Quote of the week
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Sam Adams, Founding Father
Multiple choice quiz time! The image pictured above is (ok to select more than one answer):
- The aftermath of an Antifa peaceful protest.
- A Gavin Newsome urban renewal project.
- What you get when liberals encourage drug addicts and the mentally unstable to congregate.
- The aftermath of a suicide bombing in Iraq.
- Street life in Detroit after all the factories went overseas.
- Socialism at its best.
Yee ha for Texas! Calling them “unlawful” and “perilous,” a federal judge in Texas has halted President Joe Biden’s plans to stop deportations, one of Biden’s first executive actions. The lawsuit was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argued that Biden had failed to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations. Jacob Asmussen has the details. “Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin. AND WE WON. Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze.” – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
The national debt tops $28 trillion as President Biden readies new spending initiatives. In times now ancient, the dollar was backed by gold. Then came a dollar backed by paper—the dollar we baby boomers grew up with. Now even the paper is gone. Today a few key strokes produces another few billion dollars. What possibly could go wrong with a plan so right for our times?
When the Republic of Texas joined the Union, it reserved the right to withdraw at a future date. Legislation filed in the Texas House would allow Texans to discuss, debate, and vote on Texas independence. Iris Poole reports House Bill 1359 was put forward by State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg).
Even though Russia has nearly five times as many residents as Texas, the Lone Star State‘s economy is more than $400 billion larger and we have the Texas Rangers. Texans, therefore, enjoy a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of around $58,000, whereas Russians have one closer to $8,700. Texas is so much more than oil and gas country.
So, while we Texans may be tempted to go from statehood to nationhood, Soap Box says no for the following reasons:
- Impractical. There are better ways to skin the cat.
- Unaesthetic results. It would leave the United States map looking like the letter “n.”
- We should not abandon our fellow Americans as they face elitist/Commie conquest.
- And lastly, Texans have never run from a fight!
Buddy’s Soap Box
(We are getting our new blog a bit more settled in as to format. Readers may now comment directly.
Thanks to all who join us each week. Our numbers continue to grow. I remain impressed with how open and friendly everyone is, both those who share our views and those with contrary views. The bitterly hostile responses remain few and far between. There are such on both sides of the spectrum I suppose, but all such can be dismissed as being members of a very small minority.)
Howdy from Buddy,
As promised last week, here are some thoughts regarding how we begin our own battle to drain a swamp that has turned out to be vastly wider and deeper than we at first imagined—and amazingly hostile to free speech.
In a nation justly divided over issues that cannot in some cases be reconciled, there remains one thing we citizens—apart from the elites who push the other narrative—still hold sacred, and that is we are free to speak as we please. That right is God given. No matter your race, religion, national origin, gender, or age, we all resist any effort to deprive us of our right to say what we want. In that we are united beyond all measure, and in that unity—that transcends all political bonds and ideologies—is our strength.
Until very recently, there was no need to resist attacks on free speech by elite forces. The elites had us fooled. I shamefacedly admit to being among those gulled. They didn’t need to muzzle us. Instead, they simply lied, lied to us in ways calculated to divide us. The Democrats told their voters that they would protect them from conservatives. The Republicans told their followers that they would protect them from liberals. While that’s a bit of an oversimplification, it’s still not far off the mark. Meanwhile, neither party did much of anything for anyone on the bottom of the ladder. Instead, the leadership of both parties cozied up to any and every source of power and money and made sure the real lords of the nation were well-served.
Now we citizens, we voters, we little guys find ourselves faced off against an unholy alliance—two political parties, both corrupt at the top, a corrupt media, an educational propaganda machine, big tech with a mute button set for you, and above all, Communist China, which more and more owns all the former mentioned.
These evil forces—and they are very much that—have money and power vastly beyond what we the people have. They are using that power to crush us like so many bugs. With open palm and open pocket, our already powerful elites stand looking to China for the way to yet greater power and wealth. China knows who has already been bought, who can be bought, often at bargain basement prices.
