Sorry to interrupt...this will only take a moment.
This site is an independent reader-supported project.
Because you have viewed at least a few articles now...
Can you give a small donation to keep us online?
We can give you e-books and audiobooks and stuff.
This site is an independent reader-supported project.
The cost of keeping it running are considerable.
If you can spare a few dollars it would help us enormously.
We can give you e-books and audiobooks and stuff.
×
×
Experimental Feature

Select 'Atmospheric Audio' from the Audio menu to add subtle background audio to certain portions of the article.

The Revenge of the Fighting Quaker

Article #291 • Written by Alan Bellows

Smedley Darlington Butler
Smedley Darlington Butler

In the early 1930s, a secret collection of prosperous men are said to have assembled in New York City to discuss the dissolution of America's democracy. As a consequence of the Great Depression, the countryside was littered with unemployed, and the world's wealthy were watching as their fortunes deflated and their investments evaporated. As men of action, the well-financed New York group sought to eliminate what they reasoned to be the crux of the catastrophe: the United States government.

To assist them in their diabolical scheme, the resourceful plotters recruited the assistance of Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, a venerated, highly decorated, and considerably jaded former Marine. It was the conspirators' earnest hope that their army of 500,000 Great War veterans, under the leadership of General Butler, could overpower the US' feeble peacetime military and reconstitute the government as a more economical fascist dictatorship.

General Smedley Darlington Butler's long military career was packed with conspicuous gallantry, and owing to his bravery and brilliance he was highly respected throughout the ranks. During his service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of both the Army and the Navy; he was one of only twenty people in history to receive the Marine Corps Brevet Medal; and he was one of only a handful of men to twice receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Despite his intrepid leadership in multiple conflicts, Smedley "the Fighting Quaker" Butler gradually cultivated some resentment towards the frequent misuse of the military as a corporate cudgel.

In July 1930, when the Commandant of the Marine Corps Wendell C. Neville died unexpectedly, it was widely assumed that the responsibility would pass to the most senior major general on the active list, General Smedley Butler. But his candid comments regarding military misapplication had won him many political enemies, including President Hoover, and he was consequently denied the appointment. His irritation increased when he was threatened with a court-martial due to an uncomplimentary comment regarding Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. At his own request, Butler retired from active duty soon thereafter.

A Bonus Army encampment aflame
A Bonus Army encampment aflame

About six months later, he stood before a sea of exasperated World War 1 veterans which surrounded Washington DC's Capitol Hill. The mass of over twenty thousand men-- all unemployed by the Great Depression-- were assembled to urge the early payout of their Service Certificates; a pension which had been granted to them in 1924, but was not scheduled to be paid for another thirteen years. General Smedley "Old Gimlet Eye" Butler addressed the marchers amidst a storm of applause, describing the event as "the greatest demonstration of Americanism we've ever had." Three days later, two cavalry regiments descended upon the veterans' encampment. Calamity ensued. Brandishing rifles, bayonets, and tear gas, the soldiers scattered the so-called Bonus Army and set their shanty town ablaze.

The incident, combined with the economic breakdown it represented, led many citizens to suspect that the liberal democracy of America was hopelessly broken. Revolutionary rumblings were afoot, and some of the nation's wealthiest men began to seriously contemplate taking matters into their own hands. Such sentiments were cemented following the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his promised New Deal, a series of reforms which decoupled American currency from the gold standard and erected a tall stack of corporate regulations. Convinced that the program would produce cataclysmic economic effects, the cabal of capitalist conspirators allegedly set their plan into motion.

On the 1st of July 1933, Smedley Butler was visited by a pair of gentlemen who had come to urge him to run for the office of National Commander of the American Legion, an influential organization of veterans. Though Butler declined the invitation, one of the men-- Gerald MacGuire-- made several subsequent visits during which he disclosed additional details. He claimed to represent The Committee for a Sound Dollar, whose primary purpose was to pressure the president to reinstate the gold standard. He implied that his organization had the support of several political leaders, and the financial backing of some of the country's most affluent individuals and successful corporations.

Gerald MacGuire
Gerald MacGuire

The credibility of MacGuire's claims was reinforced when he produced evidence of considerable cash resources and made some eerily accurate predictions regarding personnel changes in the White House. He also accurately described the still-secret but soon-to-be-announced American Liberty League, a high-profile group whose stated purpose was to "defend and uphold the Constitution." The League's principal players were wealthy Americans, including the leaders of DuPont, JP Morgan, US Steel, General Motors, Standard Oil, Colgate, Heinz Foods, Chase National Bank, and Goodyear Tire. There are some who claim that Prescott Bush-- father to the 41st US President and grandfather to the 43rd-- was also entangled in the scheme.

On 22 August 1934, upon his return from a fact-finding trip to Europe, Gerald MacGuire dropped all pretense when he met with General Butler at an empty hotel restaurant. He indicated that his financial backers aimed to assemble an army of half a million disgruntled veterans, sown from the seeds of the original Bonus Army. He also stated that the group would like Butler to be the leader of this force. "We've got three million [dollars] to start with on the line," MacGuire claimed, "and we can get three hundred million if we need it."

According to MacGuire, the League's members could easily manipulate the media to provide public approval. He went on to suggest that the League planned to protect the country from communism by mimicking the methods of Benito Mussolini, a dictator who had risen to power a decade earlier with the support of a veteran militia. Mussolini's fascist government had successfully restored Italy's industrial viability, so it was deemed as an ideal model for repairing America's impoverished economy. According to the plan, Roosevelt and other existing US leadership would be allowed to remain as figureheads, while the true policy-making power would fall to a new cabinet position which Smedley Butler would occupy: The Secretary for General Affairs.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"Old Gimlet Eye" seemed to show some enthusiasm for the arrangement, and invited an associate named Paul Comly French to join the discussions. "Roosevelt hasn't got the real solution to the unemployment situation," MacGuire allegedly told French, "but we'll put across a plan that will be really effective. All unemployed men would be put in military barracks, under forced labor, as Hitler does, and that would soon solve that problem. Another thing we would do immediately would be to register all persons in the United States, as they do in Europe. That would stop a lot of Communist agitators wandering around loose." He also hinted that weapons would be furnished by the Remington Arms company, in which the DuPont family owned a controlling interest.

The American Liberty League's strategy seemed bold, but not implausible. At that time much of the public held the president in low regard, and the League members had considerable control over the nation's news outlets. Furthermore, the US armed forces were at decreased peacetime levels. With the Fighting Quaker to galvanize the 500,000 armed revolutionaries, it was quite possible that such a coup d'état could be successful.

In the autumn of 1934, General Smedley "Old Duckboard" Butler finally sprang into action. A crowd of journalists surrounded him as he addressed the nation in a press conference. But the General did not demand the surrender of the United States government. Instead, he related to the reporters the details of the secret pro-fascist plot, and described the principal players. "The upshot of the whole thing," he explained, "was that I was supposed to lead an organization of five hundred thousand men which would be able to take over the functions of government." The Old Gimlet Eye, it turned out, had been playing along with Gerald MacGuire in order to glean information about the plot. Though Smedley Butler had indeed grown weary of being a government-sponsored "gangster for capitalism," he was still a true patriot. Butler's associate-- Paul Comly French-- was in actuality an undercover reporter for the Philadelphia Record and New York Evening Post. The two men testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), delighted to disclose all they had gathered from MacGuire. Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander James Van Zandt also testified, stating that he had likewise been approached to lead such a march on Washington.

General Smedley Butler's press conference
General Smedley Butler's press conference

MacGuire and the wealthy men he allegedly represented all denied involvement in any such plot, referring to such suggestions as "a joke, a publicity stunt." They even publicly questioned the sanity of General Butler. But MacGuire's self-contradicting testimony was crippling to his credibility. Ultimately the investigative HUAC committee concluded that there was indeed compelling evidence of a plot, as outlined in their report:

"In the last few weeks of the Committee's official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country.... There is no question but that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.

