Freedom to Fascism
October 13, 2006 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Aaron Russo releases America: Freedom to Fascism on the net!
posted by augustweed (47 comments total)

 
I'm getting a "Service Unavailable" error.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:35 PM on October 13, 2006


Me too.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:39 PM on October 13, 2006


Works OK for me.

I don't think this Flash video was released by Aaron Russo, it looks like the screener I've seen floating around the net via torrents.

Highly recommend seeing this film!
posted by rmmcclay at 10:44 PM on October 13, 2006


Unavailable for me too.
posted by aubilenon at 10:45 PM on October 13, 2006


Sometimes it shows the error. Click refresh repeatedly until it loads. It only takes a few tries. Hopefully this is really authorized. If not, watch it while you can.
posted by augustweed at 10:50 PM on October 13, 2006


The Uss Liberty incident is the topic of Dave Emory's latest For The Record Program at Spitfire list though, if anyone is interested in that topic.
posted by hortense at 10:56 PM on October 13, 2006


What? We're spreading freedom. It has a soft buttery consistency, similar to santorum.
posted by delmoi at 11:18 PM on October 13, 2006


The New Enabling Act
posted by homunculus at 11:45 PM on October 13, 2006


This seems too crackpot to be true. But... what the hell?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 12:19 AM on October 14, 2006


I wish Russo had interviewed William Grieder, his book Secrets Of The Temple is the clearest explanation of how the treasury does it's magic.
posted by hortense at 12:52 AM on October 14, 2006


Just read via a source I consider reliable that the film was released by Aaron Russo to the internet. So I'm retracting what I said above...
posted by rmmcclay at 12:52 AM on October 14, 2006




Thanks, homunculus, for the link to the excellent Stan Goff article. Everyone should read that. As for the Russo film, haven't had the time to watch it yet, though I certainly plan to. Thanks, augustweed.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:29 AM on October 14, 2006


That is probably the most scary thing i have seen all year. I wish every American was made to watch this film.
posted by knewstubb at 3:35 AM on October 14, 2006


This seems too crackpot to be true. But... what the hell?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 12:19 AM PST


As I grok old English Common law, the idea existed that enough people ignore a 'law' it isn't a 'law'. I've not seen the opposite argument - if enough people 'follow a law' it becomes a law. The IRS and Federal Reserve system may not exist 'legally', but given the number of people going along with the IRS/Fed Reserve....does that not make it a law?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:37 AM on October 14, 2006


This is simply tinfoil hat selfishness masquerading as populist libertarianism. The amendment was ratified by 38 states, at a time when there only were 48 in total. That's more than three quarters.

Quit moaning and accept your social responsibilities, Aaron. Or organise a political party that wants America to have no military, no police, no infrastructure, no welfare, no education etc. 3% of voters? 1%? I don't know. But I'd enjoy finding out. Even the fringe libertarians only call for smaller government.

Oh, and your film is a badly made and ill-thought-out PoS. Have you ever read the law that requires you not to jump stop lights? No? Then why do you expect anyone to have read income tax regulation? (admission: this film got too jumpy and unwatchable just as it was getting too annoying, so I've only seen into the first round of vox pops).
posted by imperium at 6:03 AM on October 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is simply tinfoil hat selfishness masquerading as populist libertarianism.

it's not even that ... a populist libertarian would stand up and say "let's repeal the income tax and the federal reserve" instead of rehashing all the tiresome myths about how the federal government didn't do it quite legally and therefore it really isn't the law, etc etc ... oh, and that gold fringe on the u s flag means .... blah, blah, blah

screw that, they can argue for the government they want to see in this country and see if the people want it ... the people don't ... that's why they have to resort to these "it isn't really legal" kind of arguments

i lasted 2 or 3 minutes ... i've heard it all before ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:44 AM on October 14, 2006


Meanwhile, the Goff piece is useful, but largely a retread of the ground Klaus Theweleit developed in his crucial Male Fantasies. While Goff's description of his on-the-ground experience in Haiti makes some illuminating, if revolting, connections - and I wish he had spent more time on it - anyone interested in how fascism takes root in a nation's popular culture would do well to acquire the Theweleit.

