They Keep Trying

In 2021, I did a posting about Smedley Butler and the great Wall St banker’s plot to overthrow the US government. [stderr]

Imagine my surprise when I learned that the bankers’ plot wasn’t the only one. I was listening around podcast land and something recommended Rachel Maddow’s Ultra series and I thought to give it a listen. There was mention of some historical characters I’d already heard of, like father Coughlin, so I thought it’d give some interesting context.

You had me hooked at “social justice”

Instead, it’s a tale of fascists working within US congress to try to promote hitlerian anti-semitism and overthrow the government. It’s about how the government tried to clear out the conspirators in a massive sedition case, which it lost for reasons that might seem familiar today. It’s even got characters that map fairly closely to some of today’s actors – almost as though Hollywood show-runners decided to reboot the same old story for a newer audience.

Dalle-2 and Marcus Ranum “Father Coughlin plotting with the secret congressional cabal to overthrow the government”

Rachel Maddow’s delivery is a bit heavy on the “shock and awe” aspect, trying to make us more excited about the events. The events are pretty exciting and they do sound eerily familiar – I kept thinking about Mark Twain’s “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes” quip and wondering about what he’d have to say regarding Trump’s ongoing attempt at a coup d’etat. Maddow makes it sound as though it was a near-run thing, but doesn’t even mention the bankers’ plot. It made me realize what a pit of snakes Washington has always been. And, once again, I was shocked by the fascists’ pointless hatred of jews – it seems to be their go-to strategy, “… and then we’ll steal kill all the underpants jews!”

Here’s a link to the show: [ultra] It’s quite a story and it does seem to have been deliberately buried, by some cat kicking kitty litter over it in the litterbox of history.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    once again, I was shocked by the fascists’ pointless hatred of jews

    I’ve never really understood this. All I can come up with is jealousy. It’s a fact that a disproportionate number of very, very rich people are Jewish. Despite the reverse (“a disproportionate number of Jewish people are very, very rich”) probably NOT being true (although I don’t know how you’d check, and I’m not inclined to try to find out for fear of an accusation of antisemitism for even asking the question), fascists seem to me to proceed as if it was, and to be annoyed about the “fact”, even if – and this is the kicker – they themselves are very rich.

    I follow this line of thought sometimes, trying to find some rational explanation for the hatred. That’s my fundamental mistake, I think. Why would I credit them with having thought it through?

  2. says

    @Pierce Butler:
    That’s one of the fun things about AI art. What it does is based on the probability of related data points. With something where the data is thin, the overall randomness has more effect.

  3. says

    I also think the developers at DALLE-2 try to keep it from replicating real faces. Midjourney, not so much, and it’s disturbing how close to a famous face it can get. Of course the more famous the better because it has a lot of data to work from.

  4. jenorafeuer says

    I mean, yes, some of the core of anti-semitism dates back to the founding of Christianity and its origins as a Messianic cult of Judaism.

    My understanding is that the more hardcore anti-semitism really dates back to medieval times. Lending money with interest was considered usury, and thus something that good Christians didn’t do. This was an attitude that Christianity inherited from Judaism, but as far as Jews were concerned, it was fine to lend money with interest to people who weren’t also Jews. (This, of course, is also an attitude that Christianity inherited.) Since Christians owned the political power and were the ones most likely to need to borrow money to finance wars, and Christians couldn’t lend money to other Christians with interest requirements, Jews effectively became the bankers to Europe just because nobody else could do it without risking bankruptcy themselves. This is the start of the whole ‘globalist bankers’ thing.

    Which, of course, then led to people stirring up pogroms against Jews as a way to get out of their debts by killing the person who was trying to collect the debt from them with the side effect of probably killing a lot of other people who weren’t proper Christians anyway, and increasing the zeal amongst their supporters.

    So most of the modern expression of anti-semitism really started as the powerful finding someone to blame in order to distract the masses from the fact that they’ve been stealing everything. Which, of course, it still is centuries later.

  5. crivitz says

    I listened to the Ulra podcast and was kind of surprised/not surprised to see how many congress critters from my home range of the upper Midwest region were involved. One grows up with the propaganda that the congressional reps from your state or region are “The Good Guys.” Growing up in ND I learned about “Wild Bill” Langer, the ND governor from the 1930s and the impression I recall is of a mischievous and colorful character, but after listening to the Ultra podcast, he seems more like a Trump clone—not some sort of lovable rascal, but more like a mean, nasty racist bastard, which seems quite representative of a lot of upper Midwest denizens nowadays as well.

    I had the same takeaway that you did, reinforcing the notion that Washington has always been a pit of snakes. Hearing Woodie Guthrie’s song at the end of the final episode sealed that impression.

  6. says

    As I mentioned elsewhere, we owe the bagel to polish antisemites who regulated jews out of the baking trade – they boiled dough rather than baking it (though they “dry it” with heat in a manner that sure reminds me of baking it). Anyhow, “fuck you, antisemites” is all I can say to that.

  7. says

    Let me just say that DALL-E 2 drives me nuts. With the term “a man hiking towards me on a mountain trail”, 2 of the 4 results generated have a man walking AWAY from me. How can it possibly get something so simple so wrong?

  8. says

    Let me just say that DALL-E 2 drives me nuts. With the term “a man hiking towards me on a mountain trail”, 2 of the 4 results generated have a man walking AWAY from me. How can it possibly get something so simple so wrong?

    I’ve noticed that I usually go through a few rounds of training it on any given image. It does get stuff wrong. But sometimes even that is pretty cool.

    I asked it for “cthulhu looms over a new england town in the style of thomas kinkade” and it did a very nonplussed-looking cthulhu with googly eyes.

  9. jrkrideau says

    Rachel Maddow. The same Rachel Maddow who spent a year or two obsessing about Russia gate? The same Rachel Maddow who made fantasy writers look fact-based? The same Rachel Maddow who made Judith Miller look good?

    Ah, thanks anyway but I think I’ll go back to real history like The Lord of the Rings.

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