The author of the Obama hammer and sickle over my hometown explains his view

(Updated June 17, 2009)<  The author of a controversial anti-Obama sign in my hometown explains.

There’s a four foot by eight foot sign on the fence of a house on a well traveled street in my hometown of Middleboro, in the blue state of Massachusetts. On it is drawn  a red hammer and sickle and the words "Barack Obama is a Marxist TRAITOR". I took pictures (included here) and called the owner of the home to hear why he put up the sign.

anti-obama signHe explained his reasons and agreed to email them to me in more detail (see below) so I could write an article with exact quotes for Capitol Hill Blue.

Then I read Frank Rich’s New York Times column today about how inflamatory rhetoric has led some people to violence, and how he feels it could get worse.  This is why I decided to write my column today and let him elaborate in an addendum which I’d be happy to add, or in the comments section, if he chooses to do so.

My first impression on seeing the sign was that whoever wrote it probably didn’t even know anything about Marx and his philosophy and socio-economic theories. I dismissed him as a right wing fanatic who’d succumbed to the hate-mongering of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannty.  
 
Then I discovered he was a member of the Middleboro Historical Commission and known to be a reasonable and intelligent man. (9/15/09: I learned to day that he’s really an associate member of the commission but that hasn’t changed my opinion. See below for more imformastion.)
 
That’s why I decided to call him.
 
Talking to him I realized he wasn’t just some anti-Obama zealot with a couple of cans of paint and a brush trying to inflame emotions on his personal billboard . He was reasonable, articulate, and interested in getting his message out to the readers of Capitol Hill Blue who I explained were generally of the liberal bent.
 
He knows full well that Obama isn’t really a Marxist but seems to agree with Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who said:
 
“Rhetorically, Republicans are having a very hard time finding something that raises the consciousness of the average voter… We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. “Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.”  New York Times 4/20/09


True, fascist sounds evil, but aside from that most people don’t know what it means. Even way back in 1944 George Orwell wrote:
 

The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else… almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’

 So what symbolism is left?
 
 
It’s been difficult for Republicans to find compelling terminology and symbols to characterize Obama. Most are either too mild or, like the hammer and sickle, have lost meaning for anyone under the age of 40 or 50. Those depicting Hitler or the swastika are clearly unacceptable. And let’s face it, aside from few being able to even identify a photo of Karl Marx, he really just looks like an unkempt Santa Claus with a dirty moustache.
 
 
Living here in Massachusetts, albeit in a town that breaks down about half and half Republican and Democrat, my angry fellow resident seems to feel that people aren’t getting the message about how dangerous Obama is to the principles of American democracy. He wants to get the message out. That’s why he said that he decided to make the sign.
 
I asked whether he thought there was a danger some unstable person might respond to such messages by being incited to violence.  He didn’t seem to think his sign had anything to do with this.
 
My sense was that he’s frustrated with the adoration he perceives being lavished on Obama, that he looks around and sees the majority as thinking the president "walks on water". 
 
As smart and well-read as I think this man is, I think he’s a member of, as Frank Rich puts it: 
… the sizable minority of Americans is irrationally fearful of the fast-moving generational, cultural and racial turnover Obama embodies — indeed, of the 21st century itself. That minority is now getting angrier in inverse relationship to his popularity with the vast majority of the country. Change can be frightening and traumatic, especially if it’s not change you can believe in.
 
He’s not a member of what Rich calls "the tiny subset of domestic terrorists in this crowd" and he’s not the sort to be "egged on by political or media demagogues" (Rich) to commit acts of violence. He’s come to his own conclusions based on his political philosophy.
 
I didn’t get the impression that he thinks that his sign is a statement of political demography. Obviously he wants to wake people to what he sees as the danger of Obama’s policies and what others may do on a website he’s decided to do with a large sign.
 
In fact, as many or more people will see his sign in Middleboro as will read it on Capitol Hill Blue. Only here we can have a dialogue.
 
—-
 

Christopher Wainright’s response:
 
Q: Do you really consider Obama to be a Marxist?

A: I believe Obama is a Marxist. 

He’s taking advantage of the current economic crisis to forward his agenda, or to quote Rahm Emanuel, you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. He has continued with Bush’s bad idea of nationalizing the banks. Obama says he doesn’t want to own the banks but has given them more money and will not allow all of them to return the money when they have changed their minds. Obama has fired the CEO of AIG. Since when does a president hire and fire corporate executives?

