Category Archives: Uncategorized

With Bated Breath! Americans Again Relive the Quadrennial Tensions

I assume you like I have always dreaded this time of year when Congress meets to decide who will become president of the United States. I never quite figured it out totally how the election meant nothing; the Electoral College meant nothing; and all that counted was  whether Congress approved of the election results. You know, it wasn’t the people electing the president but Congress.

I think the first time I was cognizant of it was when Ike, the time when as young teenagers we went around shouting “I like Ike” without really knowing what it meant. We did know Ike was a great general who led us through WWII to victory. It was only natural that we liked him. Who after all does not like a winning general. No one ever went around shouting they liked William Westmoreland who had a noted career in the military but did not do to well in the Vietnam War not understanding the politics behind it.

Holodomor- Mister Jones – America

One should initially define terms:

HOLODOMOR  – the state sponsored famine brought about in Ukraine enacted by Joseph Stalin and his Soviet Government to cause a genocide of Ukrainians in 1932 to 1933 during which an estimated 12 million (one author); or 7 to 10 million (2003 UN statement); or 3.3 to 7.5 million (other experts) died from starvation.

MISTER JONES – A movie about a young man from Wales named Gareth Jones who was characterized as a young idealist who was naive. He was fluent in French, German and Russian called an “extraordinary linguist.” When in the Soviet Union he heard from a couple of women about the famine he went there to see it first hand and reported on it. He would later be murdered by the NKVD the day before his 30th birthday.

The Winter Hill Gang: A Few Hoodlums With A Five Year Life Span (2 of 2)

A real criminal gang would be the Mafia although it lacks an outward symbol. Those you see with motor cycle gangs. The Hells Angels have leather vests with lettering “Hells Angels Boston.” You don’t see Mafia vests “Mafia Patriarca Family.” Even though it doesn’t have one no one doubts it is three or more guys associated for criminal purposes.

One thing the Mafia does is extort tribute from folk. Some small shop owners or big independent businesses have to pay a fee to operate their legitimate businesses; some other ethnic groups running illegal operation such as booking have to pay it to stay in business; some unions have to have its members feed the Mafia’s avarice to keep them safe.The consequences of not paying are dire.

In the Boston area one group that funneled money to the Mafia were the Jewish bookies. Early on a couple of Jewish bookies who balked at its demands were killed, Unlike in New York City where the Jewish criminals  were as tough and as feared as the Mafia and would have fought back, in Boston they protected themselves through payment. Clearly you would not suggest they were part of the Mafia,

The Winter Hill Gang: A Few Hoodlums With A Five Year Life Span (1 of 2)

You heard of the Winter Hill Gang (WHG) I assume. That was the gang James “Whitey” Bulger supposedly headed up. He never did. I do not suppose you can tell me when it started, or where it’s headquarters we’re located; or how long it existed; or who were in it; or whether it was a gang at all.

I suggest the first step in answering these questions is to determine what is meant by the word gang. The federal government has set out its definition of a gang: ” An association of three or more individuals; . . . Whose members collectively identify themselves by adopting a group identity, which they use to create an atmosphere of fear or intimidation, frequently by employing one or more of the following: a common name, slogan, identifying sign, symbol, tattoo or other physical marking, style or color of clothing, hairstyle, hand sign or graffiti; Whose purpose in part is to engage in criminal activity and which uses violence or intimidation to further its criminal objectives.” It excludes “drug trafficking organizations, . . . traditional organized crime groups, such as La Cosa Nostra, . . .” 

Harold Ickes: An Example for Today And For Old Harbor Village Memories: (Part 5 of 5)

In September 1935 Ickes announced that the WPA was planning at doing a second housing project in South Boston on a 23-acre parcel of land almost adjacent to the first site chosen. They had secured options to buy it before making the public announcement.

Ickes tried to allay the concerns of other landlords in the area who complained that the subsidized housing would adversely affect them. He stated: “We expect to house only those who for the first times in their lives will be enabled to leave slum dwellings and find decent homes at prices within their means.”

The one residence on the 23 acres was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Michael Mangiatordi who had lived there with their two children for ten years. Mr. Mangiatordi expressed hope to find another residence nearby since his children went to the local school, enjoy Columbus Park, and the beach during the summer. Though not excited to move, Mr Mangiatordi said: “we are pleased to be able to help the Government.” (Those were obviously different times.)