Remembering The Comfort Women, Victims Of Human Trafficking And Slavery

25 10 2018

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

To its credit, PBS aired an extraordinary film entitled “The Apology,” which followed “three former ‘comfort women’ who were among the 200,000 girls and young women kidnapped and forced into military sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Seventy years after their imprisonment, the survivors [gave] their first-hand accounts of the truth for the record, seeking apology and the hope that this horrific chapter of history [will] not be forgotten.”[2]

I have written about such comfort women or sexual slaves[3], and about human trafficking[4], and about the victims of Joseph Stalin’s and Mao Tse-tung’s holocausts[5] and other holocausts in history.[6]  The last victims will be gone soon; and what they lived through may die with them unless steps are taken now to insure that they did not die in vain.  The #MeToo and similar movements worldwide[7] should honor these women; and act to protect those who are victims of slavery and human trafficking now, such as the brave women of Afghanistan and those who have fled unspeakable violence in the Middle East.[8]

In 2009, I wrote about human trafficking:

Lots of Americans may not know that human trafficking exists in the Twenty-First Century, much less in their hometowns and where they work. . . .

Years ago I read an article about a Korean girl who began as a “comfort woman” for the Japanese military during World War II.  She and other women traveled with the military, and were forced to provide non-stop sex to Japanese soldiers.  Toward the end of the war, somehow she escaped and made her way back to Korea where her family disowned her because of the shame that she had caused them.  She married, to an abusive husband, and finally left that marriage and found happiness with another Korean man.

Also, I read an article about a woman in the former Yugoslavia who was caught up in the fighting there, and lost both her husband and son, and ended up in a refugee camp.  There, she and other women were told about opportunities to become secretaries across the Adriatic in Bari, Italy where I have been years ago.  When she arrived, she and the other women were forced into prostitution.  Only when the Italian police raided the house where she was enslaved did she escape.

There are approximately 50,000 human slaves in the U.S., and more than a million worldwide.  It is so tragic, yet little or nothing is being done about it. . . .

Every year we read about lots of cases here in the U.S., where children are kidnapped and never found again.  Clearly, the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard, an 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped from South Lake Tahoe in 1991, and who was found alive recently, riveted national attention.  She was kept as a sex slave; however, her story is not unique.  There are lots of women like her in the United States and elsewhere in the world today.  Men are victims as well. . . .

Too often when we hear of such stories, we think that it could never touch our lives or the lives of our loved ones or friends.  Tragically, that is what Jaycee Lee Dugard’s family thought; and the same was true of the family of Elizabeth Smart whose kidnapping occurred on June 5, 2002, when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City, Utah bedroom at the age of 14.  She was found nine months later, after having been held as a sex slave too.[9]

Since I wrote those words, the numbers have increased both in the United States and globally.

In 2010, I wrote about Stalin’s and Mao’s holocausts:

Aside from ordering the killing of those in the Soviet hierarchy, it is estimated that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of more than 30 million men, women and children—his own countrymen—including millions during the collectivization of the Soviet farms in the 1930s.

. . .

[A]s the Soviets moved through Germany, they raped at least two million German women in what is now acknowledged as the largest case of mass rape in history.

. . .

China’s Mao Tse-tung was directly responsible for an estimated 30-40 million deaths between 1958 and 1960, as a result of what Mao’s regime hailed as the “Great Leap Forward.”  Like Stalin, Mao’s crimes involved Chinese peasants, many of whom died of hunger from man-made famines under collectivist orders that stripped them of all private possessions.  The Communist Party forbade them even to cook food at home; private fires were outlawed; and their harvests were taken by the state.  Those who dared to question Mao’s agricultural policies—which sought to maximize food output by dispossessing the nation’s most productive farmers—were tortured, sent to labor camps, or executed.

More than 60 million human beings are forgotten, seemingly having disappeared without a trace in the Soviet and Chinese Holocausts of the 20th Century, as if they never existed or were swallowed up by history.  Yet they did exist, and they might have produced descendants numbering in the hundreds of millions today.  One can only conjecture as to the contributions they would have made to mankind, which are forever lost like the contributions of those Jews, Gypsies and others who were killed in the Nazi Holocaust, and by Japan, and by Pol Pot, and in Africa.[10]

Sexual predators of all kinds and degrees—such as Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby—must be pursued for the rest of their lives, nonstop, without ceasing.[11]  More must be done to end human trafficking and slavery, and the actions of sexual predators.  Nothing less will suffice.

