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Aaron Russo, R.I.P.

-- Posted Thursday, 30 August 2007 | Digg This ArticleDigg It!

The Wallace Street Journal


By David Bond, Editor

The Silver Valley Mining Journal



Wallace, Idaho – “I'm not a liberal or a conservative. I just want to wake up the world.” So said Aaron Russo during our interview with him upon the release of his revolutionary new movie, “America, Freedom To Fascism” late last year.


Mainstream American probably will remember Aaron Russo, who died early last Friday after a six-year bout with cancer, best for his ongoing management of, and love affair with, Bette Midler and the resulting 1979 movie, “The Rose,” or for his fabulously funny “Trading Places” (1983) starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy the genius of which is, in addition to being hugely entertained, one gets a fine primer on the machinations of futures markets.


Russo was born in Brooklyn in 1943 and raised in Long Island. He began promoting rock and roll shows at a local theater while still in high school and boosted the careers of some of the most successful rock acts of the 1960s, including Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead. He was also manager of fusion band The Manhattan Transfer. Aaron also ran for Nevada governor in 1998, finishing second with 30 percent of the vote; and as the Libertarian candidate for US president in 2004.


There was obvious passion in every thing Aaron Russo did. We had a chance to re-watch “The Rose” on an over-the-ocean flight recently and it is a film that wears well with age. His treatment of Bette, styled loosely after the true-life story of Janis Joplin, ripples with the artist's (and lover's) creative angst. “Trading Places” is a genuine classic and owns a permanent place in our video lending library.


But our guess is, if Aaron expressed such a wish, it would be that he be best remembered for “America: Freedom to Fascism.” It is one dynamite documentary, in which Russo embarks on a “Roger & Me” search for the law – any law – that legitimatizes the U.S. government's ability to tax a working-man's wages. Haunting the halls of Congress, the Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve, Aaron Russo found any legitimate requirement for Americans to pay tax on their wages as elusive as Michael Moore found former General Motors chairman Roger Smith to be. It was “somewhere,” but nobody could say where.


In the process he met any number of characters, from tax protesters to Libertarians (presidential candidate and Texas congressman Ron Paul, and Idaho's own Rep. Phil Hart are interviewed) to some gutsy former IRS agents proclaiming the whole U.S. income tax scheme a sham, a fraud. But nowhere, nowhere, could anybody cite an actual law that gave the United Snakes government any claim on income from wages.


“The light came on a few years ago,” Russo told us. “It was a question of when I would have time to make this movie. I made it because it was on my conscience. I made it because the I.R.S. is putting people in jail for now reason, no law. I discovered that there is no law. In 1894 the Congress tried to pass a law, but the Supreme Court shot it down. In 1916 the Supreme Court and in eight subsequent decisions said that the U.S. government did not have the authority to tax the labour of the people. Income as a corporate gain is taxable; it doesn't mean your labour is taxable. Each person owns their own life, and their own labour.”


As well expressed in his film, Russo found a frightening coincidence between the fledgling enforcement of a federal income tax and the 1913 creation, at Jekyll Island and at the behest of President Woodrow Wilson, of the Federal Reserve Bank which now issues us all our money, in the form of debt. Creation of the Fed was one of Wilson's greatest regrets. A mere three years after the Fed's initiation, Wilson said: “The growth of the nation ... and all our activities are in the hands of a few men ... We have come to be one of the worst ruled; one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world ... no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the free vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."



Continuing with Aaron Russo: “In 1913, the bankers got this concession, and they have taken control of our corporations and our government. We are living in a fascistic country. Their paper is just a ghost of money. Only gold and silver are really money.”

Interesting viewpoint, coming from a Hollywood movie-maker the likes of which one would usually expect to find at a fund-raiser for one of the Klintons. But researching “Freedom to Fascism” was an eye-opener for Aaron Russo.


“I believe in what the founding fathers gave us. We have rights, not privileges,” Russo told us. “I will do everything in my power to shut down this system, this federal reserve system, and this takeover of our government by them.  It’s about freedom of the individual, not about institutions. It's time to shut it down. What made me do this is I don’t like what’s happening here. I want to see everything stop and America come back to its rightful place.”


As for the people who mine silver and gold, Russo was as hard in our interview on them as he was on the foreign and domestic bankers who enslave us. “It's critical that the mining industry wake up to what's happening to them. It's nonsense for the industry to talk about metals and not money. They are dishonoring their shareholders.


“I would tell silver and gold miners to stop hedging metal supplies, make sure that you advertise silver and gold as money, not jewelry, and wake people up. Lobby to shut down Federal Reserve system. Until then, the mining industry is going to remain second-class citizens. Only thing keeping us alive is our military. Without a sound dollar we lose. Where is all the gold? I can tell you where it is. The bankers have taken the gold for collateral for the money they print. The dollar is a broken process. The mining industry has to take a leading role in doing these things, and they could start by not hedging.”


We ended with a pledge from Aaron Russo that he would make every effort to attend Silver Summit 2007 here in Idaho Sept. 20-23 to talk about his film. Sadly Aaron won't be here, although his spirit certainly will. Aaron Russ lit a candle – actually more like an acetylene torch – in the darkness. Don't send flowers to his funeral. Buy and watch “America: Freedom to Fascism,” and make sure everybody else sees it, too.

-- Posted Thursday, 30 August 2007 | Digg This Article


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