Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: The End of America (Naomi Wolf)

Remember the mid-2000's when President Bush really was running roughshod over the laws of the United States of America, and working real hard to establish the basis for a real fascist regime over the United States? Maybe you did not know about this, but I'd written a bunch of posts on this which you can access via the category tags at the top of this post. The End of America is a 2008 movie by journalist Naomi Wolf which was at the time a strident urgent warning against the illegal excesses and overreach of the Bush II administration. Today, with Obama being slimed right and left as a 'Fascist' it's worth watching this movie as a reminder of our recent past.

The movie is structured around 10 steps Ms. Wolf has identified which dictatorial governments around the world use to put their population under autocratic rule. To explain each of the steps, Naomi uses examples of Bush II Administration actions that implement the steps.
  1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
  2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
  3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
  4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
  5. Harass citizens' groups.
  6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
  7. Target key individuals.
  8. Control the press.
  9. Treat all political dissidents as traitors.
  10. Suspend the rule of law.
Today, it would be a useful yardstick to compare the Bush II Administration excesses with the actions of the Obama Administration, to determine just how close Obama is to being an actual proto-Fascist as people are claiming.

The thing that I've noticed about the right wing blowhard Republicans is they tend to accuse others of the things they themselves are doing. Accusing Obama of Fascism would be par for the course, given the sort of autocratic tendencies the Republicans have followed since the Bush II years.
It's also true that the overreach by the Bush II Administration established principles of Presidential Behavior which the Obama Administration could be making use of. As one of the speakers in The End of America said, lost freedoms are like sand slipping between your fingers. The freedoms lost under the Bush Administration won't be automatically returned to we the people, instead we the people must fight to regain them.

One thing I'm wondering from watching this movie is to what extent it acted to inspire the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party people are activisting for a return to Constitutional Rule, and The End of America closes with a call for a return to Constitutional Rule. I suspect that the Tea Party people may have a different idea of Constitutional than does Naomi Wolf.

Interview - Naomi Wolf - Give Me Liberty - is a video interview of Ms. Wolf in 2008 discussing the movie, the book, the above stuff, etc

In a stunning indictment of the Bush administration and Congress, best-selling author Naomi Wolf lays out her case for saving American democracy. In authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century‚'s worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile.

The book cuts across political parties and ideologies and speaks directly to those among us who are concerned about the ever-tightening noose being placed around our liberties.

In this timely call to arms, Naomi Wolf compels us to face the way our free America is under assault. She warns us‚-with the straight-to-fellow-citizens urgency of one of Thomas Paine‚'s revolutionary pamphlets‚-that we have little time to lose if our children are to live in real freedom.

This two-disc director's cut is jam packed with never-before-seen bonus material, including: an exclusive interview with Anthony Romero, president of the ACLU; a detailed interview with Daniel Ellsberg, former military analyst; a featurette with New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof, and much more. Along with the rest of America, best-selling author and feminist Naomi Wolf was overwhelmed by the swell of conflicting information and the sudden march to war after 9/11. Wolf looked to history to help her understand the dramatic changes she believed she was witnessing, and discovered the disturbing similarities between post-9/11 US policy and that of historically fascist regimes such as Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany. Wolf authored her next book, THE END OF AMERICA, which demonstrated that the United States was on a remarkably certain path toward ending democracy. Taking the thesis of her book to the streets, Wolf set out on a national tour to discuss the evolution of America from a functional democracy into a closed, fear-driven society with a terrifying absence of due process. In this profound and eye-opening film, Award-winning veteran documentarians Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK, THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT) accompany Wolf as she discusses America's dangerous passage towards becoming a society of fear and surveillance, and expresses her plea to restore our nation's most cherished values.

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