Dinesh, thank you for your time.
I had a chance to watch Hillary's America over the weekend, and I came out thinking that your movie will create confirmation bias on steroids. If you thought Hillary was awful and corrupt, then Hillary's America now informs your position. If, on the other hand, you're #withher or if you traditionally vote Democrat, then you're going to dismiss the movie out of hand as some mad conspiracy theory. *I'll tell you which side I'm on after our conversation*
You must have liberal friends, or at the very least spoken to liberals, who have seen your movie -- do you find that you are changing anyone's mind?
Most people who see this movie are conservatives and Republicans. I expected that to be true for the theatrical run. It is not necessarily true of DVD/Home Box Office. So as of now I have limited experience of liberals and Democrats reacting to the movie. That said, there is a minority of liberal Democrats who are deeply disturbed by the film because they recognize that IF TRUE it has huge implications. These are the thoughtful ones. Others on the left dismiss the movie with nonsense like "conspiracy theory" even though there is not a single conspiracy alleged in the movie.
I'm always up for a good conspiracy theory, so I don't necessarily see that as a pejorative. But you don't consider the Clinton's attempt to use the government for their own personal gain while conning blacks and other minorities a conspiracy?
How else would you describe that?
It is the Democratic Party that exploits blacks for their votes, just as in the old slavery days the Party exploited blacks for their labor.
Was slavery a "conspiracy"? No, although it was a form of extreme exploitation. Similarly today, the Democrats realize that as long as they get 90 percent of the vote in the inner city, who cares if life improves for the people there? In fact, if it does improve, the blacks may climb up ladders of opportunity, dust themselves off, and leave the urban plantation. That would not be good news for the Democrats.
So the Dems have a vested interest in black dependency. This is totally different from a conspiracy. Now the Clintons are basically running a money-making racket and have been doing so since the Arkansas days. They sold pardons to big-time racketeers and felons while Bill was in the White House. Hillary was selling American foreign policy to foreign governments and foreign entities that came carrying suitcases of cash. This is, to my way of thinking, criminal conduct--and unethical in the extreme--but again I'm not sure it's a "conspiracy." Simple bribery may be a better term for it.
In "Hillary's America" the book I touch on JFK. Interestingly young JFK went to Nazi Germany in the 1930s and came back with very nice things to say about Hitler, including the fact that he was a "legend" and that opposition to him mainly came from jealousy. I do mention in the movie how FDR had nice things to say about Mussolini, and Mussolini, for his part, praised FDR and implied that his views were very compatible with fascism! Interestingly progressives have left this stuff out of the textbooks.
Jimmy Carter--an honorable but weak man! Still holds the title for presidential nincompoopery. How far we've come with slippery characters like Obama and Hillary. They almost make me nostalgic for the Carter days. I offer this since you ask, but I left it out of the movie because it has little or nothing to do with the Clintons and the sordid strain of Democratic gangsterism that they represent.
In the movie, you make a big point of showing that the "big switch" -- in which all the racist Democrats became Republican -- is a big lie, and in fact it was only a small percentage of Democrats who became Republican.
But, with the rise of the "Alt Right" in this election season, aren't we seeing more of the old racist Democrats (like the David Dukes of the world) making the switch to the GOP?
David Duke is an anomaly. When he tried to pass himself off as a Republican, the GOP roundly repudiated him. Contrast this with the way Robert Byrd, also a former Klansman, was for his whole life embraced by the Democrats. When he died in 2010, Hillary called him her "mentor" and Bill Clinton and Obama eulogized him at his funeral.
This "alt-Right" business is all nonsense. Trump isn't redefining conservatism. I'm as mainstream a conservative as they come: Buckley protege, Reagan White House, AEI and Hoover Institution. Trump is a patriot, as I am. He's a free market capitalist, as I am. He has nothing to do with Klansmen or Dixiecrats--he barely knows who those people are. Now he can be insensitive--as when he called that judge a "Mexican"--but insensitivity is not bigotry. The reason Trump has critics on the right is not because he's redefining conservatism but because he wants to remake the GOP. And given the GOP's miserable record of inaction upon inaction, failure upon failure, who can say that Trump's project here isn't worth the effort?
Final question (and thanks again for your time): you just mentioned that you are a patriot, but you also believe firmly that you've been targeted by President Obama and forced to spend eight months in a halfway house.
How do you reconcile your patriotism with your recent experience (I feel like I would be angrier or more disillusioned)?
At first it shook my patriotism. It's very chilling for an immigrant to stand in a courtroom and hear, "United States of America vs. Dinesh D'Souza."
But as I reflected on what happened to me, I realized that there is an important distinction. I love America now as much as I ever did. But the American government--that's another matter. I'm far more skeptical. I urge everyone to be. Our federal laws are unfortunately structured in such a way that if they want to get pretty much anyone, they can. We need to fix this.
Dinesh, I have to prevail on you for one last question, especially given a legal audience who is trained to think about how we can create better policy: how can we fix it?
We fix it by reforming criminal justice. Fortunately there is now a bipartisan consensus on the need for this, although there may not be agreement on specific proposals.
Prosecutors have way too much discretionary power. They can use the plea bargain system to force innocent people to plead guilty. And they have motives, from ambition to ideology, to misuse that power. In short, they often turn out to be the real crooks, more dangerous.