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Bulger Brothers Guilty Of Loyalty

William Bulger grew up in a time when values were quite different than they are today. Loyalty was highly regarded in most circles. William is guilty. He is guilty of loyalty to his brother Whitey.
Both brothers grew up in poverty in a South Boston housing project. Other than that, their paths were extremely diverse. Whitey succumbed to the pressures of the streets while William overcame them.
In today’s world, loyalty is a dying virtue and it is refreshing to watch a man risk all he has honestly worked for to protect his brother. In these trying times snitchery and turncoating to save one’s own skin has become an art.
The corporate raiders who savaged the retirement funds of the workers of Enron had no sense of loyalty toward those whom they were positioned to protect. What a difference, also, between the spilling of the Bill Clinton story and the tale of John F. Kennedy and his intern.
While everyone today is willing to fill in all the sordid details for personal gain, the other side of that story is the respectable silence, the honorable discretion of Kennedy’s lover as opposed to the story of Monica Lewinsky who just can’t keep her mouth shut.
In the new millennium, betrayal is the code word. No more are loyal workers respected by their employers. Lovers can’t wait to kiss and tell. It is expected that all men are willing to turn their brothers over to the system; family ties are meaningless.
William Bulger has committed himself to a lifetime of service for the people of Massachusetts. Has he received the financial benefits for his years of service? Of course he has. These remunerations are not excessive and are well-deserved.

He is a tough man who rose to his current position by dint of hard work and sacrifice. His heart aches for the plight and mistakes of his brother Whitey Bulger. If he could have done something to change the course of Whitey’s life, he certainly would have. He tried. But we are all powerless over the actions of other people. All we can do is the next right thing ourselves, in accordance to our own values.
Mitt Romney, one of William’s detractors, never had to struggle out of poverty. Neither did former Attorney General Thomas Reilly. Are these two men who would turn in their brothers? What does loyalty mean to a corporate raider who spent his entire life working for his own gain?
The tale of William and Whitey Bulger, two brothers from the projects of South Boston, is a modern tragedy. The sins of one brother threaten to discredit the accomplishments of the other. William was the hard-working President of the University of Massachusetts; Whitey was a mobster on the run. William Bulger’s only crime is that he loves his brother and has a sense of honor that our current society does not share.
In Massachusetts, we are fortunate to have benefitted from the public service of William Bulger in all the positions of State he has held. Let us hope he receives the respect he is due and is not witch-hunted out of his accomplishments for his brother’s misdeeds.
“I do have an honest loyalty to my brother, and I care about him, and I know that’s not welcome news, but . . .it’s my hope that I’m never helpful to anyone against him,” William Bulger testified.
Whitey Bulger is caught now, in steel and stone and chains in the world of the snitch, and yet he is still not crushed.
Two brothers, William and Whitey, both accomplished and hardened in their own individual ways. Let God stand judgement on the two; no human in today’s world can do it.—-by Marc D. Goldfinger
“Part of this appeared in the Boston Metro on June 10, 2003. It has been altered to meet the current times.”

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For Jack Powers: This Should Have Been An Elegy

by Marc D. Goldfinger

“Go mad.  Commit suicide.  There will be nothing left.

After you die or go mad.

But the calmness of poetry.”——-from “A Poem Without A Single Bird In It” by Jack Spicer

 

My wife, Mary Esther, is a devout Catholic who goes to Mass regularly even though she hates the patriarchy of the church.  When she could walk without a cane, she would go to Mass at Arch Street in Boston, the noon Mass, and she would often see Jack Powers there, on his knees, his lips moving.

She really didn’t know Jack Powers.  She did know that he was a spiritual man.  But the demons.  She couldn’t see the demons.  I knew Jack Powers from TT the Bears, a bar in Cambridge MA where he hosted Stone Soup Poetry regularly.  I started attending there in 1994 every Monday night.  I didn’t know he went to church regularly.