But we also stand. We are the many and they are the few. Congress, for example, has a population smaller than thousands of villages and towns all across America. And as I write this, we many millions still have the power of our vote, at least the great majority of us still do. We can and must replace the corrupt many and keep the honest few until the typical representative at every level of government represents you and me and not his own pocket.
How do we get there? It will take more than votes. We have to pay a lot more attention, learn to network, create and support new internet sites that replace Facebook, Twitter and other sites that serve themselves while suppressing you and their competition. It can be done. We will do it.
Facebook is banning President Donald Trump from their site for life. But the President will simply move to another platform and millions of his supporters will follow.
Political stuff can be boring, but it can also become a kind of entertainment. Think of it as a football game. The swamp’s team is The Elites with Biden receiving the ball, and China the team owner. The Elites linebackers are great hulks. One has two heads, donkey and elephant. Another has many mouths but sees with a cyclopean eye. A third has a noggin shaped like a mortar board with just a small tassel of hair. Several others, big as heck, move in lock step with sparks coming out of their ears. A weird bunch, but dangerous as all get out.
Our team is The Little Guys with Donald Trump as our current quarterback. To see what our players look like, just look in the mirror.
How do we score touchdowns? How do we keep them from the goal line? That’s what we are all beginning to talk about, over the kitchen table, meeting for breakfast or lunch, talking with neighbors, talking with friends, sharing ideas.
Here’s an idea in early, raw form. From time to time, on an appointed day and hour, let’s gather all across the nation, each in our own town around a preselected public building—city hall, courthouse, town square. No speeches, no marches, no blocking traffic, no shouting slogans or waving banners (American and state flags OK), no misbehavior of any sort, we even pick up any trash as we depart. We just stand up and speak to each other. Do just that for an hour and in that hour meet the people around you, talk, make friends, share thoughts ideas. Ignore the media. Ignore politicians. This is not their show. 74 million people voted for President Donald Trump, and millions more, experiencing Biden’s edicts and the general suppression of our rights by his cohorts, will be joining us.
Our just and righteous cause will be one wholly pursued by non-violence. We will mirror the words and actions of Martin Luther King and all who accomplished so much with simple non-violence.
Columns worth reading
Each week under this heading, I’ll include full columns or intros to columns you can read in full elsewhere on the internet. Each of these columns pretty much express my views, else I’d not be sharing them with you.
This week Soap Box shares words from an incredible teacher, Mark-Ameen Johnson. After reading what you will soon read, here’s what I wrote to Mark. “I’m just getting to know you, and I couldn’t be more impressed. You are the kind of man I would like to sit down with, you and maybe a few others like you, and enjoy some truly lively discussions.
I was once a teacher, but I also recall the old saying, “Those that can’t do, teach.” And I as a young teacher, seeing some teacher there for only an easy paycheck, and fresh with the memory of what passes for education in teacher colleges, I added, “and those who can’t teach, teach others to teach.”
You, Mark, are the exception to all of that. And I know there are many more like you. I only wish there were yet more!
PS: Mark, as an art teacher in middle school, I, too, on occasion “lied” to my students, all in fun. One time a student, after being assigned a class book report (book reports in art class!), asked me how the English language came to be (actually, a pretty good question for a middle schooler). Being a quick inventor, I told him that English was invented in the time of the Romans by a man named English, but that because all the newspapers and books back then were written in Latin, the announcement of the new language was in Latin. My young scholar went for my story hook, line, and sinker, and why not? I was the “reliable” authority figure and his was an open and trusting mind.