"This committee received evidence from Major General Smedley D. Butler (retired), twice decorated by the Congress of the United States. He testified before the Committee as to conversations with one Gerald C. MacGuire in which the latter is alleged to have suggested the formation of a fascist army under the leadership of General Butler.

"MacGuire denied these allegations under oath, but your Committee was able to verify all the pertinent statements made by General Butler, with the exception of the direct statement suggesting the creation of the organization. This, however, was corroborated in the correspondence of MacGuire with his principal, Robert Sterling Clark, of New York City, while MacGuire was abroad studying the various forms of veterans' organizations of fascist character."

The press was quick to pick up the story, referring to the conspiracy as a "plot without plotters", which "failed to emerge in any alarming proportion." A handful of papers took the story seriously, but most newsmen ridiculed the notion that their bosses' close acquaintances would participate in such rabble-rousing.

The government's inaction was also swift and decisive. Criminal charges were brought against no one, and the collection of prominent men implicated in the plot were immediately excused from testifying; in fact, all mention of their names was scrubbed from the committee's public report. The document stated that "the Committee has ordered stricken therefrom certain immaterial and incompetent evidence, or evidence which was not pertinent to the inquiry." The omitted bits of the report were later published by John L. Spivak when he was mistakenly furnished with a full transcript of the hearings, but the public accepted the additional information with indifference. Even a 1936 letter to Roosevelt from William Dodd, the US Ambassador to Germany, failed to prompt any action:

"A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime.... A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies."

Theories regarding the government's apparent apathy are plentiful. Foremost is the fact that there were still relatively few laws to address such conspiracies during peacetime, so it was unclear what charges could be made with so little evidence. In addition, the plot was replete with political figures and the social elite, turning any journey towards justice into a minefield for all involved. Moreover, one month after the report was issued, Gerald MacGuire died of natural causes at the age of thirty-seven, eliminating the only witness with insight into the shadowy cabal.

Smedley Darlington Butler, still popular among veterans, continued to speak and write regarding what he referred to as the "racket of war." Though he was officially a Republican, he spoke openly to publications of any party affiliation, as evidenced by his oft-quoted remarks in a 1935 issue of the socialist magazine Common Sense:

Capture of Fort Riviere, Haiti, 1915, by D. J. Neary; illustrations of Maj. Smedley Butler, Sgt. Iams, and Pvt. Gross (USMC art collection)
Capture of Fort Riviere, Haiti, 1915, by D. J. Neary; illustrations of Maj. Smedley Butler, Sgt. Iams, and Pvt. Gross (USMC art collection)

"I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras "right" for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.... Looking back on it, I felt I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents."

In the same year he wrote the short book War is a Racket wherein he advocated the transition of the military into a powerful defense-only force. His dream was to eliminate military gangsterism by restricting the American navy to within 200 miles of the US coast, to limit armed aircraft to within 500 miles, and to prohibit the army from even setting foot off of the US mainland.

In the decades since the Business Plot was brought to light, many historians have suggested that the treachery was exaggerated by Butler, or that Gerald MacGuire overstated the resources at the conspirators' disposal. There is much evidence, however, to suggest that not only was such a fascist-friendly conspiracy afoot, but that its underwriters had the will-- and very nearly had the resources-- to bring their un-American ideas to fruition. Were it not for the uncompromising patriotism of Retired Major General Smedley Old-Gimlet-Eye Duckboard Fighting-Quaker Butler, the outcome of that turbulent time might have been profoundly different, indeed.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 14 September 2007. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows.
SHARE

More Information
Related Articles


87 Comments
Rockadilly
Posted 14 September 2007 at 06:26 am

So it was then, so it seems now.


shatteredmindofc
Posted 14 September 2007 at 06:46 am

1st!


Admiral_Dread
Posted 14 September 2007 at 07:14 am

Damn interesting indeed, I found the idea of a defense only military force rather interesting. Think it'd be able to hold up, at least in concept rather then those exact numbers, in this day and age?


My2Cents
Posted 14 September 2007 at 07:34 am

I love that Smedley had so many nick-names. That's when you know that you have accomplished a lot and been a lot of places is when people commonly refer to you with more than one nick-name.
It is scary that our country was almost run by snotty rich people who were only concerned with how they kept their wealth and power. It's cool that Smedley went along with it all for a while with full intentions of uncovering the truth.


CravenMorhead
Posted 14 September 2007 at 07:37 am

shatteredmindofc said:

"1st!"

That is funny for so many different reasons. You're not first, and there was a good twenty minutes between the posts.

Always,
Craven MorHead


Markr
Posted 14 September 2007 at 08:02 am

"Smedley Old-Gimlet-Eye Duckboard Fighting-Quaker Butler"

Blackadder. From the first mention of his name I can only see some character from Blackadder stalking around in military regalia. Makes it all the more interesting :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackadder


sulkykid
Posted 14 September 2007 at 08:41 am

CravenMorhead said: "That is funny for so many different reasons. You're not first, and there was a good twenty minutes between the posts.

Always,
Craven MorHead"

Approximately 5 minutes per character.


Bibliophile
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:00 am

this is really interesting but i have a mall issue with the facts:

" All unemployed men would be put in military barracks, under forced labor, as Hitler does, and that would soon solve that problem"

At this time Hitler wasnt in power, and also he didnt make forced labour camps till much later

DI though


grok68
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:04 am

wherever the american military touches foreign soil, that country goes to hell.
look at 'nam. i was there. i saw what we did to it. and it has yet to recover from what our presence caused.


justjim1
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:05 am

shatteredmindofc #2 September 14th, 2007 6:46 am
1st!

NOT!

History may just repeat itself... who knows?


sh0cktopus
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:10 am

"It is scary that our country was almost run by snotty rich people who were only concerned with how they kept their wealth and power."

Almost? . . .


casaba
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:22 am

Someone told me that it is never the veteran who decides to take the country to war. If only little Bush had flown a bit further than the Gulf of Mexico, maybe a few hundred thousands lives would have been saved. Amazing what a drop in an ocean can do.

More in line with the story: I have found a new person of history to respect. Not a very long list so far, but I don't read enough. Thanks, Alan, another written-to-perfection story.


nukebass
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:52 am

sulkykid said: "Approximately 5 minutes per character."

Hey, we're not counting the time he took to click "Preview" and "Submit" :-)


Miss Cellania
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:59 am

Now that I've read the story, I recall hearing bits and pieces of this over the years. Thanks for laying it out there!


another viewpoint
Posted 14 September 2007 at 10:01 am

...now talk about your contradiction of terms...this one caught my eye...anyone else?
"The government's inaction was also swift and decisive."
How can "inaction" be swift and decisive when it exists all the time?

btw...anyone else notice any similarities between Mr. McGuire and Tom Hanks (sorry Tom)? Do you think this will turn into a made for TV movie? HA.

Now if you really want to affect government...you get everyone to STOP paying taxes...but it must be EVERYONE! Like any business, greatest changes come when the revenue stream is cut off...and where does our government get there income from?


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 14 September 2007 at 10:07 am

'Bonus Army' was an appropriate name, but not a very formidable one. It doesn't really imply a force that could threaten democracy in America. It sounds more like a parade of jaunty folk handing out bonbons and good cheer. Bonus!


hansecke
Posted 14 September 2007 at 10:20 am

This reminds me of the ascent of Hitler in Germany. He was financed and supported by the industrial elites, too, and for the same reasons.


helmett
Posted 14 September 2007 at 10:42 am

casaba said: "Someone told me that it is never the veteran who decides to take the country to war."

That is incorrect. Both JFK and Bush Sr. were combat decorated veterans and took us to war in Vietnam and Kuwait/Iraq in recent memory.

I could post a long, long list of Presidents with actual combat experience and not just military service. Many have seen that war is a function of society that fixes (and creates, most times) problems not solvable by other means.

It sounds cute, but it is a meaningless soundbite.


My2Cents
Posted 14 September 2007 at 10:55 am

sh0cktopus said: "Almost? . . ."

