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L. Neil Smith's
Number 563, March 28, 2010

"The Joy of Stealing"

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Dollar DVD's* Part 2—The Critic's Pans
Conspiracy Movie Reviews for the week of March 28, 2010
by Roy L. Fox

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Rating Scale
5 Stars—Outstanding
4 Stars—Very Good
3 Stars—Fair To Midland
2 Stars—Mediocre
1 Star—Time Waster

Dollar DVD's Part. 1- The Critic's Choice
(* These DVD's are available for as low as one dollar each if bought in bulk at If you're trying to wake the masses, try the titles reviewed in Part 1 first. The following list is more likely to put the masses to sleep!—RF)

Power Of Nightmares    Time About 3 hours
This is a 3 part series from the BBC which purports to expose the use of fear to control national debate and steer government policies. Part 1 explores the rise of Leo Strauss and the neocons after World War II. Part 2 continues through the Reagan and Clinton administrations. Part 3 explores current events in the Middle East, the domination of neocons in the Bush administration and the myth of Al-Qaeda, which is clearly linked with the CIA. Unfortunately, being a product of controlled mainstream media, there is too much misdirection and half-truth in the film. Although some of the history is interesting, this film is mostly spin as opposed to serious journalism. Mainstream media will never "follow the money" or dig too deep, which is why you must bypass the information gatekeepers and seek out the real news from the alternative media.
Rating: *

Americanism 101     Time 1:03
This is a collection of video clips cobbled together from different sources, but half of the one hour disk is the John Birch Society presentation "Overview of America" narrated by John McManus. While very well-meaning and patriotic, his ignorant dismissal of anarchism as an alternative to the statist belief of granting government a monopoly of force is hard to sit through for anyone with a more thorough understanding of the principles of liberty and the non-initiation of force. McManus doesn't even attempt an intellectual argument but just employs the "Everybody Knows" gambit to come to his self-congratulatory conclusion that anarchism could never work. Apparently we all must go through life with a government gun held to our head... and that's supposed to be McManus' moral basis for human "civilization". The film will appeal to Constitutionalists and conservative Republicans looking for answers to the growth of leviathan government. But the film's premise that we can have limited government controlled by "the people" is delusional. Since government is always able to define its own limits, there are no limits. No matter the alleged checks and balances, "the people" are never truly in control. The other film clips are on varied unrelated topics and are good as "stand alones". Jerry Daly's graphic presentation on the profound media bias against Ron Paul is well done. "Blue Pill, Red Pill" and "This In America" are two popular and well done "youtube" shorts. Remembering Thoreau's admonition to "hack at the roots of tyranny and not at the branches", this DVD rates a poorly placed hack.
Rating: **

Iraq War Documentaries     Time: About 6½ hours
This is a collection of six videos on the Iraq war that pretty much miss the mark... not surprising since most of them were "Made for TV". The first is an eight minute segment entitled "Iraq-The Real Story" where a British reporter covers an American squad in Iraq, trying to evoke more empathy for the invading army than for the poor natives having their houses trashed, family members hauled off to distant prisons and their environment poisoned. We get the gratuitous videos of automatic weapons fire and helicopters buzzing city streets while being serenaded to country music. Watching soldiers playing golf and having an outdoor barbecue is supposed to give us that warm fuzzy feeling about the good intentions of our imperial legions.

Segment two is a BBC documentary called "Iraq-The Hidden Story" which is an attempt to go behind the Pentagon's severe restrictions on news reporting. Most of the "story" is listening to journalists complain about not being able to show enough "blood and guts" on the evening news. The western reporters are angry that most of the honest coverage of the war comes from Iraqi film crews. Is this the media's attempt to shift blame to the military for their pitiful excuse for reporting on the war?

The third selection is "Iraq For Sale", a really lame film by Robert Greenwald covering Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR, Titan/CACI and other mercenaries for the empire. Rather than criticize the US government for being in Iraq in the first place, the focus instead is on the few American casualties and blaming Uncle Sam and these insider companies for not spending enough money on "better armor" and "cutting corners". There is a long segment on Abu Ghraib which attempts to lay the blame on CACI and other contractors and whitewash the military's role in torture... excuse me, "enhanced interrogation techniques".

The next selection, "Beyond Treason" produced by William Lewis, documents the health damage to Iraqi vets from exposure to Depleted Uranium, exposure to carcinogens and toxic chemicals, dangerous biological munitions and experimental vaccines that appear to be the cause of Gulf War Syndrome. This encapsulates all the vile fruits of war and what we've come to expect from our corrupt masters in Washington DC. But as with the other films on this disk, there is no remorse for invading a foreign country on false pretenses.

