Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Conservative "propaganda" film by D'Souza, "2016: Obama's America", is well-made

During the week of the Republican Convention, an independent film directed by Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan, “2016: Obama’s America” has been playing in local theaters. Distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures, it appears that this is a “subsidized” run for political points by the right. I was expecting a takeoff on a rant against the president by Michele Bachmann.

Nevertheless, the film has an interesting thesis.  Technically, it’s well done: we get to see a lot of the world, particularly rural Kenya (where Obama’s father comes from), Indonesia, and Hawaii. 

I saw it at the AMC Courthouse in Arlington, in a large auditorium, for the $6 Tuesday night special price. The film is reported to have done well this weekend, but the auditorium for the 9:10 PM show was almost empty.  Just three of us.

D’Souza has already laid out his these in two recent books: “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” and “Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream”.

The film traces Obama’s life in detail.  D-Souza often quotes from Obama's own book "Dreams of my Father", Barack Sr. 

A turning point in the film occurs when D’Souza interviews one of Obama’s half-brothers, George, who has lived a good part of his life in poverty in Kenya, but has written an e-book “Homeland” from Simon & Schuster (2010).  D’Souza asks George why Barack has not helped take care of him personally and intervene as his “brother’s keeper”.  The idea that Africa can benefit from capitalism if the European settlers stay and build the country comes up.  At this point, the direction of the film turns toward examining Barack Obama’s supposed anti-colonialism, as part of Obama'd ideological thinking about worldwide social justice and redistribution of wealth and political power, toward an older system where many countries and parts of the world shared regional influence. 

Obama inherited his views from his father, and D’Souza claims that this view  explains Obama’s opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and expanding domestic production of energy, while supporting third world production, inverting the idea that we need to be less dependent on foreign oil.  Obama even returned a bust of Churchill to England as a testament to his opposition to colonialism and mercantilism (a topic that I remember from a US history exam in high school!)  

It's true that "colonialism" used to imply expropriation of natural resources and resale of products, causing native peoples to go into debt.  But the case can be made that developing countries do better when they jump on the capitalist bandwagon themselves.  But then, it's so easy to exploit the cheap, slave labor and underlying caste structure. 

D’Souza also says that as America grows slowly weaker because of Obama’s policies, it will become saddled with even more debt, which will cripple future generations.  His predictions, that Obama would allow Iran to have nuclear weapons and allow a Muslim "caliphate" sound scary -- the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) terror threat definitely is related to possession of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea (D'Souza could have made this point explicitly). 

There is a lingering question:  if a group of people or a nation is to be held accountable for abusive behavior in the past, what does that say about the morality of individual citizens and the sacrifices that they must make?

The official site is here

On my Book review blog, I have reviews of two of D'Souza's books: "Life After Death: The Evidence" (Nov. 9, 2009), and "What's So Great About America" (April 10, 2006).

Another of Obama's half-brothers (Mark Okoth) is an accomplished pianist.

The video below comes from "The Blaze":

Compare this film to "Hillary: The Movie" (May 1, 2009).

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