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MurphTheSurf3 On August - 26 - 2012

“2016: Obama’s America” will only impress the low/no information voter predisposed to accept its principal theme: Obama is an instrument forged by his father’s hatred of all things American.

It is getting lots of play in the right wing’s media machine, will be front and center at the Republican Convention, and is one of the favorite conversation starters among the Tea Party faithful.

The film has the feel of the “Manchurian Candidate.” – a book to film (in 1962 and in 2004) that I very much enjoyed. But this film presents itself as a documentary and it very much has the look of one.

Dinesh D’Souza, whose had made a career of going after liberalism/progressivism in all its forms, creates a pretty nicely packaged infomercial here. The best liberal comparison for “2016” is probably the films of Michael Moore, who like D’Souza acts as the guide through documentaries that are meant to persuade us to his way of thinking.

D’Souza is smoother than Moore who is often openly sarcastic, usually overbearing, and occasionally a bully. D’Souza is a calm, cool, reasonable presence. It is tempting to trust him, even when he’s asking questions that make it clear that he envisions a second term for Obama as an overthrow of American life as it is supposed to be.

His man/woman on the street question? “What would you worry about if America was no longer America?”

D’Souza’s guiding principle is that Obama is an agent of an anti-colonial conspiracy. He first suggested this in a 2010 Forbes magazine article and then upped the ante in two subsequent books.  He moves from Obama as anti-colonial to anti-capitalist to anti-American. His father, who was estranged from the family for virtually all of his life, was Obama’s “compass,” as D’Souza calls it — anti-colonialist, anti-white and anti-Christian shaping the radical politics of Obama and his supporters. He even uses an interview with a psychologist to point how absent fathers often have extraordinary influence on their sons.

The first hour of the 90-minute “2016” has a calm and rational veneer- what I think of as bashing with a fist wrapped in a velvet glove and a kindly, almost sad expression on the attackers face.

There’s a brief history of colonialism which focuses on Africa (and tellingly leaves out our own experience of it) and a quick bio of Obama, focusing on his legacy from the father he barely knew and with whom he hardly ever communicated. He uses Obama’s own biography, “Dreams from My Father” as a device to tell the story with footage of himself poring over Obama’s memoir like a psychological detective, while visiting Indonesia, Hawaii and Kenya.

D’Souza obsesses about some very odd events. The return of the bust of Winston Churchill, on loan from the National Gallery in London to George W. Bush as a token of friendship by Prime Minister Blair. By mutual agreement, the bust was to be rtuned at the end of that administration. D’Souza claims this was an Obama decision and a sign of his hatred for the British Empire and by extension colonialism.

Of course, the charge ignores our national foundations in a revolt against colonialism. Even so,  much of the first 60 minutes is a decently argued, highly skeptical look at Obama written and presented as Fox would do an Obama retrospective.

But…..The last half-hour is…..well, really crazy tin-foil hat kind of stuff.

D’Souza, in a sincere and serious tone, says the following: Obama got elected to his first term so he could wait four years, get elected again and then, like some Manchurian candidate, shift the world’s power to Second and Third World countries. If the president is reelected, he says, the world four years from now will be darkened by the clouds of economic collapse, World War III (thanks to the wholesale renunciation of our nuclear superiority) and a terrifyingly ascendant new “United States of Islam” in the Middle East. These assertions are accompanied by images of stormy clouds interspersed with scenes of Muslims massed and protesting and lots of horror-movie music.

He makes no case in support of this at all- he knows there is no need. His audience was with him from the start. He has a few people who agree with him building a case of guilt by association (often three and four steps removed from Obama). There are no primary sources; no documentary evidence; no interviews with those who might offer first hand insight. At the end he gives credit for the turning of Obama to a group of radical “founding fathers”: communist Frank Marshall Davis; former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers; academic Edward Said, whose views are described as anti-Zionist; liberal Harvard professor Roberto Unger; and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a proponent of so-called black liberation theology.

I saw the film for free with several of my friends who are GOP (although several are wavering). They paid for it. We went to lunch to discuss it. My friends are a pretty rational crowd and after an hour of discussion even they agreed the film was a weak stick. Most supporters of the President will find the film irritating in its first 60 minutes and infuriating in its last half hour.

As these things go, the movie seems destined to irritate the president’s supporters while mobilizing his detractors, but doomed to win precious few converts. It’s a textbook example of preaching to the choir in some mad Dominionist Church of American Supremacy.

