[The Brazil Times nameplate] Overcast ~ 58°F  
High: 64°F ~ Low: 57°F
Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Upside down?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The American Flag at Rick James' Brazil rural residence has been flying upside down, which is a signal of dire distress in times of extreme danger to life or property since Oct. 5, just a few days after the financial bailout passed. [Order this photo]
* Area resident fly flags upside down in protest

Concerns about the recent economic bailout of financial institutions have two local residents up in arms.

Soon after the bailout passed, Brazil resident and local business owner Rick James decided he had enough and began flying his American Flag upside down.

"Flying the flag upside down is a sign of dire distress in times of extreme danger to either life or property," James told The Brazil Times. "It's not a violation of the flag code and I am not doing this out of disrespect, but a love for my country."

Not in violation of the Flag Code himself, James pointed out other protests which are in violation.

"In California, there are some schools flying the Mexican Flag above the American Flag as a sign of protest, which is a definite violation of the flag code," James said. "Having my flag upside down may spark some controversy, but it is within the parameters of the code, and it may not be such a bad thing to get people looking at the current situation of the economy."

He added he is extremely concerned about the way the bailout was passed and its effect on the average American.

"In Indiana, if you miss three property tax installments, you're property is placed in a tax sale," James said. "It is pretty severe to take someone's property away, especially in times of economic turmoil, yet we are bailing out the people who put the country in the position we are in."

James told The Brazil Times he feels the majority of the general public has basically turned a blind eye to what is going on in Washington, and by flying his flag upside down, it may spark the average American to take some action.

"I'm tired of what is going on and chances are when you try to contact your legislator, you won't be able to reach the person you need to talk to," he said. "Doing this will hopefully send a message to those in the statehouse and in Washington that we are watching and may do something about it."

However, James' actions have caused residents to contact county officials in an effort to make him turn the flag right side up. Officials have asked James the reasons for flying his flag upside down, but not to reverse it.

But even with the opposition, James has inspired another resident to make a stand as well.

After speaking with his long-time friend, Brazil resident Dave Snyder decided to take down his flag altogether.

"The bigwigs of these corporations answer to no one and when something happens, they turn to the taxpayers," Snyder said. "I've known Rick for years and after discussing the financial and potential automotive bailouts, I decided to take my flag down."

Snyder, who volunteered for two tours of service during the Vietnam War as part of the United States Army, felt the best action for him was to take the flag down rather than fly it upside down.

"There is a deep underlying problem of no one taking responsibility for their actions," he told The Brazil Times. "When I started my business in the 1980s, I was told to 'milk the system' rather than do what is right for the people, and we are still seeing that problem today."

Snyder said the current economic problems are equally the fault of the politicians, corporations and the average American.

"It's just as much our fault because we elect the politicians making these decisions," he said. "So many times people go to the polls to vote strictly for their party affiliation or don't look into who they are voting for."

This is the first time Snyder has ever taken his flag down, and he is unsure of when, if ever, he will put it back up.

"I don't see change happening and I believe things will get worse before they get better," Snyder said. "While I don't begrudge the factory workers who get big benefit packages from the auto companies who may soon be bailed out as well, but do they really work any harder than those at Sony, Bemis or Great Dane?"

Snyder's biggest concern is the effect of the bailouts will hurt future generations.

"My children and grandchildren will also be saddled with the debt from the bailouts," he said. "The biggest issue is that the corporations, as well as society as a whole, needs to start taking responsibility for their own actions."

James said the public needs to step up and help the politicians by speaking out and voicing their opinions.

"I want to help out our Congressmen," he said. "Yes, we may belong to different political parties, but I want them to understand exactly what's going on and go to the source of the problem."

He also emphasized the biggest effect of the bailout will fall on the middle and lower classes, who he believes have become largely ignored.

"They don't look to help the middle and lower class people who have college loans, and now they are on the hook for as much as $41,000 a person as part of the bailout," James said. "Flying my flag upside down makes me a patriot, and a patriot loves this country, not necessarily the government at this moment."

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on thebraziltimes.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Oh come on! Do you really think flying a flag upside down is going to change anything???

-- Posted by andypflueger on Sun, Dec 14, 2008, at 6:18 PM

Do you think throwing billions of tax dollars at big companies will help either? The country is upside down why not our flag too!!

Props Mr. James

-- Posted by RickS on Sun, Dec 14, 2008, at 7:11 PM

Go Rick....maybe if we had more people willing to speak up and take a stand the way you are the ELECTED officials would take the average American's opinions more seriously.

-- Posted by asil on Sun, Dec 14, 2008, at 7:34 PM

It may not directly change anything, however, it shows the mans freedom of speech and he is acting out on it. Rick is a great man with a ton of respect for his country. It's an act of bravery to do so.