The fifth film, "The Road To Guantanamo" documents the mistreatment of prisoners of war by the US military. Oh I forgot, we call them "enemy combatants" now so they can be "legally" tortured and the Geneva Conventions totally ignored. Some of the horrific and nightmarish experiences of some of the detainees are documented via reenactments and file footage. This is the only commendable film on the disk. One wonders how this little gem was included on the DVD with the other five shameful efforts!

Speaking of shameful, the sixth and final film is called "Why We Fight" which comes from a film division of the BBC. This film starts out pretending to be a hard hitting exposé but takes a softball approach to US warmongering. The original "Why We Fight" movie series was a set of US propaganda films from World War II by Hollywood director Frank Capra. Funny they chose to reuse this title, which is like openly advertising that this is just another propaganda film. However, this modern day version of propaganda is much more subtle and sophisticated. What makes it sophisticated is the mixing in of some hard truths and anti-war viewpoints with lies and obfuscations. The most effective propaganda always mixes in truths to sell the message. The key is the ability to misdirect the viewer away from the real issues. Here the focus is on the trillions spent on the latest deadly toys from the so-called "defense" industry and the revolving door politics and graft associated with it. The criticisms of the barbaric and colonial nature of US military policy are given much less emphasis in the film. When John McCain is being framed as one of the biggest critics of "the system", you know how really phony this film is. Particularly galling are the interviews of Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other neocon stars of the Bush II era. The lies about limiting "collateral damage" are so preposterous that I'm surprised they could find a military spokesperson to keep a straight face. Karen Kwiatkowski, a libertarian writer for the Lew Rockwell website provides some of the few bright points in the film. But she is unable to peel back more than the first few layers of the onion. Her superficial understanding of events has the effect of supporting the official "theatre", that which is misrepresented as the cause and effect of world events. As with most of the other films on this DVD, the real story is not being told. This DVD as a whole must be rated a monumental time-waster.
Rating: *

The Oath Keepers      Time 2:14
This DVD is a promotional video for the Oath Keepers, a non-partisan association of currently serving military, veterans, and peace officers who will fulfill their sworn oath to "... support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." Towards that goal, members agree to uphold the "Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey" The idea for the organization and the Declaration is the brainchild of Stewart Rhodes, a lawyer, retired Army paratrooper and Ron Paul staffer in 2008. The idea is to remind those who are entrusted with the government's monopoly of force that they serve the people and not the politicians. In the six film segments, there are ample reminders that German soldiers were prosecuted for war crimes for "just following orders." Although the appeal is squarely towards Constitutionalists, the ideals espoused support the enumerated "Bill of Rights" and generally support the principles of life, liberty and property.

The main feature on the DVD is a 94 minute taping of a rally at Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 2009 featuring speeches by Rhodes, retired Sheriff Richard Mack and many other retired military officers. I believe these folks intentions are the best, but I sometimes question if they are missing the point that some of the basic rights they are swearing to defend are already being trampled on, especially in the name of the unconstitutional "War on Drugs" and the phony "War on Terror". How much worse does it have to get before our soldiers and police actually stop following orders? What is missing in this video are graphic examples of the all too frequent police abuses across the country and the government's misuse of our armed forces as a tool for empire. One detects a certain reluctance to possibly offend fellow comrades in arms by confronting them with harsh truths. By framing the tyrannical actions taken by our government as a potential future problem rather than addressing it now as a current problem, I believe it tends to ratify the ongoing assault on our freedom. This DVD might be a good tool to appeal to relatives, friends and neighbors in the military to start thinking about what they are being asked to do. Otherwise, take a pass.
Rating: **

The End Of America/Naomi Wolf    Time 2:06
Long one of the icons of the "progressives" in America, Naomi Wolf laments the "End of America" in this 5 part DVD. Each segment records either a radio/TV interview or a speaking engagement promoting her book by the same name. The dialogue seems rehearsed and not spontaneous. Naomi appears shocked that the country is turning totalitarian, even though it was redistributive policies promoted by her and her fellow travelers on the left that helped get us here. And will someone please tell this woman that America is (or was) a REPUBLIC and not a DEMOCRACY?! The largest video segment entitled "End of America" is a monologue reiterating the main points of the book. Wolf seeks to clarify the changes to our political environment that are heralding the coming dictatorship and police state. Did she say coming??... it's already here! All the flashpoints that are on Naomi's top ten list have already happened. If Wolf was trying to be original or a prognosticator, it didn't happen. She falls into the same trap as Stewart Rhodes (see above) by interpreting tyrannical government as some future event. Since Wolf is clearly partisan towards the left, I'm not really interested in her as a spokesperson for liberty. Since Obama assumed office, she hasn't been quite as visible crying about our descent into fascism. The video segments are repetitive and often superficial, and most seem like hype for the book. This DVD is good for target practice, but not for much else.
Rating: *

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