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#139 of My Stupid State

This is not a snark.  

I have several times given reasons why it's imperative Rick Scott not be given a second term.  Our voting rights, our environment, the health care exchanges, or S.B. 1188: which is a bill that passed in April that gives the winner of this year's governor's race the right to kick off the three liberal judges!  

I don't have the patience or space to list all of the well over 230 reasons Rick Scott needs to go, but I'll now add one more:

Alan Hays, a pro-business and anti-education Florida state senator, said he will draft a bill to be voted on for next year's regular session, which starts in March.  The bill will force all middle and high school students in all of our 1,700 public schools to watch a crappy propaganda film, America: Imagine a World Without Her,  by a convicted felon who plead guilty for election fraud and will likely serve prison time:  Dinesh D'Souza.  

The film, although a hit with conservatives, has been a commercial flop only garnering a few million bucks--a far cry from his earlier film which was a character assassination on Obama.  Already it is disappearing from theaters.  This new film offers unsourced, revisionist history that every nonpartisan observer has panned.  (Below the orange cloud I have a full review on each of the film's dishonest and downright bigoted claims on African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, along with his shoddy defense of Wall Street and every foreign conflict. Spoiler alert: Liberals are the source of all of America's ills.)  

Right now, the FL GOP holds a supermajority in our state House and Senate. Even though this is clear government indoctrination of students, and even though our education ranking is at the bottom (only in front of Alabama), and even though our public schools have been slashed to the bone with this legislature, the buzz in Tallahassee is that this bill will pass.   They expect it to pass legal muster because parents can go through a process to opt their child out of viewing.  (That seems fair, I'm sure no GOP politician would have objected to a forced viewing of Michael Moore's "SICKO".)

The only person who can stop this travesty is the governor.  If Rick Scott is re-elected, he WILL sign the bill.  It's no secret that Rick Scott is just godawful, but try to imagine how he'll be with NO re-election to worry about.  

D'Souza, who normally screams about the free market, can't come to terms that his piece of garbage has flopped.  He actually blamed Costco and Google executives for an elaborate conspiracy theory to explain his failure, and said the conspiracy was "a fact".  This alone discredits the film and all of the unproved allegations that he refers to as "facts".    Costco called him out and said the book he based the film on simply wasn't selling.  Google, however, disgustingly caved on his ridiculous claim that anyone who searches  "America" should be routed to his stupid film.  (Google gave him exactly what he asked for. Try it.)  But if this bill passes, he can expect to make some dough from our already cash-strapped schools. That's because state Senator Alan Hays, a teabagger already infamous for proposing stupid bills, saw a movie that Salon called a "laughable embarrassment" and gave this reaction:

"I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this!

I’ve looked at history books and talked to history teachers and the message the students are getting is very different from what is in the movie,” Hays said.

YEAH, genius, there's a reason for that!  

History is based on facts, NOT right-wing fantasies.  Next thing you know they'll want to require textbooks challenging science!  Oh, wait...

Last year, the FL GOP lost it over a history textbook that dared to mention Islam, and called the book "indoctrination"--even though they could not point to ONE example of the book being biased or wrong.  

I can point out several lies in this unsourced, cringe-worthy, Powerpoint-esque film.  But actual propaganda is fine in our schools as long as it promotes Tea Party thinking.  Once again, irony is lost on the GOP.  They scream about Obama being a dictator, but I don't recall him or any Democratic politician mandating propaganda to be shown in schools.

Rotten Tomatoes currently gives D'Souza's film a 9% out of 100% rating.  Despite the film supposedly being about an alternate history if America wasn't founded, it instead is a movie that tries to excuse all of its past ills by insulting the people whose ancestors have been harmed.  That is all in-between D'Souza comparing himself to Lincoln.  (I don't recall Lincoln facing a two year jail sentence after pleading guilty to a felony, but I digress.)  Nate Zoebl is a reviewer who examines the "dishonest, disingenuous, morally bankrupt rhetoric" that this Michael Moore wannabe presented in the film:

1) "Theft of land from Native Americans." This one seems pretty obvious. They were here first. American settlers, as well as other nations, came, conquered, and Manifest Destined the continent. D'Souza tries to argue that the Native Americans themselves would engage in war and take over other tribes' territories; therefore their original claim to the land is nil. Also, the land is only valuable because of what the new owners built on that land. I guess America's national parks have no inherent value then. It almost ends up transforming into a rhetorical line that the Native Americans didn't know how best to use their own land, so they didn't deserve it. The worst part of this segment, besides breezing over the Trail of Tears and countless broken treaties, is that D'Souza has the temerity to dispute the semantics of "genocide." See, D'Souza opines that with genocide there has to be intent to do harm, and Europeans simply bringing along deadly infections the natives had no immunity for cannot count. Never mind the whole smallpox blankets episode, America's earliest form of biological warfare, which was intentional. D'Souza then compares the decimation of the Native Americans via disease to the Black Plague. "We don't call that genocide," he smugly asserts. Let me provide a more fitting analogy: if Turkey had invaded the European continent, bringing with it the Bubonic Plague, and then purposely spread it to the natives to eliminate them, while claiming the land as Turkey's own, establishing settlements, and forcing the weakened Europeans into small unobtrusive clusters, well maybe we would accurately call that by all accounts genocide.