He has given billions of dollars to G.M. and Crystler making them the second industry to become controlled by the government. The G.M. should now stand for Government Motors. I’m just not sure which one.With Obama borrowing so much money from China you could now say China has a stake in it.

Obama’s administration allowed AIG executives to receive bonus money until the public became outraged. He then has Congress pass a bill to target them and tax back the bonus money. Is this even constitutionally legal? Since when was the government to have the power to go after a handful of people? The implications are horrifying. 

If the government doesn’t like a few people, say the Smith family, can they pass a law to target only the Smith family?

He has bailed out the real estate industry. He has forced banks to void mortgage contracts and rewrite them. How does the government have the power to void legally binding contracts and change the terms on them?

Now he’s looking to nationalize health care. If the government controls health care then they can really control your life. I can see it now. Cheese burgers are bad so no one is allowed to eat them. Walking and chewing gum is dangerous so it is now outlawed. Has anyone seen how bad this has worked out in Canada and Europe where treatment is subject to a rationing board who then decides if it’s to expensive to give you the treatment or not. Or where the patient is old and the treatment is deemed to expensive to waste on someone in there golden years.

Everyone thinks it’s great because common drugs are cheap in Canada so Americans buy them from Canada but the Canadians come to the United States to get simple surgeries because there put on a long waiting list were it could be years before you receive the surgery. Would the people that think nationalized health care is good still feel the same way if their mother went to the hospital with breast cancer and the hospital put them on a two year waiting list for surgery or was denied life saving drugs because it was to much money to spend on one person.

If someone you loved died on a waiting list would you still praise Obama for these changes?

Q: Why do you think Obama is a traitor?

A: I think he’s a traitor for turning his back on capitalism and the things I’ve already mentioned.

How about when he wanted the V.A. to abandon veterans with service connected injuries and try to make there private insurance pay for it?  How much more perverse and disgusting a thought as to try and wash your hands of returning veterans with service connected injuries to save some money? This was a plan he tried to push until he met with much opposition from veterans groups and politicians from both sides who were disgusted he would even think of it.

If that were to pass who would hire veterans knowing there health care providers would have to pick up the tab for injuries they already had? Obama just paid 200 million dollars to get rid of 17 terrorists which is almost $17 million a terrorist but is unwilling to spend money on veterans. In January Obama lifted the ban on overseas abortion funding. The United States will now be paying millions of dollars for people over seas to have abortions. This is more important than spending money on veterans?
 
Obama has pledged $100 billion in money to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). One of the countries that the IMF gives money to is Iran. Type in "Iraqi insurgents being trained in Iran" in your web browser and you’ll see a piece done by CNN. It talks about how weapons are coming from Iran into Iraq. And don’t forget they’re trying to develop nuclear weapons.

And after all this the president wants to give money to a group that will then in turn give some of that money to Iran so they can fund terrorists in Iraq. Not a good idea. I think he’s weakened national security. After north Korea tests missiles he announces plans to cut missile defense. That should stop them.

He then decides terrorists caught overseas have rights to the Constitution. Now when terrorists are captured overseas they must be read Miranda rights. How do terrorists overseas get the rights of the Constitution? That should work great in gathering intel. Excuse me Mr Bin Laden you have the right to remain silent. It seems the United States is extremely evil. It must be because the president won’t stop apologizing for us.

Please Mr. President don’t apologize for me. I’m a veteran who’s always been proud of his country. How about instead of apologizing to the Muslim world. You could remind them that we have helped them as well. What about Bosnia? Wasn’t that a war fought against Christians to save Muslims from genocide?

Q: Do you feel such words may incite unstable people to violence?

A: No. I’m just an American expressing my point of view and looking to spread the news about what’s going on. While it’s true that crazy people could use news to justify violence, I hardly think that given up your rights to free speech is the answer. This question could also be put to other writers on this site. I couldn’t help but notice the other headline that says "banging Sarah Palin’s daughters". Sounds pretty inflammatory.

One thing I would like to say: Hal doesn’t go with any questions you have asked. I just wanted to express my opinion on what I beleive is a problem with modern day politics. We have become a society were everybody clings to there party no matter what. Allow me to explain. I believe in the Constitution and the rights of the American people. I believe that big government only gets in the way of these things.

These are my beliefs. I’m a registered Independant because I reserve the right to say any politician stinks no matter what party they’re from if they go against my beliefs. Nowadays people so cling to there party that if someone in their party does something that goes against their beliefs they don’t say anything. And they will even make excuses to defend them. Most of the time I vote Republican because they usually represent my beliefs more than Democrats. But I always vote for Mark Pacheco (Mass. state senator) who is a Democrat. Why? Because every time a bad gun ban is proposed he votes against.

