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Is America Going Commie?

If you’re a regular reader of the print edition of The New York Times -- yes, they still have a print version -- you may have noticed a curious full-page

Jul 31, 2020
If you’re a regular reader of the print edition of The New York Times — yes, they still have a print version — you may have noticed a curious full-page advertisement this morning in the middle of section “A,” apparently protesting the federal Wall Street bailout. The ad featured an illustrated parody of the famous Joe Rosenthal photographof soldiers raising the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II.Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/09/the-new-communist.jpg
In the ad, the soldiers are replaced by Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and President George W. Bush (who has a bottle of liquor in his belt) all clad in military garb. The trio are hoisting an American flag — with the stars replaced by a Soviet-style hammer-and-sickle — in a cemetery near the graves of “Private Enterprise” and “Capitalism.” Above the scene is an insignia that reads, “The New Communist.” Subtle, right?
Underneath the artwork is a notification that the ad was paid for by Bill Perkins of Houston. My curiosity piqued, I decided to try to track him down. The address listed in the ad was for a mailbox service, so I ran a search on to see if Perkins had made any campaign contributions lately. The results were surprising. I had expected that Perkins — clearly a strident anti-Communist — would probably be a conservative Republican or a Ron Paul supporter.
I actually found that while he donated $2,000 to President George W. Bush in 2004, Perkins also gave $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee that year. This election cycle, Perkins donated the maximum $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama, as well as $1,000 to Sen. Christopher Dodd in May. I also learned that Perkins is the president of a company called Small Ventures USA. With that information, I was able to get in touch with Perkins for a short interview.
A little background: Perkins said he is a natural gas trader and an energy project developer. He describes himself as a libertarian and an Obama supporter. He donated to Dodd after the Connecticut senator endorsed Obama, to help relieve his campaign debt.
Perkins said he commissioned the ad from Otabenga Jones & Associates, an art collective he patronizes that produce artwork from an Afro-centric perspective. The ad cost him $130,000. I asked if it was worth the eye-popping sum. His answer was an unequivocal “Yes.”
“Sometimes freedom costs,” Perkins said. “I’m an American citizen, a patriot. I want to stick my two cents in there and stir up the pot. Maybe [the bailout] isn’t the right thing to do.”
Though it seems fairly obvious, I asked what the ad was trying to say.
“I felt the need to discuss the direction of the country, and the broader implications that are not being focused on,” Perkins said. “I’m trying to say that there’s a communist — or socialist revolution — going on in this country. Before we go down that path, there needs to be a discussion, if that’s the way we want to go…If it is socialism, OK. How far is this going to go? Completely? How is this going to work? ”
He described the Wall Street bailout as “trickle-down communism,” or “capitalism on the way up, communism on the way down.” The hurried atmosphere surrounding the Wall Street bailout reminds him of the Bush administration’s rush to war in Iraq, he said.
“This country’s been through a lot,” Perkins said. “We can handle it. We don’t need to totally change our economy, trample our Constitution and set up new powers for the executive branch, without having a full, in-depth analysis of whether this is the right path.”
Perkins said he was surprised that so many Republicans are embracing the bailouts.
“It’s amazing. It’s like finding out your best friend is gay,” Perkins said. “It’s like, ‘By the way, I’m a socialist. Didn’t you know that?’”
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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