Wednesday, March 31, 2010

America Wants To Know!

As Sonia Would Say--

I like to be in America!
O.K. by me in America!
Ev'rything free in America!

Paranoid Connections: The Case of Lanny Breuer -- I Forgot Mr. Cohen!!

Lanny Breuer, Esq. was named by President Obama to head the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in the year 2009.

Breuer had been a partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington and Burling. While in private practice, Breuer made headlines when a friend from the White House, Sandy Berger, asked for representation after an investigation disclosed Berger’s theft of classified documents from the National Archives.

Sandy Berger -- a prominent actor of the Camp David 2000 Summit together with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yassir Arafat -- was the National Security adviser to former President Bill Clinton (1997-2001) in the years following Berger's private law practice at Hogan and Hartson. Coincidentally, I worked as a paralegal at Hogan during the period mid-September 1985 to late February 1988.

Interestingly, Sandy Berger and his wife Susan are apparently friends of Jewish cookbook maven Joan Nathan and her husband, the Washington attorney Allen Gerson.

Joan Nathan apparently resides in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, DC.

On January 15, 2010 two Justice Department officers were sent to my residence to interview me about a law enforcement matter concerning a federal official about whom I made several references on this blog, My Daily Struggles. I told the officers that it was my belief that that official resided in Cleveland Park; but I'm not sure, and certainly the officer would not confirm that.

The law enforcement interview lasted about an hour. I was particularly struck by the number of questions the officers posed about food in the Cleveland Park neighborhood where I live.

"Where do you eat out?" "I don't eat out." "You never eat out?" "No, I never eat out."

"Do you shop at supermarkets in the neighborhood?" "Yes, there are two supermarkets in the neighborhood." "What are their names?" "There's one supermarket up the street. It's a Giant Supermarket. Then there's another supermarket." "What's the name of that supermarket?" "Brookville."

The Justice Department officer seemed to reflex when I mentioned "Giant" and "Brookville." He seemed to have some kind of emotional investment in these two establishments. Why would an officer of the U.S. Department of Justice have an emotional investment in neighborhood supermarkets? I recall that at the end of the interview, the other officer (the silent partner, as it were) walked around to look at my kitchen area.

In all honesty, while the officers were questioning me about food and eating out, thoughts of Joan Nathan passed through my mind. I thought: "I wonder if all this has anything to do with that blog post I wrote about Joan Nathan back in July?" 

During the interview one of the officers asked: "Do you visit a library in the neighborhood?"  I said, "yes."  He asked: "Does it have a name?"  I said, "It's the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, located at 3310 Connecticut . . ."  The officer abruptly cut me off before I could give the complete address.  He strongly reflexed when I stated the word "Cleveland."  I noted that, but had no idea what it signified.  The opening sentence of my blog post about Joan Nathan reads: "It's 4:30 on a Friday afternoon at the Cleveland Park Public Library in DC, and Joan Nathan, the world renowned authority on Jewish cuisine is talking to Barbara Gaunt, one of the librarians, about research on her latest book."

Early in the interview the officer asked: "Couldn't you do volunteer work?"  I saw that as an express reference to my psychiatrist's advice that I do volunteer work.

I found it odd that the officer asked if I could do volunteer work, but did not recommend that I seek employment or that he considered me employable.  A U.S. Secret Service agent had told me in February 1995 and again in February 1996 that he considered me employable and that I should seek employment.  I found the officer's reference to "volunteer work" to be gratuitous and peculiar.

After the interview, i.e., after one of the officers turned off his tape-recorder, I was chatting with both men.  One officer said: "Do you have any pets?  A dog or a cat?'  I said, "no," adding: "We're not allowed to have dogs in the building.  I'm allowed to have a cat, but I don't want one.  Once a cat has an accident, you're left with the smell forever."  I thought, "Why is he talking about dogs and cats?" 

(My blog post dated October 14, 2009 contains the following question and answer:

[Prosecutor]: Do you own any pets, sir?

[Witness]: Yes, I have two pets. I own a dog and a cat.

And I noticed, oddly, that the officer reflexed noticeably when I used the word "smell."  In my blog post about Joan Nathan I had written: "Do I smell something fishy here?"

The theme of "smells" and "restaurants" also arises in my blog post dated November 18, 2009: "Yes, Mr. Cohen, What Stinks in Here?"

At the conclusion of the interview the officer asked for the names of residents I spoke with in the building. I said: "I don't speak to anybody in the building." The officer replied: "You don't speak to anybody?" I said: "I speak to an elderly woman in the building, Isabel Fine." When I mentioned the name Fine, the officer reflexed.

Early in the interview, I had given one of the officers a copy of my book Significant Moments as a gift.  When the officer was about to leave, he handed me a pen, and, in a friendly manner, asked me to autograph the book for him.  In my blog post about Joan Nathan I had written: "If I weren't so shy I would ask for her autograph."

Several weeks after I wrote the above blog post, I happened to see Joan Nathan talking to the pharmacist at my local CVS pharmacy. I was seated in a chair, immediately to her left. She turned, looked at me, seemed to recognize me, then quickly looked away. Yes, I had the (paranoid) suspicion that she recognized me. But how on earth would Joan Nathan recognize me?

In a blog post dated May 19, 2004 accessible in The Freedman Archives, I talk about my paranoid ideas about Sandy Berger:

This post should be good for another $50,000 in disability payments from the federal government. God, I love free money!  As Sonia would say: "I love to be in America.  Everythings free in America."

Of Rats and Mice: Attaching a Negative Meaning to Trivial Events?

Supposedly I attach a negative meaning to trivial events. My condition is called "ideas of reference." I tend to draw inferences about people and events based on very slim information, things in the environment that most people wouldn't even notice, let alone remember, or attach any meaning to.

Be that as it may.

Years ago, the Freud scholar Jeffrey Masson filed a lawsuit against The New Yorker Magazine, which had published a series of articles about him. The articles, written by the journalist Janet Malcolm, were later compiled into a book titled In The Freud Archives. Masson claimed that Janet Malcolm and the magazine had libeled him by attributing statements to him that he never made in his taped interviews. In the articles Malcolm had placed several statements, attributed to Masson, in quotation marks.

In any event, the litigation went on for years. Often compared to the interminable Jarndyce v. Jarndyce lawsuit in Dickens's Bleak House, Masson v. Malcolm had traveled a long, misted path through five complaints, one dismissal, two appeals, a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, a hung jury, and finally, a completed trial, decided in Malcolm's favor on November 2, 1994.

Jeffrey Masson was quoted as saying about the litigation (if I may be permitted to say "quoted as saying"): "Once you get your teeth into something, I don't think you let go."

So what does this have to do with attributing a negative meaning to trivial events? There's an intriguing book about child abuse by the psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold, M.D. titled: Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation. In the book, Dr. Shengold goes to considerable lengths to demonstrate that a patient's associations to teeth, biting, and rats -- animals that gnaw constantly -- can be signs that the patient is struggling with the effects of emotional overstimulation from childhood. References to teeth, biting (and rats) can be, according to Dr. Shengold, an indicator of past child abuse.

Perhaps, Jeffrey Masson's protracted legal dispute with Janet Malcolm represented the displacement and symbolic repetition of an emotionally-charged drama first enacted by Masson in childhood: a drama too emotionally-charged to "let go" of. In psychoanalysis a statement such as "Once you get your teeth into something, I don't think you let go" is one that solicits interpretation.

And why is it permissible for a psychoanalyst to attach a negative meaning to a patient's trivial utterances, but a sign of pathology for an observant psychiatry patient to attach any meaning to the seemingly trivial details of his daily life?

On Detecting Creativity in a Federal Judge

Recently, I was reading the biography of a federal judge. I found it interesting that the judge had received a masters degree in city planning from Yale University before earning her law degree. The judge had graduated third in her law school class.

City planning and law are quite distinct fields. Excelling in both fields indicates not only a high intellect, but, psychologically, a wide personality scope. Indeed, having wide interests and multiple potentials--sufficient to succeed in several careers--are markers of the creative personality.

I've always been drawn to creative people. I have a knack for picking up on a person's creative potential very early in my interaction with that individual.

Here are some other characteristics that differentiate the more creative individual from the less creative:

* He is more observant and perceptive, and he puts a high value on independent "true-to-himself" perception. He perceives things the way other people do but also the way others do not.

* He is more independent in his judgments, and his self-directed behavior is determined by his own set of values and ethical standards.

* He balks at group standards, pressures to conform and external controls. He asserts his independence without being hostile or aggressive, and he speaks his mind without being domineering. If need be, he is flexible enough to simulate the prevailing norms of cultural and organizational behavior.