I didn’t agree with President Bush when he passed the Patriot Act. (This is) a piece of legislation that allows the government to do a sneek and peek. In other words, a search of a person’s property without a warrant. I also didn’t agree with him when he gave money to the banks. Most Democrats and Liberals didn’t agree with these things either.

Now that it’s a Democrat with the same mind set Democrats and Liberals think this stuff is okay. I think closed minds that cling to parties and not their beliefs only sell their ideals short.

  ——-

Note: Jane Lopes, the chair of the Middleboro Historic Commission writes that Christopher Wainright is:

    "…  not a member of the Historical Commission (appointed by the town manager) but a non-voting associate member (named by the commission). The commission from time to time appoints associates to work on special projects or sit in on meetings and possibly become full members when there’s a vacancy. The commission encourages anyone with an interest in local history to get involved."

48 Responses to "The author of the Obama hammer and sickle over my hometown explains his view"

  1. Dionysis  June 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Okay, you’re right. The word ‘idiot’ should not have been used. Perhaps ‘profoundly confused’ or ‘woefully ignorant’ would have been more accurate.

    from Hal: It isn’t the word "idiot", it’s that once he begins to post I’d like everyone who responds to address his arguments, not whether they think he’s confused or ignorant. 

  2. neondesert  June 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    The problem here isn’t addressing his arguments. The problem is as I alluded to – that even HE doesn’t believe his own premise. As you mentioned in your column, he probably doesn’t really think Obama is a Marxist, nor even know exactly what constitutes a Marxist. How long must one address the arguments of someone whose arguments are known to be fallacious? How much patience is someone suppose to practice during a discussion, debate, argument, in order to tear down his opponents fallacies one by one, especially when his opponent doesn’t truly believe them to begin with? It takes longer to get to the actual facts of the matter than to finally put them together logically and reach a viable conclusion.

    In my case (and I don’t think I’m alone), my patience runs pretty thin when beginning a discussion about evolution with someone who has been convinced that the world was created in 6 days.

  3. Dionysis  June 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Well, as neondesert noted, if this person has aleady admitted he doesn’t really buy his pronouncements himself, or is engaged in ‘hyperbole’ (for whatever reason), it stands to reason that no real ‘argument’ exists to address. If he or anyone else wants to offer their honest views and the reasons why they hold them, that’s one thing. Dignifying bogus or hyperbolic rhetoric doesn’t seem to be a particularly productive way to burn up time.

  4. rporter314  June 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Let’s see … he says Pres Obama is a Marxist … Pres Obama says he is not even a socialist … so does that mean your buddy believes Pres Obama is lying?

  5. gazelle1929  June 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Why do humans tend to reduce everything to one-word “symbols”? God knows I am at times an iconoclast, a curmudgeon, a feminist, a humanist, a secularist, a liberal, a moderate, a conservative, very infrequently a pessimist, but never a nihilist, (I think) all of which labels depend on where I stand on some particular issue as well as on the viewpoint of the person listening to or reading my views. But to try to boil me or any other person down to a one word symbol is simply impossible.

    Why are humans so fascinated with pigeon-holing everybody we run across? Is it because we just can’t handle the idea of people’s having many facets, or is it because any label we consciously apply to someone is an attempt to display our individual superiority over the labeled person?

    One of the interesting things about this site is that there are quite people who espouse a hatred for capitalism and all things capitalist, talking about the evil of banks and car companies and the “military industrial complex,” proclaiming that the captains of industry have only one goal, the enslavement of the American people. But those same people would probably be horrified to find that many people consider such a stance to be quite similar to Marxism.

  6. Hal Brown  June 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm

     We’ll see if he can explain. My hunch is that he’s like a lot of the far right who are desperate for a negative symbol or word that they can pin on Obama which the majority of those who don’t remember the Cold War, let alone World War II, will understand.

    Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin, etc. screeching "socialist" would have been meaningless if they didn’t say it like they were spitting out sour milk. They could have said numismatist that way to the same effect. After all, it DOES have to do with money.

    What could they call him that would actually be close to accurate? A left of center, right of center Democrat, depending on the issue? A loc-roc-D?

  7. Hal Brown  June 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm

     He’s not my buddy. I wrote above that I never even met him.