I didn’t know that Jack Powers, in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s founded a free school on Beacon Hill, Boston and started free suppers for the elderly in the same neighborhood.  I didn’t know that he taught Columbia Point Project kids remedial reading and started a food co-op there too.

In 1987 Jack Powers told The Boston Globe, and I quote, “I’m very solid on volunteerism because the extraordinary weight of problems that visits the modern industrial society can’t be met with dollars alone.”

I didn’t know that Jack Powers, on a cold winter night, if he saw a homeless person who wasn’t dressed for the cold, would take off his coat and gloves and give them to the person on the street.

I didn’t know that he often volunteered at the North End Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Boston, in earlier years.  I know that he died there, a resident, of complications of dementia.  I know that he ran poetry groups at McLeans Hospital, Belmont, where he sometimes was a patient.

I do know that he started Stone Soup Poetry Readings over 40 years ago and made everyone that I knew feel welcome there.  I know that he was held in such high regard in the poetry community that poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, and Robert Bly, among others, came to read for him and the poets who read regularly at Stone Soup.

I know Jack Powers drank quite a bit.  It can be said that he drank alcoholically.  When I met him in ’94, he was already putting the drinks down his gullet like they were water.

People knew I was in recovery from heroin, which is just alcohol in powder form, and some of them asked me to talk to Jack about his drinking.  I talked to Jack a number of times about the damage he was doing to himself and those who loved him.

The trouble with the disease of addiction/alcoholism is that denial is a big part of it.  Jack couldn’t help it.  He didn’t know how to get out.  He tried.  He went to AA  He went to the hospital for treatment.  He went to church regularly.

I knew Jack through the poetry readings but I didn’t know the demons that walked through his mind and spirit.  He prayed.  This I know because my wife saw him, as I said, at Arch Street Church on a regular basis.  When he was on his knees, lips moving, what prayers were uttered from his desperate talented mouth?  Is there a God that hears all our prayers and sometimes says, NO”?  I don’t know.

I’m a drug counselor now and, even with all the knowledge of the illness at my disposal, I still relapsed a little over 5 years ago.  I was lucky.  I was able to get back into recovery.

Certainly Jack Powers was as good a man as I, maybe better.  He’s accomplished more in the poetry world than I ever have.  Jack really tried to stay sober.  I know he did.

There are very few of us that don’t have one type of addiction or another.  Some drugs, some money, some sex, some pornography, some comic books, some power, some food, etc. etc. etc.

Jack was a good talented man who dealt with inner demons and none of us will ever know their nature.  When one is haunted by his/her own mind and spirit anything can happen.  Jack was a blessing that touched so many lives, so many lives that are too numerous to count.

It didn’t matter what level your poetry was at–Jack would sign you up to read–and help you if you asked.  He was there for so many.  He was as non-judgmental as a man, as a poet can be.  There are many poets who are quick to judge others.  This is no secret in the poetry world.  I wish I could say that I was as non-judgmental as Jack.  I don’t know.

As Doug Holder of the Ibbetson Street Press said, quoting from the Boston Globe, “Boston is full of elite universities and institutions, often very exclusive, where if you don’t have an academic pedigree you’re out of the scene.  What Jack did was bring poetry to the people.  He published books and had a venue where all kinds of people came through.  He opened it up in Boston, which was old and stodgy until Jack brought a populist flavor, a new flowering of poetry.”

Poet Gail Mazur, from the academic scene, said of Jack, “He wanted to gather everyone int the performance of poetry.  In that way, he was a little ahead of his time.”

Jack Powers was so much more than a poet.  He was a man who gave so much to the world, a good man who reached out to those who didn’t have.  Jack wasn’t money rich, not by any means.  But he was possessed by a wealth that more of us should strive for, more of us should emulate.

But Jack was possessed by demons too.  In the end, the demons took away all the gifts he had.  It wasn’t that Jack Powers didn’t ask for help.  He asked for help in more ways than many of us will ever know.