* He dislikes policing himself and others; he does not like to be bossed around. He can readily entertain impulses and ideas that are commonly considered taboo; he has a spirit of adventure.

* He is highly individualistic and non-conventional in a constructive manner. Psychologist Donald W. MacKinnon puts it this way: "Although independent in thought and action, the creative person does not make a show of his independence; he does not do the off-beat thing narcissistically, that is, to call attention to himself. ... He is not a deliberate nonconformist but a geniunely independent and autonomous person."

* He has wide interests and multiple potentials--sufficient to succeed in several careers.

* He is constitutionally more energetic and vigorous and, when creatively engaged, can marshal an exceptional fund of psychic and physical energy.

* He is less anxous and possesses greater stability.

* His complex personality is, simultaneously, more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, crazier and saner. He has a greater appreciation and acceptance of the nonrational elements in himself and others.

* He is willing to entertain and express personal impulses, and pays more attention to his "inner voices." He likes to see himself as being different from others, and he has greater self-acceptance.

* He has strong aesthetic drive and sensitivity, and a greater interest in the artistic and aesthetic fields. He prefers to order the forms of his own experience aesthetically, and the solutions at which he arrives must not only be creative, but elegant.

* Truth for him has to be clothed in beauty to make it attractive.

* He searches for philosophical meanings and theoretical constructs and tends to prefer working with ideas, in contradistinction to the less creative who prefer to deal with the practical and concrete.

* He has a greater need for variety and is almost insatiable for intellectual ordering and comprehension.

* He places great value on humor of the philosophical sort and possesses a unique sense of humor.

* He regards authority as arbitrary, contingent on continued and demonstrable superiority. When evaluating communications, he separates source from content, judges and reaches conclusions based on the information itself, rather than whether the information source was an "authority" or an "expert."

The High Life: My Life on Social Security Disability

When I first moved to Washington, DC, I rented a reasonably priced studio apartment a few blocks from the Metro. I had no job at the time and was living off the cruel joke I referred to as my savings. In the evenings, lacking anything better to do, I used to head south, down Connecticut Avenue, to a neighborhood known as Kalorama and stare into the windows of the handsome, single-family town houses, wondering what went on in those well-appointed rooms. What would it be like to have not only your own apartment but an entire building in which you could do whatever you wanted? I'd watch a white-haired man slipping out of his back brace and ask myself what he'd done to deserve such a privileged life. Had I been able to swap places with him, I would have done so immediately. One evening I passed by a house, the kitchen brightly lit--the bare windows permitting me a view of the interior. Inside were a host of Asians, who I imagined to be Chinese. They were all dressed in white. I thought, how odd that the family all dresses in the same white attire. Only after some moments did it dawn on me that the Chinese people dressed in white were not the residents of the house. They were hired cooks preparing a feast of a dinner party for the real home owners. That should give you an idea of the lifestyle of people who live in Kalorama.

I'd never devoted much time to envy while living in Philadelphia, but there it had been possible to rent a good-size apartment and still have enough money left over for a movie or a decent cut of meat. To be broke in Washington was to feel a constant, needling sense of failure, as you were regularly confronted by people who had not only more but much, much more. Indeed, though my apartment in Philadelphia was about the same size as my Washington apartment, the rent was about half as much. In Washington, in the early 1980s my daily budget was a quickly spent ten dollars, and every extravagance called for a corresponding sacrifice. If I bought a hot dog on the street, I'd have to make up that money by eating eggs for dinner or walking fifty blocks to downtown Washington rather than taking the Metro. The newspaper was fished out of trash cans, section by section, and I was always on the lookout for a good chicken-back recipe. Across town, in Petworth, the graffiti was calling for the rich to be eaten, imprisoned, or taxed out of existence. Though it sometimes seemed like a nice idea, I hoped the revolution would not take place during my lifetime. I didn't want the rich to go away until I could at least briefly join their ranks. Someday I would be able to afford a host of Asian cooks to prepare a dinner party for me, in formal attire, in my private home in Kalorama. The money was tempting. I just didn't know how to get it. More than twenty years later, I still live in the same studio apartment in Cleveland Park. Fortunately, it's rent-controlled. I'm now independently wealthy, in a sense. I receive a monthly check from the U.S. government that allows me to live without working. I live on my Social Security disability income. I'm a member of the idle poor.

The Good Life: My Life on Social Security Disability

When I review my past, I think of all that could have been.

And yet my life in the here and now is good, or at least good enough. I have everything I could ask for, at least reasonably ask for. I don't have to worry about money. I get disability from the government. I just have to live and breathe, which is more than an asthmatic can hope for. I come home to a nice apartment. I could make friends, if I really tried. I don't feel loved, but at the same time I don't feel overly tormented.

How can I possibly feel unhappy sometimes? I have no right to sorrow. And yet at times I find I can't enjoy what I have. I come home through empty streets to my quiet little apartment, to the emptiness inside, and I lose myself in thoughts, and I start to feel so lonely. I eat something, and the food seems to have no flavor. I worry that I've lost the capacity for excitement that I used to have in such abundance as a little boy, living in Philadelphia with my family.

I remember the mealtimes of my childhood -- I don't mean the holidays, just the ordinary, everyday meals. When my mother said, "Dinner is ready," I rushed to the dinner table, hands unwashed. My mother sent me back. "Wash your hands, Gary!" I remember the excitement of dinnertime. Four of us clustered around our plates, banging elbows, chattering and gobbling. My father would tell us sternly, "It's time to eat, not talk!" So we'd all settle down to win the competition, each of us cramming the food away by the fistful as fast as we could.

The taste of the food that I ate forty-five years ago remains in my mouth more vividly than the food I eat today, because that's actually the memory of a kind of fun I can never have again: I'm remembering the flavor of being with my family, part of one big, if not loving, group. It's just myself now. It's down to just the two of us now -- myself and my alter ego.

That's probably why I have so much trouble falling asleep at night. I turn out the lights, and my head fills with thoughts that begin to circle madly through my mind. Then I imagine a big eraser inside me where my thoughts are. I rub that eraser across the bustle and buzz, rubbing out one memory after another, until only silence remains. Only then can I sink into the luxury of sleep.

But sleep never lasts. Sooner or later a nightmare always wakes me. In the middle of the night I can't find my eraser. My heart is pounding in my chest. I have to find another strategy for calming down.

The FBI Perspective

For years now, I 've tried to get the FBI to investigate my Social Security disability claim. Apparently, they're not interested in investigating Social Security fraud.  My case is fraudulent, no doubt about that.  I qualified for disability because my former employers are racketeers.  They had me secretly certified insane to cover their own asses.

Financial fraud of government benefits programs means nothing to the federal government.  The way I see it, the government figures they can always print more money.

Terrorism, now terrorism is a different matter altogether. The FBI is on that gig 24/7. You see, the way the FBI looks at it, it would take ten years to rebuild the World Trade Center. But Treasury can print up a billion dollars in an hour. So the Feds devote all their energies to terrorism, and ignore fraud.

That's just the opinion of a person with paranoid schizophrenia or "paranoid schizophrenia." Whatever.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Social Security Document Submission: June 1993

Page 130 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

Enclosed is a picture of my good friend, Dr. Goldman, in the great synagogue in Florence, Italy.

One of those typical, good-looking, New York dentists.


[In the summer of 1978 I took a trip to Italy on Perillo Tours. I befriended a dentist, Dr. Goldman and his wife; they traveled to Italy with their friends, Bernie Battan and his wife. I doubt these individuals are still living.]

Pages 131-132 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

I have a few additional thoughts on people’s reaction to me in the context of Marshall McLuhan’s aphorism, “the medium is the message.” One might expand McLuhan’s aphorism to read: The medium is the message, and the message conveyed by the medium modifies the manifest content of the message. (It is perhaps of more than incidental interest that Dr. Rothenberg notes that McLuhan’s observation regarding content and structure is itself a Janusian formulation.