  8. lorenbliss  June 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Mr. Signmaker’s usefulness is that — regardless of how erudite he may be in person — his choice of pejoratives nevertheless reflects the astounding ignorance that fuels U.S. politics today.

    Indeed Mr. Signmaker provides us with a rare opportunity for learning: a classic “teachable moment.”

    The ultimate flaw in Mr. Signmaker’s sign is that its malapropisms not only illustrate but actively promote our national political paralysis, whether we label this condition “Moron Nation,” as I do, or call it by some more benign name, for example “dumbed down.”

    Like ideas, words have consequences; the evolutionary mandate that powers language is a quest for clarity and precision as old as the universe itself. But sometimes, as in the case of Mr. Signmaker’s chosen words — which confusingly damn as “Marxist” the president who is capitalism’s most perfect servant to date — clarity and precision are obstructed rather than enhanced.

    The short-term result is not only conceptual chaos but the deterioration of language itself into a hopeless muddle akin to the meaningless “word salad” that is one of the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia. The long-term result is fulfillment of Orwell’s most terrifying prediction: the emergence of “Newspeak,” language deliberately crafted to prohibit effective protest and thereby render resistance not just futile but conceptually impossible.

    Note for example the destruction-beyond-repair of the term “Red.” Once a proud synonym for revolution — the color of the Red Flag is the color of blood to commemorate those slain in class-struggle — the use of “Red” as a deliberate malapropism (“Red State”) has perverted the term into its conceptual opposite.

    “Reds” are thus transformed accordingly: legitimate heroes and heroines (like the magnificently courageous women of the Lesnoy Textile Works, who boiled into the streets of Petrograd on 8 March 1917 to defy legions of Tsarist police, soldiers and death squads and so started the Russian Revolution) are changed — in the minds of those too young to know better — into fascist oppressors the likes of Horst Wessel and tantamount to Ku Klux Klansmen.

    Thus too the postwar “Red Scare” c. 1945-1958 is implicitly transformed, in the minds of the ignorant, to a bold struggle against fascism and bigotry, concealing its hideous reality: that it was this nation’s infinitely savage purge not only of Marxians but of socialists of any kind and all intellectuals as well — a horror from which (after the passage of half a century) it is now obvious we will never recover.

    Moron Nation did not happen by accident; it was deliberately, methodically created.

    Which brings me back to Mr. Signmaker. The shamefulness of his effort is that it is the product not of some ignorant bumpkin but of a defiantly unapologetic gentleman erudite enough to serve a historical society in what is probably the most history-conscious state in the U.S.

    Moron Nation wins again; Orwell’s predicted destruction of language prevails.

    And we are forced ever further away from formulating a meaningful criticism of a president who moves ever closer to providing us undeniable proof we live in a one-party nation: that Democrats and Republicans are identical in their total servitude to capitalism, and that their apparent disagreements are nothing more than political variants of the old good-cop/bad-cop holding-cell routine.

    Accidentally or on purpose, Mr. Signmaker’s sign helps hide our oppressive one-party reality by cunningly obscuring the fact Barack Obama is NOT a traitor; President Obama is merely doing exactly what the ruling class tells him to do — exactly as George Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush Senior, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Baines Johnson all did during their own terms of service.

  9. griff  June 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Hey, you folks on the left had no problem running around calling Bush a Nazi (nor did I, by the way) for eight years.

    Double standard, anyone? There’s plenty to go around.

    But how you all take it so personally.

  10. neondesert  June 15, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I tend to go along with your hunch. Unfortunately, that’s not conducive to discussion that results in mutual understanding at the benefit of all parties involved. It only leads to feuding among polarized divisions.

    Well, that and a multi-million dollar radio talk show contract…

  11. almandine  June 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Talk about babble…

  12. woody188  June 16, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Issues and people are reduced to this and that. Black and white. Conservative or Liberal. It’s a control tactic. Make it simple for everyone, and then tell them which one they should be for and against. Define their reality and make them think they thought it up themselves.

    Some of us pigeon-hole others. Many times these are secretly jealous people hating to see others happy. Misery loves company. But some do exist that generally do unto others as they would have done unto them. Yes, it’s an ego booster for people with low self esteem to attack others.

    The “captains of industry” want a society like China. That’s why they are sending them all the jobs and money. We’ve entered the downward spiral.

    Want to hear something scary?

    I am an optimist. But also a realist. I can’t deny what I’ve seen particularly with vote fraud. I had my suspicions before Ohio 2004. It shook my fundamental belief system to the ground.