How is the film doing? It was released on July 13 but in limited showings to select audiences. It has moved in 1,091 theaters in the last week and has made $5,093,000 for an average of $31,160 per theater. Production costs have not been provided as the films financing was “privately underwritten.” The billionaires’ club at work again?

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

28 Responses so far.

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  1. The founding fathers were anti-colonialist. It think this film is an incredibly weak attempt based on that premise alone.

    Even when people were most upset at the Iraq War and Bush lying about WMDs Moore’s 911 film did not work. There is just no there there in this conspiracy.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      But D’Sousa has made a good living off of this meme for a long time. Beginning in his college years at Dartmouth, he quickly learned that his English Major might not get him a job but his association with the College Republicans and the University Student Conservative Alliance could. He speaks well, gives a good impression, and because of his color, surprised audiences with his political positions. In other words, this shtick has worked almost from the start.

      • SueInCa says:

        Murph

        I knew I was right about Obama 2016. Joe Ricketts helped to finance the movie

        http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cenk-uygur-destroys-anti-obama-author-dinesh-dsouza/

        • AdLib says:

          FWIW, Bill Maher also had him on last night and trashed and humiliated him and his lies. Maher also exposed that he was holding a long time grudge against him for starting the conversation on his old show about the 9/11 hijackers not being cowards which Maher’s agreement to led to his being threatened by the WH and fired.

          Maher later went on to look like an idiot again by declaring that Eastwood’s empty chair bit was smart and a success.

          Maher will always remind you that as right as he can be at times, he can also be a clueless doofus who’s contrary at times just because he thinks it makes him cool and “independently minded”.

          • SallyT says:

            Here is the Bill Maher clip with D’Souza

            Bill Maher Takes Apart Dinesh D’Souza Over His Fearmongering Film

            http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/bill-maher-takes-apart-dinesh-d-souza-over

          • SallyT says:

            I thought that Bill was just trying to say as a comedian that it is hard to get up there and do a comedy skit with just a chair. He did say he didn’t agree with anything that Eastwood said but gave him credit for standing up there and trying. That he was a hit with that crowd and of course he would be. And, they were the only ones laughing. I took it as more of feeling like the guy needed someone to say something nice and since Bill is a fan of Eastwood, he did. Bill also last night took on that crosseyed black guy that is sometimes on MSNBC and basically told him it was like trying to get the facts and truth through a rock head, which that guy is. Loved the New Rules, too. You can add me to the “independently minded”, I guess. That makes me cool? No probably just another doofus. Well, at least I am staying in character. :)

            • SallyT says:

              I still think he was just given Eastwood credit for trying to do something that would be a difficult comedy routine. He never said he agreed with anything Eastwood said, in fact he said the opposite. I think most comedians are ego driven. Anyway, here is Jon Stewart’s take. He also agrees with Bill Maher that Republicans want to live in the past and falsely accuse Obama.

              Jon Stewart Praises Eastwood’s ‘Fist Full of Awesome’ Before Ripping into Romney’s RNC Speech

              http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/jon-stewart-praises-eastwoods-fist-full-aw

            • AdLib says:

              Sally, I pretty much saw the rest of it as you did but Maher has such amazing intellectual blind spots.

              Anyone who appeared on the RNC stage and made insulting jokes about Obama would get laughs. Maher is just a dope about this. Even Romney, who has no discernable sense of humor, got laughs on unfunny “jokes” about Obama, simply because they were insults.

              Watch Eastwood’s speech. It’s not laughable-type funny in any reasonable way. People laugh at such things in a political environment in support of the politics being espoused.

              Maher must be a bit clueless to think that Eastwood “scored” and “won over” the Repub attendees. He could have read the phone book and gotten laughs as long as he said before each name, “Here’s someone else who thinks Obama is a socialist Kenyan”.

              Maher is just flat wrong about Eastwood or any celebrity needing to win over an audience that is by their presence at the RNC, already willing fans of whatever is said.

              I found it incredibly naive or clueless, one or the other. Reminded me of how Maher seemed to be so proud of himself for being so “unconventional” and supporting Bush’s invasion of Iraq. He is so ego driven, it interferes with his clarity.

