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Watching a film like Dinesh D'Souza 2016: Obama's America is the type of surreal experience that could make a political scientist, like myself, cry.  The film is a such a remarkable combination of misinterpretation, psycho-babble, selective use of facts, and outright lies that it is hard to even know where to begin.  D'Souza wants us to believe that America has elected a President that no one knew anything about who is actually an anti-colonialist, anti-Christian, anti-capitalist seeking to undermine America's future.  This is supposed to be as a result of the great influence that his long dead anti-colonialist father who he hardly knew had over him.  The evidence is selective, distorted and underwhelming.  D'Souza essentially starts with an ideological conclusion about who Barack Obama really is and then searches for the evidence to prove his false thesis.  D'Souza's film is one of the most ridiculous acts of historical distortion ever perpetrated somewhere between the big lie propaganda of the Nazis and bad comedy which made me laugh.

Let's try and dissect this ridiculous conspiracy theory.  Was Barack Obama's father a Kenyan anti-colonialist?  This indeed does seem likely.  But young Barack's father abandoned the family when he was a baby and had little to do with him.  He only visited Obama once for a few days when he was about 10.   D'Souza's argument that an absent father can somehow be a great influence is not terribly persuasive.  While he may have admired his absent father there is little evidence that he adopted any of his father's political ideas of socialism or anti-colonialism.  Nor is there much evidence that he adopted or maintained such ideas at his Hawaiian prep school or during his Ivy League education.  

D'Souza cites several professors that Obama studied with that were radicals as proof that Obama adopted their ideas.  He suggests that his exposure to the ideas of Edward Said and Roberto Unger means that he shared all their ideas.  He never mentions that like all students he studied with many professors who had many different and conflicting ideas.  As a professor, I wish that all of my students listened to and agreed with everything I said so that they could spend the rest of their lives parroting my words, but it isn't so, because students actually have minds of their own.  Actually, I don't wish for that, because scholars promote critical thinking not uncritical intellectual regurgitation of dogma.  (This understanding of academia does make one wonder what sort of conservative radicals D'Souza studied with at Dartmouth?)  

The selective use of biographical material suggests that only his absent father and a few professors and other radicals that he met at other times over the course of his lifetime are the only ones that shaped Obama's ideology.  This selectivity ignores the reality that Obama has studied with many professors, has read many books, met thousands of people, taught many classes, associated with many politicians and that all these people have influenced him.  Only these few radicals shaped the mysterious figure of President Barack Obama.  This is a patently ridiculous exercise in selective biographical analysis.

What is even stranger in many ways is that the portrait that D'Souza paints of Obama's policies as President and his claims that these are descended from this  supposed anti-colonial ideology.  D'Souza claims that Obama sympathizes with Occupy Wall Street even though he never attempted to adopt any of their political demands.  His administration has been widely criticized for bailing out Wall Street Banks and not pursuing the prosecution of those accused of wrong-doing on Wall Street.  This supposed anti-Capitalist has collected vast amounts of money from Wall Street donors.        

D'Souza accuses Obama of supporting global Jihad against America aimed at harming America and creating a United States of Islam in the Middle East.  This is the same President who killed Osama Bin Laden and regularly launches drone strikes against al-Qaeda leaders.  D'Souza claims that his support for global Jihad explains his desire to shut down Guantanamo rather than his obvious concern for civil liberties.  He claims that Obama has done nothing to block Iran from getting nuclear weapons even though Obama has imposed crippling sanctions on Iran.  He claims that Obama hates Israel even though Obama has promoted close military and political cooperation with Israel and even vetoed efforts to advance the Palestinian cause at the United Nations.  
He claims that Obama blocked efforts at oil drilling in the Gulf and Keystone Pipeline as part of some sort of nefarious effort to block American energy independence.    This is one of the least obvious answer since these efforts were clearly a response to the BP oil spill and concerns about the environmental dangers of the Keystone pipeline (which has only been delayed not blocked).  Whenever there is obvious explanation for a policy result, D'Souza ignores it and searches for a secret anti-colonial rationale to explain the President's actions.  