    And at once without all my preconceived notions about my country, I could really see it for what it really is.

    I don’t hate Capitalism. I don’t hate proper banks. I hate when profits are privatized and losses are socialized, which is the worst of Capitalism combined with the worst of Socialism.

  13. Dusty  June 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Everybody has an opinion, considered or not.

    What stands out in that article is the absence of the man’s own words. It isn’t that I don’t trust Hal Brown, but long ago I stopped believing everything somebody said about another w/o ever hearing a word from the target. Call me an old guy, but it is a much more mature perspective to begin from.

    The guy has enough courage to post his opinion for all to see. I’d be more interested in hearing his explanation than a third party narrative. I have no doubt there would something I might appreciate about him and his reasoning.

    The world breathed relief when Bush voluntarily stepped down, unfortunately the irrational exuberance for Obama, another conservative, is showing signs of staying on the same dirt road that Bush drove this nation. Obama does not walk on water, is not the second coming and is a Chicago politician behaving as such.

  14. Hal Brown  June 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

     

    What stands out in that article is the absence of the man’s own words. It isn’t that I don’t trust Hal Brown, but long ago I stopped believing everything somebody said about another w/o ever hearing a word from the target. Call me an old guy, but it is a much more mature perspective to begin from.

    That’s why I asked him to email me for publication. He said he would later this week.

    I do want to point out that the reason I didn’t use his exact quotes from our phone conversation is that I didn’t take notes when I talked to him. Also he’s not anonymous, he’s named on my local  blog. I didn’t post his name here because I thought it would be irrelevant to readers.

  15. gazelle1929  June 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    “…Obama, another conservative, …

    Would you care to elaborate on that label? Please?

  16. Hal Brown  June 16, 2009 at 3:36 pm

     Speaking of elaboration, Dusty, just as I’d ask anyone who called Obama a Marxist to explain how they justified using this term, I’d ask you about your use of the term Chicago politics.

    Chicago politics, as this article from the Chicago Historical Society describes it as follows:

    Chicago politics is a national cliché, evoking images of a one-party system, dominated by a boss controlled Democratic political machine whose crafty politicians dangle patronage before competing ethnic and racial groups in return for votes. 

    I suggest that anybody who uses pejorative words and terms about politicians make sure they apply. 

    I learned a lot I didn’t know about the history of Chicago politics by reading this article.

     

  17. gazelle1929  June 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    THAT’S gonna be an uphill battle for you, Sisyphus, er, Hal.

  18. lorenbliss  June 16, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Perhaps you should buy a better dictionary.

  19. Hal Brown  June 17, 2009 at 8:33 am

     Note that Christopher Wainwright, who put up the sign, has added his explanation which is now included in the column.

  20. gazelle1929  June 17, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Mr. Wainwright’s statements and arguments are so fraught with errors, inconsistencies, and outright falsehoods that it is difficult to know where to start.

    1. No one has nationalized any banks in the US. No one. Let me repeat that, just to make sure everyone gets it. No one has nationalized any banks in the US.

    2. Obama did not fire the CEO of AIG. That took place before the election, dammit!

    3. No one has “given” GM or Chrysler billions of dollars. The Government has invested money in the auto industry and the banking industry, to shore them up. Whether that was a wise investment or not remains to be seen. But NO ONE has given them billions of dollars.

    4. Obama did not “allow” AIG to pay out millions in bonuses. Those payments were contractual obligations prior to the present crisis. The contracts were under Connecticut law, and the company would have been liable for triple damages if they had reneged on the contracts.

    5. No one has enacted legislation to tax away those bonuses. It has NOT happened.

    6. No one has “bailed out” the real estate industry. No one has forced banks to change mortgage contracts.

    I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Mr. Wainwright is operating from a basis of incorrect assumptions and lack of knowledge.

    I have some words of advice for Mr. Wainwright:

    Before you make allegations such as those above, you need to get your facts straight. Due diligence prior to making accusations should be an absolute requirement. STOP swallowing whole all the stuff you hear on Rush Limbaugh. STOP swallowing whole all the stuff you read on the right-wing web sites and blogs. Almost all of it is CRAP. Pure unadulterated crap. Think before you speak.

  21. Siannan  June 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Oh, this guy annoys me. To quote the Denverpost.com:

    “Myth: There are long waits for care, which compromise access to care.

