Smedley Butler, Semper Fi Personified

Photographic Prints

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Steven Torrisi

Livingston, United States

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Sizing Information

Small 12.0" x 8.0"
Medium 18.0" x 12.0"
Large 24.0" x 16.0"
X large 30.0" x 20.0"


  • Superior quality silver halide prints
  • Archival quality Kodak Endura paper
  • Lustre: Professional photo paper with a fine grain pebble texture
  • Metallic: Glossy finish and metallic appearance to create images with exceptional visual interest and depth


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Artist's Description

Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940) is a personal hero and inspiration of mine and hope become yours during these dark times. He was a man of contradictions. A Quaker and a high school dropout he became a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps before his 18th birthday. Seeing combat in the Banana Wars fought in support of US Dollar Diplomacy in Latin America and Asia between 1898-1927 he also served in World War I ultimately rising and retiring with the rank of 4-star general. He embodied a word which had been dumbed down in today’s press Hero: holding every medal for bravery issued including two Congressional Medals of Honor; technically he should have three CMOH but in 1900 when his first above and beyond the call of duty act of bravery was recorded the medal was not authorized for officers and so received a promotion to captain instead. He was also recommended for the British equivalent of the CMOH the Victoria Cross for rescuing a British soldier during the Boxer Rebellion but in those days American officers were not allowed to receive and wear foreign decorations as they are today. However he did not hold to the reasons why he had to earn these medals. He had intense dislike of seeing the Marine Corps used as muscle for Big Business which would lead him in 1931 to make his famous and very frank “War is a Racket” speech. Made while on active duty before the American Legion Butler’s speech may have been what President Eisenhower was thinking of 30 years later in warning of the Military-Industrial Complex during his own farewell speech to the nation. He was the enlisted man’s general. Fighting in front of them and alongside them never behind them. He knew the value of collecting credible intelligence before committing a nations military to war. Rather than sending someone below him to do the dirty work he went on undercover missions by himself using disguises and getting arrested and bluffing his way out several times prior to one intervention just to deliver accurate information. During the Great Depression he advocated on behalf of WWI veterans seeking early payment of the bonus promised them in 20 years time. An act that would draw him into a plot by Big Business upset with Roosevelt New Deal and decision to abandon the Gold Standard to consider overthrow FDR administration with the help of a paramilitary army of disgruntled and unemployed veterans (as those used in Italy, France and Germany) and replace it with a fascist government with Butler himself in charge. Putting liberty and democracy ahead of dictatorship Butler played amateur detective to gain the confidence of the bankers and industrialist involved and exposed them in 1934 and their front organization the American Liberty League (whose high profile membership list counted among itself the very rich and very anti-semitic) before the bipartisan McCormick-Dickstein Commission looking at Fascist groups in America. This Congressional commission verified Butlers supoenaed testimony and certified a plot to overthrow democracy did indeed exist but that Butler stopped it before it could put its plan into action. Congress in usual fashion did not take any action against the plotters since the issue was now moot.. Played down by the media Butlers allegations were supported by recognized veterans groups at the time. Subsequently the Maguire Affair as it came to be known remains the only instance in recorded American history when America came close to losing its freedom. Butler did not let this story die, and went on radio to criticize both democrats and republicans for failing to bring the plotters to justice. When he died in 1940 he and the story lived on. Aspects of which serving as the character devlopment and storyline for such films as Meet John Doe with Gary Cooper and Seven Days in May with Kirk Douglas. Two films involved using a man on a white horse to convince the common man that in a time of national emergency a dictatorships is what America needs. And since this took place in the 1930s for you Star Wars fans, Butler must be the inspiration for Jedi Knight General Obi-Wan Kenobi and the corporate plot against FDR as the same corporate plot behind the Clone Wars=Banana Wars since this sci-fi serial is based on the 1930s weekly radio and movie serials. If liberty is to survive and experience a rebirth in the USA we must awaken the Butler inside us all.

Fact 1: FDR s decision to institute the New Deal and take the U.S. off the Gold Standard led Lewis Douglas, his first Manager of the Budget to resign saying it was the end of western civilization. Big Business, accordingly saw FDR as a traitor to his class.

Fact 2: Retired Marine General Smedley Butler along with Philadelphia Record journalist Paul Comly French under Congressional subpoena corroborated details of a fascist plot involving one Gerald C. MacGuire, a former Marine turned Wall Street stock broker and point-man for big businessmen representing the Committee for a Sound Dollar and Sound Currency.

Fact 3: MacGuire approached General Butler on several occasions about delivering a prepared speech before the American Legion convention demanding FDR reinstate the Gold Standard; citing patriotism when really the purpose was to scare World War I veterans into siding with Big Business, believing their $1000 bonus will be worthless if Congress gave into their demands and paid out early.