Point Taken


Alan Bellows
Posted 14 September 2007 at 01:00 pm

Bibliophile said: "At this time Hitler wasnt in power, and also he didnt make forced labour camps till much later

DI though"

Actually, the conversation quoted in the article occurred in late 1934, and Hitler gained power in early 1933, almost two years earlier. From Wikipedia:

"On the morning of 30 January 1933, in Hindenburg's office, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor during what some observers later described as a brief and simple ceremony."

As for the forced labor, the quote doesn't say labor camps, just forced labor of unemployed men. Exactly when that started isn't entirely clear, but the quote you noted was taken directly from the transcripts of the 1934 McCormack-Dickstein commitee (which was later became part of the House Committee on Un-American Activities). If it is inaccurate, then the men giving testimony were the ones who were mistaken, and their predictions were uncanny.


sid
Posted 14 September 2007 at 01:50 pm

Technically, the Medal of Honor is simply the Medal of Honor, generally given by the President in the name of Congress. While it is often referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor, that is not really its official name. A good read, nonetheless.


RedSalesperson
Posted 14 September 2007 at 01:56 pm

another viewpoint said: "…now talk about your contradiction of terms…this one caught my eye…anyone else?
"The government's inaction was also swift and decisive."
How can "inaction" be swift and decisive when it exists all the time?

That was the point.

Anyway, damn interesting. I'd heard a little about this, but only about Prescott Bush allegedly being involved in this kind of scheme. The thing that fascinates me is how easily the media was manipulated. Definitely one of my favorite articles in quite a while.


ddonovan
Posted 14 September 2007 at 02:24 pm

Paragraph 9, "sewn from the seeds of the original Bonus Army" should be "sown". Otherwise another great DI article!


JeffWhitledge
Posted 14 September 2007 at 02:33 pm

The government's inaction was also swift and decisive.

I loved that line.


knutars
Posted 14 September 2007 at 02:52 pm

Interestingly enough, all the dudes involved at the top (the leaders of DuPont, JP Morgan, US Steel, General Motors, Standard Oil, Colgate, Heinz Foods, Chase National Bank, and Goodyear Tire, plus possibly Prescott Bush) have descendants of various kinds. One can but wonder what they are up to today.

"According to MacGuire, the League's members could easily manipulate the media to provide public approval." and "The press was quick to pick up the story, referring to the conspiracy as a "plot without plotters", which "failed to emerge in any alarming proportion." Now, that's pretty damning to the owners of the media if you ask me.

So the bankers, some industrialists and the media were planning to take over USA with the help of an army of veterans. That's a chilling thouht when you consider the facts that the US economy is pretty close to an immediate collaps right now.

http://www.iamthewitness.com/audio/TFC-2007-09-12-Rafeeq.mp3


Alan Bellows
Posted 14 September 2007 at 03:28 pm

ddonovan said: "Paragraph 9, "sewn from the seeds of the original Bonus Army" should be "sown". Otherwise another great DI article!"

Oops... thanks for pointing that out. I'll go fix it.


Bollo
Posted 14 September 2007 at 05:15 pm

"Moreover, one month after the report was issued, Gerald MacGuire died of natural causes ... eliminating the only witness with insight into the shadowy cabal."

Don't want to go all conspiracy here, but the only one who can talk dies of 'natural causes'? One month after? Really? Seems a little suspicious..!


Michael Burns
Posted 14 September 2007 at 06:34 pm

And so we are supposed to believe that the corporate fat cats, in order to establish their supposed corporate fascist state, went running to the Butler, the guy who had been active in the Bonus March, which the United States Investigative Service (later called the "Federal Bureau of Investigation") was saying at the time was organized by Communist front groups (http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/bonmarch.htm - http://foia.fbi.gov/bonmarch/bonmarch1a.pdf - See page 7), and who had been denouncing the US government as early as WW I because he said its foreign policy was already run on a corporate fascist model (about which he had a point).
If Butler had somehow come to power, the businessmen he claimed were asking him to lauch a coup would have been his first targets, and any newspaper reader of the time would have know that.
Sorry, Alan, but it would seem that the solidly Democratic Congress of the 1930s had sound reasons for allowing the bold accusations made by Butler to wilt into tepid innuendo. Butler had already failed in his attempt at a brownshirt march to power (The Bonus March), and was merely trying to dirty up those he saw as the great enemy. That one reporter backed up his claims should not surprise anyone (I doubt there is a cockamamie cause in the world that couldn't find one reporter to corroborate everything).
If anything, it was Roosevelt himself who tried to institute programs that would have installed something like full-fledged fascism in the US through his "National Recovery Act" (most of which was struck down by the US Supreme Court). In spite of that reverse Roosevelt did succeed in getting a large part of the unemployed workforce into something like military camps through the Work Progress Administration (WPA) (The Roosevelt Myth A critical account of the New Deal; John T. Flynn; Fox & Wilkes, 1948). Roosevelt also made explicit statements praising Mussolini and his policies (Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939. By Wolfgang Schivelbusch. Metropolitan Books, 2006), and many of his programs followed Mussolini's example.
Alan, this "conspiracy" doesn't make any sense at all, and only the lack of knowledge most people today have about history makes it possible to dress this pig up and walk it through this beauty contest. Butler had a point about what US foreign policy was like at that time (and not only then), but he is the last man on earth that corporate fat cats would have gone to as their Hindenburg, much less their Mussolini or Hitler. This article is a disgrace to the website, and that is Damn Sad. I'm afraid it will make me think twice before I believe anything I see here. Have at me if you wish, I've said my piece.


justjim1
Posted 14 September 2007 at 09:18 pm

And so we are supposed to believe that the corporate fat cats, in order to establish their supposed corporate fascist state, went running to the Butler, the guy who had been active in the Bonus March, which the United States Investigative Service (later called the "Federal Bureau of Investigation") was saying at the time was organized by Communist front groups (http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/bonmarch.htm - http://foia.fbi.gov/bonmarch/bonmarch1a.pdf - See page 7), and who had been denouncing the US government as early as WW I because he said its foreign policy was already run on a corporate fascist model (about which he had a point).
If Butler had somehow come to power, the businessmen he claimed were asking him to lauch a coup would have been his first targets, and any newspaper reader of the time would have know that.
Sorry, Alan, but it would seem that the solidly Democratic Congress of the 1930s had sound reasons for allowing the bold accusations made by Butler to wilt into tepid innuendo. Butler had already failed in his attempt at a brownshirt march to power (The Bonus March), and was merely trying to dirty up those he saw as the great enemy. That one reporter backed up his claims should not surprise anyone (I doubt there is a cockamamie cause in the world that couldn't find one reporter to corroborate everything).
If anything, it was Roosevelt himself who tried to institute programs that would have installed something like full-fledged fascism in the US through his "National Recovery Act" (most of which was struck down by the US Supreme Court). In spite of that reverse Roosevelt did succeed in getting a large part of the unemployed workforce into something like military camps through the Work Progress Administration (WPA) (The Roosevelt Myth A critical account of the New Deal; John T. Flynn; Fox & Wilkes, 1948). Roosevelt also made explicit statements praising Mussolini and his policies (Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939. By Wolfgang Schivelbusch. Metropolitan Books, 2006), and many of his programs followed Mussolini's example.
Alan, this "conspiracy" doesn't make any sense at all, and only the lack of knowledge most people today have about history makes it possible to dress this pig up and walk it through this beauty contest. Butler had a point about what US foreign policy was like at that time (and not only then), but he is the last man on earth that corporate fat cats would have gone to as their Hindenburg, much less their Mussolini or Hitler. This article is a disgrace to the website, and that is Damn Sad. I'm afraid it will make me think twice before I believe anything I see here. Have at me if you wish, I've said my piece.

Could this be smoke to cover smoke? Hmmmmmm


Apollo
Posted 14 September 2007 at 10:18 pm

This whole post reminds me of http://zeitgeistmovie.com/
I think I'm beginning to believe this "kook" stuff.


Falco Peregrinus
Posted 15 September 2007 at 10:35 am

Apollo said: "This whole post reminds me of http://zeitgeistmovie.com/

I think I'm beginning to believe this "kook" stuff."

Having just watched that movie, the parallels between the coup d'etat in this article and the movie are evident.

To sum up the ideas purported in "Zeitgeist: The Movie" briefly, it's about the ever escalating agenda to enslave the masses by those in power through control and utilization of economics, politics, the media, and religion etc.. These powers being the centralized banks of the world and the heads of very large cooperations. The incident in the article seems like one of the first jabs at trying to bend the country, and the world at large, to the wills of the aforementioned powers, with a sophomoric military attack as opposed to the more subversive tactics in the movie by many of the same parties as in this article. Also, related to either the article or someone's comment, don't remember which, Prescott Bush is also mentioned in the sordid dealings of the tangled web the movie weaves.

If you like conspiracy theories, this movie (hour and 56-ish minutes long) has them in spades. Some of which i find both damn interesting and highly unnerving. Spirit of the times, indeed.


Bibliophile
Posted 15 September 2007 at 10:57 am

Thanks for the correction


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 15 September 2007 at 11:05 am

Michael Burns said: "Sorry, Alan, but it would seem that the solidly Democratic Congress of the 1930s had sound reasons for allowing the bold accusations made by Butler to wilt into tepid innuendo. Butler had already failed in his attempt at a brownshirt march to power (The Bonus March), and was merely trying to dirty up those he saw as the great enemy. That one reporter backed up his claims should not surprise anyone (I doubt there is a cockamamie cause in the world that couldn't find one reporter to corroborate everything).

If anything, it was Roosevelt himself who tried to institute programs that would have installed something like full-fledged fascism in the US through his "National Recovery Act" (most of which was struck down by the US Supreme Court). In spite of that reverse Roosevelt did succeed in getting a large part of the unemployed workforce into something like military camps through the Work Progress Administration (WPA) (The Roosevelt Myth A critical account of the New Deal; John T. Flynn; Fox & Wilkes, 1948). Roosevelt also made explicit statements praising Mussolini and his policies (Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939. By Wolfgang Schivelbusch. Metropolitan Books, 2006), and many of his programs followed Mussolini's example.

Alan, this "conspiracy" doesn't make any sense at all, and only the lack of knowledge most people today have about history makes it possible to dress this pig up and walk it through this beauty contest. Butler had a point about what US foreign policy was like at that time (and not only then), but he is the last man on earth that corporate fat cats would have gone to as their Hindenburg, much less their Mussolini or Hitler. This article is a disgrace to the website, and that is Damn Sad. I'm afraid it will make me think twice before I believe anything I see here. Have at me if you wish, I've said my piece."

you're making some pretty bold statements there, most of them contradicting the majority of historians (see the wikipedia articles, the BBC documentary, etc). but you offer very little evidence... you base your conclusions on some a lot of assumptions, some of them incorrect. one important thing to remember is that the investigating commitee verified almost everything butler told them. also, from the article: "Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander James Van Zandt also testified, stating that he had likewise been approached to lead such a march on Washington." what would motivate van zandt to lie to the commitee?

you should do a little reading and critical thinking before saying something like "This article is a disgrace to the website, and that is Damn Sad. I'm afraid it will make me think twice before I believe anything I see here."


itistoday
Posted 15 September 2007 at 12:55 pm

Apollo said: "This whole post reminds me of http://zeitgeistmovie.com/

I think I'm beginning to believe this "kook" stuff."

Thanks Apollo for that link. I too am beginning to believe this "kook" stuff. :-(


Rush
Posted 15 September 2007 at 05:40 pm

Semper Fidelis


buttered_toast
Posted 15 September 2007 at 06:20 pm

My2Cents said: "I love that Smedley had so many nick-names. That's when you know that you have accomplished a lot and been a lot of places is when people commonly refer to you with more than one nick-name.
It is scary that our country was almost run by snotty rich people who were only concerned with how they kept their wealth and power. It's cool that Smedley went along with it all for a while with full intentions of uncovering the truth."

Sadly i'm pretty sure that those snotty rich people are running it now...


supercalafragalistic
Posted 16 September 2007 at 02:02 am

In the picture above I noticed that the White House doesn't look terribly far away from the location of this camp. Wouldn't security be tighter if you're actually on or near the Hill as opposed to several towns away? Why would they make themselves vulnerable so detection? Why didn't they try to hide themselves better? Plus, if there were so many people involved I'm going to guess that many other people were aware of this plot as well such as the wives and children of the men who were participating, and even though it was pre-internet word of mouth could have given them away as well. I mean let's face it-- if your husband is off overthrowing the US Government, you've got a great topic to gossip about with your girlfriends.


RichVR
Posted 16 September 2007 at 06:53 am

Please excuse me for hoping that this was going to be about a small green parrot.


nona
Posted 16 September 2007 at 09:56 am

Bollo said: "Don't want to go all conspiracy here, but the only one who can talk dies of 'natural causes'? One month after? Really? Seems a little suspicious..!"

my first thought too. Natural causes? yeah right!

Michael Burns - did you really, in your comment, refer to a group of American War Veterans as 'brownshirts' - in other words, Fascists - for daring to form a peaceful protest to ask for money they'd already been promised? Seems more than a touch disrespectful to me. As for not believing top Americans businessmen would want to institute a fascist state - I understand more than a few were fervent admirers of Hitler, especially the way he dealt with the unemployment problem (a problem they caused in the USA pretty much by the way they greedily grabbed as much money as they could whilst throwing the weak, ill and aged out onto the streets) and 'the Jewish problem' - including Joe Kennedy, ambassador to Britain during the war, who spent most of the time he was stationed in London (during the Blitz) urging the British to capitulate to Nazism. Also those same top businessness held the USA back from trying to stop the Nazis until Pearl Habour, when they realised they needed to stop the Japanese, and couldn't do it whilst the rest of the world was tied up trying to stop the Nazis. A cabal of rich American Nazi's in the 30's sounds very believeable to me.

I do feel sorry for Smedley. He seemed to be everything an Amerian hero should be - brave, clever, cunning and patriotic, but when he exposes something striking at the very heart of American life, he's as good as laughed off the stage. I think it was very high-minded of him not to participate in any coup against the government that treated him with such disdain.


ZeTron57
Posted 16 September 2007 at 07:34 pm

DI as usual. I truly enjoy this site.
The more and more I read about Americas past and the great visions we used to share as a nation; I see that we are straying further away from them each passing year. I'm to the point that I want to leave this country. We we're once great and had true fair and balanced ideals. But now those are mostly lost and the average good American citizen is just clinging onto their recent fleeting memories. The people in power do not care about what this county was founded on, not truly. They care about the almighty dollar in their pockets. Now we have manifested into the 3rd level of hell; where corporations are considered a person in the eyes of the courts. We and are just headed deeper into this capitalistic reality were the bottom line is considered Holy Scripture. We are like a huge train that has tons of momentum build up, but the engine quit working long ago and now we are just coasting on our massive weight. Most Americans did not feel the break down and are just riding along like all is well. It's as if most are sheeple with the News paper (media) in our faces reading half truths and outright lies. But soon the overhead lights will come on *Ding, Ding* and people will begin realize that the colors, Red White and Blue, the conductor of their train is wearing is no longer visible because it is covered with corporate logos from head to toe. They run the show now and it makes me sad and sick, because we would rather get a Breaking CNN News flash that OJ has been arrested in Vegas or talk about a $200 drop in the price of a phone that will be outdated and obsolete news next year. While there is a war going on, but most don’t seem to care, really care. Ill even admit that I would rather talk about this article than the war. Someone needs to pull the emergency breaks on this America express rail asap and jolt many out of their sweet Big Mac and Starbucks lullaby. Corporate and Media control are now sadly becoming firmly rooted as the sad true "Spirit of the Times" (definition of: Zeitgeist) Yes there are people who are starting to wake up, and others who never went to sleep with films like zeitgeistmovie.com being released for all to see. But That's almost too little. Most people think all is well and call equate movies like that to people who like to wear tin foil hats....


supercalafragalistic
Posted 16 September 2007 at 08:02 pm

Nona, I like the way you thought through the issues presented in the article. There are many good people out there now who are made fun of or less tv-friendly and they get laughed off the stage or laughed at on stages like the Late Show and the Tonight Show. There are so many issues swirling around in our country today that I wish I had more information on to even be able to have the ability to think about on a deeper, more philosophical level. So often the news doesn't tell us anything of true value, or only reveals the tip of the iceberg. The intelligent people and thinkers in society like us, the people who read articles on here, and many people out there who know their stuff-- a lot of the time can either intuit or reason the extent of some of our problems we face as a nation, but it is frustrating when the only good insights you can have are often hindsights. I have a lot of friends who follow current politics very closely but they seem disheartened and powerless. I wish I could do something, and not be one of the people who did nothing when the world looks back on this time in American history, but what exactly can I do? If I knew that, I would take action.


supercalafragalistic
Posted 16 September 2007 at 08:10 pm

ZeTron57, I wholeheartedly agree and love what you wrote. Just love it. There are thousands of people out there who agree, but could/should people do? I guess the solution presented in the above article is out. I wonder how people in China feel about the same issues in their country? We know what happens if they try to protest...


D Hall
Posted 16 September 2007 at 08:43 pm

Michael Burns said: ". . . Butler, the guy who had been active in the Bonus March, which the United States Investigative Service (later called the "Federal Bureau of Investigation") was saying at the time was organized by Communist front groups. . . Butler had already failed in his attempt at a brownshirt march to power (The Bonus March), and was merely trying to dirty up those he saw as the great enemy.
If anything, it was Roosevelt himself who tried to institute programs that would have installed something like full-fledged fascism in the US through his "National Recovery Act" (most of which was struck down by the US Supreme Court). In spite of that reverse Roosevelt did succeed in getting a large part of the unemployed workforce into something like military camps through the Work Progress Administration (WPA) and many of his programs followed Mussolini's example.
Alan, this "conspiracy" doesn't make any sense at all, and only the lack of knowledge most people today have about history makes it possible to dress this pig up and walk it through this beauty contest. This article is a disgrace to the website, and that is Damn Sad. I'm afraid it will make me think twice before I believe anything I see here. . . "

These same arguments (including AM radio-style ad hominem slams) were rife in those opposing FDR during his presidency and for every Roosevelt hater since then. I have often wondered if their hatred of FDR was rooted in the belief he supported the working stiff and was thus, a traitor to his own class. Social Darwinists of the depression era (and apparently today) just love to paint FDR and the progressives and liberals as communists, "fellow travelers" and/or fascists. The rhetoric is usually a smokescreen to cover for the economic (and social) disasters caused by unbridled capitalism as practiced by the corporate robber barons then-- as now.


D Hall
Posted 16 September 2007 at 09:16 pm

Oh, and before I forget entirely--Damned Interesting!


elifint
Posted 17 September 2007 at 05:54 am

First! ;)

Zetron: Your writing style is an amazing blend, compelling yet constantly flirting with the boundary of coherence. It's like the words are falling out of your head faster than you can order them, yet the whole thing somehow makes sense and makes me want to agree with it.


kwiksand
Posted 17 September 2007 at 07:34 am

I'm not an American, and hadn't heard about this, but I found this intersting tid bit from a couple of days ago: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/09/15/iraqwar.protest.ap/index.html

Not really related of course, but the title "100,000 patriots march Capitol Hill" seemed relevant, none the less.


wargammer
Posted 17 September 2007 at 11:08 am

grok68 said: "wherever the american military touches foreign soil, that country goes to hell.
look at 'nam. i was there. i saw what we did to it. and it has yet to recover from what our presence caused."

yeah, those 3,000,000 people that dies after we left all just were so unhappy they killed themselves, it wasnt Pol Pot or anybody.

simply pathetic......

Hitler was a Leftist. he was a Solialist.
grow up people and learn history


Shrot
Posted 17 September 2007 at 01:12 pm

wargammer said: "yeah, those 3,000,000 people that dies after we left all just were so unhappy they killed themselves, it wasnt Pol Pot or anybody.

simply pathetic……

Hitler was a Leftist. he was a Solialist.

grow up people and learn history"

Uh, huh . . . what's a gammer?


sh0cktopus
Posted 17 September 2007 at 03:03 pm

Shrot said: "Uh, huh . . . what's a gammer?"

According to the dictionary, it's an elderly woman, most likely British. A contracted form of "grandmother." See also: gaffer


J M R
Posted 17 September 2007 at 04:04 pm

wargammer said: "yeah, those 3,000,000 people that dies after we left all just were so unhappy they killed themselves, it wasnt Pol Pot or anybody.

simply pathetic……

Hitler was a Leftist. he was a Solialist.

grow up people and learn history"

Pol Pot was the Prime Minister of Cambodia, not Vietnam, so I am not sure how Pol Pot relates to this critique of the earlier comment on US policy in Vietnam. Likewise, "left"/ "right" have relevance within the context of a democracy where the influence of political parties and the electorate tends to keep the "left" and "right" artificially separated into distinct political ideologies. Dictators are free to draw from both the political and ideological "left" and "right." Using Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini as serious templates for measuring US liberals or conservatives is a facile exercise. While I would not argue that history is completely subjective, I would suggest that as highly egotistical creatures we like to believe versions of the past that validate our own vision of the present--including all our own personal foibles. I agree that it is important to "learn" history, but in learning history we should also consider how the rise of the modern state shaped "history" as an instrument of nationalistic ideology and "progress." One of the great cruelties of modern intellectual life is that whether on the "right" or "left" as "historians" we all struggle with the legacy of nationalistic ideologies.


D Hall
Posted 17 September 2007 at 04:24 pm

Hitler and his "National Socialists" were more right-wing than anything else. They had the support of nearly all of the industrialist and capitalist powers in Germany as well as the anti-semitic political factions that blamed the Jews for stabbing the German Empire in the back, causing the defeat in 1918. Despite the use of the term in their title, the National Socialist Workers Party or NAZIs were vehemently anti-soviet, anti-bolshevek, and anti-liberal.

As for Cambodia---the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot did massacre millions. However, the first victims were the Hmong and Montaignards, who helped the Americans in our secret war which was a spill-over from our adventure in Vietnam. We do have a habit of causing chaos when we invade a country. Critics of the Iraq quagmire often point to the lesson of Vietnam. I think we should look to the Spanish American War. As a result of our rescuing Cuba and the Philippines from under the Spanish opressors, we gained the honor of occupying our liberated friends for decades. We ruled Cuba until 1959--and still have a base there (ever hear of Guantanamo?). We had a full-blown war in the Philippines from 1898 until 1905. Then we had troops there until Japan took it for a few years (1941-1945) then we finally began to seriously pull out in the late 1980s.
History does offer lessons. We just have to be careful who we learn them from.
This was a DI article: you can tell from all the argument--er--discussion it generated.


J M R
Posted 17 September 2007 at 09:31 pm

I would still argue that it is misleading to label Adolf Hitler, the NAZI party, and European fascists as mainly "right-wingers." This confuses terms that have become a part of our contemporary political lexicon with a complex political history that does not lend itself to simple classifications. The development of "Progressivism" was a complex transatlantic process shaped by a diverse group of intellectuals and politicians who were eventually arrayed across a broad ideological/political spectrum--from "right" to "left," "liberal" to "conservative." Details, where the NAZIs are concerned can raise more paradoxes than answers. According to the criteria listed above Franklin Roosevelt's administration could be called "right-wing," in that until 1934 he had significant backing from US industrialists. Furthermore, the NIRA arguably allowed Industrialists to create a trust through which they controlled prices, wages, work hours and production. FDR's 1933 banking legislation saved the existing banking system. FDR did not have the same kind of concentration camps as NAZI Germany, but he did establish concentration camps for Japanese Americans. My point is the way we use the terms "right" and "left," given their contemporary ideological baggage often does not serve us well when discussing historical subjects.
Anyway, the Spanish-American war example is very interesting. In terms of Iraq, the US occupation of the Philippines also arguably sparked a religious civil war, although between Muslim and Christian factions.
Without taking this on a further tangent, I think essentially the same point is being made on Pol Pot/Vietnam--US intervention in Vietnam had far reaching negative effects.
The article was indeed very interesting and raised a number of questions. I found it interesting that Gerald MacGuire thought the Bonus Army veterans would accept Douglas MacArthur as a possible leader--given his role in routing the Bonus Army during the Hoover administration. Although I do not doubt that the testimony was correct and the idea tossed around, the plan seems less than sound. Strategy and tactics are two different animals. While I would not compare General Butler to Whit Chambers, in some respects the plan presented to him seems almost as wild as the tale of the "Pumpkin Papers." But then HUAC did generate some wild tales.


CaptainBagz
Posted 17 September 2007 at 11:13 pm

DI Article

DI commentary, I do so enjoy this site.


wh44
Posted 18 September 2007 at 05:01 am

Left vs. right is so one-dimensional! Let's raise it to two dimensions:
The Political Compass
Someday we might even try for three dimensions. ;-)


Gerbal
Posted 18 September 2007 at 03:57 pm

Interesting to note, some of Roosevelts advisers urged him to mobilize the VFW and use them to establish a fascist state. Fascism was gaining popularity world wide and appeared to be the solution to the problems of democracy.


kolanos
Posted 18 September 2007 at 05:28 pm

Not much has changed since 1936...

"For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions.

Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will.

If that's the charge, I stand guilty and I am proud of it."
- David Rockefeller, from his autobiography "Memoirs"


J M R
Posted 18 September 2007 at 08:09 pm

Interesting quote. One wonders which charge D R is claiming--cabal/treason or international economic and political conspiracy? The problem with a fascist US coup in 1933 is that the interested parties did not have an historic focus or agenda. Adolf Hitler and what became the NAZI party had an historic agenda dating from 1918 which gave them about 15 years to formulate/finalize a plan of action. Although many Americans did not disdained fascism in 1933--as they would by 1939 and certainly by 1941--the US electorate was overwhelmingly isolationist which would have made an effective US fascist state very difficult. While authoritarian and despised by certain segments of the German electorate, the NAZI regime also depended on a fair degree of popular support which was tied to NAZI imperialism and concurrent military success. Given US popular sentiment in 1933, a US fascist state would have been hard pressed to mobilize the nation for imperialistic ventures. That of course is the contemporary fantasy we hold about fascism and the German NAZI state--that fascism did not require public consent or cooperation. Granted propaganda was used to foster/fool public consent, but even a fascist state had to address political realities. A US fascist state would have been faced almost immediately with an internal power struggle--who would be THE leader? Then THE leader would have to address economic issues--to save or change the gold standard--to extend loans, grants, or direct relief--how to stimulate the consumer base--how to raise wages while keeping production high and prices low--how to employ over 10 million unemployed--how to keep Japan away from US industrial interests in Asia--how to keep Germany out of US oil and mineral interests in the Middle East and Africa--how to keep Italy out of US interests in Africa. The idea of a US fascist junta in 1933 just seems far fetched when considered from a tactical standpoint. In this respect General Butler would seem to have been either brilliantly insightful or cleverly reticent. Fascism for the US had about as much a chance as Soviet style Communism--actually in 1933 Soviet Communism had a better chance.


Markers
Posted 18 September 2007 at 08:34 pm

It is scary that our country was almost run by snotty rich people who were only concerned with how they kept their wealth and power.

Uh... they succeeded. Welcome to the North American Union, formerly known as the United States of America.


kwiksand
Posted 19 September 2007 at 12:53 am

By the way, this'll be totally embarrassing if its not, but is the initial picture of Smedley Butler actually Daniel Craig (The latest James Bond) from a film or something? I've visited the page at least 10 times since the article appeared and I've thought it every time.


nessie
Posted 19 September 2007 at 02:17 am

>the lack of knowledge most people today have about history makes it possible to dress this pig up and walk it through this beauty contest.

It's too bad Butler's contemporary, premier journalist/historian George Seldes, isn't still around. We can be certain he would disagree with this blatant historical revisionism. It was primarily as a result of Seldes' tireless agitation that the suppressed Congressional testimony about the coup attempt was ever released at all, and that took ten years. He devotes an entire chapter to the coup plot in his excellent book, *Facts and Fascism*. Unfortunately, it's gone out of print. If it has been purged from your local library, demand to know why.

See also, *The Plot To Seize The White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR * by Jules Archer:

http://www.clubhousewreckards.com/plot/plottoseizethewhitehouse.htm


supplex
Posted 20 September 2007 at 05:06 am

Smedley Darlington Butler..
what a great name


Silverhill
Posted 20 September 2007 at 02:48 pm

kwiksand said: "By the way, this'll be totally embarrassing if its not, but is the initial picture of Smedley Butler actually Daniel Craig (The latest James Bond) from a film or something?"
No, it's not Daniel Craig, though there is some resemblance. There is also some resemblance, IMO, to (a leaner version of) Jim Nabors.


Bolens
Posted 20 September 2007 at 04:57 pm

Silverhill said: "No, it's not Daniel Craig, though there is some resemblance. There is also some resemblance, IMO, to (a leaner version of) Jim Nabors."

I was thinking Marty Feldman.


Jeffrey93
Posted 21 September 2007 at 05:14 pm

Can somebody explain to me why House Committee on Un-American Activities is HUAC and not HCUAA? Damn acronyms...so confusing!

In the same year he wrote the short book War is a Racket wherein he advocated the transition of the military into a powerful defense-only force. His dream was to eliminate military gangsterism by restricting the American navy to within 200 miles of the US coast, to limit armed aircraft to within 500 miles, and to prohibit the army from even setting foot off of the US mainland.

Sounds like a damn fine idea!!!

supercalafragalistic said: "In the picture above I noticed that the White House doesn't look terribly far away from the location of this camp. "

Dood...if you can see the White House in that picture...I'll eat my hat. Capitol Building maybe...but not the White House. I hope you aren't a US citizen.


Reginald the Bold
Posted 21 September 2007 at 10:49 pm

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT
========================

Again we see the use of a meritous figurehead or ideal to front the agenda of the unscrupulous !

Those who seek to consolidate their power and manipulate the masses ,will always fear the overwhelming power of free thought.
These tyrants will seize every opportunity to use currrent affairs to their advantage as history has shown time and time again.

We the people,are the medium through which this oppression must exert itself and so from birth,we are subject to propaganda.

By seeking to eliminate such misinformation and empowering ourselves as a collective through free thinking,we the people create our own ideals,and not those pre programmed into the global community.

As we (seemingly....please !!!!!!!) unwittingly move towards a united world in terms of compliance ,beaurocracy,and corporate agenda then so we may face the ultimate peril of worldwide control.

I need not elaborate examples of current situations which illustrate such activities (ipso facto - take any period of world history where tyrany and oppression has been planned to enslave and capture resources) although I shall summarise thus:-

Exploration into new territories spearheaded by private 'enterprise' for profit
Forcible / negotiated obtainment of new territories
Exertion of social ideals onto said areas expands control
Populance controlled by media of powerholding groups

Now thes above are nothing new,in fact they are inherant in many of our singular world's cultures and basically human nature (as well as any organised intelligent animal or sentient being).
My Point is that our countries are beset with those who seek to apply their aggenda on a global scale and within this we must ALWAYS bear in mind that without us,the people,their money,influence,and power are nothing.

This my friends is their greatest fear and forces them into to greater acts to safeguard themselves.

If you want them to really crap their pants then here's a few quotes ....

