Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07



VIEWPOINT The FBI, Loaves of Bread, Corruption, and Reform
by Nick Patricca

This article shared 1004 times since Wednesday
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

When I was 13 years old I used to ride shot gun with my uncle A. on his Italian bread truck deliveries. My job was to enter the store with him and remove the old, stale loaves of bread while he carried in the new, fresh loaves of bread. I performed these duties most Saturdays and school holidays to earn a few dollars to assist the family budget.

Most deliveries were normal transactions except for a few "special stops" when I had to deliver a large hollowed out Sicilian loaf of bread so that the store keeper could stuff it with numbers slips. When that particular store had a "hit" my hollowed out loaf of bread had cash inside to pay off the winner.

My uncle A. was a small time bookie.

At various times during these "special stops," I witnessed my uncle bribing City of Pittsburgh police who were there waiting for him. One Saturday, I decided to discuss these bribes with him. His response to my questioning was, "Everyone is on the take. It's the way of the world."

I naively replied "not the FBI."

The following Saturday, my uncle took me to the Spigno-Saturnia Society Club in the Larimer Avenue area in East Liberty for lunch. While we were eating, two men in suits came to our table. My uncle asked them to show me their ID's. They were FBI. I was impressed. Then, my uncle handed them envelopes stuffed with cash.

That was my first FBI lesson.

My second FBI lesson happened when I was teaching theology at Loyola University Chicago. I had several FBI agents in my graduate classes. Two of the agents came to me to discuss some moral dilemmas they were suffering: They were either witnessing or participating in the manufacturing and planting of evidence against Catholic nuns and priests who were protesting the Vietnam War.

We had long difficult discussions on how to handle these situations. They were honest, competent men caught up in a corrupt system.

Today, there is a large chorus of calls for reforming the FBI—several for abolishing the FBI—because of its incompetence, its partisan political actions, its corruption. These calls come from the full spectrum of contemporary U.S. politics: right, left, center, Republican, Democrat, Independent.

Let's examine some of the reasons for these calls for reformation or abolishment.

Beginning in June of 2018 and continuing through August of 2021, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice issued several reports on the conduct of the FBI in its investigations of politicians and political campaigns in the 2016 elections.These reports document a long list of failings on the part of the FBI regarding procedures, regulations, and laws.

These failings did not break in favor of one party or another, but encompassed all of the FBI investigations—whether of Hillary Clinton's emails, or of the ties of Donald Trump's campaign to foreign agencies such as actors for the Russian State, or of the relationships of federal agents to social and other media. Among the many instances of improper procedures, the reports cite two cases of special interest: that of former FBI Director James Comey in regard to the Hillary Clinton emails, and that of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr in regard to foreign actors in the Trump campaign.

In the first case, it is alleged that Comey decided to bypass his superiors for fear that either President Barack Obama or Attorney General Loretta Lynch would interfere with his decision to re-open the investigation of Clinton emails—a decision made two weeks before the presidential election with possible effects on that election. In the second case, it is alleged that Ohr decided to bypass his superior Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Trump Administration for the same reason—possible political interference.

Whether Comey and Ohr were right or wrong, their concerns were entirely valid. History shows clearly and abundantly how politics influences and often controls the work of the FBI.

J. Edgar Hoover used the FBI to investigate, harass, and hunt down anyone he judged to be a threat to his idea of "America." In the '70s, US Senator Frank Church initiated an investigation of the FBI, the CIA and other federal agencies focusing on their illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens and of their systematic programs of actions against persons and groups they judged hostile to US interests.

The Church committee brought about significant reform of the FBI, putting into place procedures and policies designed to protect citizens and prevent the political weaponizing of federal police powers. It is an open question as to how well these reforms have worked.

From its beginnings, the FBI has been a federal political police force. The FBI was instituted after the assassination of President William McKinley, September 1901, to hunt down and eliminate "anarchists.'' Among the original targets of the Bureau were Mexican-U.S. citizens working to overthrow the tyrannical dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, president for life of Mexico. The FBI shut down newspapers, arrested people on both sides of the US-Mexico border, surveilled and interfered with first class mail, and, in some cases, cooperated with the killing of opponents of Díaz ... all in the name of protecting U.S. property in Mexico and the "American" way of life in the USA.