      • SueInCa says:

        Hey Murph

        I have a friend that has her own website and she wants to reprint your friend’s No Longer A Republican piece. Let me know if it is alright and I will get you in touch with her offline. My email is [email protected]

    • choicelady says:

      Hmmm -- I never thought that was the point. I always figured the point was that they were utterly arrogant and asleep at the switch. Condi testified, wide eyed, that well golly yes they had the report “Terrorists planning to fly planes into tall buildings” -- but GOSH nobody gave them a DATE so, well, what COULD they DO? That’s when I knew we did not have to have this happen and that it didn’t need to be a conspiracy -- it was absolute, to the core negligence and disinterest. And that’s what I thought Moore was saying. It was corroborated by a PBS documentary on the absolutely horrific lack of response to the initial hijacking -- nothing scrambled, no response at ALL by the people in charge. The air traffic controllers were very clear on details -- and on the lack of even concern by security and military people.

      I attribute it entirely to arrogance, not to conspiracy.

      I do have two questions though -- where the HELL is the wreckage of the plane in Shanksville and also at the Pentagon? Just asking. The destruction at the Twin Towers I get, but not there. My husband was a reporter and visited a high speed jet crash outside an Air Force Base -- there were parts of the fuselage everywhere. So I will always remain creeped out by those two incidents and the lack of debris.

      • SallyT says:

        CL, here is another interesting question regarding that hit to the Pentagon:

        Rumsfeld Buries Admission of Missing 2+ Trillion Dollars in 9/10/01 Press Conference

        http://911research.wtc7.net/sept11/trillions.html

        And, interestingly the hit by the plane or missiles was in the area that the records were kept. ????

      • SueInCa says:

        CL

        There is a very unsettling incident even at the World Trade Towers. How were the hijacker’s passports recovered when the plane was a fireball upon impact? Of all the debris at the site the FBI wants us to believe that the hijackers passports were intact? It was all done to encourage the Iraq war. Even then there was no indication that Iraq had anything to do with it but just like Cheney said “deficits don’t matter” I believe the bush people claimed “americans won’t put two and two together. Also why did Bush ferry bin Laden’s family out of the country on 9/11?

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Choice…hey. I too find Moore’s basic thesis correct although, per his usual style, he lacks the discipline to create a really tight and verifiable argument.

        A side note….

        The Pennsylvania Plane-

        I have read more than a few descriptions of the crash that indicate Flight 93 was hit by fire from fighter jets.

        Google: “9/11 pennsylvania plane shot down” dozens of stories. This story is one of the more interesting: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-401315/Flight-93-shot-claims-book.html

  2. RF Dude says:

    Murph, I commend you for going to see this “film” so we don’t have to. I’ve been seeing references to it show up in threads around the ‘net, and since the posters pushing this film are usually well known tro//z I knew it was likely just another “hit” piece.

    But your calm (as usual) review fills in that void where knowledge should be. Since I have not and will not go to see it, there was that empty space that you’ve filled.

    Thanks.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Thanks for this. Appreciate your kudos. Glad you found it useful.

      I went with three others with whom I have long been friends. All GOP -- as I once was. Two agreed over lunch that it was nonsense. The third e mailed us all the next day to say she agreed that it was crap. Now two of them are taking others to see it and then going for coffee afterwards to discuss the film. Their mission: open up some minds. Both know that moderation is what their party desperately needs and opening minds is a good place to start. To that I say: Good Luck.

  3. Plutocrats really suck says:

    One thing D’Souza has done well is to separate the gullible from the contents of their wallets. The Beck/Coulter model. Even Newt, a professional snake-oil salesman of the highest order, has repeated D’Souza’s inane ramblings in the past for political gain.

    The people that believe it do so because they want it to be true, they need it to be true. But ultimately he’s probably just preaching to the choir.

    Hi Murph. yeah, it’s me from HP.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      D’Sousa as an English major at Dartmouth and a member of a conservative student club discovered that when someone who “looks liberal/progressive/Democrat” speaks from the right, he/she gets lots of attention. That became his meal ticket. Your comparison to Coulter and Beck is very appropriate.

      And who is his audience? The same crowd that buys into Coulter’s and Beck’s vision of American and its enemies. They are, as you say, people who believe because they want their versions of reality to be true fitting into their worldview. Projection at its worst.

  4. Thanks Murph, I’ve been reading a few articles about this film, but they didn’t get as in-depth as you have here.

    I’m not worried too much about the impact of this film on the regular, empty headed puppets that always dance to the tune of Limbaugh, Hannity and other propagandists. I do worry about those independents that are still vacillating between Romney and Obama.