Jack Powers is goine now but his legacy will live on.  There is much that many of us knew about Jack, but when it came down to it, no one knew the nature of the ticking clock within him that took him down.  Jack Powers died at the age of 73.  It was a sudden, slow death.  Like Neil Cassady, Jack couldn’t get off of the railroad tracks.

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Guess what, I’m finally high speed

Let’s hope that this means I will pay more attention to this blog. In the meantime, while I was gone, our civilization has moved closer to an entropic state.

Probably includes me.

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Paradigm Shift: The Obama Presidency

By Marc D. Goldfinger

“It is not by chance there are many of us.

It is not by chance we sing to each other.

It is not by chance the Gods let us touch.

It is not by chance, like plug and socket, we fit together.”—from A Room of Bone — a poem in Relationships by Marc D. Goldfinger; Ibbetson St. Press, Somerville, MA

George W. Bush has left the stage of the world.  It is Barack Obama’s time.  Yet as Barack Obama knows well, it is not only his time, but it is also our time.  Obama is our president and we are the people.  In his speech many of his reflections called upon us to do our part, for he knows that alone and isolated, a president who works against the will of the people cannot work.  We have just witnessed eight years of decline, eight years of waning hope, eight years of spending the birthright of our future, eight years of hopelessness, death without purpose, eight years of the heart of a nation breaking into tears of sorrow.

The glory of Barack Obama is that he is truly the heart of the United States, yet he realizes the heart is only a source of inspiration if all the other organs work well.  Barack Obama knows that a leader is only as strong as his ideals; that if he doesn’t lead well, the people will not follow.

Barack Obama does not take his new trust lightly.  He knows that the world is at a pivotal point as far as the human species is concerned.  He is aware that the path we take from this point is crucial, and it takes us all to task.  It is our responsibility to work with our new president, to help him achieve his goals and also to speak out to him when we feel that he is going off the path.  Because Barack Obama is a president who knows that he has much to learn from those around him.  Obama is a president who is humble, who will keep his ears to the ground, his eyes to the sky, his hands on the plow, and he knows that he must not only say what is necessary — he must follow through with his actions.

Sixty years ago, men and women of colour were relegated to the back of the bus; men and women of colour could not drink at the same water fountains as white people; men and women of colour were not free in the United States.

Barack Obama knows that, in just sixty years, there has been a paradigm shift in our country.  That is what makes it great.  It is not that everyone has changed in sixty years, but enough of us have changed to make this new world possible.

Barack Obama raises the hopes of the people of the United States.  But it is not only the people of the United States who have their eyes on this man with “The Audacity of Hope”, it is the people of the world who have their eyes on him because he raises their hopes too.  The world is watching him; the world is watching us; the world is waiting and hoping that Obama is what he says he is, and what he has shown us he is to become the president of our land.

I am a cynical man, but I have hope for humanity.  It has been a long time since I have been inspired by a leader, and Barack Obama has won my heart.  And not only my heart, but the hearts of many, people in the United States and people all over the world.

There was a time, a long while ago, when humanity was given hope.  There was a president who said, after Russia launched Sputnick, the first satellite, that we would be the first nation to reach the moon.  And God knows, if there is a God and I believe there is one, that we joined together, each in our own way, and in 1969 humanity walked on the moon.

Barack Obama offers us a new challenge.  He does not say that we will be the first to walk the moon; Obama says that we will lead the world with fierce love; that we will “offer our hand if you will unclench your fist.”  Obama says that “this is the time to put aside childish things.”.  I believe he knows that war is the enemy of us all, and those who choose war over life are the ones who delay the new rebirth of the Human Nation.

It is not just the United States that must grow; it is all the nations of the world who must unclench their fists, just as we must join them.  Those of us here in the United States with clenched fists must stop, think and open their hands so they can work with us.  Barack Obama knows that this is a world where, if anyone is left behind, whether black, yellow, white, poor, rich, red or just average, if anyone is left behind, we will all be left behind.

