us out.”  With respect to former slaves, Grant writes: “[H]e was brought to our shores by compulsion, and he now should be considered as having as good a right to remain here as any other class of our citizens.”

As to the future of our nation and the healing of its wounds, he concluded:

The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence.  . . .  I feel we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the [North and South].  I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy; but I feel it within me that it is to be so.  The universally kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of the answer to “Let us have peace.”

The expressions of these kindly feelings were not restricted to a section of the country, nor to a division of the people.  They came from individual citizens of all nationalities; from all denominations—the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Jew; and from various societies of the land—scientific, educational, religious, or otherwise.  Politics did not enter into the matter at all.

Grant dedicated his memoirs to the “American Soldier And Sailor”; and it seems true, as Geoffrey Perret has written, “he was modest, sensitive, generous, honest, and superlatively intelligent.  Grant’s courage, both moral and physical, was a matter of record.”  He lives on through his words and deeds, having saved a nation—albeit not being recognized fully as the American hero that he was.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele

Grant


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] See http://www.amazon.com/Personal-Memoirs-Ulysses-Modern-Library/dp/0375752285/ref=cm_cr-mr-title





America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life

26 02 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele

Statue of Liberty


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Ansel Adams Has An Heir

12 02 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

When I was a kid growing up in West Los Angeles, my mother had a Kodak “Brownie” box camera[2], and it seemed as though she took photos of everyone.  Her love of photography was passed on to me; and later in life, I discovered that what I loved most about the art form was encapsulated in the photography of Ansel Adams[3] and no one else.  Let me correct that.  Between my mother’s photography and that of Ansel[4], there was the breathtaking photography of the great Mathew Brady during the U.S. Civil War, which was a precursor of today’s photojournalism.[5]

Ansel was from San Francisco where I had lived when I attended law school at Berkeley; and he was a concert pianist before arthritis affected his ability to perform at the levels to which he aspired.  He chose to pursue a life in photography; and that changed lots of other lives, including my own.  On a whim, I picked up the phone one day at my condominium in Northern Virginia; and I called information for Carmel, California, and asked for a listing in his name.  I was connected; and to my great surprise, his wife Virginia answered the phone at their home in the Carmel Highlands.

I asked how I might study with him; and she gave me information about whom to contact at his workshops.  The next thing I knew, I had applied for his workshop in the Yosemite Valley, I was accepted, and I went.[6] I knew very little about the man personally, although I soon learned that his base of operations at Yosemite was the Ansel Adams Galley, which had been the Best’s Studio[7].  His wife was Virginia Best Adams; and her family owned the gallery before she and Ansel met.

When I arrived, there were sycophants aplenty surrounding the “master,” like I assume must have happened with Leonardo di Vinci, Pablo Picasso, and the other great artists.  In a sense, we “students” were sycophants too, although I did not realize it fully until much later.  Having grown up in the shadows of Hollywood, and then having worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., I had been around lots of them.  When our group of students traveled to the “high country” of Yosemite with Ansel, and had other photographic experiences with him, I did not delude myself and knew that I would be lucky if my knowledge of photography was ever a fraction of his.

Indeed, in the high country one day, I had my tripod set up with a Minolta 35mm camera on it; and I framed a scene that I believed was picture perfect.  Ansel came over and looked through the lens, and said it was all wrong, and moved the tripod about a foot or so, and took the “perfect” photo of what I had been trying to capture.  He included a nearby tree branch, instead of merely photographing interesting rock formations in the distance; and of course, he was right.

In his darkroom at Yosemite, he kept a metronome from his days with music, which he used to time the placement of negatives in trays of various liquid solutions as he was developing them into photographs.  He apparently liked his drinks at the end of each day too; and I was told that he did not make any “big money” until he limited his output to museum collections only, which drove up the values of his photography and allowed him to live comfortably for the rest of his life.

