The Portrayal Of Whitey’s Bulger’s Brother Billy As Being Corrupt Is Based On Self-Serving Desires More Than Fact

Sunday is a good day to start a discussion of  William M. Bulger, born February 2, 1934, who I will call by the name he is commonly known as Billy.  He is the younger brother of Whitey Bulger, born September 3, 1929, who, as we know is called Jim or Jimmy in his family and by those who talk to him face-to-face.

Billy spent most of his career in politics.  He represented his section of South Boston, Ward 7, in the Massachusetts House of Representative starting in 1960.  After ten years doing that in 1970 he moved onto the Massachusetts Senate after Joe Moakley resigned to make a run for Congress.  He was elected president of the Senate in 1978 and held that position for 17 years until he went on to become president of the University of Massachusetts in 1996, a position that he held for six years until he was forced to resign because he was the brother of Whitey.

Billy has been excoriated by those who have written about Whitey.  Howie Carr links him with Whitey and calls him corrupt; the theme is picked up by others who hint at it without being as bold as Howie, but follow it along as the children of Hamelin chasing after the pied piper. The overwhelming adverse publicity that Billy has received has made it a staple belief that Billy must be corrupt.  This is so even though a person such as Michael Dukakis, the Massachusetts governor from 1975 to 1979, and again from 1983 to 1991 (Billy was president of the Senate from 1978 to 1996) spoke of him otherwise. If there is one thing anyone can say about Mike Dukakis it’s that he was squeaky clean.  He had an inborn intolerance to anything that was not on the level.  He said of Billy: “There has never been any question about the integrity of the Senate since he has been president.

Howie’s take on Billy comes from his conservative talk show perspective. This  makes Billy a natural foil because of his liberal politics. Governor William Weld, who during his campaign against John Silber asked Billy not to run for election again as president of the Senate just because he was Whitey’s brother, told us of Billy’s politics that so infuriate Howie. Weld said Billy, is “the champion of the workingman and the guardian of the widowed, the trustee and protector of Massachusetts General [Hospital] and the patron of the public library, the man who would open the beaches of this beautiful state for all to enjoy, . . . the public servant who wants nothing more or other than to succor men and women as they toil on the graveyard shift to give their little children a humble home and a solid schooling, . . . “  Howie’s abhorrence of Billy is colored by his tendency to see any government program for the down-and-outers as a waste of money and also by the color green.

Another enemy of Billy’s who has propagandized against him is Alan Dershowitz the gadabout professor.  I’d suggest that unlike Howie he comes from the liberal spectrum but that does not necessarily follow. Former US House Speaker Tip O’Neil is famous for saying “all politics is local;” Dershowitz is an example of all politics being personal. What I mean is Dershowitz can decry some treatment of incarcerated people while at the same time suggest we can issue torture warrants against others.Those others are people he disfavors.

An article in The Boston Daily, a blog of Boston Magazine, noted that, “As those who follow Boston politics well know. There’s no love lost”  between Billy and Dershowitz.  Dershowitz  list of villains who facilitated Billy are, “the Dukakises, Whites, McCormicks, Welds, Moakleys, and Silbers, . . .cowards who appointed” him president of UMass, the reporters for 60 Minutes and The New Yorker. But he doesn’t stop there, he writes corruption “permeates every aspect of public life” in the “FBI, to federal prosecutors, to the state judiciary, to Beacon Hill, to building inspectors, to the State Police. Everyone — from governors to justices of the state’s highest court. . . .”  The way he writes  against the people of Massachusetts, if Dershowitz had his wish and could secure torture warrants we’d be continually surrounded by screams.

Unfortunately, along with Howie and Dershowitz, the media seeing it had become the de rigueur to jump on Billy all joined in as did the federal prosecutors. In my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, I noted that attending the trial of John Connolly I came away with the distinct feeling that it was not so much against Connolly as it was against Billy.