 

The Apology

 

© 2018, 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 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 Timothy D. Naegele Resume). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (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 (see, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commendation_Medal#Joint_Service). 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

[2]   See http://www.pbs.org/pov/theapology/video-theapology/; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/#comment-6922 (“Japanese Sadism, Amnesia And Denial, But No Contrition”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/#comment-2174 (“Shame On Japan”) and http://thevillager.com/2017/10/25/comfort-women-statue-remembers-victims-of-sexual-slavery/ (“‘Comfort Women’ statue remembers victims of sexual slavery”)

“The Apology” may be watched online in its entirety.  See http://www.pbs.org/pov/theapology/video-theapology/

Watching the film today is a sobering experience, as the survivors are condemned and cursed in Japan as “prostitutes,” “dirty old bitches,” “Korean whores,” “society outcasts” and the like.

Three of the women shown in the film are Gil Won Ok, or simply “Grandma Gil” from Korea; “Grandma Cao” from China; and “Grandma Adela” from the Philippines.  The latter’s photo is used with this article—and she is dead now.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Korean_Council_for_the_Women_Drafted_for_Military_Sexual_Slavery_by_Japan (“The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan”)

[3]  See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/#comment-7778 (“The Tragic Story of Comfort Women“)

[4]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/ (“Human Trafficking”)

[5]  See 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”)

[6]  See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/is-israel-doomed/#comment-8618 (“The Nazi Holocaust Remembered”)

A very important film to watch in its entirety is Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah.”

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoah_(film) (“Shoah (film)”)

[7]  See, e.g.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_movement (“Me Too movement”)

[8]  See, e.g.https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/human-trafficking/#comment-8632 (“The Fate Of Lina Zinab: Is Life Fair?”)

[9]  See infra n.4.  The world must never forget about the UK’s Madeleine (or “Maddie”) McCann either, who disappeared in Spain.

See, e.g.https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6153495/Hunt-Madeleine-McCann-shelved-THREE-WEEKS-fear-missing-girls-parents.html (“Hunt for Madeleine McCann could be shelved within THREE WEEKS fear the missing girl’s parents”)

[10]  See infra n.5.

[11]  See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/americas-newest-civil-war-2017-and-beyond/#comment-12196 (“THE VERY ESSENCE OF HOLLYWOOD’S DEPRAVITY”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-11474 (“SICKO SEXUAL PREDATOR ROMAN POLANSKI IS TARGETED FINALLY!”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-13133 (“Finally, The Beginning Of Justice For Hollywood’s Serial Rapist, Bill Cosby”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-11735 (“HOLLYWOOD’S SICKNESS CONTINUES UNABATED: BOYCOTT ITS FILMS!”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-11585 (“BOYCOTT HOLLYWOOD AND ITS FILMS!”); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/is-google-becoming-microsoft-or-worse/#comment-14975 (“Has Amazon Joined The Ranks Of Google And Facebook In Despicable Leftist Censorship?”) 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/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/ (“John F. Kennedy: The Most Despicable President In American History“) (see also the extensive comments beneath the article) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/john-f-kennedy-the-most-despicable-president-in-american-history/#comment-12868 (“The Kennedy Brothers Killed Mary Jo Kopechne”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/#comment-2830 (“The Truth About Martin Luther King, Jr. Emerges . . . Finally“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/washington-is-sick-and-the-american-people-know-it/#comment-7185 (“Clinton Fatigue”)





Abortions And Autos Kill More In America Than Guns

20 12 2012

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Tragedies have struck again and again, with women and young students being killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado; and elsewhere.  The loss of these lives was senseless and unfathomable; and enormous pain and shock waves have been visited upon our great nation.  Advocates of gun control believe it is the solution.  However, the killer at Sandy Hook used his mother’s weapons; and she apparently knew that his mental health issues were a potential powder keg, but she could not stop him and he killed her too.  Also, at essentially the same time as the Sandy Hook killings, 22 children and one adult were injured by a knife-wielding man outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes.[2]

Guns do not kill; people do. Criminals and wackos can get their hands on guns and other weapons and commit violence, and there is nothing that can be done to prevent them—except to stop the crimes before they are committed, owing to mental health treatment, better intelligence and law enforcement.  These are violent times, which will only get much worse between now and the end of this decade; and lots of innocent people will suffer globally.[3]  However, such killings must be placed in perspective: abortions and auto accidents kill far more in America than guns do.  Indeed, there is no comparison.  Also, the FBI has reported that all homicides committed using firearms have been declining.[4]

The Second Amendment to our Constitution states in pertinent part:

[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms [] shall not be infringed.[5]

It is part of the American culture, which is protected; and the Constitution will not be changed in this regard.  Indeed, gun sales have been rising because Americans want the ability to defend themselves as crime increases in our country, which will only get worse as the budgets of law enforcement decline during the balance of this decade.