Fact 4: Uninterested Butler feigned interest when MacGuire sounded him out on recruiting and leading a veterans army to oust FDR having just returned from Europe studying paramilitary movement responsible for ousting democracies in Italy, France, and Germany; the seed money and arms to be provided by a yet to announced high-profile front organization dedicated to protecting the Constitution.

Fact 5: Weeks after this meeting Butler noted reading about the establishment of the American Liberty League to oppose the New Deal. American Liberty League membership rolls included the super-wealthy: industrialists, investment bankers, and turncoat politicians. Brand-names not just well known to the public but who were open anti-Semites; endorsed Eugenics; propped up Banana Republic dictatorships then urged the Marines be sent in to recover bad debts in the name of upholding Dollar Diplomacy; endorsed white supremacist groups; and, heavily invested in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Among the Liberty Leaguers, John W. Davis and Al Smith, nominees for the 1924 and 1928 Democratic presidential ticket who had turned against the party after FDR got the 1932 nomination.

Fact 6: Media tycoon Henry Luce and his outspoken wife Claire Booth Luce financially and editorially supported ultra right-wing causes, including the American Liberty League. Publisher of Fortune magazine, Luce dedicated the July 1934 issue to extolling the economic achievements of Italy under Mussolini yet used his influence to downplay and ridicule Butler’s assertions in spite of MacGuire’s contradicting himself in Congressional testimony.

Fact 7: Luce belonged to the secretive elitist Yale fraternity known as Skull and Bones. Prescott Bush, his sons presidents George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, even former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and the SEC head were all Bonesmen. George W. Bush’s famous Some call you the elite, I call you my base, remark was made at the annual Al Smith dinner named for this Liberty League director Butler cited in his testimony that Congress redacted.

Fact 8: Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and brother of the former president and former Vice-President Dick Cheney were signatories to the Project for the New American Century urging in letters to then President Clinton and Congress regime change in Iraq. Successful lobbying produced the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.

Fact 9: The Project for the New American Century is the American Liberty League’s alter-ego. Still, ultra right-wing but international in outlook it espouses regime change and the corporate state couched in the words of spreading democracy via free-trade. Pro-Semitic this time around its false concern for Israel is not out of love for Israel it’s love of oil. Keeping their friends close but their enemies closer, oil is priced and sold in dollars. Demand for this Black Gold creates demand for the Greenback giving the U.S. dollar value. Oil is the lubricant of U.S. global military supremacy. Without a sound currency or sound oil supply this vast superpower grinds to a halt.

Fact 10: To undermine the U.S. military and economy Iran unsuccessfully tried to sell oil priced in Japanese Yen in 1995 but the adoption of a single European currency, the Euro, posed the real threat when Saddam Hussein like FDR took Iraq off the Dollar-based Black Gold Standard.

Fact 11: Privatization of military functions and their acquisitions by equity firms and oil service companies during the 1990s led to the very corporate-bought armies Butler warned Congress about 60 years earlier.

Fact 12: Sixty unelected ideologues (some linked by wedlock) representing the PNAC decided what was best for a democracy of 300 million after 9.11.01 as its members kept popping up and shuffling between key U.S. Government posts related to science, defense, trade, commerce, and diplomacy; sat in on the secret energy task force, served on the 9/11 Commission; sat on the World Bank and as U.N. ambassador; perpetrated the Iran-Contra Scandal and masterminded the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Fact 13: PNAC signatory I. Lewis Libby and Washington Post journalist Judith Miller (Butler and French’s alter-ego) made the case for regime change based on misinformation and perjury in the Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame scandal; her CIA cover blown by Richard Armitage also a PNAC signatory but then Dep. Sec. of State under retired General Colin Powell.

Fact 14: PNAC signatories William Bennett and the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick co-founded Empower America which associated itself with the Citizens for a Sound Economy, an organization in name and goals similar to the Committee for a Sound Dollar and Sound Currency.

Fact 15: Rupert Murdoch, a neo-Henry Luce, owns or controls through News Corporation, the Weekly Standard; considered the Neocon playbook its editor-in-chief William Kristol co-founded PNAC; Fox News another News Corp. subsidiary represents the ultra-conservative viewpoint. Still, it represents a fraction of the corporate-owned media that beat the drums for war with Iraq, and is now doing the same for war with Iran. Among the agitators, Ann Coulter, 2003 Claire Booth Luce Public Policy Institute Woman of the Year recipient.

Fact 16: Detractors say Butler made his story up though his assertions are replaying with such amazing accuracy. Was he right considering the generational connections?

Artwork Comments

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