1. In 1903 a German judge, Dr. Daniel Paul Schreber, published his own case history, translated as Memoirs of a Neurotic. The memoirs later came to the attention of Sigmund Freud, who published his own analysis of Schreber’s book. Freud never met Schreber. Schreber’s book reveals a grandiose and paranoid personality structure (though contemporary diagnosticians would classify Schreber’s psychopathology, under DSM-III criteria, as Schizophrenia, Undifferentiated Type, Chronic: DSM-III Diagnosis 295.92). Schreber’s book, a medium, contains a content, or message. That message, according to Freud, is paranoia. Yet what Freud overlooks in his assessment of Schreber’s personality is that he, Freud--one of the great, original thinkers of the twentieth century--went out of his way to analyze Schreber’s book. Freud overlooks the fact that Schreber was not simply the sum total of the content, or message, of his memoirs. Schreber’s personality functioning is further revealed in the medium--the fact that he was a paranoiac who wrote a book about himself and that that book was analyzed by Freud. The medium, and the reaction to that medium, modified the message. To give a full description of Schreber’s ego functioning, one is compelled to say not simply that Schreber was a paranoiac, but rather Schreber was a paranoiac who wrote his memoirs, which were, in turn, analyzed by Freud. Certainly not all paranoiacs write their memoirs, and not all paranoiacs who write their memoirs are analyzed by geniuses. An important aspect of Schreber’s personality functioning--an aspect that might have therapeutic implications-- is overlooked if we appraise Schreber’s personality solely on the content of Schreber’s message and ignore the possible implications of the medium through which he communicated that message together with the reaction to that medium. In analyzing Schreber, Freud was not a “neutral observer,” though he posed as one. Freud’s analysis of Schreber was itself a medium that to some degree modified the message of Schreber’s memoirs.

2. Let us suppose that I, an employee of a major law firm, make an appointment to see a psychiatrist. One of the founding partners of the organization, on his own initiative, contacts the psychiatrist to offer some information on my background and difficulties in order to assist the therapy. The partner’s communication is a medium. That medium conveys a message. Let us say that the message is that I have serious personality difficulties and difficulties with my coworkers. The partner’s status, and the unusual nature of the communication, modifies the partner’s message, however. It would be an incomplete description of me to say simply that I have serious personality difficulties and serious difficulties withy my co-workers.  One has to consider the partner's reaction to me as part of my personality functioning The medium modifies the message. A full description of me is that I have serious personality difficulties, have serious difficulties with my coworkers, but have come to the attention of a partner in a major law firm who has apparently taken an interest in my welfare. The partner is not simply a “neutral observer,” though he might wish to pose as one; The partner’s communication is itself a medium that modifies his own message.

[Note the following statement: "a partner in a major law firm who has apparently taken an interest in my welfare."  My belief that I am under surveillance by my employer may be paranoid, but is it persecutory?]

The following two anecdotes may be related to the foregoing observations. Both anecdotes involve the issue of an individual placing himself outside the status of active participant, and assigning himself the role of “neutral observer.” One wonders in what way, if any, the communications of the "neutral observers” are a medium than modify their own message.

1. In mid-June 1988 I was hired as a temporary legal assistant at Akin Gump.  At about the time of my hiring I stopped into the office of David Callet, a partner, and introduced myself. I did no more than introduce myself. On his own initiative, David Callet asked me to sit down. He asked me a few questions about my background. He offered some advice, telling me that instead of working at Akin Gump, I should be out “pounding the pavement” looking for a job consistent with my educational background. One might stay that David Callet was simply being polite, that he was showing some humane concern. But perhaps the following anecdote modifies one’s interpretation of David Callet’s reaction.

[David Callet, Esq., like me, was a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University.]

2. On November 14, 1989 I had lunch with [my friend from Hogan & Hartson] Craig [W. Dye]. At that time he told me that I should make an effort to be friendly with people, that I shouldn’t worry in advance about people’s reaction to me--”You shouldn’t be worried that people will think you’re weird.” Here the medium--a friend offering advice--contradicts the message. If I were to apply Craig’s own message to Craig himself, I wind up with a worthless message.

An additional factor that confers significance and symmetry to these anecdotes is that the nature of the actors who have placed themselves in the role of “neutral observers.”  Sigmund Freud, Malcolm Lassman, David Callet, Craig Dye -- all the best and the brightest. Each in their own way sought out their subject in order to play the role of neutral observer. I wonder whether there is anything to this.


[handwritten note:] 8/10/92

[“I wind up with a worthless message.” I attempted to be friendly with Craig, but he never initiated any social contact with me. He never returned my telephone messages.]

[“On November 14, 1989 I had lunch with Craig.” I still remember that day. I had asked my coworker at Akin Gump, Jesse Raben, to join Craig and me for lunch. Jesse Raben agreed to join us. At noon I telephoned Jesse Raben; he backed out of lunch, explaining that he had to cite check a brief. I met Craig at the DuPont Circle Metro station across the street from Akin Gump’s office. I said: “Jesse weaseled out.”

Oddly, in December--about a month later--at the firm’s legal assistant Christmas luncheon at the Westin Hotel, I was seated at a table with the legal assistant Philip Feigen (now an attorney) who used to share an office with Jesse Raben at Akin Gump. Phil Feigen said about someone: “He weaseled out,” all the while looking at me with disdain. I had the paranoid suspicion that on November 14, 1989 Craig had communicated my comment about Jesse Raben to his contact at Akin Gump, and the comment--like everything else I said or was said about me--was disseminated throughout the firm.

I remember that Craig and I went to a Mexican take-out restaurant on Connecticut Avenue, a few blocks north of Akin Gump’s office. There was a full-length wall mirror in the establishment. Craig and I were standing in line, and Craig was looking at himself in the mirror, running his fingers through his hair. I said to Craig: “Can I do that, Craig?” Craig said: “Do what?” I said (in jest): “Run my fingers through your hair.” Craig said “no.” He didn’t seem to think that was humorous. A man standing in front of us turned around, first looking at me and then at Craig. I had the feeling he was thinking: “What are these -- a pair of queers standing in back of me?”

Craig and I got our lunch, walked back to DuPont Circle, sat on a park bench and ate. Craig was headed off to Paris to visit his girlfriend Alexandra Zapruder, who was studying at the Sorbonne. He planned to stay with her in her room for a week. Craig’s girlfriend was studying art; I assume Craig and Alex went to some art events in Paris.

(I can recall that when Craig returned from Paris, I asked him if he had seen the I.M. Pei-designed glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre.  Coincidentally, the architect I.M. Pei also designed Columbia Square, where Hogan & Hartson's office is located in downtown Washington.)

It was while we were eating lunch that Craig said: “You need to make an effort to be friendly with people. You can’t worry that people think you’re weird.”

Oddly enough, the Freud scholar Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, in his autobiographical book, Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst, talks about his fears that people thought he was weird. The issue came up in Masson’s libel lawsuit against The New Yorker Magazine, a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The journalist Janet Malcolm had written the following about Masson in The New Yorker (as reprinted in the Court's opinion):

"(a) 'Intellectual Gigolo.' Malcolm quoted a description by petitioner of his relationship with Eissler and Anna Freud as follows:

''Then I met a rather attractive older graduate student and I had an affair with her. One day, she took me to some art event, and she was sorry afterward. She said, "Well, it is very nice sleeping with you in your room, but you're the kind of person who should never leave the room--you're just a social embarrassment anywhere else, though you do fine in your own room." And you know, in their way, if not in so many words, Eissler and Anna Freud told me the same thing. They like me well enough "in my own room." They loved to hear from me what creeps and dolts analysts are. I was like an intellectual gigolo--you get your pleasure from him, but you don't take him out in public. . . .'' In the Freud Archives 38."

The Supreme Court pointed out that, in fact, Malcolm’s printed version of Masson’s statement was a gross distortion.  The Court's opinion states:

"The tape recordings contain the substance of petitioner's reference to his graduate student friend, App. 95, but no suggestion that Eissler or Anna Freud considered him, or that he considered himself, an "'intellectual gigolo.'" Instead, petitioner said: [503]

"They felt, in a sense, I was a private asset but a public liability. . . . They liked me when I was alone in their living room, and I could talk and chat and tell them the truth about things and they would tell me. But that I was, in a sense, much too junior within the hierarchy of analysis, for these important training analysts to be caught dead with me." Id., at 104."

The Supreme Court’s opinion in Masson v. New Yorker Magazine can be found at:

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the Court’s opinion.

When Craig said to me: “You need to make an effort to be friendly with people. You can’t worry that people think you’re weird” -- I had the feeling his statement was projective. It was probably Craig, like Jeffrey Masson, who worried that people thought he was weird.

As far as David Callet's statement that it was I who needed to "pound the pavement" and look for another job, it's ironic that it was David Callet who, years later, ended up "pounding the pavement"--he later left Akin Gump to join another DC law firm, Traurig Greenberg.

As Dr. Eissler would say, “Be that as it may.”]

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Am Proud To Say I Am A Fortunate Psychotic Man. I Am Very Blessed To Be Who I Am.

Hey, it's a living.

What Is This, You Didn't Invite Vernon Jordan?

The namesake of the famous company Sara Lee discusses her father's early experiments with cheesecake and how he decided to name the company he founded after her. From Jewish Cooking In America with Cleveland Park's own Joan Nathan!

Coincidentally, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., a senior partner of my former employer, the DC law firm of Akin Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, serves on the Board of Directors of none other than -- Sara Lee!