-- Posted by MensRea2008 on Sun, Dec 14, 2008, at 7:38 PM

well read the blogs someone wrote a blog about this a month ago.

-- Posted by mom of3 on Sun, Dec 14, 2008, at 8:12 PM

I commend Rick, while in the long run I admit it probably won't change the minds of our elected officials and corporate owners. He is voicing his opinion on the state of affairs of this country. I have contacted my congressmen and senators and voiced my opinions about the bailout. Everyone should make it a point to take a little time and contact your elected representatives, they need to remember we put them there and that they work for us.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 5:46 AM

While the ONE flag flying upside down might not help, it does send a message just as those Republic workers sent a message last week to draw attention to what was happening....Bank of America got bailed out but wouldn't continue to extend credit to Republic Window and Door in order to continue to pay its workers. Instead awarded its own officers "bonuses". Workers went into work one day to find they had lost jobs and benefits. This is NOT what the bail out was for nor is anyone in our government demanding that the banks be accountable. There are hearings going on with a lot of congressmen demanding an explanation as their constituents back in their states were in essence saying the same thing that Rick and many others are. Still I fear that some of this ranting from congress is for show only so constituents will stop calling them...Are they REALLY going to DO something about this mess?

Sure bailouts are able to help the workers but specific rules have to be in place so the myth of the trickle down effect is bypassed. That is a myth invented by the CEO's and shareholders. To use a Palen analogy, Joe Sixpack's taxes are paying for this bailout but the money isn't going to save Mr Sixpack's home or small business. It's going to bail out those who made the errors at the top due to greed. AIG top officers all went on island "retreat" right after they received bail out money. Bank of America bought Wells Fargo with the money. Instead of extending credit to businesses to keep them running.

Now just like it wouldn't make a difference if just ONE Republic worker was involved in the sit in, ALL of them doing it did. Maybe ALL of us should fly our flags upside down or make a call to our reps in congress and tell them they need to start doing their jobs...and while we are at it, tell them that those at the top of government too have to follow the laws set down for the "common" people as while this is all going on our federal tax laws are in the process of being changed by IRS without congressional approval to extend tax benefits to those companies who bought other ailing companies..So not only do banks like Bank of America receive money from us and use it to buy up ailing companies like Wells Fargo, they MAY be able to pay at same tax rate as the company they bought even though they themselves have gained assets and money from US! The GREED continues as people lose their homes, their jobs and their health care coverage.

People get on line, read the paper, listen to national news, and find out what is happening! Take your blinders off! You would have your flags upside down too! Contact your reps like localguy has and tell them that complaining in the hearings is not enough. They need to follow up and make sure bailout money is spent to help the common folk and not via trickle down effect that isn't working. AND that those IRS changes must NOT going into effect. Those receiving all this money need to pay their taxes so WE can benefit from the tax revenue through government funded programs for improving and maintaining our country.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 6:55 AM

Rick lives a long way off of the road. It would be difficult to see his flag from the road, and I suspect he is more interested in drawing attention to himself, rather to an issue. Bless you Debbie, you have overlooked your husband's foolishness for years.........

-- Posted by ucantbserious on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 7:15 AM

YIKES! Some of these comments a bit rude!

We live in a country that is based on freedoms. Being able to fly your flag upside down is a freedom!

-- Posted by sassypants on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 8:03 AM

Rick, your idea must be working, I haven't seen this many comments in a long time regarding story in the paper. Front page news. I agree with you we haven't seen the bottom yet!

-- Posted by ccc on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 9:14 AM

I passed his house today out of necessity and there it was, the upside down flag flying straight out in that strong wind, I think there were a lot of people who gave their lives so we could fly the flag upside down and in the state our country is in these days I think its a perfect match !

-- Posted by Centered on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 10:48 AM

Fly your flag right side up and spend your money wisely. Demand that your tax dollars are spent wisely also. That is the American way.

Silly-ness is what got us into this mess. If we all act responsible and require our elected officials to do the same,,We will be fine. We"ve overcome a lot worst than this.

Rick,,if you needed a loan to keep your business running until things got better,,I would expect the bank to give you one. If you employed hundreds of thousands of people, You may have to apply for a Government loan to keep your business running until things improved. But, people didnt act in this responsible manner. They bought houses more expensive than they could afford. That left them no money to buy a car with,hurting the auto industry. Then they Didn't pay the bank for their loans,and the bank fell. If everyone would just fly their head right side up..None of this crisis would have occured. Now people are saying.."Don't spend our tax dollars to help our Employers". That will leave them without a job! How smart is That? You won"t find a New Job because all the jobs will be going out of business,since everyone lost their job and can't buy anything. The best thing for all to do is take care of your money better, and ride it out.