One of D'Souza's strangest claims is that Obama has exploded the national debt as some sort of effort to promote global restitution to the third world for colonialism.  This is truly ridiculous.  The explosion of the national debt was begun by the tax cuts, reckless spending, and unpaid for wars of George W. Bush.  (Maybe Bush was also a secret anti-colonialist anti-Capitalist?)  Obama has merely pursued standard Keynesian (NOT Kenyan) policies to address a recession.  There is nothing remotely anti-colonial in these policies.  Obama's efforts to reduce nuclear weapons is also supposed to be part of a plot to destroy America's Superpower status and weaken the United States.   In reality, this is an effort to reduce defense spending in a post-Cold War world, eliminate unnecessary nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of nuclear war.  D' Souza neglects to mention that the United States currently spends about 7 times the amount of money on defense annually as its nearest competitor.

But the funniest and most bizarre claim that D'Souza makes is that Barack Obama had a bust of Winston Churchill removed from the White House, because Churchill was a colonialist.  The only problem with this claim is that it is patently false.  The bust of Churchill is still in the White House residence outside the Treaty Room.  This is stated on a White house blog.   This bizarre urban legend is easily disproved.   This outright lie is symbolic of all the distortions throughout the entire D'Souza film.

To call this film a documentary is truly outrageous.  It is a bizarre set of lies, distortions and ideological misinterpretations passing itself off as scholarship analysis.  For better or worse, Barack Obama is a moderate Democrat whose re-election campaign and goals center around saving the Middle Class not redistributing wealth in the United States or abroad.  He is not radical, extremist, anti-Capitalist, anti-colonialist who hates America.  Conservatives keep accusing Obama of not understanding America when in every way he is a living incarnation of all that is best in the America story.  He is an American son of an immigrant father who has risen from poverty to live the American Dream.  

By the way, as ridiculous as D'Souza's embarrassing film is, I'll gladly defend D'Souza's first amendment Constitutional right to make a fool out of himself.  And actually I bet Barack Obama would as well.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why would someone not be anti-colonial in 2012 ? (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myboo, caul, sewaneepat, bobdevo, Ahianne, aitchdee

    Even by 1950, colonialism had few backers. That was the reason British left their colonies.

    Why would Dinesh D'Souza whose India suffered greatly under the British think being pro-colonial is a great thing ?

    Infact the US government during the colonial times was clearly anti-colonial.

    So, this whole "anti-colonial" thing looks very stupid.

    Enjoying driving the electric Nissan Leaf as the primary car from Feb '11

    by EVNow on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 11:50:29 PM PDT

    •   DSousa Hates George Washington (9+ / 0-)

      And considering he was born and raised in Mumbai India until he came to the US when he suddenly became a rabid conservative and tell us who qualifies as a "real American," he really is a bit of a Quisling.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 12:00:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's been some time... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, bernardpliers, Ana Thema

        ...since I have heard someone refer to another as a Quisling...well done.

      •  When whack jobs start from positions.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caryltoo, Ana Thema, aitchdee

        arguing that ALL Muslims are terrorists, then it becomes very easy to sweep all sorts of things into clear easy to understand and totally idiotic belief patterns.

        D'Souza holds a position that Obama is actually seething with anger which drives his desires to pursue his father's agenda, but is very skilled at supressing it.

        D'Souza knows it is there....and therefore it is and therefore his premise is accurate.

        I see friends, who are otherwise smart, eager to see this pile of steaming crap.  Fortunately, despite this kind of rampant nonsense, Mr. Obama is going to win in November and drive them crazy.  

        Unfortunately, a victory will provide Mr. D'Souza with at least another four years to make millions from the rubes pursuing similar idiotic tropes.

        Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

        by dweb8231 on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 04:31:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The strange part about this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ana Thema, aitchdee

          is that Barack Obama seems to be one of the least angry men in the world.  He doesn't seem at all angry.  One has to wonder if D'Souza has adopted stereotypes of the "angry black man" as his basis for seeing Obama as angry man raging against colonialism.   Obama seems like a very practical and pragmatic man, not an angry man.