    There are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists’ care, and much longer waits for elective surgery. Yes, there are those instances where a patient can wait up to a month for radiation therapy for breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example. However, the wait has nothing to do with money per se, but everything to do with the lack of radiation therapists. Despite such waits, however, it is noteworthy that Canada boasts lower incident and mortality rates than the U.S. for all cancers combined, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group and the Canadian Cancer Society. Moreover, fewer Canadians (11.3 percent) than Americans (14.4 percent) admit unmet health care needs.

    Myth: Canadians are paying out of pocket to come to the U.S. for medical care.

    Most patients who come from Canada to the U.S. for health care are those whose costs are covered by the Canadian governments. If a Canadian goes outside of the country to get services that are deemed medically necessary, not experimental, and are not available at home for whatever reason (e.g., shortage or absence of high tech medical equipment; a longer wait for service than is medically prudent; or lack of physician expertise), the provincial government where you live fully funds your care. Those patients who do come to the U.S. for care and pay out of pocket are those who perceive their care to be more urgent than it likely is.”

    For those of you interested in the complete article:

    http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_12523427

    I know several people from Canada. They love their medical system and get really, really pissed when they hear crap like your neighbor spouted above, Hal. They insist their system is equal, if not better than the one we have. And one thing I did not know, that I learned from the article, when a Canadian comes to this country for medical care, it’s not because they choose to do so, it’s because the care may not be available in Canada for a number of reasons, and that care is still paid for by the Canadian government.

  22. Hal Brown  June 17, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you Gazelle and Sainnan for starting off with level headed critiques of Mr. Wainright’s argument. It is respectful debate that makes Capital Hill Blue one of the best websites of its kind.

  23. rporter314  June 17, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I thought you said he had some well thought out arguments … sorry but simply lame right-wing trash talk …

  24. Hal Brown  June 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm

     I said "well thought out". It appears to me he has done a great deal of thinking about this.

    He didn’t write that response in a few minutes.

    You may question his facts and where you disprove them it stands to reason you will disagree with his conclusions. That is simple logic.

    Where his opinions are based on interpretations of facts which you can’t disprove all you can do is say that his thought process yielded different results than yours.

    Characterizing the piece as "lame right wing trash talk" doesn’t really advance the discussion. 

    Some excellent points have been made by Gazelle and Siannon. Perhaps he will take them seriously.

  25. paulrevere  June 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    The banks were not nationalized but the government bought large shares in them,citibank they own 34% of it.I think that’s what he’s alluding to.The government isn’t supposed to have any ownership of them.
    Obama did fire the ceo of AIG.It was done in March.Obama was sworn in in January.
    http://www.qando.net/?p=1812
    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/03/obama-to-wagone/

    Obama has given GM billions of dollars.
    http://www.manufacturing.net/News-Obama-To-Give-GM-Additional-30-Billion-060109.aspx

    The house did pass legislation.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/House-passes-bill-taxing-AIG-apf-14693850.html
    Maybe everyone should read up.

  26. gazelle1929  June 17, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    paulrevere:

    Obama did not fire the president of AIG in March of this year. “Willumstad was forced by the US government to step down and was replaced by Edward M. Liddy on September 17, 2008.” September 17, 2008 was well before the November Presidential election, as I said above. The “culprit” was not Mr. Obama; rather it was his predecessor. This quotation from the wiki article on AIG, and is supported by a footnote.

    Your citations discuss the firing of Rick Wagoner, the head of General Motors, which is not AIG.

    No one has “given” GM billions of dollars. Give has a meaning other than to invest in. YCLIU.

    I also said that no one has ENACTED legislation to tax the AIG bonuses. The House voted in favor of such a bill but the Senate declined to get caught in that particular clusterf**k.

    I did read up. Before I posted above. Really I did.

  27. almandine  June 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    1. Mr Wainwright hasn’t said it either. He said BHO has continued GWB’s IDEA of nationalization – one could easily say it just hasn’t come to full fruition yet. Now that the Fed is getting greater oversight (should it go thru) of the banks, nationalization is a definite possibility should things go to hell as many, many expect.

    3. Given – Invested / Potato – Tomato. It makes little difference what you call it if the money never comes home. I agree that owning 34% of GM is something we NEVER should have effected – especially since there is little agreement that GM can climb out of their financial hole. Funny, though, how GM China is rolling in dough. YCLIU

    Mr. Wainwright, as may be said of many, falls into that sizzling minority Frank Rich is talking about. “Change can be frightening and traumatic, especially if it’s not change you can believe in” for many of us. And it’s not “the fast-moving generational, cultural and racial turnover Obama embodies” that’s the problem, we all have endured momentous change, especially since WWII. It’s the expected outcome that has us worried. Can you say third world?