Bon appetit!

I Wonder If Rabbi Wohlberg Knows (Whether Sturgeon is Kosher)?

When the late Abe Pollin yearned for the whitefish, kippered salmon, and corned beef of his childhood, he used to go to Krupin's Deli.

When Natan Sharansky, the famous Russian refusenik turned Israeli Knesset member, visits Washington, he holds his power lunches at the city's only strictly kosher restaurant, the Center City Cafe.

Former President Clinton's national-security adviser, Sandy Berger, is more reflective of the tastes of the 165,000 Jews living in Washington: When he craves a Jewish pick-me-up, he goes straight home for his wife Susan's chicken soup with matzo balls.

"For most Jews in Washington--especially those of us who follow the laws of kashrut--we find the best Jewish food in our own homes," says Jeffrey Wohlberg, senior rabbi at Adas Israel Hebrew Congregation in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. "This is not to say there isn't good Jewish food in restaurants here, but the home has been the center of Jewish life wherever Jews have lived, and food is an integral part of that tradition."

For all Jews, religious or not, cooking stems from kashrut, the dietary laws given to Moses on Mount Sinai and the rules governing foods found in the biblical books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

"For some Jews it is necessary to be scrupulous about every morsel they consume, while for others it's not a matter of whether the food is strictly kosher but whether it reflects their cultural heritage," says Rabbi Wohlberg.

Like the laws of kashrut, Judaism is rooted in the land of Israel. What is remarkable about Jewish food, as opposed to Italian or French cooking, which have evolved on one soil for thousands of years, is its journey after it left its homeland. With the destructions of the Temple and the uprooting of the Hebrew population, Jewish food habits have been scattered throughout history and across the world. Throughout millennia, carrying their Talmud and their Torah, Jews adapted the local cooking to their dietary laws whether they were living in Babylonia, Morocco, Turkey, Russia, Poland, or Germany.

Many Jewish Washingtonians eat the way most Americans eat during the week. Their only Jewish meal is made and served on Friday nights as families gather to welcome the sabbath by sharing challah (traditional egg bread often baked in a twisted form and usually slightly sweet), chicken soup, brisket, and kugels (puddings). Holiday meals, such as Rosh Hashanah and the Passover Seder with its special traditions, also evoke food-laden memories of family and friends.

The DC Corporation Counsel: Winning at all Costs!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Need For Fame: The Secret Service Was Onto My Game. Why Wasn't The Justice Department?

For years now, at least since early 1996, federal law enforcement should have been onto my game. I have had one aim, and one aim only, lo these many years. I've wanted to grab the headlines and become a nationally-prominent -- or at least notorious -- figure. As they say, no publicity is bad publicity.

Here's the first page of a letter I sent to the U.S. Secret Service dated February 20, 1996.

February 20, 1996
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008-4530

Philip C. Leadroot
Special Agent
U.S. Secret Service
Washington Field Office

Dear Mr. Leadroot:

I want to assure the U.S. Secret Service that I have not discussed matters pertinent to your investigation with any news organizations.

I want to point out, however, that an enterprising journalist could make a story out of facts contained in letters that I have already supplied to you. The facts of my case might conceivably give rise to a story such as the following, though other, perhaps more realistic (though no less embarrasing) stories are possible.

The New York Times

Tabloids Report Clinton Friends Shield Mental Patient; Rubin Denies Secret Service Protected Strauss Firm

A spokesman for Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin today refused to comment on news stories--reported in the tabloid press--that the Secret Service, at Rubin's direction, limited the scope of an investigation into a possible Presidential security threat in order to shield Rubin's long-time friend, Robert S. Strauss.

The investigation concerned the activities of a man, described as severely disturbed, who wrote a series of ominous letters to the Secret Service and other federal agencies that referred to President Clinton.

The man, known only as Anonymous, had been an employee of the Washington law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, founded by Robert S. Strauss, former Ambassador to Russia. Strauss has been a close personal friend of Rubin's for many years.

Strauss, contacted at Akin Gump's Washington Office refused to comment.

The tabloid press has raised questions in recent days about whether Strauss may have asked his long-time friend and confidant Rubin to order the Secret Service to limit the scope of the investigation, reportedly because any publicity concerning a full investigation might open a "hornet's nest" . . .

On January 15, 2010 the Justice Department sent two officers to my home to question me about the seeming anger I expressed on my blog, My Daily Struggles.  I wasn't aware I was angry.  I was aware of being a headline-craving opportunist.  I was aware of being motivated by a need for fame.  I announced that motivation to the world-at-large at the above site on November 10, 2009.  The Justice Department officer who questioned me said he had been reading my blog since November 2009.  Perhaps he didn't start reading the blog until November 11th.  Thank goodness I'm just a fake bad guy.  That's the great thing about fake bad guys -- you can afford to miss important clues about them.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dedicated to the Average Students of This World

Me and George Orwell: An Alternative to Violence

The following is an excerpt from Why I Write by George Orwell:

I had the lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life. Nevertheless the volume of serious--i.e. seriously intended--writing which I produced all through my childhood and boyhood would not amount to half a dozen pages.

In August 1989 a coworker at Akin Gump said to me: "We're all afraid of you. We're all afraid you're going to buy a gun, bring it in, and shoot everybody."

She should have said: "We're all afraid of you. We're all afraid you're going to buy a word processor, and spend the next 20 years writing about us and Akin Gump."

That's exactly what I did, by the way. I was fired from my job on October 29, 1991. Two weeks later, in mid-November 1991, I went to the department store Hecht's in downtown Washington, bought a Brother Word Processor, brought it home, and started to write about my experences at Akin Gump. I've spent the last 20 years writing about my experiences at the firm, and will probably spend the next twenty years writing about those experiences.  That's how I get my own back for my failure in everyday life.  I write.

Me and William Faulkner: On Not Fitting In

The following is adapted from a biography of the Nobel Prize winning author, William Faulkner.

It's worth noting that I never quite fit into the local society of boys. I usually would not play with them, preferring my lone pursuits. In school I seemed an isolated, dreamy boy who didn't like rough play and whose solitary preoccupations set me apart from the usual run of boys in my neighborhood. One classmate found me strange and conceited, without the usual interests of a boy. Another observed that I had no close friends, and that I seemed to prefer writing stories to the more routine school subjects. I was lazy, too, and did not participate in class projects with any enthusiasm, at least that is what some of my classmates--and my neighbor Barbara Stein--thought. A survey of my report cards from the Rowan Elementary School in Philadelphia, however, suggests otherwise. My report card from Mrs. Lewis in 1963, for example, reports "admirable" work in writing, drawing, and arithmetic. I did, however, show a "lack of progress in grammar and language." Remembering my boyhood, I would say I never did like school and stopped going to school as soon as I got big enough to play hooky and not get caught at it. I would say that April, in particular, was the very best time not to have to go to school.

The usual sports that attract boys did not interest me. I often stayed away from the playground except when I felt like eavesdropping. I was never popular, although most of my classmates considered me friendly and courteous. Certainly no one thought I was academically gifted. I did my homework in a halfhearted way, though my writing ability was such that I could manage without much effort. One of my teachers, Miss Kaempfer, actually assumed that my mother was doing my homework for me.

At recess, I would stand apart from the other children, watching, seeming to study their movements, to listen to their voices, without reacting myself or wishing to participate. My daydreaming in class made me a subject of ridicule among my classmates and did not endear me to my teachers. What I was dreaming about I can only guess now, but it seems likely that I thought about heroism and glory, about crime, about human desire in its various manifestations. As a boy I felt that I contained all the contradictory possibilities of the human spirit within my heart.

Me and Robert Schumann: On Being an Average Student

The following is adapted from a biography of the nineteenth-century German composer, Robert Schumann.

"At school he was an average student," recalls an elementary school classmate of mine, "rather dreamy and inattentive. But what soon struck me about him was the absolute certainty in his own mind that one day he would become famous. In what he would be famous -- that had yet to be determined -- but famous whatever the circumstances." The "dreamy and inattentive" side of my personality -- the romantic and impractical visionary -- has been broadly affirmed by those who knew me. My ambition has been all but forgotten.

If a passing reference on Seinfeld is a measure of fame, then, indeed, Schumann became famous!

From The Seinfeld Episode, The Jacket:

[Setting: Jerry's apartment]

(George enters singing "Master Of the House" - a Les Miserables show tune)

GEORGE: "Master of the house.. doling out the charm, ready with a handshake and an open palm. Tells a saucy tale, loves to make a stir everyone appreciates a . . . "

JERRY: What is that song?

GEORGE: Oh, it's from Les Miserables. I went to see it last week. I can't get it out of my head. I just keep singing it over and over. It just comes out. I have no control over it. I'm singing it on elevators, buses. I sing it in front of clients. It's taking over my life.