This is not a time where we must fight and claw to be the first to walk the surface of the moon.  This is a time when we must join hands and work together to walk and ride and sail across a clean, peaceful Earth.  There is only one way to do this.

Again, I repeat Obama’s words, which he took from the Bible, and those words are that “we must put aside childish things.”  This I know to be true — war is one of those childish things we must put aside.  As Obama said, “When it was time for us to face the future, we faced it and did not falter.”

Barack Obama is more than the heart of a nation.  He can be the heart of the world.  Instead of strapping bombs to ourselves and destroying the future, we must strap tool belts around our waists, whatever tools we use to build, and work to turn our backs on the errors of the past.

There was a president who took us to the moon.  Let Barack Obama be the president who takes us all home, and let him be the president that inspires us to work so that all people, all over the world, can be safe in a home of their own and walk the world in peace.

Published in Spare Change News, Jan. 29 — Feb. 11th, 2009.

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Pre-Election Blues — Looking Back

Written by Marc D. Goldfinger on Dec. 28, 2000, published by Spare Change News in April, 2001.

“If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier — just so long as I’m the dictator,” —George Walker Bush said, sending ripples of laughter through the room.—–a joke from the lips of our soon to be President of the United States, December 18, 2000.

Colour this by numbers. George W. Jr. was the director of Harken Energy of Dallas, Texas and a major stockholder of that corporation. Can it be that he knew nothing when he dumped $848,560 worth of its stock only one week prior to a poor earnings report that sent it’s stock tumbling? Is insider trading okay?

Okay, let’s move to the present. There was a telephone call placed from Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris’s cell phone to Boy George W.’s mansion at 11:50pm election night. Harris said she never made the call, that Al Cardenas, chairman of the state Republican Party, borrowed the phone and made the call.

The other story told was that Dan Bartlett said the Florida Secretary of State’s website went down and old Jeb(Bush), who was in Austin on November 7th, called Harris. Then Katherine returned the call.

There are a lot of stories. There are stories about Black voters not being able to vote. Then there are the “chad” stories. Then there are the Republicans storming the (vote)counting houses in Broward County(Florida) stories.

Here’s an interesting story I pulled off the internet.

“A Zimbabwe politician was quoted as saying that children should study the U.S. election event closely because it shows that election fraud is not only a third world phenomena. To illustrate the point, he made the following comments:

“Imagine that we read of an election occurring anywhere in the third world in which the self-declared winner was the son of the former Prime Minister and that former Prime Minister was himself the former head of that nation’s secret police/intelligence agency.

“Imagine that the self-declared winner lost the popular vote but won based on some old colonial holdover from the nation’s pre-democracy past (the Electoral College).

“Imagine that the self-declared winner’s ‘victory’ turned on disputed votes cast in a Province governed by his brother!

“Imagine that the poorly drafted ballots of one district, a district heavily favoring the self-declared winner’s opponent, led thousands of voters to vote for the wrong candidate.

“Imagine that members of that nation’s most despised caste, fearing for their livelihoods, turned out in record numbers to vote in near-universal opposition to the self-declared winner’s candidacy. Imagine that hundreds of members of that most-despised caste were intercepted on their way to the polls by state police operating under the authority of the self-declared winner’s brother.

“Imagine that six thousand people voted in the disputed Province and that the self-declared winner’s lead was only 327 votes. Fewer, certainly, than the vote counting machines’ margin of error.

“Imagine that the self-declared winner and his political party opposed a more careful by-hand inspection and re-counting of the ballots in the disputed Province or in its most hotly disputed district.

“Imagine that the self-declared winner, himself a Governor of a major Province, had the worst human rights record of any Province in his nation and his Province actually led the nation in executions.

“Imagine that a major campaign promise of the self-declared winner was to appoint like-minded human rights violators to lifetime positions on the high court of that nation.