  28. almandine  June 17, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I guess you’re right.

    Somehow – bankrupting 2/3 of the auto industry, effecting de facto government takeover of the banking system, proposing increased taxes and fees on income and energy – to start, proposing government entry into the health insurance business, and proposing control of executive compensation rates in the private sector was left out of the definition of Capitalism in mine.

    Which one are you using?

  29. griff  June 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    I think some of Mr. Wainright’s individual arguments are inaccurate and perhaps simplistic, but he makes some good points as well.

    But of course we have been trained to associate some of these arguments with the horrors of the Bush administration, so therefore anyone making these arguments should be automatically ignored and the speaker classified as a “right-wing nutjob”.

    I think the right-wing has done a masterful job of portraying themselves as conservative, but their actions defy their rhetoric. Yet the general public isn’t quite smart enough or savvy enough to realize this distinction; and anyone that continues to advance these ideas is not a right-wing nutjob, but only a disenfranchised American betrayed by a party they entrusted to uphold these traditions.

  30. giving-up-in-nc  June 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

    If I remember correctly the folks on the right said when Bush was president that the president of the united states should be respected. Where is that respect now? Double standard anyone?

    The greatest Republican president ever Abraham Lincoln, summed it up best, “A house divided against itself can not stand.” Our once fine country is going down. The little people in this country squabble between them selves calling the other party’s leaders names, while oligarchs that truly run this country loot it and us for all we are worth.

    Wake up! We shouldn’t fight amongst ourselves we should be fighting them.

  31. ekaton  June 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    “I’m a registered Independant”

    Would you care to describe your party’s platform?

    Or did you mean to say that you are registered as a voter with no party affiliation?

    Kent Shaw

  32. ekaton  June 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Its a right-wing knee jerk reaction to having a democrat elected President. If they would calm down a bit, ignore his rhetoric and observe his actions they would realize that he is simply continuing the policies of their beloved Bush administration.

    Kent Shaw

  33. Dionysis  June 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    “I think he’s going to write a more detailed explanation of his opinions and hopefully why he felt he needed to put up the large sign.”

    That’s swell. I can’t wait to delve deeper into the psyche of an idiot.

  34. DejaVuAllOver  June 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Marxist traitor? What the hell does that mean? A Marxist who became a capitalist? A Marxist who doesn’t think capitalism is the ultimate force for good and has the gall to say so, thereby betraying the rightist beliefs of your neighbor? Or merely someone who does not understand that our country IS NOT nor has ever been Constitutionally bound to any one set of economic principles or policies?

    C’mon, Hal. This guy’s either a megalomaniac who has the answer for everything or is just plain clueless about the different philosophies of labor, money and power.

  35. ClassicLiberal  June 15, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    “Or merely someone who does not understand that our country IS NOT nor has ever been Constitutionally bound to any one set of economic principles or policies?”

    Interesting that you should show such a lack of understanding yourself. In fact, the fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments to the US Constitution do indeed guarantee the individual right to life, liberty, and property, at both the federal and state level. These requirements have been further ratified by subsequent case law adherent to the principles and processes of Capitalism.

    There is no such Constitutional establishment of any socialist or marxist notion at all, no federal or states’ rights that trump these individual, personal rights, and no mention of collectivist legitimacy, whatsoever.

  36. JoeAnne10  August 20, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Well we all can see here that there are plenty of people who couldn’t stand Obama and I am one of them. First of all because he persecuted the guys who were interested to buy legal marijuana because they needed it as painkiller, and then because of many other bad things he did. He said once that he is not here to bring peace but to start a war. Nice president.

  37. John1172002  June 14, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I wonder if your neighbor would refuse his Social Security check, or his unemployment check, if he’s still able to work? These are two things that are just as Marxist/Socialist as many other programs this country has.

    The reason we don’t have Socialist-style medical care is to be found in the lobbying power of the AMA and Big Pharma. God knows, every other so-called advanced country has it. God also knows we can cross the border to Canada or Mexico, and get exactly the same drugs, made by exactly the same makers, for a fraction of their cost here in the USA.