JERRY: You know, Schumann went mad from that.

GEORGE: Artie Schumann? From Camp Hatchapee?

JERRY: No, you idiot.

GEORGE: What are you, Bud Abbott? What, are you calling me an idiot?

JERRY: You don't know Robert Schumann? The composer?

GEORGE: Oh, Schumann. Of course.

JERRY: (Trying to scare George) He went crazy from one note. He couldn't get it out of his head. I think it was an A. He kept repeating it over and over again. He had to be institutionalized.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Justice Department: The Case of Screaming versus "Screaming"

In January 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice sent two officers to my home to interview me in connection with the fact that I had posted on this blog, My Daily Struggles, a quotation of a statement made by a federal official that was troubling to Justice.  The federal official had said: "This case has been screaming for attention for years."  Those were the words of a federal official that I had quoted.  Let me repeat: all I had done was quote a federal official who had said: "This case has been screaming for attention for years."  Somehow, Justice thought my quotation was threatening to the federal offical in question.  One of the Justice Department officers said to me: "What did you mean when you wrote this?  Walk me through your thought process."  What did I mean?  It was a quotation.

Last summer, at a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter was literally screamed at by angry constituents.  Were these constituents arrested or even investigated?  Keep in mind, I never screamed at anybody.  I simply used the word "screaming."

Am I crazy because I find the Justice Department's investigation of me in January 2010 peculiar?  Of course, the constituents who screamed at Senator Specter during the summer of 2009 did not write embarrasing things about a senior partner of a powerful D.C. law firm who happens to have close connections to the Justice Department.

Social Security Document Submission: June 1993 -- How I Qualified for a Quarter Million Federal Dollars By Being A Third-Rate Creative Writer!

Pages 127 to 129 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

When I was seeing Dr. Palombo, I stated two grievances I had with him: (1) that he was in communication with my employer, and (2) that with some of his interpretations he was simply reinventing the wheel. (By the latter comment I was referring to my feeling that he was applying his general body of knowledge (normative competence) to certain issues, but that other investigators might have already done specific and precise research on the issue. In such instances, Dr. Palombo’s interpretations were not incorrect but they were generalized; his interpretations would have been more useful if they had relied on specific research that had already been done. For example, let us say that a psychiatrist is treating someone suffering from anorexia nervosa. The patient might be correctly diagnosed as suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder. Yet precise and specific research has been done on the issue of the psychopathology of anorexia. The psychiatrist’s interpretations would not be wrong, but he might be missing many important details in the patient’s presentation if he were not familiar with the psychiatric literature on the specific disorder, anorexia nervosa. That’s what I meant by “reinventing the wheel.”)

The two themes of “reinventing the wheel” and communications with my employer seem to have nothing to do with each other. Yet I have created an parable that blends these two seemingly unrelated issues and looks at the issues from two different perspectives. In the parable, these two issues lose their distinctiveness, suggesting that they are related. The parable also relates to the issue of projection.

The king of an Arab state in the middle east decides that he wants his country to become a nuclear power; he wants to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal. He hires a team of scientists to develop a bomb. The work proceeds slowly. The king is dissatisfied with the progress of the work. He rails against the scientists, telling them that he is paying them a large sum of money for their work and that they are not producing any useful results. The team of scientists do a creditable job, but one vital element in the design eludes them. Finally, the king, totally dissatisfied with the research being done by his team of scientists, and despairing that they will ever develop a workable nuclear device, decides that he will rely on espionage to achieve his goal. He will employ a team of agents to obtain by stealth from a nuclear power (hopefully the U.S. Defense Department, if he can gain access to it) the classified data that he needs to develop a bomb. The king will hand the data over to engineers who will develop a workable device. As far as the original team of nuclear physicists is concerned, the king tells them that they are all nothing but worthless failures since they never succeeded in accomplishing the task that they had taken on.

Years earlier, before he had ascended the throne, the king--then a prince--was a student at an American university. He had plans to apply to medical school. In his senior year in college, the prince took a course in physics. Because he was planning to apply to medical school, it was important that he get top grades--especially in science courses. As a project for his physics course, he chose to develop and submit to his professor a design for a nuclear weapon.

He discusses his plans with the professor. The professor had reservations about such a project, but permitted the prince to proceed. The professor was aware that such work had obviously been done already, since nuclear weapons were already in existence. But the professor reasoned that despite the fact that the student would simply be “re-inventing the wheel,” the project would be a useful task since the designs for such a devise were classified. A successful design would be a valid indicator of the student’s abilities since the student would have no access to the vital, classified work that had already been done by others. As far as the student was concerned, the professor reasoned, the work would be “original” research. The prince completed the project and submitted it to the professor. The professor read the project and assessed the designs. The professor had two concerns. While reading through the paper, he realized for the first time that the project posed a grave national security threat. Second, since the design of a nuclear bomb is classified, he is not really sure himself whether the student’s design is at all workable. The professor contacts the Defense Department, which, in turn, contacts a group of nuclear physicists. Doth Defense Department officials and a team of nuclear physicists assess the students’ paper. The physicists note that the submitted design contains at least one significant error that would render the design unworkable. But they are amazed that the student was able to go as far as he did. From a purely scientific point of view, the physicists conclude that the student did a creditable job, and that if the prince were their student they would assign him a very high grade for his efforts. Defense Department officials have other concerns, however. Despite the flaw in the work, the student’s project indeed poses a grave security threat. A Defense Department official consults with the student’s professor and officials from the student’s university. The Defense Department official instructs the professor and the university that the student is not to be assigned a grade for the course. Also, the professor is advised not to discuss the grade or the paper in any manner with the student. When the student is advised that he will not receive a grade for the course, he is distraught. First, he will not be able to graduate at the time he expected. Second, an “incomplete” grade on his transcript might very well jeopardize his chances for acceptable at one of the finer private medical schools.

Thus, a key aspect of the student’s identity -- whether he is an outstanding physics student or a mere bungler -- is withheld because of others’ concerns regarding security.

(This is like calling a person paranoid and withholding from him the very evidence that confirms that he is not paranoid because to divulge the information would threaten the accuser’s own position. It’s a variation on the “Dreyfus problem.”)


[This is a disgrace. And the FBI thinks there's nothing to investigate here? The Social Security Administration is not a latter day Works Progress Administration. SSDI is not meant to support aspiring writers, poets, playwrights and portrait painters. The program is meant to assist disabled workers.

But then, three psychiatrists have diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia!]

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I suppose some things are just coincidence.

I once knew a man named Lassman.  No, it's not the beginning of  a limerick.  Really, I once knew a man named Lassman.

Freedman Needs To Get His Ass Pounded!


And they say I'm anal?

J.D. Neary: "Cleans Out Your Shitter?"

I suppose there are a lot of J.D. Nearys in the world.

On Monday afternoon April 16, 1990 the legal assistant coordinator at the law firm where I worked, J.D. Neary, met with my psychiatrist, Stanley R. Palombo, MD, at his office. It was a stealth visit arranged by my employer, the DC law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld. I was never supposed to find out about the visit. But I did. One of my special powers is to read the meanings of trivial events in my environment. The world-renowned psychiatrist, Gertrude R. Ticho, MD, in fact, affirmed that I read a meaning in trivial events. She never actually said I read an incorrect meaning in trivial events, to the best of my knowledge -- simply that I attach a negative meaning to trivial events. Dr. Ticho's professional opinion leaves open the possibility that I accurately read the negative meanings of trivial events. Yes, that's my special power.

So, in my deluded belief system, J.D. Neary saw my psychiatrist on Monday afternoon April 16, 1990. J.D. Neary told Dr. Palombo about my messy, junk-strewn apartment. You see, my employer had gone to my apartment in early January 1990 -- it was the first workday after the New Year; the exact date escapes me now. It had been a stealth operation. A couple managers of the firm got the apartment manager Elaine Wranik (now sadly departed) to let them in my apartment. They came with a video camera and taped my apartment. The resulting video was not exactly Oscar material. The managers sent a copy of the videotape to my sister.

Dr. Palombo's professional opinion was that J.D. Neary's comments about me were a projection of his own anality.

Bruce P. Lapenson: Affirmative Action and the Meanings of Merit

My cousin, Bruce P. Lapenson, a member of the faculty of Temple University in Philadelphia, is the author of Affirmative Action and the Meanings of Merit.  The book can be previewed on Google Books at:

Check it out.   It's a good read!  I'm sure Vernon Jordan would recommend it.

The book is available on

Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out

Vernon Jordan's 2008 book, Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out is available from  It's a good read!