          •  Obama's anger is the guts.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ana Thema, aitchdee

            of D'Souza's entire premise.  Because of that anger, he is working feverishly on a "secret" and "hidden" agenda to get even for colonialism and racism.

            Other than the fact that D'Souza is a complete idiot, there is nothing wrong with that premise that having an IQ wouldn't cure.

            Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

            by dweb8231 on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 11:51:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  unfortunately, (0+ / 0-)

          when obama wins in November we will be trying to climb out of another terrible recession. his plan for next year, to cut the deficit to make his presidency look prettier is to cut the military 400 billion and raise taxes. This can cut the deficit by a trillion, which is beautiful. but it also throws society into a recession by lowering the country's GDP.

    •  Maybe D'Souza is projecting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nancelot, Ana Thema, aitchdee

      Maybe D'Souza is the one angry and confused about his identity-- conflicted about being a "denatured" Indian with a Portuguese name and Christian background-- a "child of imperialism" raised to embrace the imperialist master, eager to please his neocon patrons.

      Say, I think I'll produce a "documentary" film citing some talking heads to assert these points about D'Souza.

      Two can play this game, after all.

      •  He's clearly the Indian version of (0+ / 0-)

        an Uncle Tom.  He kind of reminds me of the tennis-sweater wearing Carlton Banks character of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air . . .

        I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

        by bobdevo on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 06:42:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  D'Souza distinguishes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ana Thema, aitchdee

      to some degree between types of colonialism.  His critique of the anti-colonialism (and Third World nationalism) is that it has been become anti-Capitalist and anti-Christian.  So he believes that in supposedly adopting his father's ideology as his guiding star that Obama is secretly anti-capitalist and anti-Christian and that this is what is guiding him in his policy decisions.  

      He also seems to suggest in his discussion with Obama's half brother that Kenya would have been better off - if like South Africa - the colonizers had stayed longer and developed the place more.  It is very twisted.

  •  Protocols of the Elders of an Angry Black Man (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denver11, caul, SCFrog, Ana Thema, aitchdee

    Protocols of the Learned Elders of an Angry Black Man is the actual title of this film

  •  Warmed Over Nazi Race Theory (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, Wee Mama, SCFrog, Ahianne, Ana Thema, aitchdee

    The idea of "race" and "national spirit" conflated in mystical way - citizenship is only open to the ethnically pure, no matter how many generations immigrants have lived here.

    By D'Souza's reasoning no Black, no Jew, no Asian, no Hispanic, heck no Native American can ever be a "real American."

    But apparently there is an exception for Brahmans with freakishly tiny heads.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 12:03:42 AM PDT

  •  So his mother's outlook had no influence? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, caryltoo, Ana Thema
    •  Actually according to D'Souza, (0+ / 0-)

      his mother continually spoke well of his father despite his having abandoned her.  She apparently created the positive view of his father as a great third world anti-colonialist for the young Barack.  She then went on to  marry another man from the Third World, but became angry with him when he joined the establishment by working for an oil company.  So his mother acted as a conduit for creating the positive image of an absent father for Barack.   You can't make this stuff up - well unless you are Dinesh D'Souza.

  •  Those Constitutional rights. The movie ads airing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, IreGyre

    on TV  reminds me of "Hillary: The Movie" ads case going to the Supreme Court...
    ah yes.
    They wanted the right to just show their fine documentary and run the ads like with any movie. Silly lower courts had blocked them, saying they were subject to campaign finance laws on political advocacy

    Just like they'd have blocked this one running as just another stunningly wonderfully revealing documentary  and filling the airway with it's ads.

    But "luckily" Citizens United won their case

    So that's the other hit of this movie for me.

  •  Anti-colonialist? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, IreGyre, SCFrog

    Like the Founding Fathers? Does that make the GOP pro-"imperialist"?

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 03:19:37 AM PDT

  •  Is he really from India (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, tundraman, Wee Mama

    or is D'Souza one of the millions from Pakistan who illegally migrated to India since the partition?

