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To celebrate the Fourth of July, don’t go see this movie

July 2, 2014

Independence Day fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, in Washington

The week of July Fourth seems an odd time to release a film that questions the patriotism of the president of the United States, but that is precisely what right-wing idol Dinesh D’Souza sets out to do in his new film America: Imagine the World Without Her.

I wouldn’t ordinarily dignify such nonsense with a column, but America the movie exemplifies everything that’s wrong about the American political conversation these days, rich with examples from both left and right.

You get to meet a Sioux activist who wants to blow up Mount Rushmore, and a Chicano activist who talks about the golden morning when the United States will no longer exist. A former professor says that under certain unspecified conditions it might be just fine to drop a nuclear bomb on the United States.

The evil empire? “You’re sitting in it,” says the professor.

D’Souza lays out all of the worst charges against America, from slavery to the genocidal confiscation of Indian lands, from the way the American brand of predatory colonialism has stolen the world’s resources to the way American-style free-market capitalism robs from the poor and gives to the rich.

He then knocks down these charges one by one, with arguments almost as foul as the real and alleged crimes.

Slavery? It’s been around for centuries, says D’Souza, and there were even black slaveholders who sided with the Confederacy.

Genocide? Fewer Indians were killed by settlers than died of disease.

Predatory colonialism? Where? We let Iraqis keep their oil, and we didn’t “steal anything” from Vietnam. (Unless I missed it somewhere, South America is not mentioned.)

Then D’Souza swings around to his main target, President Barack Obama, whom he portrays as a believer in this radical-left narrative of American shame, in “America the Inexcusable.” As a result, says D’Souza, Obama is engaged in a conspiracy to bring the U.S. to its knees.

D’Souza has made the same case several times before — in three books and an anti-Obama “documentary” that came out during the 2012 campaign — and by doing so he has made a name for himself. At a recent convention of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, where Michelle Bachmann and most of the major Republican contenders for president in 2016 spoke, it was D’Souza who got the standing ovation.

D’Souza finds the root of Obama’s treason in an armchair psychoanalysis of the president’s early history.

“All politics is driven by deep motives,” he told the Faith and Freedom audience, “and the deep motives here are envy, resentment, revenge, hatred, self-hatred.” In America, as in his previous works, he traces these “very low and degraded emotions” to the anti-colonialism of Obama’s absent father and to Obama’s guilty association with such political dartboard figures as Saul Alinsky and Bill Ayers.

Maybe the most outrageous bit of propagandist hooey in America (there is a lot of competition) comes after a clip from the 2009 inauguration in which Obama calls us “to begin again the work of remaking America.”

“To remake America,” D’Souza says, slowly and ominously, “you have to unmake the America that’s here now.”

Then, over footage of poor old ravaged Detroit, D’Souza accuses Obama of having enacted a policy of “economic redistribution never before imagined, aimed at returning centuries of stolen goods” — as if the president who bailed out GM and Chrysler was actually responsible for soaking Detroit dry in order to give it all away.

Conservative commentator and best-selling author, Dinesh D'Souza exits the Manhattan Federal Courthouse after pleading guilty in New YorkNear the end of the film (spoiler alert) D’Souza deals with his own legal predicament. Six weeks ago, he pleaded guilty in federal court to making illegal campaign contributions in 2012 through third parties, including the woman to whom he was engaged, though he was married at the time.

At this point in the narrative D’Souza inserts a clip in which Fox News’ Sean Hannity calls D’Souza “the latest victim to be targeted by the Obama White House,” which allows him to avoid saying it himself.

What he does say is pretty close, though: “I made a mistake … But we don’t want to live in a society where Lady Justice has one eye open and winks at her friends and casts the evil eye at her adversaries. Where will they stop?”

He will be free to make the charge of selective prosecution more directly after his sentencing on Sept. 23.

Let’s be honest: America isn’t perfect or purely good. It’s a nation in progress, not a religious figure. All we can hope for is to make it, as the preamble says, “a more perfect union.”

As we do that, we have no excuse for a political conversation more rancorous than the one at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when despite their deep division over slavery — about the most contentious issue imaginable — our ancestors managed to agree on a Constitution that became a model for the world.

That spirit of pragmatic compromise has faded almost to invisibility, as the example of America and the political stalemate in Washington attest.

At the Faith and Freedom forum, D’Souza said he decided to release America this week “because I want to reach beyond the political audience. I want people to say, ‘Hey Honey it’s the Fourth of July, let’s go see America.’”

Instead, let’s declare our independence from such partisan venom. I can think of no better way to celebrate this Fourth of July.

 

I welcome your comments, reactions, amplifications, relevant links and ideas for future columns. You can reach me at jimgaines.reuters@gmail.com.

 

PHOTOS: Independence Day fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial (from L-R) in Washington, July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Conservative commentator and best-selling author, Dinesh D’Souza exits the Manhattan Federal Courthouse after pleading guilty in New York, May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Comments
80 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

minimally Mr. Gaines’ column is in the opinion section. Try reading the James Rocchi (Reuters) “review” of the film “America”. The fact that Reuters is permitting a thinly veiled op-ed to be published as a film critique is astonishing. Second only to “don’t see this movie” lead in to this op-ed.
Opinions are just that, opinions. Telling anyone not to see a film is astonishing as well. I would think that valid differing opinions would encourage valid, informed conversation. Instead, Mr. Gaines would prefer perhaps another suffocating “documentary” from the Left’s head documentarian/propagandist Michael Moore.
Like most free-thinking Americans, I will go see this movie just because Mr. Gaines thinks he has the right to tell me not to.

Posted by karenf519 | Report as abusive
 

If the film is SO bad, absurd and ridiculous wouldn’t Mr. Gaines want us to see it in order to further discredit Mr. D’Souza? This whole article reads like a gutless lefty is scared to death that you might be exposed to some inconvenient truths. Don’t think for yourself, let me, Jim Gaines tell you what to think of the movie before you even see it, OK?

Thanks but no thanks, Jim. See ‘ya in November!! 8-)

Posted by Lovebandit | Report as abusive
 

Greystoke: The problem with your argument is that it overlooks the architects of the Iraq invasion’s own claims that invading Iraq is justified to protect world oil sources. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/e arth-insight/2014/mar/20/iraq-war-oil-re sources-energy-peak-scarcity-economy

You may be able to argue that it wasn’t JUST about oil, but you’re just plain wrong to argue that oil wasn’t a major reason. There’s just too much evidence to counter that position. Moore certainly embellisher and engages in sensationalism, but he presents strong evidence to back his cases. D’Souza has no evidence that Obama is driven by his father’s ghost and is trying to bring America to its knees.

One can’t help but wonder how the rightwing double standard bearers would react if Obama started a war that cost Americans trillions and thousands of lives of US soldiers while Obama or Biden made themselves millions of dollars by awarding a “no bid” contract to a company they were CEO of and owned millions in shares of stock, like Cheney and Halliburton. And, of course, all the lies used to cozen the nation into that unnecessary war. Heck, Republicans were talking about impeaching Obama because his first report on Benghazi was seen as inaccurate. (The man behind the Benghazi attack who was recently captured stated that the reason was the film that disrespected Allah, which was the Obama Administration’s original claim.) So if the Republicans held 9 separate investigations into Benghazi for making an initial statement that was thought to be wrong, and later proven correct, imagine what the Republicans would have done to Obama had he committed “errors” that Bush committed during the run-up to the Iraq invasion and the war itself. So why the gross double standard? Why do we tolerate this rightwing double standard?

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive
 

LOL. Streisand Syndrome much? And maybe YOU should watch it before you “review” it. Journalism is dead.

Posted by Cowcharge | Report as abusive
 

Dinesh D’Souza was born in India.

India is a country famous for corruption and victimization of women.

Immigrants like Dinesh D’Souza are not needed in America.

Dinesh D’Souza, why are you striving to reform America? Your homeland INDIA is the country that needs your attention and efforts.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive
 

George Washington was not an immigrant.

None of the Founding Fathers of America were immigrants.

Abraham Lincoln was not an immigrant.

Ronald Reagan was not an immigrant.

If Dinesh D’Souza has such strong patriotic notions then why is he not back in the land of his birth, India, trying to make India a better place?

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive
 

This “film” is made for Fox news viewers, to help their hot dog digestion. Why is Reuters wasting space on it?

Posted by XRayD | Report as abusive
 

By the way, if you want to catch a fun film – The Beatles: A Hard Days night! A remastered version in HD 5.1 stereo on its 50th anniversary at a theater near you this 4th of July weekend (Google it). It is about when America was “invaded” by real ideas, instead of this Dinesh dude who is in it to make money from the dumb and the ignorant so-called tea party types!

Posted by XRayD | Report as abusive
 

For real Americans, here is a free 4th of July film which DD should watch … it is about him, but he does not know it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tTkHJWxf P0

Posted by XRayD | Report as abusive
 

“I wouldn’t ordinarily dignify such nonsense with a column, but America the movie exemplifies everything that’s wrong about the American political conversation these days, rich with examples from both left and right.”

Obligatory false equivalency. Check.

Posted by gocartmozart | Report as abusive
 

This is a “MUST SEE” movie if one has any care at all about what is happening in our country. Obviously there are some who are too young to know what is being lost. Having “credentials” has little to do with measuring the depth of one’s patriotism and love of America. I saw this movie today and was glad I did. There was little I could dispute save that Dinesh proclaims that the Civil War was about slavery as opposed to being a war over economics which brought in the slavery aspect at a later time. He also pointed out that there were MANY forms of slavery, ie: indentured servants from Ireland, and England. Also there were the Chinese coolies who worked on the railroads..in other words…white people were ALSO “slaves” just not necessarily called that. Watch the movie “Matwan” if you can find it. I found the movie to be eloquently truthful and supported by well researched FACTS. It is all there to see for those who are willing to open their eyes. Some who posted comments denegrating certain parts obviously missed “the rest of the story” or didn’t see the movie at all. Everyone in the theater stood up and clapped at the end. I don’t know if they were black, white, Hispanic, German or Jew. To me they were ALL American. They were all there to see an answer, or some hope for our future. So before you come out with some negative spin..do some research, look up some history, look up some of the people who were mentioned in the movie and look at their background. If the light doesn’t come on somewhere in between..you should probably catch the next bus

Posted by midniterider | Report as abusive
 

“He’s the only President in our history who was called a liar during the State of the Union Address, and in front of the entire world.” yeah, except for the wee inconvenient truth that he WAS lying. Liar of the Year award recipient as a matter of fact.

Posted by stambo2001 | Report as abusive
 

stambo2001: As usual, you’re wrong. Actually, it’s you who’s lying. Try keeping to this simple standard. If you’re going to make a charge about Obama, or anything else for that matter, verify it.

First of all, stambo, there is NO excuse for Joe Wilson’s outburst. None. Presidents lie all the time. All politicians do. But you don’t compromise our nation’s credibility by calling the President a liar during a speech that people the world over are watching. The Republicans just don’t know how to act. They behave boorishly, ill-bred, ignorant. It shows an utter disregard for the United States and simply puts the rightwing’s increasingly uncivil behavior on display for all the world to see. This is why the world over dislikes America’s conservatives.

That said, what makes Joe Wilson’s outburst particularly disturbing is that he was wrong. Obama wasn’t lying. Do you even know what Joe Wilson was referring to? Here is the statement Obama made that Wilson called a lie: “the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” The following is from Politifact.Com:

“We found that Democratic plans did nothing to change the way illegal immigrants are currently treated in the health care system. So we rated Wilson’s outburst as False.” Do I also need to define for you what “false” means?
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/ statements/2009/sep/09/joe-wilson/joe-wi lson-south-carolina-said-obama-lied-he-d idnt/

FactCheck.Org came to the same obvious conclusion:

“The president is correct: The House bill contains a section (Sec. 246) titled “NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS,” which states: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”
http://www.factcheck.org/2009/09/obamas- health-care-speech/

Therefore, stambo, you and Joe Wilson are the liars.

The usual response from people like you is to make another flimsy excuse, leaving it up to someone like me to, once again, explain how that, too, is wrong. Spin this any way you want, but the bottom line is that illegal immigrants do not get government subsidies for health insurance, which is what Obama said that Joe Wilson wrongfully called a lie. I’m so sick of people like you attacking this country, its President, and its people.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive
 

To carnivalchaos: Your rejoinder to my post is revealing. Nowhere in your reply do you acknowledge the right of an opposing viewpoint to your own, to express the misgivings to the current occupant of the White House, and his oppressive effort to marginalize the loyal opposition. D’Souza’s film is part of the effort to tell the other side of the story, the side of the narrative never allowed to see the light of day when MSNBC, CBS, et al.

Further, if you think that Obama is the architect of a financial “recovery” in this country, you are sadly mistaken. The Fed has been pumping the economy with freshly printed digital currency, which has ballooned the Fed’s balance sheet and regardless of the fairy tales that Keynesian economists spin, it will be next to impossible to unwind the Fed’s balance sheet without a major economic calamity. This is true, even if there is temporary relief in sight by increasing the number of part time, poor paying jobs which the gov’t statistics like to point to in lulling many of our citizens into a false sense of security.

And as far as your unbelievable pollyanna attitude toward Benghazi, you are apparently believing the video narrative, spun by Hillary, Obama and others, irrespective of where the truth lies. The coverup is unraveling, and Obama’s storybook narrative will be shown to be the pack of lies that it has always been.

