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D’Souza Delivers: 2016 Review

I have a confession to make. Until quite recently in my life I have been a conspiracy nut. I love conspiracy theories to this day. One of my favorite shows is Ancient Aliens on the “History” Channel, which regularly asserts cover-ups on a global scale of alien intervention on our planet. I’ve been a conspiracy nut since I was a child. Having always had a flair for the dramatic, I would say I was quite prone to believing most stories told with passion and fear. Although I was older (10 years old) when I finally met my father he had a profound influence on my thinking. My father may be one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. He also believes there is a planet just beyond Pluto that harbors an alien race that is bent on infiltrating Earthly society. He’s not crazy, but he believes crazy stuff and can quote you a lot of solid research to back it up. I always pretty much believed everything he said, and it sparked my own interest in the world of conspiracy theories.

I’ve since moved on from that stage in my life (how is another story for another day), but I say all this to tell you that it was my sordid history with conspiracy theories that made me nervous to go see Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary Obama’s America: 2016. I worried that it would be full of conspiracy rhetoric and my old self might not be able to resist the temptation to connect Kennedy’s assassination or the Holy Grail to our current Commander-in-Chief. I was worried I might not be able to look at the film with reason. I needn’t have worried. 2016 is not a conspiracy film by any stretch of the imagination. It most certainly does tell a sordid tale of the man who would become our first Black President, but it does not rely on the stretches and leaps we’ve seen from the birther movement or the Coast to Coast crowd.  Instead, D’Souza paints us a picture of our 44th President. He traces his roots; back to Hawaii, his time in Indonesia and the people who shaped his life. D’Souza, though soft-spoken and seemingly easy-going, is thorough and relentless in his investigation. He begins with Obama’s childhood in Indonesia and then takes the audience through a more in-depth look at the men who shaped his views on life. D’Souza asks the question-  if we are all shaped by our past, how has Obama’s past shaped him, and how have we seen that reflected in the decisions he has made for our country as our President?

Obama’s father was a communist; a distant but idealized figure in his life. As my own father shaped my views early in my life, so did Obama’s shape his.  If Obama’s father was an anti-colonial communist, how did that affect Obama himself? D’Souza uses Obama’s own words from “Dreams From my Father” to bring the point home. On an emotional trip back to Kenya Obama visited the graves of his father and grandfather, sitting between them and weeping for a time. When he was finished, Obama says he felt relieved, as if he had “closed the circle”. Their struggle had become his “birthright”. Remember, his father was a communist and staunch anti-colonialist.

Although in may seem strange in print, when considering Obama’s past and the present path he has this country on it is difficult to deny the intimate connection. D’Souza connects the dots with clarity and reason, but also by using his own life and his own direction as a touchstone for making those connections. Wonder why Obama’s first act was to return the bust of Churchill? Wonder why he has agreed to reduce our warhead stockpile from 7,000 to 300? Wonder why he constantly talks about “fair share”? As historian Daniel Pipes tell us, “He doesn’t think well of the United States”, and that is reflected in his policies.

I’ll refrain from making all the connections for you. D’Souza does that much more interestingly in less than two hours. Besides the actual content of the film the filmmaking itself was adequate, although not superior. A particularly emotional scene with Obama’s younger brother George will put a lump in your throat, but it’s not as slick as a Stephen Bannon film and not as smarmy as a Michael Moore production. However, 2016 makes its point and makes it well. The production itself may have been more well suited to the television format, but obviously a theatrical release makes more of an impact. And make an impact it has indeed. The film, which launched in only 400 theaters nationwide has placed third at the box office this week so far – an astonishing accomplishment for a documentary, let alone a conservative one.

D’Souza has created an informative, thought-provoking piece of work that will inspire viewers to examine their own pasts and influences in their lives and how those have worked to create who they are today. The conclusion is not very comforting, but the film does leave us with this thought: the answer to America’s woes will never be found in just one person, it will be found in WE the people.

crossposted at kiradavis.net

Dyson DC35 Animal: Ease of Use Demonstration

I recently went on a hunt for a vacuum or vacuums that would accommodate my hectic life.  The older I get, the shorter my days feel, and sometimes I find myself looking for an edge.  In this instance, I was looking for a vacuum that was cordless, light weight, and would get the job done.  If I needed to clean the stairs, I didn’t want to drag a machine behind me.  If I was cleaning the car, I didn’t want to have to go to the car wash or take the vacuum outside.  (something I’ve done with a 20 foot extension cord)  The journey I took before deciding on an (admittedly pricey) Dyson was a long one.  I’ll be covering that in a post in the near future.  Until then I’m sharing a series of real world tests I’ve done with it.  This one shows the ease of handling and use that it offers.  For what it’s worth, this is not a paid endorsement; this is just a humble CDN writer’s experience being shared with you.

Before I begin, I should make it clear that Dyson offers more than one handheld vacuum.  This video will focus on one of their higher tier offerings, the DC35 “Animal”.  This vacuum comes with several attachments (which I’ll cover in a future post), but most importantly, it’s one of the offerings that comes with a wall mount that both stores and charges the unit.  You’ll see this wall mount at the end of the video.  It definitely adds to the ease of use and storage factor.