    His writings suggest a strong affinity for Wahabi fundamentalism.  

    For example, D'Souza is a big of the President who ordered the funding, training and arming of Islamic fundamentalists. D'Souza is a big fan of the President who compared Islamic fundamentalists with our founding fathers and who dedicated a space shuttle to Islamic fundamentalists.

    D'Souza supported the policy of not pursuing OBL if it meant offending the sensitivities of the GOP (Government of Pakistan).

    And D'Souza has shown nothing but venom against the President who put bringing OBL to justice ahead of the feelings of the GOP.

    The evidence that D'Souza is a Pakistani or supports the Pakistani cause is compelling.

    I, for one, would like to see 'D'Souza's' birth certificate and immigration documents.

    •  makes as much sense... (except I know that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Ahianne

      the D'Souza name was originally from Portuguese colonists in Goa and other parts of India... and typically or often Christian...)

      The game of totally made up BS as evidence for whatever notion needs to be "proved" can be played by anyone from the the age of 3 and up... it's called "Make believe"... only problem is that grown-ups can play it for keeps...

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 05:10:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A good smack down on Youtube (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Some people have short memories

    by lenzy1000 on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 05:19:44 AM PDT

  •  Poor D'Souza... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot, caryltoo, SCFrog, aitchdee

    ...this is all the product of a deeply confused and troubled mind. D'Souza is an Indian..but not really; Portugese...but not really; Christian...but not really. And now he's an American Super Patriot...but not really.

    Poor Dinesh confuses being a meretricious reactionary blowhard with being a 'patriot'.

    I almost felt sorry for the poor fool as I watched Christopher Hitchens demolish him, in a debate at Notre Dame University, as a clueless D'Souza tried to make a case for 'faith'.

    It was comical watching him flounder as Hitchens calmly, and with a sort of amused contempt, took him and his fallacious arguments to pieces.

    The audience at that staunchly Catholic institution were clearly on Hitchen's side (the video is on youtube and well-worth watching).

    Poor, poor Dinesh, who's hitched his star to a crowd that views him disdainfully as a foreign interloper, albeit a useful idiot.

    When he ceases to be of use, his right-wing chums will dump him like a hot brick.

    Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill

    by Retroactive Genius on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 05:25:50 AM PDT

    •  DDS is also (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Retroactive Genius, aitchdee

      An unbelievable racist, sexist, and gay-basher.

      A darling of the right-wing-campus-newspaper-backing Collegiate Network, D’Souza helped found the infamous ultra-conservative Dartmouth Review as an undergrad. Under D’Souza’s “leadership,” The Review ran notoriously tasteless, bigoted, and just downright offensive articles of all stripes. Among his signature pieces: a parody of African American students at Dartmouth entitled “This Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro”; an interview with a Ku Klux Klan member featuring a graphic of a hanged black man; and selected words of wisdom from Adolf Hitler. The Review consistently referred to gay men as sodomites, and D’Souza himself publicly outed one gay student in an article based on stolen correspondence between members of the Dartmouth Gay Student Alliance.
  •  Was anti-colonialism a bad thing when (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it led to the American Revolution?  Or is this just another heapin' helpin' of the absurdity of American exceptionalism?

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 06:39:27 AM PDT

  •  well obama (0+ / 0-)

    certainly doesnt come off as a normal American. He can speak arabic, he grew up all over the world and did get together with many socialist people.
    have you ever seen the clip of his saying mccain has not questioned my muslim faith, than the interviewer has to interrupt him and say your christian faith, and obama pauses and says uh, yeah my christian faith.
    how about the one where michelle says kenya is his "home country"
    have you seen the clip of him saying this is a muslim america?
    and he more than likely had nothing to do with Osama, stop using it as a rallying point. any lunatic, well i guess except clinton.. would let the military get him. obama didnt coordinate the attack, he didnt plan it, if he did anything, at most it would have been "yes"
    most contorted piece of facts? idk... michael moores films are pretty bad.
    did you know his middle name is hussein?
    how many states are in america too? there are only 50, he didnt actually go to 57 like he wants you to believe.

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