An added bonus to D’Souza’s ‘America’: Biased movie critics exposed again

America Rotten TomatoesDinesh D’Souza of ‘2016: Obama’s America’ fame is back with his second attempt at Hollywood film making with ‘America: Imagine a World Without Her.’ The reaction by critics proves once again why more conservatives should be writing books, making films and generally getting involved in as many creative endeavors as possible. ‘America’ is a mixed bag — I have plenty of gripes about it — but no fair-minded critic can look at the 13 percent “rotten” splat on Rotten Tomatoes and say that it’s an accurate reflection of the movie’s quality. When one compares the critical reaction to a Michael Moore film with the feedback D’Souza’s efforts have received, the bias becomes even more hilarious.

Fahrenheit 911 Rotten TomatoesA quick perusal of the reviews yields a predictable pattern of sentiments:

  • Stanley Kauffmann reviews Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 for The New Republic in 2004: “Sometimes slipshod in its making and juvenile in its travesty, and of course it has no interest in overall fairness to Bush. But it vents an anger about this presidency that, as the film’s ardent reception shows, seethes in very many of us.” Conclusion: Fresh.
  • David Ehrlich reviews D’Souza’s ‘America’ for AV Club in 2014: “Graced with a hilariously definitive title, America is astonishingly facile, a film comprised entirely of straw man arguments.” Conclusion: Rotten.
  • Kevin Carr reviews D’Souza’s ‘Obama’s America: 2016’ for 7M Pictures in 2012: “D’Souza never actually shows [the president’s anti-colonial views] with Obama’s own words or deeds. Instead, he engages in guilt by association.” Conclusion: Rotten.
  • Andrew Sarris reviews Moore’s ‘Sicko’ for the New York Observer in 2012: “One may quibble with Mr. Moore’s anecdotal oversimplifications and his xenophilic fantasies, but he has struck a socio-psychic nerve in the body politic, generating a feeling of outrage that seems to be reverberating in every theater.” Conclusion: Fresh.

Obama America 2016 DSouzaIn the case of Mr. Carr, readers are treated to an outright lie. The truth is that Mr. D’Souza quoted President Obama on numerous occasions throughout the movie. If I’m not mistaken (it’s been awhile), he even used the audio from “Dreams From My Father” to give certain scenes more weight. With most other critics, you simply have hypocrisy; Moore’s simplifications are excused because he’s tapping into feelings of national “outrage”; Moore’s “juvenile” tactics are forgiven because he’s in tune with “anger” that “seethes” in “very many of us” over the president’s actions.

Mr. Ehrlich’s “straw man” assertion is perhaps the most humorous of the bunch, given that D’Souza lets liberal academics make their own arguments against America’s greatness for the first 30 minutes of the movie. Only after they state their case does he respond. Unlike Michael Moore, Mr. D’Souza actually took the time to set up interviews with men like Noam Chomsky, Michael Eric Dyson, Ward Churchill and others. There were no ambushes. Mr. D’Souza asked questions, and guys like Churchill went on to call America the new “evil empire” that may, under the right circumstances, need to have an atomic bomb dropped on its population. That isn’t D’Souza making a “straw-man” argumentit is a hard-core liberal saying what he actually believes.

Does the movie version of D’Souza’s ‘America’ have problems? Yes. One particular fault is a cartoonish portrayal of Hillary Clinton towards the end that, quite frankly, cheapens the movie. The scene comes off as weird and conspiratorial.

Should viewers know about Mrs. Clinton’s college thesis on Saul Alinsky, “There is Only the Fight: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model”? Sure. But it seems shoe-horned into the movie and its execution (i.e., a recreation of Mrs. Clinton’s first meeting with the “Rules for Radicals” author in her Methodist church in Chicago) is bizarre.

Fair critics can see where ‘America’ hits (e.g., D’Souza smartly gives America’s most ardent critics plenty of screen time in his movie) and where it misses (e.g., briefly alluding to his own legal issues with the Department of Justice, which will leave less politically-aware moviegoers incredibly confused). The problem is that there aren’t many fair critics out there.

In the end I’m happy that ‘America’ exists, because many more people will see the movie than read the book. Most of the movie is extremely positive and includes bits of history that your Ward Churchillian college professor never told you about. However, the book (as is usually the case) is much better than the movie. While the movie has its flaws, I still hope that enough people see it to warrant future installments by Mr. D’Souza and other conservative filmmakers.

Related: D’Souza’s ‘America’ reminds us: As free men ‘we must live through all time, or die by suicide’

Related: 2016: Obama’s America: D’Souza strikes a nerve

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D’Souza’s ‘America’ reminds us: As free men ‘we must live through all time, or die by suicide’

America Imagine a World Without Her

Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘America: Imagine a World Without Her’ is an important book. It addresses what Abraham Lincoln knew long ago: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

“What kind of crazy American would want to end the nation?” is a logical question. The answer, however, is not a pleasant one. There are plenty of U.S. citizens who do not believe that America is, as George Washington put it, the “cause of mankind.” There are Americans who believe that America’s founding was so flawed that the only option is to “fundamentally transform” it, either through radical revolution from the outside or from a kind of stealth revolution from within. Mr. D’Souza directly rebuts the case against America made by men like Saul Alinsky, William Ayers, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Michel Foucault, Howard Zinn and their ideological allies.

What makes ‘America’ interesting is that many of the men covered in the book were interviewed by D’Souza for his upcoming movie by the same name. He isn’t afraid to let America’s critics have their say. He is confident that when those thoughts and ideas are placed side-by-side with an articulate defense of the principles of our founding, the wisdom of Washington will shine even brighter.

Any book that defends the America’s founding must address slavery, and as usual D’Souza does not shy away from the task. And, while it’s useful to have quotes on hand by former slave Frederick Douglass, who eventually believed that the U.S. Constitution guaranteed that slavery was an ugly “scaffolding to the magnificent structure [of America], to be removed as soon as the building was completed,” readers need more. Readers need to know that slavery wasn’t an American invention — but that it was present in all cultures up until that period of time. What is uniquely Western, he says, is not slavery but the abolition of slavery.

D’Souza adds another bitter pill for progressive men like Saul Alinsky (the author and “community organizer” who dedicated ‘Rules for Radicals’ to Lucifer, “the first radical”) to swallow: Christianity helped propel the anti-slavery movement:

Slavery became controversial for one reason: the influence of Christianity. …

It is a fact of great significance that only in the West — the region of the world officially known as Christendom — did anti-slavery movements arise. There is no history of an anti-slavery movement outside the West.

Even atheists admit that the anti-slavery movements in England and America were led by Christians. I am not suggesting that the Christians were the only ones who disliked slavery. From ancient times there had been another group that dislike slavery. That group was called the slaves. So there were always reports of runaways, slave revolts, and so on. What Christianity produced was an entirely different phenomenon: men who were eligible to be masters who opposed slavery.

D’Souza then points out that while the seeds for ending slavery were planted by Christians (i.e., we are all equal in the eyes of God), the Founders in Philadelphia found themselves in an interesting predicament: the choice was not whether to have slavery or not. “Rather, it was whether to have a union that temporarily tolerated slavery, or to have no union at all,” because immediately ending slavery would have been a deal-breaker for the Southern states.

Abraham Lincoln said it well during the Lincoln-Douglass debates regarding the Declaration of Independence:

[The Founders] intended to include all men, bu they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. … They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they respect they did consider all men created equal — equal in certain inalienable rights. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying equality… They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit.”

What would have happened to the nation in its infancy if the Founders pushed the slavery issue to the point that the Union dissolved from the get-go? The world would be a very different place. Ultimately, it did take a Civil War and hundreds-of-thousands of deaths to resolve the issue, but to assert that the Founders should have pushed the issue as they were preparing to declare independence from England is bizarre.

In short, ‘America’ is a good read and well worth your time. Luckily, if you don’t have a lot of spare time or $30 on hand for the hardcover you can see the movie when it lands in theaters July 2.

And yes, I will be reviewing the film.

Bill Maher discovers: Subsidizing ‘dirt bags’ creates more ‘dirt bags’

Bill Maher

Either Bill Maher has been watching Dinesh D’Souza videos, or he has been playing Oregon Trail. Whatever the case, it seems as if something went off in his head because he’s finally acknowledging that there are an awful lot of people asking for an awful lot from the American taxpayer. Or perhaps Maher and D’Souza have the same accountant, and the guy explained the situation to each of them using the same wagon metaphor? Who knows.

The “Real Time” host used Friday night’s show to admit that Romney sorta-kinda had a valid point about America’s growing entitlement culture:

Maher: Okay, so basically what Mitt Romney was saying was, you know, “These spongers, these grifters, these people, I wouldn’t piss on them if their ass was on fire because they don’t pay in.” But it’s not really 47 percent. But I, here’s my question: It’s not zero percent either, takers. I mean, there are a lot of dirt bags in this country, and I think it’s somewhere in between 47 and zero. I think we should split the difference and say we have 23.5 percent dirt bags in America. I do. …

And here, listen to this about disability. People who take disability, who are on disability, in 1968 it was 51 to1, people on disability to people who worked. In 2001, not that long ago, it was 23 to 1. Now it’s 13 to 1, 13 people to one who are on disability. Now, of course, you know, some of that is real. We are an overworked, overstressed, polluted, ripped off and lied to people. So, I mean, obviously there are some people who really do have disabilities. But 13 to 1? You know, it just seems like there’s less people pulling the wagon and more people in the wagon, and at some point the wagon is going to break.

Compare the point Maher was making with Dinesh D’souza speaking to a group of college kids at Oregon State University in October, 2012:

Dinesh D’Souza: I’m simply saying that here we are as a country and for two centuries we’ve had people pulling the wagon. And we recognize, and I would agree, that there is a group of people — and you can disagree about how many — but I would say about 10 percent of people are weak and disadvantaged and need to sit in the wagon and need to have the rest of us pull that wagon. Again, you can disagree about how many people should pull the wagon, but that number [of people sitting in the cart] has been increasing considerably.

This is sort of what Romney was getting at. That at some point there are more people in the wagon than there are pulling. And then the people who are pulling begin to think, “Maybe I should stop pulling and get in the wagon. It’s kind of nicer in the wagon.” And what my criticism of Obama is, instead of saying: “Listen, I really want to thank the people who are pulling the wagon,” he goes, “The people who are pulling the wagon are greedy, selfish and materialistic, and the people sitting in the wagon are wonderful.” He is morally demonizing the wagon-pullers and championing the superior morality of the guys who are sitting int here.  And all I’m saying is, this is an inverted morality. The guys who are actually contributing to help the disadvantaged, these are the sacrificial members of our society, and they’re the ones who deserve a little more credit.

Bill Maher is a conundrum. He’s dumb enough to publicly say that “socialism works,” but he is smart enough to identify some of the accounting problems exacerbated by its philosophical implementation. Given that, one must assume that his real problem is that he’s just dishonest. He knows what’s on the horizon. He knows that we are speeding toward that cliff. He knows that the great big debt-tower is going to come crashing down. He knows it’s all a matter of time, but because he wedded himself to a philosophy years ago, he now spends most of his time figuring out ways to obscure its failures. And like Darth Vader, somewhere deep down inside there’s still a piece of him that seeks to do the right thing, and from time to time he’ll say something that makes his droids squirm.

Think about it: Bill Maher, the guy who donated $1 million dollars to Obama’s SuperPAC (and all he got were higher taxes) is now on the same page as the guy who starred in 2016: Obama’s America. Classic.

2016: Obama’s America: D’Souza strikes a nerve

2016: Obama’s America is a movie that under normal circumstances wouldn’t exist. A documentary about race, the president’s past, his father’s Kenyan roots and Communist ties, and how it all shapes and guides Mr. Obama to this day would have your average filmmaker run out of town by pitchfork-wielding media. Thank goodness Dinesh D’Souza isn’t your average filmmaker.

The tagline for Dinesh’s movie is “Love him, hate him, you don’t know him.” People can have that debate about President Obama, but they can’t have that debate about D’Souza. A lot is known about him. He’s an immigrant from India. He’s an intellectual. He’s an excellent debater (watch old videos of him sparring with the late Christopher Hitchens and you won’t be disappointed). Two of his most impressive works that are not included on the movie’s website are The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values In An Age Of Techno-Affluence and Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus. In short, he’s a very intelligent man, and his pigmentation and background make it impossible for cable news talking heads to distract attention away from his central arguments with charges of racism.

The thing that makes 2016: Obama’s America so piercing is that all of D’Souza’s conclusions are undergirded by Obama’s own words from Dreams From My Father. The central idea is that Obama, abandoned by his biological father, struggled for years to find his identity. His father’s ghost haunted him constantly, and it wasn’t until Obama went to Kenya to visit the grave that his identity was solidified:

“How to explain the emotions of that day. I can summon each moment in my mind almost frame by frame. It wasn’t simple joy that I felt in each of these moments, rather it was a sense that everything I was doing — every touch and breath and word carried the full weight of my life. That a circle was beginning to close so that I might recognize myself as I was — here, now, in one place. For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept. When my tears were finally spent I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was and what I cared about was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America, the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I had witnessed in Chicago, all of it was connected with this small of plot of earth an ocean away. Connected by more than the accident of the name or the color of my skin. The pain I felt was my father’s pain. My questions were my brother’s questions. Their struggle, my birthright,” (Barack Obama).

D’Souza says that moment for Obama was were he determined “not to be like his father, but to take his dream. Where the father had failed, he will succeed. In doing so, perhaps he can become worthy of his father’s love. The love he never got.”

If one buys D’Souza’s premise, then his interviews with extended family, as well as friends and academics close to Obama’s father end up constructing a convincing psychological profile of our current president. Obama’s core values then appear to include a third-world anti-colonialism that is anathema to America’s founding.

The conclusions of 2016: Obama’s America are, frankly, disturbing. Given that so much of D’Souza’s documentary pulls from the president’s own words, it would be silly to dismiss his claims as the desperate fabrications of a “right wing” lunatic. In fact, one of D’Souza’s strengths is his ability to ask a very specific question that he knows will elicit valuable information, at which point he sits back and lets the subject metaphorically shoot himself in the foot.

There is a reason media outlets have not covered this film and reviewers have largely ignored it. Luckily, moviegoers have not. Love D’Souza or hate him, he’s attempting to do the job reporters have not. If you have the time, check out 2016: Obama’s America. It’s a thought-provoking film that’s well worth the price of admission.

Rush Limbaugh has God Inside Him.

Rush Limbaugh has God inside him (and so do you).

If that’s too much for you to swallow (without actually thinking about it), then I suggest reading my post on Iron Man for a watered down version of the ideas I’m about to write about, as well as what makes America great. However, if you’re willing to entertain the idea, then read on.

Years ago, straight out of the military and with no political affiliation, I went to college. Before encountering liberal professors who claimed, “Only redneck Republican hicks who are happy to get a free pair of boots join the military,” prompted me to start looking into conservatism, there was this guy on the radio who made me laugh by turning Elvis’ “In the Ghetto” into an Al Gore Global Warming parody titled “In A Yugo.” His name was Rush Limbaugh. He hooked me with humor, but it wasn’t long before he introduced me to his more substantive side with appeals to intellectual giants like Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, and Friedrich Hayek. Through his radio show I was encouraged to pick up Paine’s Common Sense, J.S. Mill’s On Liberty, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, as well as books by Natan Sharansky and Dinesh D’Souza.