Lunch with Vernon Jordan and Barbara Walters

By Diane Clehane on October 7, 2009

The dining room at Michael's was buzzing as boldface names settled in to plot their next big move and dish over their Cobb salads. We overhead plenty of chatter about the David Letterman and 48 Hours Mystery producer Robert "Joe" Halderman scandal -- sorry, but it's all off the record. The one thing everyone agrees on is that this tawdry tale is far from over. "There's got to be a lot more to it," said one flack. "This is going to be interesting if and when it gets to court."

We would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: Barbara Walters and Vernon Jordan. I noticed that several times during lunch this intriguing duo had their heads together and seemed to be amused at something or another as they observed the noontime crowd. One can only imagine.

Yes, what did they talk about?

Does Psychoanalysis Work?

"Psychoanalysis saved my life."

-- STEVE MARTIN, actor, author,4688267

Social Security Document Submission: June 1993

Page 124 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

1. Police line up.

2. Musical “A Chorus Line.”

1. Efraim Zimbalist, Jr.: Actor who portrayed FBI agent.

2. Efraim Zimbalist, Sr.: World-class violinist and head of Curtis Institute of Music.

[The examples are offered as polar opposites.]

Pages 125-126 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

Please check out the last paragraph. Another overvalued idea whose time has come.


[The following is a page from my writing: "The Caliban Complex: An Attempt at Self-Analysis."]

ego strength characteristic of the creative. Eissler writes: “The [average] person needs a dissolution of the Oedipus conflict, or at least a substantial reduction in its intensity, in order to survive; whereas, . . . the [creative person] is not only strong enough to endure the stress of the severest conflicts, but actually needs intense conflicts as a vis a tergo in order to be incited over and over again to renewed accomplishments.” Eissler, K.R. Talent and Genius: The Fictitious Case of Tausk Contra Freud, at 289 (Quadrangle Books: 1971).

Indeed, the persistence of even a vigorous Oedipus complex in the unconscious may not necessarily vitiate, or preclude the development, of an equally vigorous father identification. The dramatic tensions in Wagner’s opera, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, which owe their syncretic strength in part to an integration of the temporally-opposed psychic forces of Oedipal conflict and father identification suggest the unconscious psychological concerns of the opera’s creator. One can infer, based on analysis of the opera, that in Wagner’s unconscious an intense Oedipal conflict raged against an equally intense father identification. Three of the central male characters, Walther von Stolzing, Sixtus Beckmesser, and Hans Sachs are each in love with Eva Pogner, while Walther and Beckmesser vie for her hand in marriage. The characters’ relations fall into two triangles, one comprising Walther-Beckmesser-Eva, and the other comprising Walther-Sachs-Eva. The relationship between Walther (symbolic son) and Beckmesser (symbolic father) is characterized by bitter rivalry and antagonism. Sachs, on the other hand, acts as a benign and benevolent mentor with whom Walther identifies. The two dramatic characters, Sachs and Beckmesser, are, in a psychoanalytical sense, simply two separate images of a single figure -- the "Father." Beckmesser (a personification of the castrating father imago) represents the son’s image of the father during the Oedipal period (“messer,” i.e., “knife,” suggests castration), while Sachs (a personification of the pre-Oedipal idealized father imago) represents a later, more mature image of the father as mentor. The disparate roles of Sachs and Beckmesser undoubtedly reflect the dual and conflicted image of the father in Wagner’s unconscious.

(The idealized father figure who first discerns the unique talents of a symbolic son and promotes his entry into a specialized community of brothers [here represented by the Mastersinger guild], and protects that son from the machinations of castrating father representatives, form a complex of identity elements that find antithetical expression in Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables. In Hugo’s novel, the police inspector Javert, a castrating father representative, first identifies the upstanding Maledeine as the escaped convict Valjean, and seeks Valjean’s return to prison, itself a kind of “specialized community of brothers,” despite the best efforts of Valjean’s protectors. See conclusion of paragraph 13.)

Akin Gump Sued for $4.4 Billion (with a B -- as in BILLION)?

New York Supreme Court Commercial Division Allows Fraud Claim Against Law Firm That Advised Hedge Fund On Market Timing Trading Which Resulted In Regulatory Investigation

October 5, 2007

In a decision dated, September 27, 2007, the Hon. Bernard J. Fried, Commercial Division Justice of the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York, granted in part and denied in part Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Veras hedge fund families (“Veras Hedge Funds”) in the case captioned Veras Investment Partners, LLC, et al. v. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, Index No. 600340/2007.

Veras Hedge Funds allege that they hired Akin Gump to advise them in forming hedge funds to engage in “market timing” trading strategies. Market timing strategies exploit the time lag in the pricing of securities between the close of business in one exchange market (i.e., Japan) and the opening of another (i.e., New York). In order to by-pass mutual funds’ trading restrictions on market timing, Veras Hedge Funds was required to create subsidiary entities through which to trade. Veras Hedge Funds allege that Akin Gump assured them “that their trading activities and strategies did not violate any applicable rules or regulations, and more likely than not, were not subject to sanction.” Akin created and maintained the plaintiff entities that engaged in market timing.

Commencing in August 2003, certain regulatory agencies, including the S.E.C., NYAG, CFTC and Texas Securities Board, began investigating Veras Hedge Funds’s trading activities. Akin Gump represented Veras Hedge Funds in the investigations, but plaintiffs allege the firm had a conflict of interest that was not waivable. Veras Hedge Funds allege that Akin Gump could not represent them because the firm “advised and assisted plaintiffs in carrying out the activities that were under investigation.” Veras Hedge Funds further allege that Akin Gump failed to provide an opinion letter that was promised and did not advise Veras Hedge Funds of the “advice of counsel” defense.

Veras Hedge Funds allege that they were damaged by having to pay more than $36 million to regulators and were forced to liquidate and discontinue operations. Veras also alleges that Akin Gump’s “failures” have exposed them to class action lawsuits by investors in certain mutual funds.

Veras Hedge Funds assert causes of action for gross negligence and negligent misrepresentation arising out of advice and services performed in connection with the creation and maintenance of the hedge funds. Plaintiffs also assert claims for breach of fiduciary duty and gross negligence arising out of Akin Gump’s defense and representation in connection with the investigations. Judge Fried dismissed these causes of action as duplicative of the legal malpractice claims that are based on the same operative set of facts. The legal malpractice causes of action were not the subject of Akin Gump’s motion to dismiss.

Veras Hedge Funds also assert a fraud cause of action arising out of Akin Gump’s ignoring the unwaivable conflict of interest and “advising plaintiffs to do things, and make compromises that were not in plaintiffs’ best interest, all in order to avoid being brought into questions for its own participation in the underlying transactions.” The Court denied Akin Gump’s motion to dismiss the fraud cause of action noting questions of fact surrounding the issue and Akin Gump’s failure to demonstrate a right to relief based on documentary evidence.

Akin Gump, Hedge Funds and a $ 4 Billion Dollar Case

For a while, a million dollar or a multi-million dollar case was a big number. Imagine, not just several hundred thousands! Now, Anthony Lin of the New York Law Journal reports that Akin Gump has been sued by a hedge fund client for $ 4 Billion. Will we be seeing larger than life numbers like this in failed real estate and mortgage transactions, failed hedge funds, failed REIT transactions in this new economic downturn?

"Like most hedge fund managers, James McBride and Kevin Larson expected to make a tidy sum. By the fall of 2003, they seemed well on their way. The series of Veras funds they had launched less than two years before had already attracted around $1 billion in investments.

But then regulators, including then-New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission, came after the Veras funds for "late trading," the illegal purchasing of mutual fund shares after the 4 p.m. market close. Veras wound up paying more than $36 million in penalties before shutting down. McBride and Larson each paid $750,000 and were barred from the industry.

But the ex-fund managers are still out for big money, this time from the law firm they claim advised them that late trading was legal. In February, the former hedge fund managers filed suit against Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Their damages claim? A whopping $4.4 billion, not including punitive damages.

Akin Gump has denounced the suit.

"The allegations of wrongdoing in Veras' Complaint are without merit. At all times, Akin Gump acted ethically and in its client's best interests," said firm spokeswoman Kristen White. "Akin Gump is forcefully defending this case, and we are confident we will prevail."

The suit illustrates the risks law firms face as they try to reap the rewards of representing private investment funds, including hedge funds and private equity funds. Such funds generate high legal bills for firms, but they are apt to strike back hard when they feel lawyers have led them astray."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Seinfeld: On Doing Your Own Investigation -- Going Under Cover

From: The Sniffing Accountant.  Elaine thinks her accountant is on drugs because he sniffs all the time.  Kramer, Seinfeld and Newman decide to go undercover and stake out the sniffing accountant at a bar.