2) "Theft of labor of Africans." First, re-read that sentence and really let D'Souza's slimy word choice sink in. "Theft of labor" is what we're calling slavery now? How about theft of life, theft of rights, theft of future, theft of family, theft of dignity, theft of their basic humanity? This rebuttal is curious because at the outset D'Souza admits, "Yes, slavery was theft." Everything referenced after this point cannot alter this declaration, meaning the rest of this segment is all about mitigating the terror of slavery. D'Souza says the United States didn't invent slavery, and that even Africans would enslave one another. He literally uses the "everybody else was doing it too" argument children use to get away with misdeeds. He even tries to turn it around as a positive, enthusiastically informing us that America is the only country to fight a war to end slavery and that makes us a special place. Well, that's one way of looking at it. Another way would be to celebrate other countries that didn't require bloody wars to come to a consensus that owning other people as property was morally repugnant. Then D'Souza flouts anomalous examples to try and muddy the disgraceful practice of slavery. There were black slave owners, yes, because these people still exist in a crooked system. What does the existence of black slave owners prove? D'Souza's unsourced claim that there were as many black slave owners as white slave owners is so obviously dishonest that it takes your breath away. But even if it were true, which it is most assuredly not, what does it prove? Is D'Souza trying to say blacks are just as complicit in slavery? Then he adds that white indentured servants worked alongside many slaves and they had it rough too. Indentured servants were still seen as people with human rights. There is no comparison to slavery. The end.

3) "Theft of land from Mexico." This one is given even shorter shrift, mostly boiling down to a simplistic analysis of how lousy life is in Mexico. The United States gained much of the western states after annexing them from Mexico. D'Souza reasons that after the war we had all of Mexico and we only took half, so that should be acceptable. "I wonder how many of those in Mexico wish we had kept all of their country," he intones.

4) "Theft of independence with foreign policy." I forget the exact wording on this one, but really it just amounts to the American wars and conflicts in the last 50 years. Tackling Vietnam, D'Souza offers a straw man that has never existed in mainstream thought: that we went to war in Vietnam to take over their land as imperialists. The war in Vietnam was a result of the domino theory in thwarting the spread of communism, not to take over Asia. On top of this, let's ignore the Gulf of Tonkin incident that was manufactured as a rationale to escalate a war in South Vietnam. All D'Souza does is interview one P.O.W. veteran who says he went to war to spread democracy. That's fine, but one man's experience is anecdotal and not indicative of the whole, let alone of the military command. D'Souza then says we gave back Iraq to the Iraqis and didn't ask for anything in return, except, you know, permanent military bases that they objected to. Wars aren't just fought for territory, they can be fought for profit by powerful interests; just look at the military industrial complex run amok. And yet, weirdly, D'Souza never combats Noam Chomsky's listing of all the American-assisted coups across the globe, from Iran (1953) to Chile (1973) to Brazil (1964) to Guatemala (1954) and others. In 2011, documents over the Iran coup were declassified and admitted CIA involvement as "an act of U.S. foreign policy conceived and approved by the highest levels of government."

5) "Theft of wealth by capitalism." D'Souza actually comes to the defense of Wall Street, lamenting that America's wealthy are under unfair attack from the unwashed masses. First, D'Souza conflates a critique of unregulated, Laissez-faire capitalism with capitalism itself. There are socialists and communists and others of similar ideology out there, but the mainstream left is not arguing for the wholesale destruction of the economic system of this country. A lack of oversight and unchecked greed and fraternal collusion lead to the financial meltdown of 2008, bringing the world to the brink of economic ruin because of the bad bets of Wall Street. Instead, D'Souza stages a silly example of himself running a fast food restaurant, complete with himself playing all of the workers and with a comical (?) Indian accent. He flatly contends that it costs the consumer more money to make a hamburger at home than to buy one from his restaurant, ipso facto "the American people are not being ripped off." This is D'Souza's insufficient summary of capitalism, ignoring the 2008 financial crises, ignoring the robber barons, ignoring strike-busting, ignoring the reasons the unions had to be formed in the first place because of dangerous, unfit working conditions that would still exist without intervention. Thomas Piketty wrote a 700-page book on the history of capitalism that has become an unexpected runaway bestseller. He studied hundreds of years of documents of all sorts and concluded that return on capital is higher than the growth rate of the economy, meaning the rich get a bigger part of the pie as time goes on. Economic inequality is hitting record rates not seen since the Great Depression, but somehow for D'Souza this is Obama's failings and not those of the enshrined 1%, a.k.a. the "job creators."

Yeah!  We're #49!  We are gunning for #50---up yours Alabama!  Expect this filth to come to a classroom near you next year if we don't get out the vote and kick Rick Scott's ass OUT!

Originally posted to SemDem on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 12:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Florida and North & Central Florida Kossacks.

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