    Or does your neighbor think every other advanced nation is Marxist, too? I’m referring to Canada, England, Australia, and on and on…

    John1172002

  38. ekaton  June 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    “God also knows we can cross the border to Canada or Mexico, and get exactly the same drugs, made by exactly the same makers, for a fraction of their cost here in the USA.”

    “Example: Bausch & Lomb makes ophthalmic salt water, useful in treating corneal edema, under the trade name “Muro.” In the Yankee Capital, it costs $23 for 1.8 ounces; in Wincherster, Va., $19; in Farmacias Guadalajara, about $6. The identical product. The generic here, Hipoton, comes in at about $3.”

    Above quote from Fred Reed, found on his website “Fred on Everything”.

    Of course what Fred is calling “opthalmic salt water” is probably sold as “opthalmic saline solution”. Nevertheless it is salt water, pure water and pure sodium chloride, something you could make at home with distilled water and table salt for about 2 cents.

    I have to wonder if the markup on other drugs is the same.

    http://www.fredoneverything.net/FOE_Frame_Column.htm

    Kent Shaw

  39. Hal Brown  June 14, 2009 at 9:07 pm

     He’s not  my neighbor in the sense that we live nearby. I live a few miles from the center of our town and he lives less than a half block from the town’s main street and I’ve never met him.

    I agree with both Deja and John’s comments above.

  40. Dionysis  June 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Sorry, but I cannot accept that adjectives like “reasonable and intelligent,” and “smart and well-read’ as fair descriptors of this clown. The Bush crime family did more to destroy the foundation of this country and any other force on the planet. That a bunch of dimwits (yes, that is what they are, regardless of how educated or well-read they are) are so devoid of any rational criticisms that they resort to the typical wingnut bilge says more about them than any goofball verbiage they might paint on their yard signs.

  41. Hal Brown  June 15, 2009 at 11:26 am

     Dionysis,

    The dissonance I felt between  my image of someone who would post the sign and what I found out about who he was from talking to some residents who knew him led to my calling him and writing the article.

    I think he’s going to write a more detailed explanation of his opinions and hopefully why he felt he needed to put up the large sign.

    If and when he does I’ll make a note of it on the front page and add it as an addendum to the column.

    For those who haven’t read it, read Enemy of the Left’s comment on my blog.

  42. neondesert  June 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Shorter Hal Brown: “I found a guy who resorts to hyperbole whenever the truth isn’t enough to get his way.”

    While an explanation from this guy might make an interesting psychological study, I’m pretty sure that he’s not going to provide a unique source of insight or alternative perspective for those who base conclusions on facts. You might want to ask him how he differentiates himself from the common everyday liar whom he undoubtedly despises.

  43. Hal Brown  June 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm

     If he does write something here, in advance I want to remind people to respect his opinions and not engage in ad hominem attacks

  44. Tinker  June 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I feel that people like “Enemy of the Left” are people who are simply holding on too tightly to outdated but comfortable beliefs while the currents of change sweep around them. Why are they against equality?

    Here in Iowa our state’s Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously in favor of gay marriage, and while many of us were proud of this, the homophobes and Bible thumpers came out of the woodwork and immediately began crying “Foul! This cannot stand!” Having worked carefully to have a “discussion” about this with a right wing-nut relative, I said that if you put yourself in the other guy’s shoes (as in the Golden Rule) how can you not be in favor of treating him equally? Then, as Bob Dylan put it, “a foot came through the line”, or in this case, cyberspace. These right wingers seem to find “empathy” to be a dirty word.

  45. ekaton  June 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Pity the poor far right. They life in mortal FEAR of anyone not EXACTLY like them with EXACTLY their same beliefs. They are afraid of other races. They are afraid of other religions. They are afraid of agnostics and atheists. Regardless of how much personal wealth they may own they fear it will never be enough. Fear is all they know. And it directs their actions. Out of their fear they try to assert control over others’ lives. Live and let live? They don’t know what that means. They wouldn’t know where to begin.

    Kent Shaw

  46. griff  June 17, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I would suggest you consider the same about our new leadership on the “left”. Or are we so fed up with Bush that we fail to realize that the same thing is still going on, just with a different flavor?

  47. ekaton  June 26, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Regardless of Obama’s supposedly leftist orientation, and regardless of the fact that some consider him to be a Marxist, he is following and expanding the policies of the neoconservatives. He is to the right of Richard Nixon. If only he WAS a leftist. If that was the case he would be fighting for single payer health care, a Medicare For All. But his minion, Senator Baucus will not even allow that to be discussed. Marxist my butt.

    Kent Shaw

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