Kramer ambushes the accountant in a bar and tries to sound him out on his "drug habit."

Social Security Document Submission: June 1993

Pages 118-123 of Social Security Document Submission

[The following is a discussion of "Janusian" features of my self-analysis, "The Caliban Complex: An Attempt at Self-Analysis."  The term Janusian thinking refers to a process first discussed or discovered by the psychiatrist Albert Rothenberg, M.D.; it relates to a thought process of conceiving two polar opposite ideas simultaneously, and is prominent in creative individuals.  I had sent a copy of my self-analysis to Dr. Rothenberg in the year 1989; Dr. Rothenberg referred me to Stanley R. Palombo, M.D. in Washington, D.C. for treatment.  I saw Dr. Palombo in psychotherapy during the year 1990.]

Dear Stell,

I have been able to establish to a high degree of certainty that the description of my psychological difficulties contained in my self analysis ["The Caliban Complex: An Attempt at Self-Analysis"] is a correct and accurate description of my personality problems--that the essay is not simply an “ego production.” The analysis itself, by its very structure, serves as a proof of what it asserts. This is so since the analysis is not simply a narrative of presumed psychological difficulties; the analysis, at critical points, posits its assertions in the form of Janusian expressions.

Dr. Rothenberg writes, “the particular content of a Janusian thought is very likely highly related to conscious and unconscious emotional conflicts in the creator himself.” Rothenberg, Albert “Janusian Thinking and Creativity.” In The Psychoanalytic Study of Society 7: 1-30, at 19 (Yale University Press: 1976). In self-analysis the subject of the study--and the particular content of any Janusian formulations contained therein--is the creator himself. Self-analytical thoughts that are expressed in Janusian formulations are accurate descriptions of what they assert since, as Janusian thoughts, they are highly related to conscious and unconscious emotional conflicts in the creator himself.

The distinct psychological issues of guilt and identity can be synthesized into a metaphor or image that is itself Janusian, or an expression of simultaneous opposites.

1. A chameleon assumes the coloration of its surroundings. It can be any one of various shades of tan, yellow, brown, gray, or green, etc. Aside form the issue of survival value, it is of no importance to the chameleon what particular color he takes on. It is an involuntary and passive process. (The process can be likened to the identity diffusion found in the narcissistic personality, or the “as if “ personality described by Helene Deutsch, in which the individual mimics the personality characteristics of the individual or individuals with whom he interacts. Narcissism itself can be shown to be, in a certain context, a polar opposite of guilt. See paragraph 4.) But imagine a chameleon that has the psychological complexity of a human being: one that has certain superego injunctions. The chameleon’s superego dictates that to be a certain color, let us say tan, is good. If the chameleon assumes a tan coloration, its superego will reward it with feelings of wholeness and well-being. If the chameleon is any other color, the superego will punish the creature with feelings of worthlessness and guilt. The dilemma for the chameleon is that it cannot simply “will” its coloration. In order to enjoy feelings of well-being and wholeness, it must be tan, but, in order to be tan, it must seek out a tan environment. Where a tan environment is not readily available, it will necessarily assume some other coloration, resulting in pangs of worthlessness and guilt. (A further complexity may be added. Assume the existence of an anti-cathexis that militates against the chameleon taking on a tan coloration: an anti-cathexis the satisfaction of which afford its own perverse gratifications. That would be a real dilemma!). This metaphor is Janusian because (1) the chameleon, in seeking out tan environments, is engaging in an alloplastic adaptation (i.e., changing the environment to meet the needs of the organism; specifically, in this case, the chameleon is actively choosing the most suitable environment, which is a form of alloplastic adaptation), but at the same time (2) the chameleon, upon placing himself in the tan environment, is altering his identity by assuming a tan coloration thereby engaging in an autoplastic adaptation (he is changing himself to fit into his environment). This chameleon is engaging simultaneously in alloplastic and autoplastic adaptation. (Alloplasty and autoplasty are polar opposites, the simultaneous expression of which is Janusian).

2. Compare: “The subject seeks out objects whose ideals match those already existing in the prescriptive portion of his superego; his injured ego then introjects [takes on the coloration], by way of identification, the valued qualities of the object, thereby enriching the ego with those qualities, and, ultimately diminishing the tension, or disparity (guilt), between the ego and the ego ideal, and providing the ego with a bulwark against the claims of his conscience. By means of identification with certain others the subject obtains a general state of emotional well-being that is fundamentally grounded in diminution of guilt.”

[Compare Heinz Kohut's concept of the "selfobject:"

Selfobjects are external objects that function as part of the "self machinery." In other words, they are persons, objects or activities that "complete" the self, and which are necessary for normal functioning. Observing the patient's selfobject connections is a fundamental part of self-psychology. For instance, a person's particular habits, choice of education and work, taste in life partners, may fill a selfobject-function for that particular individual.

Selfobjects are addressed throughout Kohut's theory, and include everything from the transference phenomenon in therapy, relatives, and items (for instance Linus van Pelt's security blanket). If psychopathology is explained as an "incomplete" or "defect" self, then the self-objects can be described as a self-prescribed "cure".

As described by Kohut, the selfobject-function (ie. what the selfobject does for the self) is taken for granted and seems to take place in a "blindzone." The function thus usually does not become "visible" until the relation with the selfobject is somehow broken.

When a relationship is established with a new selfobject, the relationship connection can "lock in place" quite powerfully, and the pull of the connection may affect both self and selfobject. Powerful transference, for instance, is an example of this phenomenon.]

3. Compare:  A man suffers from a painful condition in his mouth, which makes eating anything but ice cream painful. His demands for ice cream, and only ice cream (one of the few foods he can eat without pain), in restaurants set him apart from other diners, leaving him a kind of gastronomic misfit. He avoids most restaurants, but seeks out ice-cream parlors. The ice cream acts as a palliative, deadening the pain in the mouth (an alteration of self), allowing him to eat in ice cream parlors with abandon, and even enjoy, on occasion, a pretzel or two. Now that’s a happy thought!

4. Compare:  An ailing exiled dictator, despondent over his fallen state, transforms himself into a gardener and transforms his barren retreat into a fertile garden. His health visibly improves. (Reich states that “. . . Napoleon and Mussolini belong to the phallic-narcissistic character type.” He also states: “In the phallic-narcissistic character, the transitions between the healthy, object-libidinal form on the one hand and the acutely pathological, pregenital forms of addiction [in alcoholism, for example, there is a regression to the oral position] and chronic depression on the other hand are far more numerous and diverse than they are in other character types.” Reich, W. (1945) Character Analysis, at 223 (Noonday Press/Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 1990)).

5. Compare: [Nietzsche's aphorism:] “One has to change to stay akin to me.” Refers to a (simultaneous) change in the self and the environment. (Reference to the “lost civilizations” of the Pacific on the “Preface” page [of my self analysis] can be interpreted as a reference to a regression from the phallic position. The reference to the Easter Island statues suggests the phallic position.)

6. Compare: Zionism -- the transformation of the former Palestine into the land of Israel and the simultaneous transformation of the Jew into the Israeli. (Once again, the image is of a return to a phallic stage after a period of regression to a pre-phallic stage.) [see the final paragraph of no. 9, below]




-shuns scapegoat

-claims scapegoat acted alone in perpetrating the deed which certainly each member of the group contemplated or ventured upon

-represents deed as evil

-represents selves as guilt-free

-pretense of moral strength

-projects blame onto scapegoat (GUILT) to expiate memory of harm or imagined harm

-deed is murder of primal father


-accepts blame

-possible oral fixation?; possible regression from phallic position? Cf. paragraph 4



-moves to free himself from group

-claims to have acted alone in accomplishing the deed, which certainly only the group as a whole would have ventured upon

-represents deed as good

-represents self as brave (pretense of strength)

-relates to group his hero’s deeds which he has invented (NARCISSISM) to expiate memory of harm or imagined harm

-deed is murder of primal father

-possible phallic fixation? (Note that a typical feature of the phallic type, according to Reich, is his potential transition, or regression, to the oral position. Cf. paragraph 4)


-identifies with HERO/ARTIST

In the SCAPEGOAT MYTH the focal interactional issue between group and scapegoat is guilt. In the HERO MYTH the focal interactional issue between the hero-artist and the group is narcissism. As polar opposites, guilt and narcissism are susceptible of simultaneous, defensive negation.

