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Wednesday Poetry, etc. – Some Thoughts

I am moving on from my book about the Boston Gang Wars back in 1956 to 1976 which yet still need much editing and polishing but the pieces have all been put together which is the first step.

My next project is a book about James Whitey Bulger himself which I have tentatively titled: “The Boston Fairy Tale.”  To ensure the correctness of the title I went to my bulky Webster’s Dictionary rather than the web which has for most people has sadly replaced the paper edition to look up the definition of “fairy tale.” I found on the cover an article I had affixed there some years back under scotch tape. It read:

Anti-Cuban exile leaders retort that all of the Communists’ schools and hospitals do not justify their monolithic political system. At least one gray-haired man on Old Havana’s San Ignacio street would agree. Asked about the revolution, the Cuban looked around warily and the spat out: ‘It may be all right for the young people. They don’t know anything else. In the old days I was only a poor shoemaker but I could do what I pleased . . . Freedom has no price.'”

How John Martorano Took The Federal Prosecutors To The Cleaners

When I think of John Martorano the man who murdered more Black Americans in Boston in the history of that city than anyone else I cannot help think of the deal that he was given by the federal prosecutors for the  twenty murders he admitted doing. The excuse they offered was they would not have known about the murders if John did not tell them about them.

We know that was not correct. There were others who were quite willing to tell the federal prosecutors about some of John’s murders. But the deal with John was much more sinister than what people were led to believe. Talk about a prosecutor being pulled around by the tail. Well this is a prime example of that happening.

John’s deal was that he would not be prosecuted for any of his murders. He had committed most in Massachusetts but also had murdered people in Florida and in Oklahoma. Three states signed off under pressure from the federal prosecutors to let John with his multiple murders avoid prosecution for them.

Sunday Thoughts: People of Praise: Do We Know Enough about Amy Coney Barrett?

In a country of over 325 million people we are faced with the nomination of a person to be one of nine people who will interpret the laws of the United States who belongs to a group of about two thousand  people called the “People of Praise.”

It is not so much that she belongs to that group that had me wondering about her it is that as far as I can tell she hid her membership in it when she was before the United States Senate in 2018 when she was being questioned about a position on the Court of Appeals, the second highest federal court in the land. That article quoted M. Cathleen Kaveny, a professor at Boston College Law School who studies the relationship between law, religion and morality who said:  “I’m concerned that this was not sufficiently transparent. We have to disclose everything from the Elks Club to the alumni associations we belong to — why didn’t she disclose this?”

Trump’s World: We Have Gone From Alternative Facts to Alternative Definitions

I  was struck by the headlines in an article in the New York Daily News: “Stormy Daniels and Melania Trump accuse each other of being a hooker.”

America is this what it means to be great?

Did you see Trump’s triumphant return from the Walter Reed Hospital? Did you see his standing on the balcony at the White House just standing there looking out at nothing in particular and then taking off his mask that was preventing others from being infected by the coronavirus? What did it remind you off? To me it is something that Mussolini would do. Has there ever been a more idiotic act since Mussolini would stand in his palace window flexing his muscles?

Is this what it means to be great having a leader act like Mussolini?

Have you been following the  spread of the coronavirus throughout the White House which has become ground zero for the most infections in the country? Could you ever imagine that the White House in the United States would become the locus for so many avoidable cases of coronavirus? I always thought that is something we would see in a very backward country but in America? Not only do we  far outpace the world in deaths from the virus we are the only country whose head of state and those around him including the highest members in the Pentagon are infected with the virus or are isolating because they have been exposed to people who have been infected.

For Many Years In Boston Black Lives Did Not Matter.

I suggest our history of the relationship between American whites and American Blacks that has been taught to us in school has been tilted one way which is  I suppose expected because the history was written by white folk. One thing that always stood out with me is the lament of Black Americans back around the turn into the 20th century that America is the only nation in the world that lets fellow Americans be lynched by mobs with impunity. The sordid history of that time was kept well hidden from us going to school.

Back in those days two Black men from Massachusetts W.E.B. DeBois and William Monroe Trotter along with other Black citizens sought to bring notice of this to Congress seeking a federal anti-lynching law. A Black preacher in 1899, the Reverends D.A. Graham noted: “Lynchings of Negroes is growing to be a Southern pastime.”  To date the “United States Congress never outlawed lynching due to powerful opposition from Southern senators . . . “

Where’s Whitey: The Interrogation of John Martorano

They were in a typical government conference room. John Martorano was seated at the desk and next to him was his lawyers. On the opposite side of the table were the agents for the government, the prosecutors and the investigators. John was telling of his many depredations throwing in a joke or two for the entertainment of all present. He enjoyed being the center of attention.

Prosecutor: (P) “All right, Mr. Martorano, you  . . .”

John Martorano: (J) “Call me Johnnie, will yah!”  (Laughter among investigators – John smiles.)

P:  “Mr Martorano, you told us of the murders of Margaret Sylvester, Robert Pallidino, John Jackson, Herbert Smith, Elizabeth Dickson, Douglas Barrett, Anthony Veranis, Ronald Hicks, and John Banno, all which occurred between November 1964 and September 1969, which you admitted committing.”

J: “Wait a minute, I did not admit killing Sylvester, so don’t, that’s wrong.”

P: “I stand corrected, other than Margaret Sylvester you admit the others.”

J: “That’s right but I had good reason to do them.”

P: “So up to 1969, leaving out the woman, you murdered eight people, five of whom were African-American, is that what you are telling us?”

Poetry Wednesday: The Bottom Line For Every Parent by Kahlil Gibran

This is a  poem by Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931)  who was born in Lebanon, was the grandson of a priest and raised in poverty. His mother brought him at age 12 and his siblings to Boston’s South End at the time the second-largest Syrian-Lebanese-American community in the United States. His mother began working as a seamstress peddler, selling lace and linens that she carried from door to door. He went to the Josiah Quincy school,  back to Lebanon for three years, traveled the world eventually settling in the United States but always firmly attached to his homeland.

I was given this poem from his book The Prophet called “On Children” when my first child was born. It is something every parent should receive with the birth of their first child.

On Children

Kahlil Gibran 

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
     And he said:
     Your children are not your children.
     They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
     They come through you but not from you,
     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

Was Whitey Worse That Bonnie And Clyde? Boston’s Follies

As all of you know it brings out a smile in my face when I recall the line in the O’Neill and Lehr book that said Whitey Bulger stood at the front of the line of all the criminals in the the United States. Whatever the purpose was in making that ludicrous statement is beyond me. It goes along with the other statements attributed to him that he terrorized Boston for 25 years (even though almost no one knew they were terrorized). Maybe the the terror was like Covid-19 that people catch and never show symptoms and do not know they had it.

He was said to be a greater criminal than John Gotti and even the notorious Bonny  and Clyde. When I read about the latter two I understood they had no idea what was going on in the world of gangsters.

Bonnie Parker was 19 years old when she met and Clyde Barrows was 21 in 1930. Bonnie died at age 23 and Clyde at age 25 on May 23, 1934, in Louisiana.  They began their viscous life of crime in 1931 and over their two years of crime they had murdered nine law enforcement officers, murdered five civilians, and robbed a countless number of gas stations, grocery stores, and banks. Clyde’s weapon of choice were Browning automatic rifles stolen from armories. Their exploits were followed all across America.