Thursday, October 05, 2006

Movie Review: "America: From Freedom to Fascism"

My wife and I went to see Aaron Russo's documentary last night at the Clinton Street Theater and it was like putting your brain in a blender. Here's how the CBS critic Todd David Schwartz described it: "The scariest damn film you'll see this year. It will leave you staggering out of the theater, slack-jawed and trembling. Makes 'Fahrenheit 9/11' look like 'Bambi.' After watching this movie, your comfy, secure notions about America – and about what it means to be an American – will be forever shattered." My wife described it best: "A horror movie."

I actually surfed the Net later hoping someone could discount it. This is a look at how America really works since the founding of the Federal Reserve banking system. There are tons of quotes including one that says the least free people are the ones who think they're free but are really enslaved. Michael Ruppert was in the film. He wrote "Crossing the Rubicon", and ran a really dire website out of Ashland, Oregon, called "From the Wilderness". Since then his offices were burglarized, and he felt his life was being threatened, so he fled the country. He compared the American People to food being ground up in a machine. I'll give you one more quote, then I'll just sum up. I know this is incoherent, but I've got a lot of sorting out to do. The quote that grabbed me was, "The War on Terror is the War on Freedom".

The first part of the movie takes us through the income tax, saying it is an unconstitutional form of taxation, and the need to comply is not written in any law. Then it goes into the Federal Reserve system - a private group of banks that create the money for the United States out of thin air, even though Congress is supposed to handle the currency. Then the Federal Reserve charges us interest on the money they create. This has given this group of bankers ungodly power over our system, and we've been working for them ever since. They are now in the process of creating a new world order, where they control the globe and the nation state ceases to exist. The film looks at the various decrees and actions of the Bush administration - with their police state like implications - but it is not a political party thing. While we fight over Democrat versus Republican this is about the true power behind it all.

There was one proud moment for me. Who did they choose to make a statement about America no longer using the Constitution? Jay Leno. It wasn't my joke but it showed comedy as one of the last great platforms to communicate to the American People and yell at the new emperors.

The film ends with a plea for the American People to wake up.


At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the reviews on Not very flattering. Most state that he makes some decent points about the legality of income tax, etc, but that his overall premise become so scattered and incoherent that the movie just falls apart. Sounds to me like the filmmaker might have had a nasty run in with the IRS, and this is payback. In any event, sounds interesting. I'll rent the DVD.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Yeah, as a movie it's all over the map, but the content is quite powerful - especially the various quotes.

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not seen this movie yet, but i have seen the trailer several times, and i plan to see the movie asap. before i go forward with my criticism, let me say first that i am no fan of the Federal Reserve or the Internal Revenue System, in fact, I quite dislike both of them, especially in their current operating state. now, my real point, the initial premise of this movie; "Is the income tax a fraud?", followed by "Where is the law? Show me the law!" is entirely dishonest. This is a trivial question to answer:

The constitution set different requirements for taxation in Article I sections 2, 8 and 9, distinguishing between direct and indirect taxation as to how such revenue must be apportioned, the 16th amendment made that distinction irrelevant, and the income tax itself was imposed by the Revenue Act of 1913 shortly after ratification. Since then, the definition of income has only expanded, and all legal challenges have been rejected by the courts.

Now, with more detail...

The Revenue Act of 1913 shifted a huge chunk of the revenue from tariffs to taxes on income by reducing tariffs from 41% to 27%, and adding a progressive income tax on all wages above $3,000 (~$60k) a year. The 16th amendment, which was passed earlier that year, rectified the constitutional issue over direct, unapportioned taxation, stating "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration". Now don't take this to mean that Congress had no power to tax income before that the 16th amendment, it did, however it had some stipulations:

1) Article I, section 8, clause 1: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States"
2) Article I, section 2, clause 3: "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."
3) Article I, section 9, clause 4: "No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken."

In 1894 a similar law, the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act was ruled unconstitutional, because before the 16th Amendment, direct taxation--taxes on property income such as rent, and interest, as noted above--had to be apportioned back to the states based on population. Congress could have tried to pass a law that just taxed labor income, however, it would have been ill-advised politically.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I think the case is that the 16th amendment was never ratified. They just claimed it had been.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Jack Bog said...

Why not? Because Ohio isn't really a state? I think that's how the argument goes.

I agree that America is no longer such a "free country." But if you start with the illegality of the income tax, I'm not likely to stay tuned too long.

At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tax illegality":
......not likely to stay tuned too long.


At 10:13 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

The movie starts with that but it's the banking stuff that is the real mother lode.
How do we have a private institution printing the money and deciding how much it'll cost in interest to get it?

At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, that's the argument; that Ohio wasn't really a state until 1950 or something.

i saw the movie, the first half was almost completely dishonest. they did make some interesting points, especially about the authority of the IRS, but there is too much lying about the 16th amendment, which is never even read in the film.

the most flagrant dishonesty is that aaron russo, the producer, has millions of dollars in state and federal tax liens open against him and it is never mentioned.

if you're interested in the federal reserve, read Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country, by William Greider. it's a fairly sober look at a questionable institution. if you want a mouth-breathing gold-bug (but historically accurate) take on it, try The Creature from Jekyll Island : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve. if you don't have time for 700+ pages, try Complete Idiot's Guide to the Federal Reserve.

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

The 16th amendment stuff doesn't bother me although I have read people who say it was much more than Ohio as far as questionable ratification.
The Federal Reserve stuff is truly mind-boggling, and on its face, clearly unconstitutional.
Thanks for the leads.


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