In this demo, I operate a camera with one hand and the vacuum with the other.  Dyson claims the DC35 weighs less than 5lbs.  I haven’t weighed it, but I can tell you I filmed the entire video, and the camera was a bigger burden than the Dyson was.  Of course the Dyson does rest on the floor, and you have to give only minimal inputs to control it.  It feels more like you’re making suggestions to it than actually “handling” it.  So let’s see it in action. (please excuse some of the mess, entire rooms of the home are/were being rearranged)

Note that I did the whole job one-handed, including putting it back in its rack.  It’s truly easy to use.  If you have hand or wrist problems, though, you should be aware that there is no “on” or “off” switch.  You have to constantly apply pressure to the trigger.  As someone with a history of wrist problems, I expected to have trouble with it, but so far, it’s not been an issue.  Also, on an aesthetic note, I’ve since removed the charging cord from the wall mount.  In a closet or basement or garage, it’s fine, but in a high traffic living area, it can be an eyesore.

Note on the quality of the video:  Some people find so called “vertical videos” difficult to watch.  You can click on the video to watch it in full screen mode.  Pick either the 720 or the 1080 option, and the video should be easier to use.  The “vertical” method was chosen for this video, because it was the best way to control two devices at once and be able to show closeups of the Dyson in action.  An updated video in the more traditional “horizontal” manner is being considered for future use.

Review: Alfonzo Rachel and His "Weapon of A.S.S. Destruction"

“Being a black and white kind of person is a good thing”.  This is how conservative pundit and musician Alfonzo Rachel begins his new audio book, Weapon of A.S.S. Destruction.  Rachel goes on to assert that the nuanced grey area most liberals pride themselves on living in is no more than a fog that blurs sound judgement and clear vision.  There’s no blurring of the lines happening in this audio book.  Rachel spends fifteen chapters carefully laying out his argument for conservatism and why it is a principle that he believes fits squarely with both his faith and his race.

As a Black conservative, Rachel has seen and heard his fair share of insults.  While the left obsesses over the supposed racism in conservative “code words” such as ‘basketball’ and ‘food stamps’, they are not shy about openly calling Black pundits on the right brainwashed, sell-outs, porch-monkeys, house Negros (or worse, if the person doing the insulting happens to be Black and therefore officially “allowed” to use the n-word) and Uncle Toms.  Alfonzo Rachel wholly rejects all those labels but one: Uncle Tom.  He reminds readers that Uncle Tom was a slave who rebelled against his masters, refused to beat his own people, and sacrificed his own safety for the freedom of other slaves.  In the book, Uncle Tom is a hero who was despised by his slave brethren who had been appointed “overseers” for the master.  Somehow, over the years the left has completely twisted this heroic character into an insult that means the exact opposite of who and what Uncle Tom truly represented.

Rachel spends the bulk of his time in this book untwisting the liberal narrative on the Republican party and conservatism in general.  With humor, biting wit and extremely well-researched sources, he carefully lays out the history of the GOP in the United States, as well as the disturbing and dirty past of the Democrat party.  Haven’t you ever wondered just how the party that freed the slaves and passed civil rights legislation somehow became saddled with the Jim Crow label of the actual party of Jim Crow – the Democrats? Rachel lays that history out bare and dares the listener dispute the facts.

This, however, is not just a book about politics; it is also about faith -the role it has played in Rachel’s life and in the evolution of America.  Strands of the faith of the Founding Fathers and Judeo-Christian values are seamlessly woven into a discussion about topics that affect every American life – abortion, family structure, capitalism, etc.  I asked Rachel if he worried that his boldness about his faith as a Christian would turn people off.  “I can’t worry about that,” he responded. “If I were to separate my faith from my politics then I really would be the sellout people accuse me of being. I will not sell out my God and I will not sell out my country.”

Far from selling out, Alfonzo Rachel has created a firm and often humorous defense of conservatism, America and faith.  He even includes some original music for our listening pleasure.  “Right Wingin’ Woman” is sure to become an instant classic – “I’m diggin’ you in your conservative skirt; Makes me so excited that it almost hurts; You’re the kind of woman that I want for my wife; You’re a real woman cuz you’re pro-life”.  The song alone is worth the price of admission, trust me.  Don’t be deceived by the title, the book isn’t crass.  The A.S.S. in the title is actually symbolic and an acronym: it represents the symbol of the Democrat party and also stands for American Socialist States, which is where he believes the Democrats are trying to take us.

Weapon of A.S.S. Destruction is currently only available in audio form, although the author does plan a printed release in the near future.  This is really a story better told aloud anyway.  Rachel’s voice, expression and musical contributions bring the content to life in a way that will have you laughing out loud and wanting to pull your hair out in frustration at the same time.  Its a fun, easy listen; great for the commute to work.  Just be sure to suppress that urge to applaud when Rachel says out loud what most conservatives only wish they could say so succinctly.  Hands on the wheel!  Ten and two folks…ten and two.  Weapon of A.S.S. Destruction will be available for download January 27th.