And, don’t forget the “phony scandals” identified by Obama, i.e., the VA hospital debacle in which hundred of veterans are denied even substandard care, the IRS/Lois Lerner/John Koskinen imbroglio, and the others too numerous to recount in this limited space. So go ahead, keep believing in your hero’s halo, enjoy playing the race card in order to dodge all criticism of this hopelessly incompetent, lawless president and fall back on the old crutch of blaming Bush and Cheney for all of the world’d ills. Your faith in this president is totally pathetic.

Posted by petersl | Report as abusive
 

it appears that jim gaines might be left of center judging from his article. i wonder what he thinks of michael moore?

Posted by butch46 | Report as abusive
 

That’s perfect, peters1. All of these charges without a trace of proof. And so the problem presents itself in all it’s naked glory. I realize there’s nothing I can share with you that would make you at least question your hatred of Obama. I could present you with a 1,000 page dossier detailing the President’s innocence on all the charges you’ve pinned on him and you’d still refuse to reconsider. Your hatred for him has per-determined where you stand on all issues concerning this President, that the part he played was bad, even criminal. This is your opinion on matters that haven’t even occurred yet. It’s automatic. All you know is that Obama is bad and has evil motives.

I can’t think of another historical parallel to compare it to. You’re being neither fair nor judicious toward a man who is President of your country. You should at least insist on proof before choosing to believe things about your President. There is no “other side of the story.” D’Souza is just another in a long line of unscrupulous fear mongers capitalizing on the hatred and paranoia that have bowled over white conservatives in this country like a bad plague. Obama’s a socialist; Obama’s a Muslim; Obama faked his birth certificate; Obama is really from Kenya; Obama had “In God We Trust” removed from the Presidential dollar coins; Obama spent $200 million a day of tax payers’ money during his trip to India; Obama went to Afghanistan and snubbed the troops; Obama traveled around the world apologizing for America; Obama put death panels in the Affordable Care Act; Obamacare gives illegal immigrants free healthcare; Obama intentionally lied about Benghazi; Obama is the reason for the government’s poor response to Katrina; Obama might be the antichrist. At some point, peters1, an intelligent person would stop and ask themselves, what’s with all the lies? An intelligent person, regardless of their opinion of Obama, would have to suspect that there is something seriously malicious going on here that can’t be blamed on Obama. An intelligent person would start to question any more extreme charges leveled at this President. Not necessarily dismiss allegations made about Obama, but recognize that there are people who are intentionally misleading people about Obama and are resorting to some vicious propaganda to accomplish it. And maybe, just maybe, you would question that next allegation, that it might just be another lie, like all the others, and start to demand proof. He is, after all, your President. Whether you can do that or not depends on your intelligence and your personal integrity.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive
 

1. There’s a massive difference between “hey let’s go hijack their oil wells and score some cash” and “we need to prevent Iran/Iraq from obliterating the Middle East, creating WW3 and total global chaos”. But maybe that’s in one of the chapters left out of the American left’s geopolitical curriculum, along with other bits like “don’t maintain embassies in active warzones” and “don’t tell the enemy exactly when and where they won’t find your military forces”.

2. If President Obama doesn’t hate America, why does he spend his overseas time kissing foreign butts and denigrating the country and its achievements? I don’t see Cameron, Putin, Merkel, Jinping etc. running all over the world begging forgiveness for their existence. Dubya was a lame President but at least the world feared him almost as much as Putin.

3. This movie sounds boring as hell, honestly. I certainly have better things to do than spend two hours being told what to think by some guy whose claim to fame is being involved in politics, and I suspect the target audience does too. But gg for announcing a previously unknown vanity film to the general public, I suppose. Now excuse me while I go build some battle droids with the godlike power of my mind…

Posted by CppThis | Report as abusive
 

After reading this article, I will attend a showing of the movie this afternoon in Danvers MA.

Posted by 6768vet | Report as abusive
 

Right on, CppThis. What’s up with this President and his apology trips around the world? But what’s most disturbing about that, what is truly frightening is Obama’s ability to keep everyone on the planet from reporting on his “denigrating” of this country. That’s what really freaks me out. It’s like he’s got this magical power that controls all reporting so that no one anywhere has a record of his “begging forgiveness” for America. What could be a bigger scoop for al Jazeera, the Russian press, or FOX News than to report the leader of the free world, the first black President, the President of the USA traveling to foreign shores to apologize for America? Yet, in all my searching I can’t find one example, even though, as you point out, we KNOW he’s doing it. Do you think he might have the power to control our minds? Maybe he IS the antichrist. Scar-y.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive
 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/pol itics/04obama.text.html?_r=0

I counted five prostrations: colonialism, Iraq x2, nuclear weapons, wealth, gender equality (I loled). Pretty sure I missed at least one, and I didn’t count the mountain of half-sorries (“you guys did questionable things, but we did too and we can all be better than that”) as I’m feeling generious and am more flexible when it comes to calling out examples of foreign barbarism. But perhaps the NYT, that bastion of conservative obstructionism, edited the speech and all the Youtube clips were similarly a product of the vast right wing conspiracy.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-offi ce/remarks-president-obama-strasbourg-to wn-hall

The “arrogance” quip is old hat there’s also a couple of choice shots at the Senate (Kyoto vote, Iraq again) and US geopolitics in general (blah blah globalization). But hey, maybe this is also a fabrication put out there by…his own press office?

Then of course there’s the mountains of BS effused by Ms. Rice and other State bureaucrats on all things Islamic in nature, but I did rather narrowly accuse the bossman himself so we’ll stick to that for now.

Posted by CppThis | Report as abusive
 

Dang, that whole, long boring speech and no apology for America. I feel like I’ve been snookered. Unless… maybe Obama used his magic powers and had that part of the speech removed from all copies. You think?

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive
 

For the record, Cinemascore gave “America an A+ rating. They do not do this often (approx 2x a year). The story here is from the Blaze, but you can find the same story on other sites: http://bit.ly/1jaAk0H

Posted by sbdietrich | Report as abusive
 

Posted by carnivalchaos, this best and most accurate, IE reality, posted.

Interesting, an Indian-American, espousing racist attitudes against the first African-American President. I as an Irish-American wonder would you call Roger Ailes Whale-Boy-American? Or Murdock Un-American, or Limbaugh Ignorant-American?

Dinesh D’Souza is a racist NeoClown, as is all FOX, Brietbart, the real tragedy is he worked for the National Review, Buckley’s serious Conservative outfit. He and the other NeoClowns killed it, now it is another Lee Atwater (Southern Strategy) inspired, JBS supported destructive un-American PR outfit.

Calling his PR project America, adding insult to injury.

Posted by zx74125800 | Report as abusive
 

Thanks to those awful conservatives and that evil America, you have the right to spew your opinion. You are welcome.

Posted by AZWarrior | Report as abusive
 

You know it is the mark of the intellectually weak to try to silence opposing view points instead of debating them. I also find it quite hilarious, that the so called, “enlightened left” are so incensed by a film with an opposing view point, they have to devolve into the gutter of personal attacks, and hyperbole. They even have to bring up the dreaded fox news.

Sorry Jim, Americans do not like to be told what to do by an elitist journalist. Perhaps your style of journalism would be more appropriate in fine left-wing countries like North Korea, or Cuba.

Posted by equality725210 | Report as abusive
 

Simply BECAUSE Jim Gaines said “Do NOT see this movie” – we DID.

Highly recommend you go see it if you have any interest at all in the future of our country.

Posted by tshep | Report as abusive
 

As much as I respect your opinion, I think you telling people NOT to see this film is a huge mistake. While we agree that it is a conservative argument on the problems in America and an argument for why Obama and Clinton need to be removed from politics, I don’t find it so heavy-handed as to not at least ask questions or reference/research the material provided. (That last part is why I’d recommend viewing it online as opposed to in the theatres – it really would have been nice to be pausing and looking up his arguments for validity and understanding.) While the arguments against Obama and Hillary were a tad heavy-handed, the history lessons, his handling with people who opposed his views, and the overall argument he presents were well done, EVEN IF you disagree with it. If I were to argue a real complaint, it would be the sappy “America! RAH!” ending with the music video in the credits – a tad too much overkill for my tastes. Beyond that, although I think it’d be better to watch from home, I think it’s a good conversation piece worth watching.

Posted by w2ed | Report as abusive
 

It was a fine movie and I would recommend it, especially the American hating progressives like the author of this article.

Posted by John_In_SD | Report as abusive
 

A Bunch of Partisan Lefties complaining about “partisanship” and complaining about “bias” now that’s funny and sad. But the Doublethink is hilariously missed by your devoted leftists.
These leftist are exactly the problem, not the solution.

Posted by SGlitz | Report as abusive
 

GREAT MOVIE! This is a must see for all Americans. Time to set some of this propaganda straight. Are we really leaving this country better than we found it? Are we really better off today than we were before 08? Are we really more respected around the world with liberal policies? Are you REALLY able to keep your plan if you like it? How much will it take before enough is enough? When the left can use the IRS for political purposes so can the right. Educate yourselves and vote responsibly.

Posted by carwlover | Report as abusive
 

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