“None of us would deem such an election to be representative of anything other than the self-declared winner’s will-to-power. All of us, I imagine, would wearily turn the page thinking that it was another sad tale of a third world country.”

Now imagine that the President-Select was voted in by a majority of 5 from the high court of 9, the Chief Justice (Rehnquist) being a man who owned two homes, one in Phoenix and one in Vermont, that existed in developments that prohibited, by contract, selling to Blacks and Jews, by another Justice (Scalia) who called affirmative action “the most evil fruit of a fundamentally bad seed”, and, last but certainly not least, a justice (Thomas) who was selected for the high court by the President-Select’s father.

Who said that it couldn’t happen here.

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911: Seven Years

“Friend and neighbor you have taken away,
my one companion is darkness.”–Psalm 88

Matt Damon thinks the idea of Sarah Palin being a “heartbeat” away from the presidency is “a really terrifying possibility. You do the actuary tables and there’s a one out of three chance that McCain doesn’t survive his first term and it’ll be president Palin.”

“I need to know,” says Matt, “if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that because she’s going to have the nuclear codes.”

Naturally Palin’s spokesperson called Matt another one of Barack Obama’s celebrity friends who “continue to tear down Governor Palin with little more than blatant name calling.”

It’s more than name calling folks. Sarah Palin is a creationist and Matt Damon is merely quoting what creationists believe.

I’ll give even odds that Sarah Palin doesn’t even know what an actuary table is.

But enough of this. 911. This is the white man’s trail of tears. Truly, it is a sad day for all of us. What human beings do to each other convinces me that we are all insane.

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911: Highlights, Blues, Getting Smoked

“Friend and neighbor you have taken away, my one companion is darkness.”——Psalm 88

I understand that the Democratic and Republican conventions are carefully orchestrated for the maximum punch but still —

Call me a sucker, call me naive, call me hopeful — When Barack Obama spoke I cried with happiness; emotions washed over me like ocean water without pollutants — I knew he could (which is different than would) take the U.S.A. to a better place. I was filled with HOPE.

But I remember the Sixties — we weren’t idealists — we were a generation that got Smoked by the people in power because we were too dangerous. What we failed to realize is that the “Old Patriachs” were more dangerous.

They killed John F. Kennedy, they blasted Bobby Kennedy’s brains into pools of blood, they staggered the Civil Rights movement by blowing Dr. Martin Luther King into a pile of dead meat while his powerful soul drifted above us, crying for all we would lose.

The cities burned with rage, both figuratively and literally.

The evidence of how far the enemy would go became clearer when students at Kent State were shot down by our own National Guard.

The Black Panthers were set up and slaughtered, even after they started school lunch programs for the poor. Even in prison they were killed by angry ignorant white guards.

The Chicago Ten trials saw Bobby Seale, a Black man, tied, beaten and gagged in the courtrooms of the U.S.A.

Incidentally, there is a new DVD coming out called “Chicago Ten” which depicts what actually happened during the 60’s.

Barack Obama is a man of the world, a man who can rocket the U.S.A. back into a respected position of the world again and therein lies the danger.

The Reptiles, the CEO’s, the Lizard Kings who control the giant conglomerates that oppress the backs of the people of the world see Barack Obama as a dangerous man because they know that Barack is the man who can take the human species to New Beginnings.

Unfortunately, those “new beginnings” mean that the Lizard Kings will lose their power because the PEOPLE of the U.S.A. will get their power back. Barack Obama is not only a great leader, he is a man who is willing to be led by the people of the U.S.A. Therein lies his greatness.

Barack Obama has charisma and cares about making a better world for all of us. He is willing to put his life on the line to do it.

Believe me, his life is on the line. Somebody, somewhere, in some dark corner of his/her mind is planning to end the hope of humanity. God help us to protect Obama and move him to the leadership position he was created for.

My heart is filled with hope, just as it was in the Sixties. I just pray, this time, this time, we don’t get SMOKED.

The enemy is real.

“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”—Fredrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

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