(I have to say, incidentally, that I never saw any sign of what Goff is asserting in my few years in the SO community. I'm not disputing that it exists, merely pointing out that hardcore white supremacy probably crystallizes in SF or Ranger units proper, rather than what must frankly be considered outliers like PSYOP. It's also the case that my service was pretty cushy, and that things may well be different now, given 9/11, Iraq, and all the rest of it.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:10 AM on October 14, 2006


Well, as Russo states early on, he started making a movie about the nature of the federal reserve and the federal income tax, and that led him into other areas concerning governmental power. The film directly reflects this: about three quarters of the way through he suddenly shifts gears and takes up implantable chip technology, the proposed US national ID card, electronic vote-fixing and lots of other subjects we should rightfully be very concerned about. It's unfortunate that the film is not more focussed, but the kind of knee-jerk, dismissive comments ("oh, here's another tinfoil hat wacko") that inevitably crop up when these subjects are addressed hopefully won't keep too many MeFites from watching the movie, which deserves a viewing.

Oh, and imperium, characterizing any film that you haven't actually watched as a "badly made and ill-thought-out PoS" really does very little for your credibility, my friend.

pyramid termite, you seem predisposed to hate this movie without actually seeing it as well, but it's too bad you didn't give it a little more time. The first few minutes are in fact pretty bad, but the various talking heads that appear throughout the film just a little later on are actually very well spoken and intelligent folk, for the most part. There's something a little smarmy about Russo, but his effort is a good one.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 AM on October 14, 2006


Quit moaning and accept your social responsibilities
posted by imperium at 6:03 AM PST


Doesn't that work both ways?

2.3+ trillion dollars the Pentagon can't account for.
Millions spent in Iraq based on a war that deception was used to enter into.
Millions, if not billions spent to 'defend the homeland' - meanwile where are the dismissals from public service of the people who failed to prevent the past attack?

If one wishes to talk 'responsibility' - fine. Lets start with the missing 2.3 trillion? Unless you believe that the people who spend the IRS takes has no responsibility?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:16 AM on October 14, 2006


Let America be America Again
posted by davy at 8:22 AM on October 14, 2006


Warning: fascism
posted by Meatbomb at 8:28 AM on October 14, 2006


too bad you didn't give it a little more time. The first few minutes are in fact pretty bad

that's why i prefer essays ... i don't like wasting time to watch a long presentation when the first few minutes turn out to be bad and/or stuff i've already heard ... on a text web page, i could just skim through the bad stuff

if someone wants my attention, they can either put it in a form that's immediately comprehensible or they can do something that piques my interest quickly ... russo did neither ... in fact, he quickly alienated me by making the well-worn "the income tax isn't really constitutional" claim

if he wants my time and attention, he's got to do a better job of earning it
posted by pyramid termite at 10:04 AM on October 14, 2006


WTF, pyramid termite and "imperium" (such an appropriate handle you gave yourself) - are you serious? "I didn't actually watch it, but it's crap, seen it all before..." Obviously, you're exactly the sort of people who really need to watch this film (torrent link). The best sequence follows some very sober and non-hysterical members of the "tax honesty" movement who count among their number several (former) IRS investigators, one of whom noticed a full-page challenge to produce the actual law that requires Americans to pay income tax (ie. a "direct un-apportioned tax on labor and services") - she thought she would do her job, debunk the crackpots, and collect the $50,000 reward. Except she couldn't find it, and to this day no-one, apparently, has been able to produce it. The laws concerning running red lights, etc, are very explicit and easy to locate - the laws concerning income tax are not - why not?

And if I read Russo's narrative accurately, he didn't start out to make a film showing the similarities betweent the current US government and a fascist dictatorship, but was basically pushed in that direction by what he discovered as he went along. He could have gone a lot farther - as indeed the current administration has done - Habeas Corpus RIP anyone?
posted by dinsdale at 10:17 AM on October 14, 2006


If the drivel how the government has no authority to tax income is representative of the claims of the rest of the movie, I have no desire to see it. The fact that the filmmakers were taken in by the arguments of tax protestors (or more accurately, tax deniers) shows that they simply didn't do sufficient research. (The quotation from the U.S. District Judge Judge Fox at the beginning of the film is not from any judicial opinion but a random comment the judge made during an oral argument in a non-tax case.)

