I'm not sure what it says about me that I rush to see films with titles like The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream, Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire, and, most recently, America: Freedom to Fascism.
It's not that I intentionally seek out the most fear-inducing films I can find in order to keep myself from sleeping at night. But when reviewers are saying things like, "Makes Fahrenheit 9/1' look like Bambi" or "We're literally stuck up a cul-de-sac in a cement SUV without a fill-up," who can resist? Well, apparently most others in the car-seat-totin', minivan-driving set, judging by the looks I get when I suggest one of these films for Moms Night Out.
Naturally, when I read that America: Freedom to Fascism was the "scariest goddamn film you'll see all year … after watching this movie, your comfy, secure notions about America and about what it
means to be an American will be forever shattered," I was hooked.
The film starts off benignly enough. Director Aaron Russo, who is best known for producing Trading Places and The Rose, sets out with a camera crew to answer the question: Is there a law that requires American citizens to pay income tax? Not quite as titillating as, say, "Is our government responsible for 9/11?" but an interesting question, nonetheless.
After a string of interviews with former IRS criminal investigators, tax attorneys, a former IRS commissioner, and a congressman, a startling picture emerges: No such law exists. As soon as I finished watching the film, I eagerly called up my dyed-in-the-wool Republican father to tell him he could stop paying that pesky income tax (something I didn't mind telling him, now that I had learned that every penny goes to line the pockets of the Federal Reserve bankers rather than to pay for infrastructure). As I patiently countered his skepticism with my newfound knowledge that the Sixteenth Amendment was never ratified by the requisite number of states and that several subsequent Supreme Court rulings declared the income tax unconstitutional, I was quite pleased that I was making my point without sounding like a crackpot or a conspiracy theorist.
If only I had stopped while I was ahead. I think I lost him about the time I said that all this irrefutably proves that the IRS is nothing more than a criminal protection racket using force to extract payment. Which is too bad, because I never even got to the really scary stuff: the new world order, digital implants, national identification cards, digitally encoded money, and the law requiring us to spy on our neighbors.
And herein lies the problem. When you get right down to it, it is impossible to talk about the most frightening aspects of the film without sounding like a crackpot or conspiracy theorist. And yet the documentary itself is very straightforward, and (other than the ominous music) never resorts to sensationalism. Well, okay, almost never. But for the most part, Russo is simply an investigative journalist uncovering the facts. It is what he discovers on his journey that is the stuff of nightmares.
Even more disturbing than the portrait of IRS agents as hatchet men is the revelation that the Federal Reserve is not a government agency, but a cartel of private bankers. The government borrows money from the Federal Reserve (which is no more "federal" than Federal Express) and then uses the ill-gotten income-tax money to pay them interest. To put it simply, the Federal Reserve bankers are the ones running the show. And who are these people who are printing all the money and making all the decisions?
"It's a secret, and we can't find out what's happening. But the Congress created it … and it's not authorized in the Constitution," Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, answered when Russo asked him who owns the Federal Reserve.
By the end of the film, the Federal Reserve bankers come out looking like totalitarian masters ruling over indentured serfs. The kicker is, we've been duped into thinking we're free citizens living in a democratic country when in reality we're mindless pawns behaving exactly the way they want us to. And their designs do not end here. Control of the world is their ultimate goal.
I know, I know. This all sounds like the rantings of a paranoid conspiracy theorist. But isn't that what those in control always say when we get too close to the truth? Anyway, don't listen to me. I'm the gullible masochist who rushes to see films that stop one step short of making me want to slit my wrists. But you might want to listen to what our government officials and others in positions of power are saying:
"The dirty little secret is that both houses of Congress are irrelevant. America's domestic policy is now being run by Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, and America's foreign policy is now being run by the International Monetary Fund." Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.
"But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries." David Rockefeller, private banker, 1991.
"We shall have World Government whether we like it or not. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or by consent." Paul Warburg, Council on Foreign Relations and architect of the Federal Reserve System, in an address to the U.S. Senate.
"The new world order will be built … an end run on national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, it will accomplish much more than the old fashioned frontal assault." Council on Foreign Relations Journal, 1974.
"The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper." President Bush, 2005.
Hearing all this talk about a new world order, learning that Americans will be required to carry national ID cards in 2008, and seeing an interview with a woman who has volunteered her family to be the first implanted with radio-frequency identification chips are enough to make one's hair stand on end. It's especially disturbing to think that all of our diminishing liberties will be portrayed through the media as necessary steps in the War on Terrorism. Of course, there's an alternative to being scared witless: You can write it all off as conspiracy theory crap. Just don't dismiss it until you've seen the film. After all, you don't want to miss a movie SO GODDAMN SCARY YOU'LL BE PASSING MEXICANS AT THE BORDER AS YOU FLEE INTO THEIR COUNTRY BEGGING FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM. ?
Freelancer Shawna Galassi is packing her bags. E-mail comments or ideas to her through the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.