-"Whatever happend to the work of Nikola Tesla ?"
-"I'll pay by cash"
-"...laughter...I dont read the papers as its full of lies"

Reg


oneeyechuck
Posted 22 September 2007 at 09:28 am

Wow! I just don't know who to believe anymore - my brother, a big conspiracy "nut" or the corporate controlled media that seems more interested in reporting on the doings of "celebutards" [thanks and credit to the Stephanie Miller Show] than real policy issues (not to be confused with the popularity/mudslinging contests currently taking place).
I seem to recall something about "bread and circuses"???
Jefferson said that the real threat of revolution hanging over the collective head of government was the only true check on power.
In my opinion, even the chance of revolution at the ballot box has been removed because of two factors. First, the media "anoints" it's darlings from among the declared candidates (Dennis Kucinich [sp?] or Mike Gravel [again,sp?] being virtually ignored or made a laughingstock by the national press, not to mention "third party" candidates, anyone?) and second, so-called "black box" voting machines without a paper trail.
Given the microscope that the media places on candidates private lives today, people like JFK or FDR would never even consider running for office. Even though he was never elected to public office, could you imagine the uproar Ben Franklin's more unseemly exploits would have caused? Light should be shed on matters like business dealings and connections, but some things should be considered private. Most people didn't care that W J Clinton had a dalliance in the Oval Office, only that he lied about it under oath.
Politicians in this country are bought and paid for through the idiotic system of fundraising. Given our recent history, and asking the question "cui bono?", I'd say the corps have gotten one hell of a bargain.
Umm...Can anyone help me off this soapbox before I fall?


Eponymous
Posted 24 September 2007 at 06:58 pm

On his political podcast Common Sense, Dan Carlin devotes the second half of Show #101 to Smedley Butler. He goes into Smedley Butler's fascinating military background in a lot more detail and gives a brief overview of his life story. Makes for very good listening material. The show can be downloaded here...(its episode 101 called "Beer for Breakfast".
http://www.dancarlin.com/cspage1.asp


.Smiley.
Posted 27 September 2007 at 07:21 am

wargammer said: "yeah, those 3,000,000 people that dies after we left all just were so unhappy they killed themselves, it wasnt Pol Pot or anybody.

simply pathetic...

Hitler was a Leftist. he was a Solialist.

grow up people and learn history"

Yeah those 3 000 000 people did not die in *Cambodia* (not Vietnam). And Pol Pot did not kill them, not at all. (Hint: the only thing the Viets did was actually stopping the genocide by attacking Pol Pot)

Simply pathetic.

Hitler was backed by the richest corporate families in Germany. He was violently anti-communist.

Grow up.
And learn History.

[Why, yes, I love kicking dead horses!]


Orbean
Posted 29 September 2007 at 10:55 pm

Daniel Craig and Tom Hanks (with some extra weight makeup) should make a movie about this incident as an allegory about current corporate power in the United States.


sealedhalo
Posted 01 October 2007 at 12:01 pm

Your entire way of life, liberty, our constitution, bill of rights, and your freedom you so adore today rested in the heart of one man, HE WAS A MARINE! This was not the only nor will it be the last time that this nations well being will depend on the choice of one man, lets hope any and all of the men that need make that decision will be MARINES. This is why my daughters hero's are not pop stars, football players, or famous actors. THEY ARE medal of honor winners, leaders, scientist, and the people that truly should be famous and remembered every day in your heart. Turn off the football game, go hang the colors outside your door. SEMPER FI!

THE GUNNY


Hoekstes
Posted 02 October 2007 at 03:17 am

Man I love living in South Africa. And no, Nelson Mandela isn't the president anymore. And no, lions and elephants don't walk the streets. And no, corporations don't run our government. And no, we don't invade countries for oil. And no, we are not communists.


claytoncramer
Posted 02 October 2007 at 05:33 pm

I had a rather long article in History Today in 1995 about the plot. It's a bit more balanced in examining the story. In particular, there's some reason to suspect that members of Roosevelt's administration were in on it--which makes it all the more curious as to whether the plot was real or not. That PDF linked above of the New Masses article? I was who scanned it in originally, along with other documents related to it. And it is worth reading just to see what constituted leftist thought at the time--claiming that the Jews put Hitler in power.


claytoncramer
Posted 02 October 2007 at 05:36 pm

Hoekstes said: "Man I love living in South Africa. ... And no, we don't invade countries for oil."
South Africa does invade countries for other reasons. A friend's brother spent quite a bit of time with the South African army in extreme northern South-West Africa (actually Angola).

If we had invaded Iraq for oil, it would have been far cheaper to just have dropped sanctions--as was under discussion in the Bush Administration before 9/11.


claytoncramer
Posted 02 October 2007 at 05:44 pm

Hitler was backed by the richest corporate families in Germany. He was violently anti-communist.

Grow up.

And learn History.

Yes, learn history. The National Socialist German Workers Party (commonly abbreviated as Nazi) was, until 1931, a moderate socialist movement. The 1924 platform included government takeover of department stores, so that individual businessmen could set up shop. The Stresser brothers were among the strongest ideological socialists of the NSDAP.

The decision to move towards the center in 1931 was largely driven by corporate contributions, no question. Some of the larger business interests perceived that the choice was going to be Communism or National Socialism, and thought that they would get a better shake from Hitler.

Nazi rhetoric throughout the war attacked the evils of capitalism as a tool of Jews--when it wasn't attacking communism as a tool of Jews. To call them "capitalist" is as sloppy as calling them communists. They were a mixture of socialist rhetoric and practices with non-laissez capitalism.


friendlyguy
Posted 04 October 2007 at 08:55 pm

Seconding Burns here. This whole article reads as if it was a culled from a conspiracy crackpot's pet Wikipedia page, and there is very little to back up the story outside of heresay and supposition.

Damned poor. Please stick to interesting *real* historical events and scientific phenomenon.


Former-Marine
Posted 04 October 2007 at 10:43 pm

Oorah! I first learned of Smedley Butler in Marine Boot Camp. Damn fine Marine. Kickin' ass and taking a whole bunch of names. I must admit though that I had heard of this story (Government Take-Over, right in the USofA) in High School, but must not have been paying attention; I don't remember anything regarding what is presented in this article.
Keep up the Damn good work!


Anonymousx2
Posted 18 October 2007 at 04:05 am

Last.


Vitanaut
Posted 12 December 2007 at 10:32 am

One bit of confusion is that this group of conspiritors actually started much earlier and they were/are responsible for much more.
It has been suggested (with a lot of evidence---seee below) that they had already ochestrated the consolidation of international banking power (creation of the Fed) the great depression (to set the stage) and a whole lot more.

Check out part III of this movie. If you can stomach the first two parts ...
http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/
prepare to have your paradigm shifted.

friendlyguy said: "Seconding Burns here. This whole article reads as if it was a culled from a conspiracy crackpot's pet Wikipedia page, and there is very little to back up the story outside of heresay and supposition.

Damned poor. Please stick to interesting *real* historical events and scientific phenomenon."

"They must find it difficult... those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than the truth as authority." -Gerald Massey


Anthropositor
Posted 23 March 2008 at 02:19 pm

I have seen a few remarks here seeking to establish the roots and varieties of conspiracy. It is a waste of time and effort. Conspiracies, alliances, movements, parties do not tend to have a concrete starting point. They evolve. They merge. They go from opposition of one another to tacit cooperation, and then back to bitter opposition of one another again.

We see very clear evidence of this in our nomination process. It is a messy business. Voters are duped by innuendo and propaganda flying in all directions.

Recently the Clinton camp has taken heavy hits because of the torque put on some of Bill's remarks. He was reigned in. Ferraro made a statement which was not as extreme as it was made out to be. She then stepped away from an official part in the campaign.

McCain too, has no trouble immediately distancing himself from the remarks of his own pitbulls when they seem not to have been received well by the mob.

Throughout all this, various segments of the "news" media have adjusted their stories, giving simulations of being "fair and balanced." I have heard a great deal of argument about whose side a given network was on. It is not at all that simple.

In truth, these huge media conglomerates, now in fewer hands than ever, have their own considerations trumping principle. They sell product. Their job is not to guide you to sound reasoning or to inform you. Their job is to keep you fired up, to stir the pot, to excite you with sensationalism. Polarization is their chief method. That is what gets you to keep on mindlessly absorbing the commercials. Television is not in business to educate and inform. Only to sell product.