He told many stories, but the one I will always remember is how he took his most famous photograph, “Moonrise Hernandez.”[8] He was driving in the countryside on a lonely highway near the small town of Hernandez, New Mexico; and all of a sudden, he saw the moon over a little cemetery, and he stopped his car.  Pulling out his equipment, he could not find his trusty light meter; and hence, using his “zone system,” he guessed at the proper settings for the photograph and took it.  As with so many things in life, it was a miracle; and he created the one photograph by which he may be remembered forever.

When I saw him later at Carmel, his health had declined, and he was a “figurehead” at the workshop that I attended.[9] However, he was as jovial as ever, albeit “protected” by those who were part of his inner circle.  After his death, one of his instructors and I met with Robert Baker, who had co-authored or been the “Collaborator” of several of Ansel’s books[10].  Bob was very talented, low-key and nice, and not ego-driven or a “hero worshipping” sycophant like so many of those who surrounded Ansel.

We talked over lunch about a book that he and Ansel had been working on when the master died.  My interests were always in color photography, not black and white; and Ansel had avoided it because he could not control the colors like he wanted.  His book with Bob might have been the definitive book in the world on the subject, but it was not to be, because of Ansel’s death.  After that, it seemed that the focus of attention was on preserving the master’s image for posterity, instead of advancing the science of photography, as Ansel and Bob Baker had done.

Of all the photographers whom I had met at the Yosemite workshop, one stood out and his photography stands out today, and that is William Neill.[11] Bill was then, and he remains today the finest color photographer in the United States, if not the world.  Of all the photographers who surrounded Ansel at Yosemite, Bill was special.  He was head and shoulders above the rest.  I will always remember a small color photo of his, which he took at the Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona.[12] It was exquisite.

What makes a great photographer, in terms of Brady, Adams and Neill?  I believe it is “photo-realism,” which takes the viewer to the spot where the photograph was taken, and puts him or her in the eyes of the photographer.  It is so true that once a photo is taken, that image will never appear again in history, nor did it ever appear before.  The photographer captures a moment in time, as if time literally stood still.  Take a look at Brady’s photos of the Civil War, or Louis Daguerre’s magnificent photographs of France[13], or Ansel’s photos, or Bill Neill’s.  You will see true masterpieces.

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownie_(camera)

[3] See http://www.anseladams.com/content/ansel_info/anseladams_biography2.htmlsee also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansel_Adams

[4] “Ansel” was the way everyone referred to him, even in his presence.  He seemed to encourage it, and was a bit folksy in such ways, which was disarming and endearing.  Lots of books have been written about him, by insiders such as Bob Baker and others.  I was never an insider, nor do I profess to be.  I got close enough to learn what I wished to know about photography from a master—perhaps “the” master in the history of photography worldwide—and that was enough for me.

[5] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathew_Brady

[6] See, e.g., http://www.anseladams.com/photography_education.html

[7] See http://www.anseladams.com/ and http://www.anseladams.com/content/customer_service/history.html

[8] See, e.g.http://www.anseladams.com/content/ansel_info/ansel_ancedotes.html

[9] I dated a lovely instructor whom I met there, and we gave thought to marrying; and I will always love her and wish her well.

[10] See, e.g., (1) http://www.amazon.com/Polaroid-Land-Photography-Ansel-Adams/dp/0821207296 and (2) http://www.amazon.com/Camera-Ansel-Adams-Photography-Book/dp/0821221841/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265948749&sr=1-1 and (3) http://www.amazon.com/Print-Ansel-Adams-Photography-Book/dp/0821221876/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265948838&sr=1-2 and (4) http://www.amazon.com/Negative-Ansel-Adams-Photography-Book/dp/0821221868/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265948931&sr=1-3; see also http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Robert+Baker%2C+Ansel+Adams&x=0&y=0

[11] See http://www.williamneill.com

I was so taken by Bill’s photography and talents that I commissioned him to build a darkroom at my home in Malibu, California, which was under construction after we met.  It was never finished in the way that I envisioned; and hence, Bill was never able to work his “magic” on the darkroom.

[12] See http://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canyon_de_Chelly_National_Monument

[13] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Daguerre; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_photography