Arguments along the lines of those made in the film (e.g. the Sixteenth Amendment was not properly ratified, nothing in the Internal Revenue Code requires individuals to pay tax on wages) have been rejected by federal judges again and again over decades. Are all of them, both Republican and Democrat, libertarian leaning or not, on the IRS dole? Are they all simply stupid and cannot realize the brilliance of Prof. Viera or Peter Gibbons' arguments? No. These arguments just have no legal basis and have been rejected so many times that simply raising them in a lawsuit can expose you to sanctions. (And if you continue to refuse to pay your income tax based on these arguments, be prepared for some jail time.)

Detailed refutations of tax protestor arguments can be found here. Go ahead, type in any of the names of the Supreme Court decisions cited by the so-called experts in the film and you'll find that they don't actually stand for what the tax protestors say they do or that they are no longer good law.

I'll leave the more involved arguments to be refuted by that site. However, I'll answer the basic question posed by the film. Validity of the Sixteenth Amendment aside, where is the law that requires people to pay income tax?

First look at 26 U.S.C. sec. 1. That's the very first section of the Internal Revenue Code. It states, among other things, that married individuals, heads of households, and unmarried individuals must pay tax on "taxable income" according to a series of tables.

Next, look at 26 U.S.C. sec. 63. This section defines "taxable income" as "gross income minus the deductions allowed by this chapter (other than the standard deduction)."

Finally, look at 26 U.S.C. sec. 61. This section defines "gross income" to include "all income from whatever source derived, including (but not limited to) the following items: (1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items . . . ." Although compensation for services is not defined, it plainly encompasses one's salary or wages.

You'll note that the language "income from whatever source derived," tracks the language of the Sixteenth Amendment:

"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."

Why tax protestors can't follow this simple line of reasoning, I don't know.
posted by saslett at 10:20 AM on October 14, 2006 [9 favorites]


one of whom noticed a full-page challenge to produce the actual law that requires Americans to pay income tax

gee, how about the actual court cases where actual people get actually convicted of actual tax evasion and sent to actual prison by actual judges and juries?

oh, and what saslett said
posted by pyramid termite at 10:25 AM on October 14, 2006


from saslett's link -

So the fact of the matter was that Ohio was accepted as a state of the United States sometime in 1802 or 1803 and Congress declared the admission to be as of a certain date in 1803, but the declaration was not made until 1953.

it would take me 150 years to admit to something stupid like that, too

*snickers, bookmarks page for next ohio-bashing session*
posted by pyramid termite at 10:44 AM on October 14, 2006


on a text...page, i could just skim through the bad stuff.....if someone wants my attention, they can either put it in a form that's immediately comprehensible or they can do something that piques my interest quickly ... russo did neither
posted by pyramid termite at 10:04 AM


I believe the transcript was out before the 'general theatrical opening' happened.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:51 AM on October 14, 2006


25 bucks for it? ... no, thank you
posted by pyramid termite at 10:53 AM on October 14, 2006


Wouldn't Aaron Russo have released the video on his own site?
posted by VulcanMike at 11:07 AM on October 14, 2006


The Straight Dope on Ohio, taxes, and what will hopefully be the last word on Mr. Russo and his tinfoil-hat PoS.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:08 AM on October 14, 2006


what will hopefully be the last word on Mr. Russo and his tinfoil-hat PoS.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:08 AM


Naw, ya still have the whole Federal Reserve and the slipping (running? Tripping? rushing headlong?) into fascism angle of the movie.

And under Fascism you have all the 'methods of control' be they RFID's readable from satilites (ignores the RF wattage and size such would have to put out) and whatever other things I'm forgetting.

If you want to kill discussion on the movie, there are many, many more topics to dismiss.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:20 AM on October 14, 2006




Yes, Aaron Russo and his movie are clearly worth discussing.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:33 AM on October 14, 2006


Airport security chiefs and efficiency geeks will be able to keep close tabs on airport passengers by tagging them with a high powered radio chip developed at the University of Central London. Now being tested in Debrecen Airport in Hungary.
posted by augustweed at 11:45 AM on October 14, 2006


The Stan Goff article that homunculus linked is an impressive read. Also depressing.
posted by quin at 11:49 AM on October 14, 2006


I'm wasting too much time on this. Some part of me believes (probably irrationally) that reasoned argument will convince people who believe in these sorts of conspiracy theories that they are wrong.