Also, violence is glorified on TV and in films worldwide.  If Americans truly want to reduce or eliminate violence (e.g., “copycat” murders), the depiction of violence should be banned. It instills the wrong values in the kids of this world. And there is no question that Hollywood promotes and glorifies violence.

America’s resident, angry Narcissistic Brit, Piers Morgan, has been trying to change our culture—which he does not understand—by crusading for gun control, despite the low ratings of his CNN talk show, which replaced the legendary, unflappable Larry King.  Hopefully Morgan returns permanently to the UK as soon as possible, and stops “preaching” in our country.[6]

As American lawyer, conservative social and political commentator Ann Coulter has noted:

Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from [multiple-victim shootings]: concealed-carry laws.

The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally.

Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed. But a criminal planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.[7]

On a personal note, I was a U.S. Army Infantry Officer during the Vietnam War, and I was trained with guns and know how to use them.  However, I gave away my father’s duck-hunting weapons, and do not like the idea of any weapons being around.  Accidents can and do happen.  However, I understand why so many Americans want them for hunting, and for their own protection.

Lastly, it bears repeating: abortions and auto accidents kill far more than guns do in the United States.  Abortions should be banned, and auto accidents should be curbed, if Americans and others truly want to deal with deaths instead of merely spouting rhetoric as Piers Morgan does.

© 2012, Timothy D. Naegele


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

[2] See http://www.enniscorthyguardian.ie/breaking-news/world-news/22-children-hurt-in-knife-attack-3325857.html

[3] Whether it is (1) Elizabeth Smart who was abducted from her Salt Lake City, Utah, bedroom, or (2) Jaycee Lee Dugard who was kidnapped in Northern California at the age of 11 and was found alive 18 years later after having given birth to two children fathered by the man who kidnapped her, or (3) sweet Madeleine McCann who disappeared in May of 2007 when she was on holiday with her British parents and twin siblings in the Algarve region of Portugal, or (4) the attack that took place at the shopping center in Southern California where I bought an Apple laptop that I am using to type this—which is across the road from where my son and his family used to live—this is a violent world in which innocent people (especially women) are preyed on by wackos.

See, e.g.http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/12/shots-fired-at-fashion-island-mall-lockdown-in-place.html; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/poverty-in-america/ (“Poverty In America”) and 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/2010/07/30/illegal-immigration-the-solution-is-simple/ (“Illegal Immigration: The Solution Is Simple”)

[4]  As of the date that this article was published, more than 1.2 million abortions had taken place in the United States this year alone.

See http://www.numberofabortions.com/; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States

Last year, motor vehicle deaths in U.S. totaled 32,367.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

By comparison, it has been reported:

[T]he most recent data suggests gun violence is declining in the United States.

The number of homicides committed using firearms dropped from 2006 to 2010, according the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

In 2010, 8,775 homicides using firearms were reported to the FBI. In 2006, 10,225 homicides using firearms were reported to the FBI.

See http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/fbi-crime-reports-show-homicides-using-firearms-dropped-in-usbetween-2006-and-2010

[5] See http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment

[6] See http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/12/19/piers-morgan-calls-pro-gun-advocate-unbelievably-stupid-dangerous-you

[7] See http://www.humanevents.com/2012/12/19/ann-coulter-we-know-how-to-stop-school-shootings/

As a lawyer-friend of mine commented, after reading and recommending Coulter’s article:

I think one of the jurisdictions that is pretty satisfied with concealed carry laws is [the District of Columbia, or Washington, D.C.], where a lot of the minority women carry weapons when they live in unsafe areas.

. . .

The bad guys aren’t as likely to bother them as they were before many of them started carrying.





Is Financial Reform Simply Washington’s Latest Boondoggle?

23 04 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

Amen, and then some![9]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with their conclusion.

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

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

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

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





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.








%d bloggers like this: