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Forum Post: Hedges vs. D’Souza: "Obama’s America: 2016"

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 21, 2012, 1:06 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement


Kolhatkar: Chris, I want to start with you to get your impressions first of this film. You had the chance to watch the documentary, and then, I’d love to get Dinesh to respond to you. What did you think overall of this film, “2016: Obama’s America?”

Hedges: Well, Dinesh is a better propagandist than he is psychoanalyst. It is vile in terms of its underlying racism, its pandering to stereotypes, its demonization of Obama—and I’m no fan of Obama. But the film is in essence a sort of elongated attempt that we saw during the Kerry campaign at swiftboating a politician by using half-truths, innuendos and lies to turn him into a monster. And Obama is a politician. He had some of the roots and connections that Dinesh points out. But he shed them as fast as he could, as he rose within the political machine in Chicago, jettisoning not only whatever principles, in my mind, he had. And I was a good friend of Edward Said, all the way back to Jim Friedman, the president of Dartmouth. When Dinesh was at the Dartmouth Review, he characterized him, or dressed him up as a Nazi—Jim was Jewish—and put him on the cover. He threw Jeremiah Wright away, I mean, that’s in the film, and that’s correct, and they did try and, the Democratic party, buy Wright’s silence. And the tragedy of Obama, and it is a tragedy, is that he, in the service of his ambition, was very quick to toss off any principled position that he had until, of course, he became a servant of the corporate state. Which is the real tragedy of Obama.

Kolhatkar: Dinesh D’Souza, how do you respond to this? What was your main goal in making this film?

D’Souza: The film is an attempt to tell a side of Obama’s story that has actually never been told. The remarkable thing is we have a president who was admittedly kind of an unknown guy in 2008. That was understandable. He came out of nowhere, an economic nosedive in part helped propel him into the office, but what is kind of remarkable is that four years later, there’s so much about him that is not known, that if he were anyone else, it would be known. And it’s not just that we don’t know his SAT scores or his law school scores, or we don’t have his thesis, we don’t know who his friends were at Columbia. All of that’s interesting. But I think more deeply, his underlying compass is not understood by people. And so the film is an effort to sort of raise the curtain on how Obama thinks. And if there are half-truths and lies in the film, they come from Obama. Because at critical points in the film, we play Obama’s own voice, saying what he believed, what he did. So Obama will say things like, “I stayed away from all the normal professors. I looked for the punk rock poets, the Chicanos, the Marxists, I wanted to hang out with those guys.” That’s a paraphrase, but that’s Obama’s own voice. And what’s most incriminating in the film comes from Obama. And this is why a guy like Chris Hedges is nervous, because the film is damning, not because what it says is false, but because what it says is true and eye-opening.

Rest of the transcript here: http://www.commondreams.org/further/2012/09/20-2

The audio here: http://ia601508.us.archive.org/29/items/DailyDigest091812.2/2012_09_18_hedgesdsouza.mp3



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[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

Chris Hedges - If you insist on participating in the cash-drenched charade of a two-party democratic election at least be clear about what you are doing. You are, by playing your assigned role as the Democratic or Republican voter in this political theater, giving legitimacy to a corporate agenda that means your own impoverishment and disempowerment.

And while Romney has been, courtesy of the magazine Mother Jones, exposed as a shallow hypocrite that doesn't care about half of America, Obama is in a class by himself. There is hardly a campaign promise from 2008 that Obama has not broken. This list includes his pledges to support the public option in health care, close Guantanamo, raise the minimum wage, regulate Wall Street, support labor unions in their struggles with employers, reform the Patriot Act, negotiate an equitable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, curb our imperial expansion in the Middle East, stop torture, protect reproductive rights, carry out a comprehensive immigration reform, cut the deficit by half, create 5 million new energy jobs and halt home foreclosures. Obama, campaigning in South Carolina in 2007, said that as president he would fight for the right of collective bargaining. “I’d put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll … walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America,” he said. But when he got his chance to put on those “comfortable pair of shoes” during labor disputes in Madison, Wis., and Chicago he turned his back on working men and women.


[-] -1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 10 years ago

To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he might have the less. -Plato

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

Why not just vote for those without evil? Why fall into the trap setup by the banks and corporations that fund the 2 evils?

[-] 0 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 10 years ago

Just to piss them off

[-] 0 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 10 years ago

I am still looking for those people.

Can you supply a copy of their resume?

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

Obama’s Top 25 Accomplishments

I may not think everything Obama has done is ideal.
I may think some things Obama has not done should have been done.

If you have opinions and beliefs such as :
……Obama is not an American / Obama can control gas prices / Obama is a Muslim -
don’t waste your time reading the following facts

If you have opinions and beliefs such as :
……(sotomayor+kagan) = (alito+roberts)
don’t waste your time reading the following facts

If you have opinions and beliefs such as :
……or president is an all powerful executive that can always do what he wants
don’t waste your time reading the following facts

If you have opinions and beliefs such as :
……evolution is a “theory”, Noah put the kangaroos back in Australia, Bush is not a war monger
don’t waste your time reading the following facts

If you believe that, during the last 5 years, that
……Bain Romney or Cotton Mather Santorum has helped America
don’t waste your time reading the following facts

  1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.