Rough Aslar, read this site debunking a several of the myths about the federal reserve presented in the move.
posted by saslett at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2006


Rough Aslar, read this site debunking a several of the myths about the federal reserve presented in the move.
posted by saslett at 11:54 AM PST


If I want to have a hard-on for the FRNs, there is always NORFED and their education efforts. I already know how worthless the FRNs are. Go down to the IRS office and pay your taxes with 'em. On a notice of owing $10, I was told they could not take cash and would only take a check.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2006


I'm not sure I get Russo's argument here.

Is he really saying that because of some technicality, Americans aren't (technically) required to pay income tax?

This must be the most ridiculous thing I've heard all week! Also, he makes some vague allusions about how the bankers are profiting by that, but never goes into details (or did I miss that bit?)

Anyhow, I may be wrong, but my impression is that even though most Americans may think that income tax sucks on a personal level, they mostly agree that it's generally a good idea, what with schools and infrastructure and sending people to outer space and stuff.
posted by sour cream at 3:48 PM on October 14, 2006


don't forget the billions we pay Israel and the billions we spend on usless defense systems.
posted by augustweed at 3:53 PM on October 14, 2006


This must be the most ridiculous thing I've heard all week!

You missed the yellow people comment made in Australia. Or perhaps The President saying something. How about a comment about Republican comments over the page scandel? Arron Russo's jaw flapping can't be the 'most ridiculous' thing unless you live in a bubble......

Also, he makes some vague allusions about how the bankers are profiting by that, but never goes into details (or did I miss that bit?)

The argument has to do with the interest payments tied to the creation of the FDRs.

If you accept the 'interest must be paid' when FRNs are created then look at Islam's whole issue WRT interest charges......one can understand a 'clash' of Islam VS US of A.

, they mostly agree that it's generally a good idea, what with schools and infrastructure
posted by sour cream


Schools are 'state', or so I thought.

I'm not sure I get Russo's argument here.

Russo is making a lot of arguments.....WRT the IRS, the FRN's and the whole fascism angle. Depending on where you jump in, who knows what argument you are trying to understand?

don't forget the billions we pay Israel and the billions we spend on usless defense systems.
posted by augustweed


Bah! how about 24.5 million just to ship $8,821 in LPG? In any large instution, a lot of money is spent in dubious ways, why single out Isreal or military-pork?

If you are in the "Isreal is all powerful" camp...a claim was made that Regan cut the money flow to Isreal...and that is why Regan lost control of the congress. *shrug*-I have no idea how tureful such a claim is.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:14 PM on October 14, 2006


If you are in the "Isreal is all powerful" camp...a claim was made that Regan cut the money flow to Isreal...and that is why Regan lost control of the congress.

I don't mean to be a spelling Nazi, rough ashlar, but not knowing that the ex-president's name was spelled Reagan, or that the Jewish homeland is spelled Israel is kind of undermining your credibility here...

Metafilter: linguistic libertarianism to grammar fascism
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:02 PM on October 14, 2006


So which Peter McDermott are you? These 4,010,000 results can't all be about the same guy, right?
posted by davy at 9:27 PM on October 14, 2006


A much better "educational" film about Facism (or more succinctly, Despotism), can be found here.

This is a rather old film which points out the signs of a failing democracy and freedom. I highly recommend it, namely for it's non-tinfoil attributes. Now if someone wanted to make a point about how society has been creeping towards despotism/facism based on the criteria from this film, I'd be much more likely to listen to them. This bunk about the IRS and crap just makes me want to punch libertarian blowhards in the nuts. I really want a 3rd party (or 4th, or 5th) to gain some kind of political power in this country, but unfortunately everyone seems to be either Ross Perot Lite or Ralph Nader Nuts. It's annoying. And disheartening.
posted by daq at 12:58 AM on October 15, 2006


And of course I forget to make that link go somewhere useful.

Here's the actual link; Despotism.
posted by daq at 1:05 AM on October 15, 2006


Also available here.
posted by daq at 1:06 AM on October 15, 2006


undermining your credibility here...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:02 PM PST


The claim of 'Regan cut funding to Isreal -> lost control of congress' would 1st require a belief that 'the media' doesn't report all it knows...that way siad 'controlled media' can 'take down' anyone at anytime.

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

To be able to 'prove' the claim would require years of looking at data on the election of many different people...way more effort than it would seem to matter. So if saying 'spelln reduse the credibility' makes you feel better, go nutz.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:45 AM on October 15, 2006




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