Obama DID get a free ride during this campaign for a long, long time. And just to give equal time, three months before he locked up the elephant nomination, all the pundits were saying McCain was dead in the water. No chance they said. Now he is the nominee, thanks, in no small part, to the media.

When Obama looked like he was ALMOST a mortal lock for the nomination, there was a distinct shift in reportage. A design to maximize the excitement and keep the fight going. They succeeded, and in so doing, may have multiplied the chances of the elephants in the general election.

Their commercial time is made more valuable, with the far cheaper costs of following campaigns and broadcasting debates and mudslinging, rather than the very expensive costs of real entertainment production. In fact, they get paid for broadcasting the mudslinging ads.

But let us go to the Donkeys for a moment. Each of the two remaining candidates has cried foul on the other with some validity. And the undecideds are really a big group. So, what do we have? On all sides, donkeys, mules, jackasses and assh0les, without a real, principled leader in sight.

And in opposition, a venerable old man, a certified and certifiable hero who willingly and courageously fought in an earlier disastrous war, who has not yet learned the lessons that war had to teach, who is ready to continue to implement the same flawed policies that have contributed so much to the quagmire we have been in for these past six years.

Now, one would think that, because of my age, I would be a natural for his consitituency. Not so. To analogize: if our present leadership is a shrub surrounded by weeds and crabgrass, this guy is a bonsai tree growing in a crevasse at the edge of a precipice.

The oddest things sometimes strike my eye. I have been wondering how on Earth we could just "lose" more than a hundred billion dollars in Iraq, in such a way that it couldn't be tracked at all, no matter how we tried to make sense out of it with modern accounting and auditing procedures. Oh, I realize that such things as "no bid" contracts awarded to administration crony companies wastes vast public fortunes, but that nothing new.

But something I saw on a Dam Rather documentary in Iraq really struck me. A military officer was counting out STACKS
of crisp new hundred dollar bills. Stacks of fifty at a time. She was handing out each of these $5000 stacks to a neighborhood community leader in payment for the "protection" of a neighborhood. I believe each payment was for the protection of a square kilometer of land. And the community leaders? Friends. Allies who, only a short time back were shooting at us. And who will probably start shooting at us again a soon as we stop counting out continuous stacks of $100 bills. Someone pointed out that the three trillion dollars I cited as the cost of the war was just a vague projection. It is. It may be high. It may be low. But it is not imaginary. The costs of this war will continue to go on for many decades. The costs of the "cold war" were what brought down the Soviet Super State.

The "real" cost, meaning what we have currently spent and squandered, was less, maybe a fifth of that figure so far. It does not mean that those larger numbers are imaginary. Just that we will be paying for a long, long time.

None of us, including Greenspan and Bernanke can get our heads around such numbers. But we know with certainty that we are literally breaking the bank. We just saw Bear Stearns Bank break. And oddly, the illustrious leader of the free world who was quite firm that we cannot bail out people who gambled for their only chance to have a home of their own, was perfectly willing to shore up this huge bank on a moments notice. The bank that was holding the paper on more of these real estate bets than any other. And our high priests of finance say it was the right move. Go Figure. Or I guess I should say, do the math.

Meanwhile, we have lost most of our credibility in the world, both in our political clout and in our economic stability.

Another current event: One of Obamas pitbulls, General Tony McPeak, suggests that pitbull President Clinton is a demagogue at the level of a Joe McCarthy, actually using the name of that vile witch-hunting junior Senator from Wisconsin.

There was a pinch of innuendo in Clinton's words. Nothing out of line for a political campaign. Subtle and sly. Not heavy handed at all.

Obama pretends to be taking the high road, but the truth is, this is a fight to the political death, and neither candidate is prepared to sacrifice for the pary or the nation.

For his part, Obama is indirectly playing up the fact that, if he is not the nominee, according to the polls, something like a fifth of his followers are prepared to jump parties and vote for McCain in retaliatory response. No logic to it. Just angry backlash. Obama is even tacitly encouraging it with various complementary remarks about McCain at the expense of Clinton. It would appear that at least one big splinter of the party is flirting once again with Mutual Assured Destruction.


Anthropositor
Posted 23 March 2008 at 05:35 pm

Sorry for the typographical errors above. Losing my sight, but still could have caught them if I had worked at it.

I need some accommodating intra ocular lenses. Insurance doesn't cover them, and the cost is about $2000 extra per lens, give or take. That is on top of the operation and hospital.

Hmmm. Maybe four companies with lenses still covered by patent, probably for another decade or so.

Let's see, pegging a lens at no more than 1/10 of a gram, that would be uh, $560,000.00 per ounce. They are plastic, you know.

Does that come with a guarantee? Nope.

Conspiracy anyone?

I guess I'll just have to find an up and coming new company with an unapproved product that has not yet been admitted to the price club and take part in a study of a new design not yet approved. I am a perfect test animal for such a study.


a1c
Posted 08 August 2008 at 07:05 pm

Civies... it's simply "Medal of Honor."


CrispRex
Posted 03 October 2008 at 09:45 am

H. B. Lidell Hart, in his book Stragety, paved the way for the Blitzkrieg. Rommel and several other German (and British and American) generals pay homage to him as a military theorist. One of his main points is that you should have a clear political objective for engaging in war and that occupying a foreign country is almost never a good idea. He warns quite explicitly about overextending the abilities of the nation and the resultant internal exhaustion that America is experiencing now in our financial crisis. Both candidates should read this book.

I've got to admire Butler: his forthright viewpoint (it cost him his career) and his unswerving adherence to principle.

Perhaps someday the elitist rich in their myopic quest for power and wealth will consider this: although a frightened mob will buy your price-gouging inferior products and media-controlled spin, it is a happy, well-educated, well-paid populace that will result in a more stable economic climate and real prosperity.


Watcher
Posted 04 October 2008 at 03:25 am

Intersting post, CrispRex. Although since they're elitist and myopic its fairly unlikely to happen isn't it? On internal exhaustion and media spin, there's a related debate right now on page 773 that you might like to join..


Seattlefungus
Posted 22 February 2009 at 09:08 pm

After reading the documents linked by Michael Burns to the FBI report. I cannot believe that anyone can believe the tripe written in that after action report. I have read a number of J Edgar's fiction reports. Truly sad. (That two to three thousand rioters and attack 70 police officers, in 1932.. No protective gear, no helmets, riot gear, face masks.) Armed with only service revolvers. Be pelted with rocks, bottles and sticks. Then only suffer "Minor cuts". Rioters suffer 2 killed... Total BS. As to wealthy interests dictating military action. You need look no further than Hawaii. Were wealthy US Businesses were able to seize power from a friendly monarchy with US Military force.


BostonBakedBean
Posted 11 September 2011 at 11:14 am

Wow! Let's see, since 9/11/2001 we have the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, a Supercongress and a President that bypasses all Constitutional laws to carry out wars in foreign lands for the benefits of Corporations and Wall Street. Not much has changed except, the Fed Government pretty much pulled off the coup d'état right under the peoples noses. And the mainstream corporate owned media is on their side.
Thank God for Alternate Media that investigates and reveals everything they find:
http://blacklistednews.com
http://whatreallyhappened.com
et al


Miss Cherries Jubilee
Posted 16 June 2014 at 08:56 pm

My hero. In every sense of the word a soldier and brave American who saw the truth and spoke it un-waveringly. The most decorated officer in US history and the original whistle blower, he was loved by his men in a way no other general has ever been before or since.


Teslashark
Posted 22 August 2014 at 09:38 am

So far, Butler's most prominent appearance is in the Gameloft FPS Modern Combat: Fallen Nation, as the name of a bridge and the author of an American dissident's favorite book.


END OF COMMENTS
Add Your Comment

Note: Your email address will not be published, shared, spammed, or otherwise mishandled. Anonymous comments are more likely to be held for moderation. You can optionally register or login.

You may use basic formatting HTML such as <i>, <b>, and <blockquote>.