  2. Passed the Stimulus: Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.

  3. Passed Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial institutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.

  4. Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.

  5. Began Drawdown of War in Afghanistan: From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 91,000, with 23,000 slated to leave by the end of summer 2012. According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the combat mission there will be over by next year.

  6. Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.

  7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.

  8. Recapitalized Banks: In the midst of financial crisis, approved controversial Treasury Department plan to lure private capital into the country’s largest banks via “stress tests” of their balance sheets and a public-private fund to buy their “toxic” assets. Got banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government.

  9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

  10. Toppled Moammar Gaddafi: In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s forty-two-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.

  11. Told Mubarak to Go: On February 1, 2011, publicly called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to accept reform or step down, thus weakening the dictator’s position and putting America on the right side of the Arab Spring. Mubarak ended thirty-year rule when overthrown on February 11.

  12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies: Two days after taking office, nullified Bush-era rulings that had allowed detainees in U.S. custody to undergo certain “enhanced” interrogation techniques considered inhumane under the Geneva Conventions. Also released the secret Bush legal rulings supporting the use of these techniques.

  13. Improved America’s Image Abroad: With new policies, diplomacy, and rhetoric, reversed a sharp decline in world opinion toward the U.S. (and the corresponding loss of “soft power”) during the Bush years. From 2008 to 2011, favorable opinion toward the United tates rose in ten of fifteen countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, with an average increase of 26 percent.

  14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.

  15. Created Race to the Top: With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion program of competitive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.

  16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards: Released new fuel efficiency standards in 2011 that will nearly double the fuel economy for cars and trucks by 2025.

  17. Coordinated International Response to Financial Crisis: To keep world economy out of recession in 2009 and 2010, helped secure from G-20 nations more than $500 billion for the IMF to provide lines of credit and other support to emerging market countries, which kept them liquid and avoided crises with their currencies.

  18. Passed Mini Stimuli: To help families hurt by the recession and spur the economy as stimulus spending declined, signed series of measures (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011) to extend unemployment insurance and cut payroll taxes.

  19. Began Asia “Pivot”: In 2011, reoriented American military and diplomatic priorities and focus from the Middle East and Europe to the Asian-Pacific region. Executed multipronged strategy of positively engaging China while reasserting U.S. leadership in the region by increasing American military presence and crafting new commercial, diplomatic, and military alliances with neighboring countries made uncomfortable by recent Chinese behavior.

  20. Increased Support for Veterans: With so many soldiers coming home from Iraq and Iran with serious physical and mental health problems, yet facing long waits for services, increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent. Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans.

  21. Tightened Sanctions on Iran: In effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program, signed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (2010) to punish firms and individuals who aid Iran’s petroleum sector. In late 2011 and early 2012, coordinated with other major Western powers to impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s banks and with Japan, South Korea, and China to shift their oil purchases away from Iran.

  22. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants: New EPA restrictions on mercury and toxic pollution, issued in December 2011, likely to lead to the closing of between sixty-eight and 231 of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants. Estimated cost to utilities: at least $11 billion by 2016. Estimated health benefits: $59 billion to $140 billion. Will also significantly reduce carbon emissions and, with other regulations, comprises what’s been called Obama’s “stealth climate policy.”

  23. Passed Credit Card Reforms: Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (2009), which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, mandates a grace period on interest rate increases, and strictly limits overdraft and other fees.

  24. Eliminated Catch-22 in Pay Equality Laws: Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago. Under previous law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the statute of limitations on such suits ran out 180 days after the alleged discrimination occurred, even if the victims never knew about it.

  25. Protected Two Liberal Seats on the U.S. Supreme Court: Nominated and obtained confirmation for Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve, in 2009; and Elena Kagan, the fourth woman to serve, in 2010. They replaced David Souter and John Paul Stevens, respectively.

do you have the courage to answer this question:
and which electable candidate would do better?

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

All negated when he commits war crimes by bombing rescuers after bombing civilians.

All negated when he signed for indefinite detention laws for American citizens and then even had the gall to appeal after an injunction.

All negated when he does nothing about the massive human rights abuse that is the prison system with more non-violent people in prison than any other country. Drugs wars. Political prisoners?

All negated when he does nothing when massive police brutality hits the street against peaceful protesters.

All negated 68,000 times for every single troop still in Afghanistan.

All negated by his support for the Patriot Act and FISA bills which has created the largest illegal spy network in American history.

All negated by his part in joining in a new war. The last thing America needed to do.

I can list some better candidates. Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson.

While Jill was protesting foreclosures, Obama was giving more money to Wall Street.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

so you are a single issue voter
must make thinking and reasoning unnecessary

[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

that is the dumbest response you've ever given

You're better than that.

I know some people running for election that can do the good things you listed without doing the horrid things I listed.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 10 years ago
[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 10 years ago

13 is false. If you look at the numbers from 2009-2012, you know once people actually had a chance to see Obama's policies and the honeymoon wore off, America's approval rating only went up in 4 of 14 countries, per the same data you cited:


They site the drone attacks and policies as major reasons. You spin shit good though. You definitely have a career as a political adviser if your career as a professional internet message board poster falls through.

[-] 2 points by conservatroll (187) 10 years ago

Indeed..Benghazi was about the drones, not that obscure movie.

[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 10 years ago

I liked this film; there was need of insight.

[-] -1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 10 years ago

Waste of time. Bad Fiction at best. Propaganda, campaign swift boating lies and innuendo.

That's not an Obama defense that is an honest critique of the crap hecalls a film.

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago

Video says Obama & Romney are Shills for Larger Interests (money interests, of course).

So the question is how to vote for? Third party or shills for Lobbyist. Pretty much sucks doesn't it...

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 10 years ago

Vote your conscience, 3rd party, no consent or stay home! Whatever you think best serves your interests.

But whatever you do, do not believe this political hack job, attack ad!

It's all lies.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago

Yes, seems like the Right wing paid for the making of the film. I still have to look for who is on the ballot in my state....

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 10 years ago

Yeah none of it is based on reality.

Good luck.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago


[-] 0 points by CitizenofAmerika (-71) 10 years ago

Vote for whatever third party you agree with. If you vote republicrat then you are part of the problem. All of these apologists for Obama ( not many for Romney here) will have you believe filthy fucking lies he and his machine spew forth because they are to stupid to understand anything beyond simple propaganda.

[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago

Well I agree. It took me years to be able to see different sides and to see propaganda. But now I'm sure everything we get on TV and Radio has been spun. Seeing the spin leaves me working harder for an angle, but at least we have a better probability at a better outcome.

I don' t think I believe in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year of Obama. People can say Obama has to act presidential, be respectful, work with republicans, and even be careful not to look like an angry black person.

But in the end, President Obama has coasted up to re-election and hasn't taken on any serious issues since year one. He has just been trying to score some small points for his legacy and re-election.

[+] -4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

My take?


It's bullshitters bullshitting about a bunch of bullshit.

Any word on WallStreet involvement?


I didn't think so.

[-] 6 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 10 years ago

Obviously you didn't read the whole transcript. Hedges mentions wall street and OWS. Honestly I have no idea why you people still defend Obama. All you have to do is look at what he is trying to do with the TPP and see that his true allegence is to corporate power. His victory is all but assured in the upcoming election. So, why bother defending a man and a party that threw the working class overboard 30 years ago?

[-] -3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

I keep wondering why people defend bullshit.

Why they always return to politics, when they bitch about it constantly.

And then do an "in depth interview" on that very bullshit.

How about an in depth report from you on fracking? A comment perhaps?

How about something on the voter purges going on all over the States?

How about a comment on teabagge(R)y, and it's push to "force" creationism on innocent school children?

The movie is bullshit, therefore all reporting on it of this sort, is bullshit.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

When is Obama going to address the large levels of civilian murder and war crimes by drone strikes? A comment perhaps?

When is Obama going to address that giving money to Wall Street is not a solution? Instead of reappointing Bush's Ben Bernanke who's main job is finding different ways to give Wall Street more money.

When is Obama going to address how indefinite detention is wrong instead of winning an appeal to continue doing it?

When is Obama going to address the massive spy network of American citizens created thanks to his and other corrupt politicians continual support for the Patriot Act and FISA bills?

When is Obama going to address OWS and their knowledge of a bought government?

When is Obama going to address his continued funding for Organizations similar to Black Water?

When is Obama going to address is continued funding to KBR a war profiteer known for human trafficking?

I could go on. I know Romney isn't going to talk about these issues... but why won't Obama?

Why do Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson talk about these issues?

[-] -2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago


[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 10 years ago

at least you're honest


[-] -2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

Not really, but I believe the answers to most of your questions lies well within the Patriot Act.

[-] 1 points by conservatroll (187) 10 years ago

I keep wondering why you continue to spew bullshit 24/7 here

I also figure your family can't wait for the day Obamacare kicks in enough to drop you off at the Shady Rest with Vqaq,Bensdad,Zendogger,and Shadz66. Sure glad I am not a healthcare worker

[-] -2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 years ago

You're welcome to leave.

It took you 6 days to respond anyway.

Since you like teabagge(R)y so much, I'm sure there's a web site out there just for.............:)

[-] -3 points by VQkag2 (16478) 10 years ago

Didn't look like Shooz said anything about Pres Obama. Let alone defend him.

What are you talkin about?

And what is Pres Obama doing with the TPP?

[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 10 years ago

Well, Chris Hedges wasn't defending the Wall Street Fraud and National Shame...and it was national shame.

The audio tape has value as does Chris hedges and his expertise. Seems to me he made D'souza look like a capitalist (hell, I'd like to make some money too!). Crap, a film is an investment looking to make a profit.