9. The following selected sentences from Hermann Hesse’s novel Narcissus and Goldmund touch upon the problems of anhedonia and identity loss/alteration of identity (from sensualist to ascetic intellectual), resulting from a withdrawal of emotional investment from the mother:

"But how was it possible that the awakening of sex met with such bitter antagonism in such a beautiful, healthy, flowering adolescent? There must have must be a secret enemy who had managed to split this magnificent human being within himself and turn against his natural urges. All that was alive and radiant in this young man spoke only too clearly: he bore all the marks of a strong human being, richly endowed sensually and spiritually, perhaps an artist, but at any rate a person with a great potential for love, whose fulfillment and happiness consisted of being easily inflamed and able to give himself. Then why was this being with such rich and perceptive senses so set on leading the ascetic life of the mind? Goldmund was one of those people part of whose lives have been lost; pressure of circumstances or some kind of magic power has obliterated a portion of their past. ‘I believe that he suffers because he has forgotten a part of his past.’ ‘Ah? And what part is that?’ 'His mother, and everything connected with her.’ 'I reminded him that he does not know himself, that he had forgotten his childhood and his mother.'" Hesse, H. (1930) Narcissus and Goldmund, at 32, 34, 28, 47, and 48 (Bantam Books/Published by arrangement with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux: 1987).

Upon recathecting his mother Goldmund undergoes a transformation of identity--from schizoid vacuum to what might be termed, to apply a Reichian concept, phallic narcissism. Might the subject himself undergo a similar personality transformation were he to recathect his mother? It is noteworthy in this regard that the subject’s physical appearance, some of the people to whom he is drawn, and even the style of clothing he wears appear peculiarly inconsistent with his apparent identity. It is as though he had an ambiguous affinity for some other, seemingly alien, identity that lurks just below the surface of his consciousness--an identity that is for the most pity lost and inaccessible to conscious awareness, yet which seek expression and vivification (or revivification).

(Compare the age-old aspiration of the Jews, which found practical expression in the Zionists’ goal: the end of Jews’ exile from their ancient homeland, or “motherland”, and the revival of a lost Hebrew (phallic) identity. Interpreted psychoanalytically, exile for the Jews meant separation from a symbolic nurturing mother, resulting in a collective identity loss in the form of a regression, on a cultural level, to a prephallic stage. Return of the Jews transformed the Jewish identity into an Israeli identity. “The Israeli is now possessed of a sovereign state, whose power, though objectively not great, represents for the unconscious a phallus like any other. The Israeli, by living in his own land, has thus refound the mother and forms with her a couple, as is the case with other peoples. He lives, not in a vacuum like the Jew, but in a material (as Freud remarked, the words materia and mater have the same derivation) world that is governed and organized.” Grunberger, B. “The Anti-Semite and the Oedipal Conflict.” International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 45: 380-385, at 384-385 (1964). And “[i]n his homeland, and tilling his very home soil," Erikson notes, “the ‘ingathered’ Jew was to overcome such evil identities as result from eternal wandering . . . and intellectualizing and was to become whole again in body and mind. . . .” Erikson, E.H. Identity and the Life Cycle (1959), at 172 (Norton: 1980)).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Social Security Document Submission: June 1993

[What is psychologically interesting about the following pages, all written at different times, is that each document relates to a father-child relationship or symbolic father figure.]

Page 113 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

47 Dead. Northeast paralyzed. And you recall it’s having been a balmy 40 degrees.

A metaphor for your rose-colored recollections (Or maybe The New York Times exaggerates.)


[handwritten note:] 7/13/92

[Refers to my sister’s statement that she recalled January 20, 1961, the day President Kennedy was inaugurated, as being a warm, sunny day in January. The President of the United States is a father figure.]

Page 114 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

Back in the mid-sixties, around 1964, 1965, or 1966 (when I would have been 10-12 years old) Dad took me to Independence Hall [in Philadelphia] on July 4th. The then U.S. attorney general, Nicholas Katzenbach was the guest speaker. I had brought a camera with me, and breached a barricade to get a picture of Katzenbach. I think someone said, “You can’t go through here.” Someone else said, “Let him go, you never know who he might be when he grows up.” Oddly, I can recall telling [my former treating psychiatrist] Dr. Alikakos [now deceased] about this incident (the incident might still be preserved in his notes).

Well, I’m grown up now, and strange enough, that person’s observation was prescient--but in an all-too-literal sense.

Speaking metaphorically, I live life just outside a barricade separating the nonachievers from the achievers, still taking pictures with a dinky camera and, by this means, creating the illusion of a relationship. Call me paranoid, but sometimes I think some of those achievers are now “taking pictures” of me.


[handwritten note:] 4/20/92

Page 114A of Social Security Document Submission

[Page 265 of Vanity Fair Magazine, dated April 1992. I have circled the following several paragraphs.]

It is often said that Bob Altman was the son Clark Clifford never had. But more than that they appeared to be alter egos. “I think Mr. Clifford saw a lot of himself in Bob,” Bert Lance told me. From the beginning, Altman was dazzled by Clifford. “Robert had never seen such a high concentration of savoir faire,” a friend recalls. The protégé seemed to exhibit his own brand of deformation professionelle. Perhaps unconsciously he even began to imitate Clifford’s gestures and stentorian tones. He affected dark double-breasted suits. One reporter who interviewed him during Lancegate observed, “Altman seemed like he was wearing his father’s suit.”

As a child, Altman had been a brainy “nerd,” a close family friend remembers. His parents were highly competitive lawyers who lived in the pleasant Washington neighborhood of Cleveland Park. As a law student at George Washington University, Altman worked at Clifford and Warnke and later joined the firm.

Altman led the takeover battle to buy Financial General bank for the group of Arab businessmen who became the nominal owners. They changed the name of the bank to First American, and with Clifford and Altman’s assistance, got government approval to open its doors. Clifford became the chairman of the new bank, and Altman the president. Clifford’s wife, Marny, would later tell a close friend how impressed her husband had been with the perks of the bank job. “One of the things that impressed him the most was the very large office and two huge limousines he received,” she reportedly said. When Clifford resigned as chairman of First American, in the wake of the B.C.C.I. scandal, he was said to have asked Nicholas Katzenbach, the new head of the bank, if he could buy one limousine.

Page 115 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

Check this out. A knife is a form of cutlery. “Nothing but a collection of rationalizations.” If that were true, then why would this be [unconsciously] censored for three years?

[I am suggesting that the character "Beckmesser" (baking knife, in German) symbolizes my coworker at Hogan and Hartson, Daniel Cutler.]

[The following is a paragraph from “The Caliban Complex: An Attempt at Self-Analysis.”]

Indeed, the persistence of even a vigorous Oedipus complex in the unconscious may not necessarily vitiate, or preclude the development, of an equally vigorous father identification. The dramatic tensions in Wagner’s opera, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, which owe their syncretic strength in part to an integration of the temporally-opposed psychic forces of Oedipal conflict and father identification suggest the unconscious psychological concerns of the opera’s creator. One can infer, based on analysis of the opera, that in Wagner’s unconscious an intense Oedipal conflict raged against an equally intense father identification. Three of the central male characters, Walther von Stolzing, Sixtus Beckmesser, and Hans Sachs are each in love with Eva Pogner, while Walther and Beckmesser vie for her hand in marriage. The characters’ relations fall into two triangles, one comprising Walther-Beckmesser-Eva, and the other comprising Walther-Sachs-Eva. The relationship between Walther (symbolic son) and Beckmesser (symbolic father) is characterized by bitter rivalry and antagonism. Sachs, on the other hand, acts as a benign and benevolent mentor with whom Walther identifies. The two dramatic characters, Sachs and Beckmesser, are, in a psychoanalytical sense, simply two separate images of a single figure -- the "Father." Beckmesser (a personification of the castrating father imago) represents the son’s image of the father during the Oedipal period (“messer,” i.e., “knife,” suggests castration), while Sachs (a personification of the pre-Oedipal idealized father imago) represents a later, more mature image of the father as mentor. The disparate roles of Sachs and Beckmesser undoubtedly reflect the dual and conflicted image of the father in Wagner’s unconscious. The subject’s longstanding fascination with the opera is revealing.

[handwritten note:] 6/15/92

Page 116 of Social Security Document Submission

transmittal for Mrs. Estelle Jacobson c/o Mr. Edward Jacobson

Dear Stell,

[The legendary pianist] Arthur Rubinstein’s daughter, Dr. Alina Rubinstein, is a psychiatrist in New York City. She is a graduate of the Medical School at Columbia University.


Page 117 of Social Security Document Submission

Dear Stell,

You asked.


[The reference is not clear.]

[All of these messages suggest the psychological struggle I was experiencing in 1992, following my job termination by Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld -- which at a deep psychological level was experienced as a break with my symbolic father, Bob Strauss. Perhaps my anger with Dennis Race, the attorney who terminated my employment, at an unconscious level, relates to his having destroyed my relationship with Strauss.]