    As far as the puppets are concerned, I see the same willfully ignorant accusations and conspiracy theories every day. I’ve been spending time on the Yahoo threads (must be masochistic)and they really cluster together there and support each other’s insanity and hatred.

    Fortunately, I’ve been seeing more and more Obama supporters using facts to shoot down this aerial pandemonium ballet that the Obama haters insist on engaging in. I engage them as civilly as is possible for me, when faced with such ignorant and brainwashed minds, by using facts and (god forbid) reason.

    I don’t know how effective I’ve been among the RW ditto heads, but I think I have reached many of those independents and somehow got them to actually put more stock in research and facts. I think I have changed some minds, at least those minds that aren’t mired and stuck in the RW mud.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      You, I and others like us are fighting the same kind of battle in what is a war over who will direct this nation’s social, economic, technological, and military policy for years to come. The Supreme Court is ground zero at the national level; while voter rights rules are the focus at the state level.

      WHO gets elected is important because of WHAT they will introduce and vote on/sign.

      The group of Republicans who I went to the film with have decided to get others to go and then discuss the film with them. Their hope is to reignite the cooler flames of moderation among our mostly farming community where the impact of climate change, of agri-business, and foreign imports are keenly felt. In that these points of engagement are more the responsibility of the GOP than the Dems, they think the issues are wedge issues.

      Frankly, the Akin candidacy is causing many GOP here to ask: “Who in the hell are we backing anyway.”

      But, in general I agree with your assessment of who is going to the film and who will believe it.

      BTW- did you like the media snow job about the opening weekend numbers? In the weakest two week period for theaters, the film did ok but here are the numbers I find most interesting.

      This week it came in 8 and last week it was 13.

      $6,238,000 was the weekend gross an improvement of +401.2% in 1,091 theaters- an increase of +922 theaters. It made $5,718 on average per theater for a total earning of $9,075,000 in its 7th week on the road. STILL- THAT IS A LOT OF PEOPLE. So we need to get the word out.

  5. SueInCa says:

    Murph

    I believe that this film was underwritten by the owner of the Chicago Cubs, Ricketts. The same ugly man who tried to tie Obama again to Rev Wirght and who said he would spend 10 million on ads against Obama

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/17/1092426/-Cubs-Owner-May-Spend-10M-On-Ads-Attacking-Obama-About-Rev-Wright

    The family was silent until Rahm Emmanuel refused to meet with them to discuss expanding Wrigley Field on the taxpayers dime after this all came out. Then all of a sudden they were backpedaling quickly. Knowing Emmanuel’s temper(he once stabbed a knife into a table in a diner when working Clinton campaign saying that is what we do to the m—--f—ers) I doubt they will get the taxpayer funding now no matter what the Rickets family does. Rahm has been known to hold grudges.

    The right did another film during the 2008 election that they sent unsolicited to many people. We got one and it was pretty much the same with roiling storm clouds and heavy music and a secret muslim theme. This film may have been better made than the first but I think most intelligent people will see it for what it is -- Propaganda.

    I have never seen a political party so desperate to win. The only thing I agree with them and some progressives is Eric Holder should be fired. Not sure what his department is doing but it is not much.

    • choicelady says:

      Wow Sue -- we need to talk about Holder. I work with the DOJ and know what is going on. He’s doing a LOT. We can have this conversation via email.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      My research has taken me to Crossroads GPS. Will, what is clear is that it is privately produced and that almost all production issues are deeply buried.

      I was in a theater in a wealthy St. Louis suburb as the film rolled. There were murmurs all around me in agreement. I wanted to pull a Joe Wilson and scream “You Lie”- but I am more polite than he is AND unlike Joe was not surrounded by those who would agree with me.

      Afterwards there was a “reception” in a spacious lobby. My three friends told me it was a fund raising event. We left excusing ourselves because of a luncheon engagement. Our lunch. Two of my three friends quickly conceded the film was crap. The third e mailed us this AM to say that after a bit of research she concurred.

  6. beowoof says:

    Excellent Murph, it looks like the superpack bros from a twisted planet had some involvement. Hey Planet POVers.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Thanks…the KOCHsters or Crossroads or as Sue has pointed out the owner of Sox, Ricketts. There is no lie they will not tell.


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