-- Posted by Pearl2083 on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 12:46 PM

Well it probably won't work, mainly because we're not united!!! Wake up people. The Gov't is to be "We the People", so use it!! One person said it's foolish, well was throwing tea off the docks foolish too? It got things done didn't it? Geesh what happened to people standing against things that are wrong. On Sept. 11,2001 this country came together at a time of need, then we went to war and things have really came crashing down , and now everyone only worries about themselves. I worked for a UAW factory and Mr. James is right, they don't work harder than non union places, yet they make alot more money. In reality they do less work. Look at the forign car companies, NON-UNION, and not hurting as bad as our Union Domestic Co. I think we all take America for grant it, what we have forgotten is what our ancestors faught for. Freedom, and for "WE THE PEOPLE" to govern. So step up and make a (peaceful) stand. Raise that flag high Mr. James!!! I think alot of people think because gas has dropped it will all be ok, got news for you, it's going to get worst before it gets better. I guess when those people are out of a job, or losing there jobs they'll step up, or go ahead and let the rich keep getting richer(thanks to our Gov't) and poor, poorer. God Bless.

-- Posted by doc69 on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 1:29 PM

Stop wasting our time and yours, Rick. Why don't you run for public office and spend your spare time and resources solving problems??? Besides, it certainly appears like you already have a constituency! Don't you have better things to do than this, Senator?

-- Posted by Shadrach on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 2:22 PM

Its definately upside down flag time. Rick's got it all on the right track. I'm not surprised that most people don't get it since most people have never read and understood our Constitution either. Rick's flag just looks like the one on the back of my car that's upside down. When our elected officials betray our trust and our wishes, its upside down flat time. At some point too many upside down flags will signal revolution. Is it time yet?

-- Posted by TheRider on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 2:37 PM

Pearl2083 - We did demand that our tax money be spent wisely but instead, they spent it wildly. So, when they don't do what we demand, what next?

-- Posted by TheRider on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 2:40 PM

More power to you, Rick!! I agree wholeheartedly and wish I'd thought of it.

-- Posted by Delta1916 on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 5:15 PM

First off; I would like to say how proud I am to know Rick James..I am very happy to see that some Americans have not forgot that we have the right to do these things an to voice our opinion. I mean its like people tell us these days what too think and what too do; whats right an whats wrong..An were the FOOLS that put them into power; Its like small town America is almost a lost pratice and its all about getting over on who ever you can In CORPORATE America, dare I say on the verge of "Nazi" America. I think that as the pubic we are obligated to stop and look around an see what is happening instead of turning our heads or not caring because some things do not affect some of us; and or benefits some..Whats so wrong about standing up for things you belive in wasnt that the Idea of our four fathers an was the fabric of are great Country!

-- Posted by Bowlin4Coop on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 6:02 PM

I am a soldier fighting in Iraq fighting for our country on a daily basis. I may disagree with this war, but I would never turn the flag upside down. I believe in my country and the people who live in it. Our flag does not represent the choices our government makes. It represents the unity amongst the people. We are the number one fighting force across the enitre world. You may not see it as disrespect to your country, but its definetly a disgrace to yourself. We stand tall next to the people live amongst. Turn your flag right side up and fly it proudly. That flag is our people. If you want to make a statement to our government over its descision, find another way. Do not disgrace our flag. Turning that flag upside down is for our military. If we get over ran and are dying for our country, thats when.

Go take a long look at that flag, and then decide how it is you want to make a statement. Ive spent three tours in Iraq and Im still here now. Never would I disgrace it in such a manner.

-- Posted by joemullins on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 12:21 AM

The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.


Never fly the flag upside down except to signal an emergency.


Neither one of those say its ok to do as protest, and thats exactly what your doing. I have shown this article to well over 200 soldiers here fighting for their country, and not a one agree with your intentions. I wish I could display some of their remarks. I have shown this article to ranks of Colonel all the way down to Private. All of whom would make an educated desicion not to disgrace their flag. You just need to take your flag down. Claim yourself a Patriot will you, how do you sleep at night.

-- Posted by joemullins on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 6:07 AM

-- Posted by JaniLou on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 8:52 AM

I am appalled that an American citizen would fly the American flag upside down! Regardless of the mess that this country is in, and the very serious bad economy, there is no reason to display the flag in an inapproiate manner. How sinful. Do you not realize what this shows other people and nations?

-- Posted by JaniLou on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 8:55 AM


"inappropriate" is how it should be spelled! My apologies.

-- Posted by JaniLou on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 8:58 AM

Why are you all not up in arms that the flag at the courthouse has been flying at half staff and there were no govenor or Presidential orders to do so? Is that a sign of disrespect???

-- Posted by sassypants on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 11:02 AM

Rick James is a great guy!!! I always enjoy being around him. He is passionate about his beliefs. What is so wrong about that. The guy-"ucantbeserious" deserved what he got with basketball. I also always enjoy beating Rick in golf by throwing the ball out of the sand trap.

