*As President Barack Obama was delivering his state of the union on Tuesday, hundreds of DVDs for the anti-Obama film “2016: Obama’s America” – featuring an interview with his impoverished half-brother – were being mailed to senators, congressmen, the governors of all 50 states and the nine Supreme Court justices, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
One copy also was mailed to the president at his White House address and another went to Vice President Joe Biden.
The film tries to make the point that Obama’s agenda is bad for America and that the rationale for his policies stems from a hard-left ideology that was instilled in him by the example set by his absentee father. One of the more compelling scenes is an interview with George Obama, the president’s half-brother who was living in a hut near Nairobi, Kenya at the time.
“2016″ was released theatrically in July and raked in $33.5 million, enough to make it the second biggest political documentary in U.S. history, right behind Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
While Lionsgate Home Entertainment is distributing the DVD, it was not involved in the decision to mail about 600 copies to legislators and other governmental power brokers.
Instead, the initiative was spearheaded by the film’s star and co-director Dinesh D’Souza, who shelled out $393 to mail the DVDs, which will arrive in different packaging than the official Lionsgate release.
While the DVDs were shipped Tuesday, recipients won’t get them for at least a week, given that parcels to high-ranking members of the U.S. government typically are screened by security personnel looking for anthrax, radiation and other hazards.
Despite the obvious marketing potential of such a move, D’Souza cites a different motivation.
“The film laid out a bold thesis that no one else was advancing,” D’Souza told The Hollywood Reporter. “The movie has been a good predictor of Obama’s behavior and of the policies these lawmakers will be dealing with, so we sent it to them.”
Accompanying each DVD is a letter from D’Souza that reads:
“Since 2012 was an election year, I have a hunch that you weren’t able to slip away to the movies. You may have missed a film that I wrote and directed called 2016: Obama’s America. It was my first venture into filmmaking, and I was very pleased that it became the #2 highest grossing political documentary in history. After its theatrical run, the film was released on DVD. I’m pleased to present you with your own personal copy. I hope you will find it interesting and compelling, and I welcome any feedback you may have. Thank you for your service to our Nation.”
*Dinesh D’Souza – the star and co-director of “2016: Obama’s America,” the second most successful political documentary in history – has accused two journalists of “libel” and carrying out a “vendetta” against him by alleging that is having an extramarital affair.
On Tuesday, the day the film arrived on DVD, World Magazine reported that D’Souza had been at a Christian conference introducing a woman as his fiancé and spending the night in a hotel with her even though he had only filed for divorce from his wife of 20 years on Oct. 4.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The World is edited by Marvin Olasky and the article was written by Warren Smith, both of whom once worked at The King’s College in New York, where D‘Souza has been president since August, 2010.
“My wife Dixie and I have been separated for two years,” D’Souza wrote at FoxNews.com on Wednesday. He also wrote that he informed Smith of his separation, “but he deliberately left it out of his piece, even though it is entirely relevant to the context.”
D’Souza also wrote that he and his girlfriend (they have since postponed their engagement) stayed in separate rooms at the conference in question, though Smith’s story states otherwise.
“This is pure libel,” D’Souza writes.
“Why would World write such a misleading, sensational story that we would normally expect from the tabloids? Actually there is a back story here,” D’Souza writes. “Marvin Olasky, the editor of World, is the former provost of the King’s College. Olasky was on the search committee when I interviewed to be president, and he vehemently opposed my candidacy. Olasky publicly admitted that he was resigning his position as a consequence of my appointment. The reporter who wrote this story, Warren Smith, also used to work as a consultant for King’s until I decided not to renew his contract.”
The film is still going strong in theaters across the country, perhaps prompting President Obama to finally respond, which he has done through a lengthy entry at his campaign’s website BarackObama.com, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The entry quotes from several negative reviews of the film and claims Dinesh D’Souza, who stars in the film based on his book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, has a “long history of attempting to add a veneer of intellectual respectability to fringe theories, conspiratorial fear-mongering and flat-out falsehoods.”
The entry is dated Sept. 5, just ahead of the weekend in which “2016: Obama’s America” became the second most popular political documentary in history, behind only “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and the sixth most popular documentary of any kind. The movie has earned $26 million domestically since opening July 13.
Among the movie’s inaccuracies, according to BarackObama.com, are the following:
“D’Souza falsely claimed that President Obama said he didn’t believe in American Exceptionalism …”
“D’Souza falsely asserted that President Obama funded $2 billion in Brazilian oil exploration even though numerous fact checkers and reporters have noted that President Obama had nothing to do with the loan.”
“D’Souza falsely charged that President Obama backed Scotland’s release of the Lockerbie bomber only weeks after the Obama administration had put out a statement opposing Scotland’s decision …”
“D’Souza even claimed that President Obama passed the bank bailouts when the facts clearly show that it was President Bush who signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program into law in October 2008.”
The film, which its marketers dubbed, “the movie the White House doesn’t want you to see,” was on 2017 screens this weekend and is expected to be on the same number next weekend.
For good measure, the website entry also bashes some of Obama’s harshest critics: Tea Partiers.
“It should say enough about D’Souza’s credibility that a movie catering to the Tea Party attacks someone for allegedly ‘anti-colonial’ views,” the entry reads. “His attempts to hide his lies behind pseudo-scholarly presentation and glossy production values cannot withstand basic scrutiny. The facts show that 2016: Obama’s America is nothing more than an insidious attempt to dishonestly smear the President by giving intellectual cover to the worst in subterranean conspiracy theories and false, partisan attacks.”
Below, Bill Maher and D’Souza go at it on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
*Paranoid and delusional thinking is defined as the generalized distrust and suspicion of others. Individuals suffering from paranoid thinking may sometimes have dreams that are characterized by intuitions and feelings of grandeur bordering on pure fantasy. In art or film, one might give flight to such fantasies or daydreams without disrupting everyday social reality, especially, if you can convince others to assume your version of an alternative social reality, albeit temporarily.
Dinesh D’Souza’s film “2016: Obama’s America” manages to do just this while craftily walking the fine line between partial truths and fiction about the early socialization, family life and political philosophy of the 44th president of the US, Barack Hussein Obama, who also happens to be the first black president of the US with a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious lineage and genealogy rooted in America, Africa and Indonesia.
Airlift to America (1959-63): There are many historical firsts that President Obama has to his credit, but D’Souza is overwhelmingly concerned with establishing an apparent anti-colonial strain in his worldview acquired from his Kenyan father. The fact that Obama’s father was part of “the airlift to America” sponsored by many civil rights leaders, non-profit organizations and the Kennedy family simply misses D’Souza’s purview. Why? Because it does not fit the anti-American or anti-colonial narrative he imputes to Obama’s father and to the president.
This is a significant ‘sin of omission’ if you’re trying to understand the absentee father’s anti-colonial sentiments that shaped the first black President. Obama’s father was the beneficiary of American goodwill and philanthropy. How could his son think unwell of America? “My story wouldn’t be possible in any other country,” Obama has said repeatedly. But this is all rhetorical, the words of an imposter, according to D’Souza.
Similarly, the fact that Obama’s father wrote news articles praising American society, Hawaiian multiculturalism, and his White Hawaiian hosts are also lost on D’Souza because this would simply crack the colonial or anti-colonial spectacles he wants the audience to try on in a darkened theater.
Instead, D’Souza finds a line in East African Journal in 1965 where Obama’s father suggested 100% taxation to build the newly independent Kenyan economy. This is evidence for the motive for $16 trillion U.S. debt under Obama, a large percentage of which was incurred by the Republican predecessor? But the son has become just like the father, according to D’Souza.
9/11 and Pearl Harbor Attacks: In another blatantly biased claim D’Souza states that the annexation of Hawaii in 1959 was primarily driven by colonization of the natives, which causes resentments even today, while making not a single mention of the fact that native Hawaiians, unlike the mainland US, welcomed newcomers to the islands and married them. Thus, the interracial marriage rates in Hawaii have always been high. The sacrifices of Hawaiians in WW-II in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attacks and prior to the annexation are completely missing from this distorted film.
Similarly, D’Souza fails to mention that Obama’s maternal grandfather’s service (Stanley Armour Dunham) in the war also deeply ties Obama to Hawaiian soil and to the memory of the Pearl Harbor attacks, the only other instance when America has been attacked at home prior to September 11, 2011. Why does D’Souza not include any suggestion of these important historical turning points in American life that directly intersect with Obama’s biography? Because he wants you to believe that Obama is not really cut from the same American cloth as other presidents.
According to D’Souza, Obama’s founding father-figures are not Washington, Jefferson and not even Abraham Lincoln, whose career path Obama has imitated, but rather shady group of communist sympathizers, such as, Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, late Columbia Professor Edward Said, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and the Harvard Law Professor Robert Unger.
D’Souza tells us at the outset that he is a new immigrant, whose pigmentation is not that different from most African Americans. He reveals this to highlight his debating skills in civil rights. He has questioned many civil rights leaders about the ‘real’ hard evidence of racism, he claims, including a debate with Reverend Jesse Jackson. Mr. Jackson issued a reply that “racism has gone underground” to which D’Souza responded with dismay.
Well, D’Souza has been trying to unearth the hard evidence of racism in American society ever since; his many books and films claim that racism does not exist. It must be quite a feat to invent a career on a revelation that you’ve denied prima facie but continue to gain from financially and politically.
The Indonesian Coup (1965-66): D’Souza peddles Indonesian history from Obama’s autobiography, but curiously fails to reveal the central reason for the disillusionment suffered by Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in Jakarta in the late 1960’s, namely, the nexus of American oil companies and CIA’s deep involvement in the remaking of the fledgling democracy in South East Asia. When Ann Dunham landed in Jakarta, thousands of Chinese had been slaughtered by the Indonesian military in a bloody coup. The U.S. had decided to place their man, General Suharto, in charge of the emerging Islamic democracy.
Clearly, D’Souza commits another significant ‘sin of omission’. Why? Because D’Souza wants you to believe that Ann Dunham was somehow genetically predisposed to “not think well of America” as a liberal and passed this trait onto her son by idealizing his anti-colonial African father.
D’Souza gets Daniel Pipes, the Middle East expert, to state explicitly at the end of the film: “This president does think well of the United States”. Mr. Pipes is the individual who was part of the rumor mill in 2007 during the primaries that Obama had attended a madrasa while living in Indonesia, suggesting that he was a closet Muslim. We don’t get any images of Koranic schools in this film, but there are plenty of fringe theories about Muslim or Islamic nations floating around in the film, such as, the Middle Eastern region might turn into the “United States of Islam.”
It can be argued that Obama’s landmark election in 2008 was partly a reflection of several macro and secular trends:
Emerging multipolar world as suggested by many internationalists and foreign relations experts;
Correlated with globalization sped-up by the onset of Internet technology fostered by American firms;
Direct effect of American decline brought on by the two long wars in Iraq and the AfPak region, as argued by many historians; and
Obama’s global biography resonated remarkably well to all of the above challenges Americans are facing as we move ahead in the 21st century.
Instead, D’Souza seems intent on targeting the anti-colonial shades of the president inherited from the ghost of his father through some mysterious cultural transmission, which is highly suspect given his father abandoned him at the age of two years and met him only once in the winter of 1971.
This fundamental misattribution in the film and many others littered throughout this baldly election year propaganda make this a baffling achievement from a reportedly serious conservative thinker who worked in the Reagan White House. It is packaged very slickly, however, to persuade an audience, who may not be aware of the biographical and historical details or unable to detect the inaccuracies.
Based on the majority of the published reviews of the film, only D’Souza’s right wing supporters seem to really ‘get’ how this anti-colonial virus may have been passed on from the father to the son, eventually driving an improbable rise to the American presidency to level it once and for all or to make America a dethroned superpower. This is what D’Souza interprets is the real meaning of “transformational change” in the Obama world, where the slogan of “Hope and Change” really means “Bankrupt and Destroy”.