What does all of this have to do with God? Or Rush Limbaugh? Simple. It’s impossible for anyone to read the catalog of thought mentioned above without coming to the conclusion that each and every one of us is in possession of God-given talents we can harness to contribute to the creation of a better world. It’s also near-impossible for someone to read the works of those authors without doing a little soul-searching of their own.

There are people out there who decry Rush Limbaugh and any number of out-of-context quotes taken from his radio show on a daily basis, but the fact remains that he inspires millions of people to take control of their lives.  When someone realizes that they’re here for a purpose and that they control their own destiny—as opposed to unprincipled politicians in Washington, DC—an awesome transformation happens.

Rush Limbaugh is one of the most positive personalities alive today, contrary to what the talking heads at MSNBC say. Sure, he’s pessimistic about public figures who want to “plan” every aspect of your life, but he’s inspirational when it comes to empowering the individual.  And Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann and the New York Times can’t stand that.

God didn’t put you on this earth to sit back and abdicate the most important decisions in your life to some third party whose only real worry is how they’re going to get reelected. You’re here because you’re worthwhile.  You’re here because work is a virtue, and nothing is more satisfying than finding out what you love to do and then doing it for your family, the community, and the world at large.  No matter what Rush Limbaugh’s faults (and we all have faults), his consistent efforts to educate Americans in self-determination, liberty, and individual freedoms will pay dividends for decades to come.

What would the trajectory of my life have been if I had never turned on the radio and listened to Rush all those years ago?  I’m not sure. I think my family, my faith, as well as my time in the military instilled values in me that would have served me well regardless of my midday radio preferences.  But, I think it’s safe to say that the liberal mind-forged manacles my professors encouraged me to willingly slip into would have been around for a lot longer. And that would have been a shame because life is precious, but life is short. It seems as though the older I get the more I realize how little time we really have to leave our mark upon the world. And while we can have a positive impact on humanity at any age, it’s sad to think of all those wasted moments and missed opportunities we can never get back.

We all have saints inside us, and we’re all sinners. The challenge is to bring the former to the forefront much more often than not. Rush has done that, and he’s inspired millions to follow in his footsteps. And for that I’m thankful. Worst Person in the World, Keith Olbermann? I beg to differ.

No go out there, and make a difference.

Rush Limbaugh: Introducing us to the best and brightest intellectual minds for decades. Challenging you to find the best inside yourself for decades.

Barack Obama Wishes Sentient Water Molecule, Christopher Hitchens, a Happy Easter.

President Obama used his weekly radio address to wish all of us a Happy Easter. He even had a little message for our atheist friends:

“While we worship in different ways,” the president said, “we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all — Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike.”

While I don’t fault the President for reaching out to atheists—he is the President of all Americans—I wonder if non-believers would have put up a stink if he had not thrown them a bone (or if he had, and it happened to be a rib…) After all, I would think that

I'm Christopher Hitchens, sentient water molecule...in the shower! That's insane!

someone who essentially believes everything cosmically fell into place so we, the sentient water-molecules of the universe, could exist for a brief moment in time before once again becoming part of the Big Wave, shouldn’t really get bent out of shape if they’re ignored. I mean, after all, when they’re gone they’re gone, right? That’s it. No coming back and no spirit left behind to worry about, correct? So why should they get angry? Well, they do. But at least it makes for great debate. Although, if you’re not up for a debates then I highly suggest reading Dinesh D’Souza’s fabulous book What’s So Great About Christianity this Easter (notice that’s not a question).

[Stephen Hawking states]: “If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it even reached its present size. So the odds against us being here are, well, astronomical.” And yet we are here. Who is responsible for this? (What’s So Great About Christianity, 131.)

If you’re unsure, I suggest reading D’Souza’s book. And Christopher Hitchens, if you’re right, I’ll see you in the oceans…