-- Posted by superfreak on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 12:07 PM

-- Posted by superfreak on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 12:08 PM

Rick James is a great guy. I love beating him in golf by throwing the ball out of the sand trap. He has a buddy who set good pics in college

-- Posted by superfreak on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 12:10 PM

Maybe, we need to go back to church.

People are waking up after an eight year slumber of feeling safe... Yet in truth, George did nothing but make America more vulnerable. Maybe he didnt realize that a bankrupt America is a dangerous and vulnerable America at a time of global warming and a shortage of resources around the world. Perhaps it never occures to the society that bigger enemies lurk and wait for such a calamity. Didn't Al Quida say they wanted a bankrupt America? I believe BLaden mentioned it. Why didn't our leader hear it?

When 9/11 hit my gut told me we can survive this.

I did not feel that bombing Iraq would do anything but make enemies. As time went by and more and more effort went into the campaign, I saw gas prices rise. I saw American economy cars become obsolete, and gas guzzlers the NOW. This was a society of gluttony. Hummers, SUV's Caddies, tainted the road. People were glad to see our troops invading a whole Nation. We saw it go up in smoke, they were bent on destroying them. Yet not one Al Quida base was actually found back then, no weapons of mass destruction.

Yet our people clammered for more blood, and they wanted America to get even with anyone who looked Arab. When it was time to vote again, you all voted for the same, so you can "feel safe". Meanwhile,our economy was crumbling. You did not care. You were living well, charging up high credit and complaining about the weather.

Tell me something, does a bankrupt, broken economy make you feel safe? Do you think that it takes a genious to figure out that a broke America is ripe for a huge takeover? No...you were not thinking in those terms. It did not enter your mind. Who would want a country so rich with resources to feed their people? Who would want such great land full of spacious corn fields..food. Gee I dont know. Do you?

Protecting America is a huge responsibility, it must be given to one with great integrity and wisdom. Our power was far reaching. Our lifestyle was like no other in the history of the world.

Now, what fate does God have for a such an ungrateful mass of fat gluttons, who were so blood thirsty? Rick, I dont think that flying a flag upside down will do the trick.

I think its time to fill our churches, and pray for forgiveness. Humble ourselves before our Father. Check out your local churches, are they empty these days? Pretty much. I think its time to fill a seat there first, and pray!

Many of you will not agree with what I say here.

But if you disagree with the last paragraph, then we have a long miserable road ahead of us.

-- Posted by Pearl2083 on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 12:35 PM

Wow! Maybe Obama was right with the guns and religion remark!

-- Posted by sassypants on Tue, Dec 16, 2008, at 2:28 PM

How is flying his flag upside down going to help the country? People already know the county is in a bad state, flying the flag upside down only started a conversation about whether it is right or wrong to do so!

This did not solve any of the problems.

To all the soldiers in Iraq: Please be safe and don't think we all feel this way about the flag! Thank you for your dedication, devotion, and sacrifice to this country. what you do is what makes a difference, not flying the flag upside down!

-- Posted by knightmom on Thu, Dec 18, 2008, at 7:01 AM

The flag at the courthouse was flying at half staff because the just recently lost the Vetrans Administrator. It was out of respect for him!

-- Posted by piper08 on Fri, Dec 19, 2008, at 5:01 PM

Where Rick placed his house is called FREEDOM to do so just as it is his FREEDOM to fly his flag as he sees fit. It is his way to voice his opinion on a matter he feels very important not only to the welfare of his family but to every tax paying citizen in the United States. If he wanted to draw attention to himself he would have placed his house next to the road. I've know Rick since grade school and Debbie almost as long. I'm sure there is no way he would ever do anything to disrespect the flag, our service men and women of the past, present or future or this great country we lilve in without doing his research first. Of course as one person put it Debbie and the rest of his family have to "put up" with his foolishnes. Again, that woud be their choice and that one would be called LOVE.

As for the events after 9-11-2001, what if we sat back and done nothing? Who would we blame if the terrorists came knocking on the front doors of our homes? I'm sure there is not one American citizen who enjoys watching our service people going off to war or receiving notification of their death from such. However if it wasn't for those who gave their lives in the past and those who will give them in the days yet to come where would we all be now? And what of the enemy of destruction, Saddam Hussein, remember him?

So, Rick my friend of many years, be it right, wrong, or indifferent fly your flag and speak your mind. And love your family with all your heart as you always have as I'm sure they have you, no matter what anyone has to say.

-- Posted by Rebel L on Sun, Dec 21, 2008, at 9:08 AM

He didnt do his research, he thought he did, but misinterpreted. His house is not about to be over ran, hes not in distress. Those statements are for attacks. Not political or economical attacks, actual life threating. It states that you will not disgrace the flag with protest, and thats exactly what he is doing. Do your homework.

-- Posted by joemullins on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 1:49 AM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: