Be careful with your federal indictments!

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2023

Associate frog-marched to jail: For what it's worth, Boston's legendary Mayor Curley was a semi-associate of our father, though probably not a friend. 

Our father was 65 years old when we were born. The amusing adventures to which we refer all occurred long before our time.

Still and all, we've often thought of Mayor Curley during the past few weeks. For today, here's a record of his brief sojourn in federal prison while he continued to serve his fourth term as Boston's street-fighting mayor:

Fourth mayoralty (1946–1950)

In 1945, Curley opted to vacate his seat in Congress to run for a fourth non-consecutive term as mayor of Boston. 


By his fourth mayoral term, numerous investigations had been conducted against Curley's machine during his time in Congress, and he now faced felony indictments for bribery brought by federal prosecutors. Nonetheless, Curley's popularity with the Irish American community in Boston remained incredibly high in the face of his indictment. 

He campaigned on the slogan "Curley Gets Things Done." A second indictment by a federal grand jury, for mail fraud, did not harm his campaign either, and Curley won the election with 45% of the vote.

In June 1947, Curley was accused of accepting $60,000 from the Engineers Group, a firm Curley headed which was under investigation for war profiteering. He was found guilty of mail fraud and sentenced to 6–18 months at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. 

Under pressure from the Massachusetts congressional delegation and in consideration of Curley's poor health, President Truman commuted his sentence after only five months. City Clerk John B. Hynes served as acting mayor during Curley's time in prison.

Return after prison sentence

A crowd of thousands greeted Curley upon his return to Boston, with a brass band playing "Hail to the Chief." In a fit of hubris after his first day back in office, Curley told reporters, "I have accomplished more in one day than has been done in the five months of my absence."

In 1949, Curley was opposed for re-election by Hynes, who took Curley's public comments as a personal affront and marshaled support to defeat him. While Curley argued Hynes lacked experience, Hynes responded that the city could not "afford the city bosses anymore," and tapped into widespread dissatisfaction with the city's high tax rate to defeat Curley in the primary. During his lame duck period, Curley granted a large number of tax abatements and granted exorbitant city contracts to cronies, further hampering the city's finances.

Hynes was again victorious in a November 1951 rematch, ending Curley's half-century career in elective politics.


In retirement, Curley was financially supported by a state-granted pension ushered through the legislature by Tip O'Neill. Curley continued to support other candidates and remained active within the Democratic Party after his defeats. His death in Boston in 1958 was followed by one of the largest funerals in the city's history.

"Curley's popularity with the Irish American community in Boston remained incredibly high." 

Also this: 

"His death in Boston in 1958 was followed by one of the largest funerals in the city's history."

None of this has much to say about what should be done about Donald J. Trump. In fact, we can't say that these events offer any guidance at all.

In our view, it isn't yet clear that Trump has committed any recognizable crimes with respect to the 2020 election and its violent aftermath, though he certainly may have and clear evidence may yet surface.

It does look like he'll be indicted. Given the way we humans are, indictments sometimes make supporters love favored pols that much more!


  1. We'll be watching this farce of a show, of course, but then there's so much more happening in the world these days... So much shit that's so much more important...

    ...even if The Commander is destined to win in 2024, that still may be too late... Because, alas, your tribe's Dr. Strangeloves still have almost two years...

    1. Thanks, dear blithering, trash talking sub mental.

  2. It is an unwarranted compliment to compare Trump to any of the big city bosses in history. For one thing, those bosses were competent and their cities ran well and benefitted the people, even if there was corruption at the political level. Historians of such city machines point out that the coordination resulted in more effective governance than the reform governments that came after them. Trump was not a competent president by any measure.

    Second, the big city bosses were supported by large immigrant populations that supported the political machines with their votes. The bosses topped organizations that worked for their constituents. The cities themselves were organized in a manner that supported the political influence, with patronage systems (jobs handed out by the boss and his staff). With the reform movement, this was changed, instituting a civil service instead. Trump tried to destroy that non-political structure, calling it the deep state, and instituting nepotism and cronyism, without benefitting anyone but Trump's friends and relatives. The immigrants and neighborhoods who support bosses like Curley have been replaced under Trump by middle class white supporters united by racism and peevish complaint. Selfishness motivates looting and lack of ethics. Trump has no feeling that if he doesn't do right by his contituents they might stop supporting him -- he knows that the worse he behaves the more cemented his followers are to his movement, if you can call it that. Trump's behavior is greedy, not self-sacrificing the way bosses were, who were motivated more by power than by wealth. Mayor Daley, for example, never took more than $35,000 per year as Mayor and forbade salaries higher than his own in city govt. Trump is always grifting and has no sense of working for any people except himself.

    That's why Trump may seem similar to these former bosses (all largely Democrats) but bears no resemblance to them under closer examination.

    1. I think Somerby is trying to say that someone can be indicted and convicted and still be a good decent person. However, that doesn't apply if you weren't a good decent person to begin with.

    2. Somerby forgot to mention that you can pee and poo and still be a good person, which, as insipid as it is, is a much more salient point than the one Somerby muttered.

      Regardless of what Somerby tries to say, all he is ever really saying is that he is bought and paid for by the same minders as Trump has.

    3. Somerby is saying that the woods are lovely, dark and deep.

  3. Trump could not be a machine boss because he cannot coordinate with other people, cannot combine factions to co-opt and build a strong coalition. He wants to be an autocratic leader, a dictator with all power consolidated in his own hands and not sharing any of the wealth with anyone else. He is a tyrant not a machine leader.

  4. This blog has never shown any evidence that Bob has considered what laws Trump might have broken in any serious way.
    Certainly, Bob had excused anything
    Trump might have done in terms of
    moral responsibility. He finds Trump’s
    claims that his behavior has been
    “Perfect” convincing, if he believes
    Himself innocent that’s good enough
    for Bob (however weak that is in terms
    of the law), and that darn committee was
    too partisan!
    Bob will only discuss the case against
    Trump at its weakest, and those who
    disagree with him are moral reprobates
    who enjoy sending people to jail.
    Bob once said of those Blue types
    that “they want to indict Trump, and
    maybe they are right. But…..”
    The maybe they are right bit was
    quietly dropped. Bob just doesn’t see
    a case. There are none so blind, as
    the saying goes….

  5. "In our view, it isn't yet clear that Trump has committed any recognizable crimes with respect to the 2020 election and its violent aftermath, though he certainly may have."

    This is what signals to me that Somerby is a Trump supporter and not an objective observer of Trump's behavior. I do not see how anyone can have watched the 1/6 Committee hearings and come away with the idea that Trump did not commit any crimes. Beyond that, how can Somerby believe that Trump is innocent of stealing classified documents when he left office? That too is a crime. This is a degree of caution that is beyond reasonable. Trump has created smokescreens to give his followers cover in maintaining their faith in his innocence, but Somerby would already have to be in the bag for Trump to have this kind of doubt at this point.

    And no, Trump is not like Mayor Curley (or any of the machine bosses) who actually worked for a living.

    1. Bob is on recorded as dismissing the 1/6 committee as being to partisan. How the committee ended up without the standard mix of Dems and Republicans is something Bob had never acknowledged.

  6. May the Holy Spirit grant Bob wisdom.

  7. "His death in Boston in 1958 was followed by one of the largest funerals in the city's history."

    A person is not judged by the size of their funeral.

    Michael Jackson funeral attendance: 17,000 guests, 2.5-3 billion watched televised services.

    30 people attended Prince Phillip's funeral.

    80,000 people attended Elvis Presley's funeral in Memphis.

    In contrast, only 2100 people attended Eisenhower's funeral. Does that make him a worse person than Elvis?

    Somerby is clearly trying to suggest that Trump's adoration by numerous supporters may make him a good person despite his corruption, except his crimes bear no resemblance to Curley's career. Curley had organizational ability (which Trump lacks) and used welfare and patronize to help his constituents. In contrast, Trump has no interest in people and has done things to harm not help them during his term in office. Curley was considered corrupt due to his use of patronize (giving out jobs), not graft (accepting bribes) and was pardoned by Truman. He was beloved because he helped so many people, not because he was a famous celebrity. Trump is a moron next to Curley.

    1. correction: patronize should be patronage

    2. He patronized his constituents.

  8. "Be careful with your federal indictments!"

    Why? Because Trump might die some day and have a big funeral?

    Is Somerby making another threat, along the lines of Trump has a lot of crazy followers with guns, so be afraid and treat him nice?

    Why isn't that blackmail?

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    2. Haha! Brilliant!