In January, the Republican-controlled House of the U.S. Congress initiated an investigation of the FBI. This investigation is an opportunity for the Republican party to demonstrate that, like the Church committee, it is interested in governing in the best interests of the American people in a bipartisan manner—anything other than this course of action prolongs the dysfunction in Washington and the necessary reform of the FBI.

Without the trust of the American people, the FBI cannot do its job. Without this trust, our next presidential election will generate even more suspicion of—and hostility to—federal authority, further damaging the democratic values of our republic.

2023 ©

Nick Patricca is professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago; president of Chicago Network JP; member, Writers in Prison, San Miguel PEN; member, TOSOS Theatre Ensemble, NYC.

This article shared 1004 times since Wednesday
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

NATIONAL Democrats and trans issues, political wins, gay bars, HIV drug 2023-01-08
- Republicans and Democrats differ widely in their views on gender identity and transgender issues—but there are notable differences among Democrats, too, especially by race and ethnicity, according to Pew Research. Overall, 60% of U.S. adults say ...

Gay News

Letter to the Editor: Pope Benedict XVI passes away 2023-01-02
- The Rainbow Sash Movement mourns the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Dec. 31 in the Vatican. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, known most recently as the pontiff who renounced the papacy—but who was situated squarely ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT It's The End...again and again and again ... 2023-01-01
- Jesus thought the end of the world would occur during his lifetime.* As Jesus hanged dying on the cross, he had to deal with the fact that the world had not ended. Paul thought he understood ...

Gay News

Dignity USA: LGBTQ+ Catholics recall Pope Benedict XVI's reign as causing LGBTQ+s tremendous damage 2022-12-31
-- From a press release - Dec. 31, 2022. The passing of former Pope Benedict XVI "marks what is, hopefully, the end of a long, painful era for LGBTQIA+ Catholics, our families, and the entire church," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of ...

Gay News

OPINION Remember the youngest victims of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination 2022-12-19
- On Dec. 13, the Ohio State Board of Education voted 10-7 in favor of a non-binding resolution opposing proposed changes to the federal government's Title IX protecting LGBTQ+ students. It was just one more blow for ...

Gay News

Respect for Marriage Act passage important step but not equity says LGBTQIA+/ally Catholic group 2022-12-09
-- From a press release - Dec. 8, 2022. DignityUSA, the nation's foremost organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, is pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed the ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT What are the most banned books: take a guess 2022-11-18
- The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The geopolitics of being Brittney Griner 2022-11-18
- WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. On Feb. 17, the Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner at Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly transporting cannabis-derived ...

Gay News

GUEST EDITORIAL The Workers' Rights Amendment is a vote for equality 2022-11-01
- It is the American Dream: Work hard and you can achieve a middle-class life. This narrative is a broken bargain for too many in today's workforce. A far worse bargain exists for the LGBTQ+ community, especially ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The cults of Jesus, Putin and Trump 2022-10-21
- Originalist Christian nationalism. They say politics makes strange bedfellows. There is none stranger than the curious linking of Jesus to the cults of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in the faith and politics of an alarming ...

Gay News

LETTER A concerning change at the Art Institute 2022-09-28
- I have a fond, reverent remembrance of the first time I encountered Felix Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) at the Art Institute nearly a decade ago. I was encouraged by a nearby guide to ...

Gay News

LETTER Vote 'yes' for the environment 2022-09-21
- Concerned about climate change? Interested in protecting our precious resources of breathable air, drinkable water, and native habitat? Want to create jobs while mitigating local flooding? Here's a way: in the upcoming midterm election, vote YES ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT The art of citizenship 2022, or night sweats of a classical humanist get worse … 2022-09-08
- Ten years ago this September, I published my first op-ed for Windy City Times: The art of citizenship 2012, or night sweats of a classical humanist. I wrote this op-ed because of the serious damage being ...

Gay News

Vallas speaks at event of group known for anti-LGBTQ+ views [UPDATE] 2022-08-01
- Former Chicago Public Schools CEO and current mayoral candidate Paul Vallas spoke at a fundraiser for Awake Illinois—a group that has been criticized for its transphobic and homophobic rhetoric, The Chicago Reader reported. The group hosted ...

Gay News

VIEWS Can gay men dial back sex until our monkeypox vaccinations? 2022-07-28
- Years from now, there will be gay men who made it through a case of monkeypox who will have the scars up and down the shaft of their penis to prove it. Let me repeat that. Scars. On their cock. For ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.