D’Souza’s film further obscures the ‘narrative truth’ with many outright factual errors or ‘sins of commission’, as reported by the Associated Press:
Blaming Obama for the national debt of $16 trillion but never explaining the doubling of the debt under Republicans in 2008;
Failing to mention the killing of Osama bin Laden and the escalation of drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while accusing Obama of harboring Muslim sympathies; D’Souza ignores the non-partisan polling data which repeatedly indicates Obama has the lowest approval ratings in the Muslim majority nations due to drone attacks;
Despite the severe trade and economic sanctions against Iran accusing Obama of inaction against the Iranian regime to challenge Israel;
Removal of Churchill’s loaned bust from the Oval Office was scheduled for a return, not because of Obama’s anti-colonial sentiment;
Completely unsubstantiated claim that Punahou Academy teaches “oppression studies” without any interviews or written documentation.
Despite these mind-numbing fallacies, there is a perfectly rational way to understand D’Souza’s wild interpretations in film-making. He represents for our times what Richard Hofstadter called a generation ago “the paranoid style of American politics”.
“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years, we have seen angry minds at work, mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated, in the Goldwater movement, how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But, behind this, I believe, there is a style of mind that is far from new, and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style, simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.”
As a new immigrant who could have expanded the circle of knowledge, D’Souza disappointingly has hitched his wagon to a regressive trend in American politics, which produces more irrational heat and noise than a reasoned judgment. He has taken one of the more hopeful and inspiring American stories in many generations and turned it into a dark and sinister documentary for political gains.
D’Souza’s paranoid dreams do not align with the American dream and are not good for this country or the world.
Dinesh Sharma is the author of “Barack Obama in Hawaii and Indonesia: The Making of a Global President”, which was rated as the Top 10 Black history books for 2012. His next book on President Obama, “Crossroads of Leadership: Globalization and American Exceptionalism in the Obama Presidency”, is due to be published with Routledge Press.
Dinesh Sharma is a cultural psychologist, marketing consultant and an acclaimed author, with a doctorate from Harvard University. He is a senior fellow at Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Research, St Francis College, NYC, and a columnist for Asia Times Online.
His biography of the 44th President of the US, titled “Barack Obama in Hawaii and Indonesia: The Making of a Global President” (Praeger, 2011), was rated as the Top 10 Books of Black History for 2012 by Book List Online, American Library Association. He was invited by Democrats Abroad (DNC) to lecture on the book in ten different European cities, including Paris, Rome, London, Luxembourg, Brussels etc.
He is currently editing a book on Obama’s global leadership in 25 different countries, “Crossroads of Leadership: Globalization and American Exceptionalism in the Obama Presidency” (Routledge, 2013), which is due to be published after the general election.
He is the author and editor of four other books and many peer reviewed articles:
Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Religion (In press/Oxford, 2012);
Human Technogenesis (Wiley, 2004);
Childhood, Family and Sociocultural Change in India (Wiley, 2003);
Socioemotional Development Across Cultures (Oxford, 1998).
His recent articles and opinions have appeared in Wall Street Journal Online, Wonkette.com, Free Lance-Star, Far Eastern Economic Review, Middle East Times, Middle East Online, Epoch Times, Biotech Law Review, Health Affairs, Media Monitors, DC Chronicles, Fredricksburg.com, MyCentralJersey.com, International Psychology Bulletin, and other scientific journals.
Host and producer of AsianTimesTV on Princeton Community Television, a weekly interview show that examines cutting edge issues in the Asia Pacific region as it pertains to the challenges of globalization in the US, the show includes leading thinkers, journalists, and leaders from around the world; the show airs on Verizon and Comcast cable in NJ.
As an author, Sharma has been profiled locally and internationally in L’Echo, DeStandaard, Luxembourg Wort, 352 Lux Magazine, The Eastern Eye, Asian Affairs, Cincinnatti Herald, The Skanner, West Windsor Plainsboro News, Princeton Packet and many other newspapers.
On TV and Cable news, Sharma has been favorably reviewed on Politics Tonight (WGN News), Urban Update (WHDH Boston), City Line WABC Boston, KITV Hawaii, Bay Sunday San Francisco, and many other shows.
On Radio, he has been featured on BBC Asian Network, South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC), Conversations on the Coast in San Francisco, Reality Check FM-4 Vienna, and numerous other talk shows.
Dr. Sharma continues to serve as consultant in the healthcare industry for major pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device clients.
Actually we did ’cause last week we reported that momentum for “2016: Obama’s America” was building and this weekend prior to the opening of the Republican National Convention, the film is doing extremely well at the box office.
The surprising numbers put the film in fourth place overall on an otherwise sleepy box office weekend. It follows the cast-ensemble pleaser “Expendables 2″ at No. 1 at $3.7 million, and the Jeremy Renner-anchored “Bourne Legacy,” which secured the No. 2 spot at $2.7 million. Animated flick “ParaNorman” snagged third place at $2.3 million on Friday.
The documentary expected to bow down with a total earning of $6 million for the weekend. Exhibitors are reporting busloads arriving at theaters around the country in pre-organized trips. It also employed much of the same marketing techniques used to garner attention and support for faith-based films, understandable since the audience is overlapping.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen “2016: Obama’s America,” you may be wondering what the critics have to say about it. Here’s a taste of what the Washington Post’s Michael Sullivan wrote:
Why is the film called “2016”? D’Souza’s one-sided argument ultimately stoops to fear-mongering of the worst kind, stating in no uncertain terms that, if the president is reelected, 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 footage of actual dark clouds and horror-movie music.
The real bogeyman isn’t Obama, who D’Souza acknowledges can come across as an appealing and charismatic leader. That honor is shared by several men D’Souza refers to as Obama’s “founding fathers,” in an unsubtle dig at the president’s patriotism. It’s a group that includes 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.
None of the names of these putative villains is new, which gives “2016” the air of a “Nightmare on Elm Street” sequel, pandering to the franchise’s hard-core fans, while boring everyone else.
*An anti-Obama documentary featuring an interview with the president’s half-brother opened in a single theater in Texas over the weekend and, despite alleged complaints from some consumers who were upset with the film’s content, it grossed an estimated $31,750, a strong showing for any independent release, notes the Hollywood Reporter.
The film, “2016: Obama’s America,” based on conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, had a free, promotional screening at Edwards Houston Marq’E Stadium 23 & Imax on Thursday. Management had planned to show it in one of its medium-sized auditoriums, but bumped it to one the multiplex’s largest rooms and turned away 200 people.
Sources say some moviegoers sat in the aisles Thursday and waited as much as 90 minutes to meet D’Souza and Gerald Molen, one of the Oscar-winning producers of “Schindler’s List,” who was a co-producer of “2016” along with Doug Sain. For some of its regular showings over the weekend, the theater offered “2016” on multiple screens, including three sold-out auditoriums for the 7 p.m. Friday showing.
If the weekend estimate from the movie’s distributor, Rocky Mountain Pictures, holds when final numbers are reported later today, the film will have bested the per-theater number posted by the Al Gore documentary about global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which opened to $123,549 in four theaters in 2006 for a per-theater average of $30,887.
The management at the Regal Entertainment-owned theater did receive some complaints over its decision to present 2016. “The theater manager said they received a lot of phone calls from people arguing they shouldn’t show the movie,” Sain said. “His response was, ‘We don’t make movies, we just show them.’”
According to Sain, the manager compared the reaction to 2016 to that of Fahrenheit 9/11, but said it was not as dramatic as some complaints over “The Passion of the Christ” that same year. The manager told Sain that during the controversial Mel Gibson film people went into the theater to try to disrupt the film and that it was necessary to have security remove them.
“So they weren’t flying by the seat of their pants with ‘2016.’ They know how to respond to controversy,” Sain said.
Regal spokesman Russ Nunley said some people “were around the box office wearing pro Obama tees to express their view.” But he said the protest was “very low key and not confrontational.” He also said theater managers received “many positive comments thanking them for playing the film.”