This is all tragic when one considers the four-part Globe Spotlight series of 1988 titled The Bulger Mystique that discussed both Billy and Whitey. It is available on-line.  That series, as we know, gave hints that Whitey was an FBI informant telling of the relationship that he had with the FBI. The Globe knew he was an informant because two FBI agents, John Morris and Robert Fitzpatrick, violated the most sacred principle of an FBI agent which is to keep the identity of an informant safe. Morris who had been taking bribes from Whitey gave the Globe the information hoping to get Whitey killed by the Mafia; Fitzpatrick who had all but been drummed out of the FBI for certain questionable acts, not the least accusing the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Boston office, his boss, of doing wrongful acts, did it for revenge against the FBI.

The Spotlight article painted a fairly good picture of both Whitey and Billy. It did not link them together in any manner other than their sibling relationship. There was no hint of Billy being corrupt. Eight years later, in 2000 in a book Black Mass the attitude of members of the Spotlight team had changed.  Howie who for years had been calling Billy a corrupt midget seemed to have influenced them. Howie added his book in 2006.

As I go along  I hope to examine their allegations. Obviously, if you are of the mindset of Alan Dershowitz that everyone is corrupt except him and you, don’t bother reading anything I have to say. You’ve already figured it out, like a friend I ran into years ago who was serving as a juror in Suffolk who told me he didn’t need any evidence, he could tell if a person was guilty by looking at them.


6 thoughts on “The Portrayal Of Whitey’s Bulger’s Brother Billy As Being Corrupt Is Based On Self-Serving Desires More Than Fact

  1. Bill Bulger represented the conservative wing of the democratic party, as did Moakley, Ed King, Bob Quinn, Steve Lynch, Sen. Paul White. Billy was staunchly pro-life and a traditionalist. He defended the Vets in the St. Patrick’s Day parade controversy.
    One point about Black Mass. It was published in 2000, 2001 and 2012. It’s mostly the 2012 edition that I rail against.

    1. I am unfamiliar with the 2012 edition of Black Mass so I can’t comment on it. As far as conservative Democrats or liberal Democrats are concerned, all I can say is that Billy Bulger may have been pro-life but he was also very liberal in most matters that the Democrats have long supported such as the needy, the unions, the schools, insuring that all have a fair chance in life. In other words he believed the government should provide more help to people. I mention it only to the extent it relates to this blog, namely in showing that Howie Carr’s attacks on Bulger are premised upon Howie’s ideas of “I’ve got mine so you should do the same and stop complaining,” Howie, of course, hates all Democratic politicians for the sole reason they are the ins. If all our politician were Republicans, Howie would be attacking them from a liberal perspective. I don’t think my politics belong on here since they are immaterial to the subject matter.
      J.K,Rowling was interviewed the other day and told how she was down and out and on the dole in England. The government help let her feed herself and kids and keep the home she lived in. She said she could easily go to Monaco or some other tax haven where she could put her money to avoid taxes but because of the help she received she doesn’t want to do it. An interesting perspective.

  2. regarding billy bulger , what about state street? mr billy bulger a triple eagle will have to answer to god for his behavior on this earth. i already stated my thoughts on what i think of him . the respect i have for the person who writes this blog would have write that i think people should do their own looking into the life of billy bulger. this trial is going to be very interesting. many different points of view.

    1. I’m going to write about 75 State Street as well as the other matters with which Billy is said to be corrupt. I’m just asking people who are interested to read it with an open mind and make up their decisions. I’m not ready to write on it yet but what I’ve seen is that Billy does not come out looking like Mother Theresa but not as bad as he has been portrayed. I’ll put it out there. I’ll give my conclusion. I leave it up to you, as I know you will do, to make up your own mind. Aa you might have observed, some who comment here have very strong opinions opposite of mine. I appreciate that because it gives me an opportunity to re-examine my own position. I’ve changed in certain ways since I’ve been writing this.

  3. Bill Bulger has done more for the working class and underpriviliged than any politician in Massachusetts. He is very bright but doesn’t doesn’t flaunt all his knowledge and skills. He is an outstanding citizen and family man and anyone who has him as a friend is a very lucky person.

    1. I agree that Billy did many good things for those without a voice. He worked on prison reform, appointed a woman to the highest political office any woman had held to that time, and much for the system of education. Romney would not be able to claim that the MA public school system is number one in the nation had not Billy made it that way. Billy had a strange attitude toward the press. In that respect he was not as wise as he I think he should have been. Thanks for writing and for not being swayed by the media about Billy.

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