What I did was all in fun and we all had a good laugh as I then provided a more to the mark explanation of English’s origins via the evolution of languages. But, Mark, my little story, citing a harmless bit of fun, isn’t harmless when the whopper told can drastically affect individual lives and even a nation. Truth and non-truth, if left to a preening elite, always leaves the people with their face in the dirt and a heel on their neck. Only a well-informed people have a chance in such a world, and in your enlightened teaching that values critical thinking and free thought, you are handing your students that chance.
by Mark-Ameen Johnson
I “lie” to my ELI students. I tell them our Constitution includes ideas the Founding Fathers borrowed from the lost continent of Atlantis. Then I give them an example of written Atlantean: Karooka kawakka karinga karoopagoo. (Actually, that is the name of a character in one of my science fiction stories.) When I tell them to copy down the Atlantean words, they scribble dutifully.
Sometimes students object, saying my claims cannot possibly be true. But more often I have the class going for ten minutes.
Then I stop and say I’ve been lying—and they are stunned. We talk about why they believed me: I am the authority figure; I speak well; I am American and they are not; I drew a chart illustrating an Atlantis-Plato-Freemasonry-Founding Fathers connection; teachers are supposed to tell the truth…
This is the point at which I bring up a phrase they have already heard from a number of my colleagues: critical thinking. Which assumptions about trusting everything I say need to be challenged? How can those assumptions be challenged? How can we test these assumptions outside class? How can we exercise this “muscle” to reevaluate our assumptions, learning something about ourselves and our beliefs?
Next, we talk about things we read in textbooks and newspapers. According to a New York Times article, the first American comic books cost 12 cents. (As a proud geek, I know they were 10 cents.) Another newspaper once informed me that Zagreb is the capital of Yugoslavia. Someone is not fact-checking. Still, these errors are minor. Should we be concerned?
I then pass out an article about Shane Fitzgerald, a sociology and economics major at University College Dublin in 2009. As part of his research on the problem of relying on Internet sources for information, he created a false quote for Maurice Jarre’s Wikipedia article shortly after the Oscar-winning composer died: “When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head.” Fitzgerald thought a few minor papers might use the quote, but to his surprise it appeared in major journals across the English-speaking world.
“Why do people trust what they read in major newspapers?” I ask the class. By this point my students are really into the lesson, and their responses are more delightful than anything I could have come up with. We then discuss an article about how relevant information may be missing from press reports, and how some scientific articles for the mainstream may not include important cautions or even basic scientific concepts.
What about politics?
Students introduce the word “propaganda,” which has cognates in many languages. It is almost possible to see light bulbs flashing over their inclined heads as I put them in small groups and ask them to discuss the ways people lie, exaggerate, and quote biased references to get others to vote their way, join religious or non-religious institutions, buy products they do not need, become part of the cool crowd. They also talk about why people are so willing to accept lies, exaggerations, and biased quotes.
Finally, we agree that they should not believe something simply because someone with ethos to burn says or writes it. We also agree that they should not believe something simply because they have always believed it. “Test and evaluate,” I caution. “Use critical thinking. Maybe you will keep your belief. Maybe you will not.”
I end by telling my students I will be “lying” more often. They have to question assumptions, think critically, and take their best guesses about when to believe me.
I also tell them to trust themselves. There are, of course, many correct things that have been said and written, but students have to find their way–and they can change their views. No one is, or has to be, right all the time. Our best guesses are fine.
“Life,” I tell them, “is about living with uncertainty.”
Mark-Ameen Johnson, Adjunct Assistant Professor, is teaching Mastering Pronunciation in ELI’s Professional English Program this spring. He has also taught in ELI’s Comprehensive English Program and its Mastering English Program. Mark is a life-long science-fiction and super-hero fan and is devoted to Roscoe, his cat.
NOTE: In the spirit of openness, inclusion, and free speech, we print all letters received. We are in no way part of the big tech censorship movement.
Subject: Enjoying Buddy’s Banter and Buddy’s Soap Box
Buddy, just wanted to say how refreshing it is to read your email each week. In addition to the comics-related content, I really enjoy Buddy’s Banter. With the decline of common sense and entitlement on the rise, it gives me hope to see that there are still some folks out there who think like I do. Of course, that might just be the older generations (I’m 50), and I fear for what happens when the boomers and genX are gone. Sorry to hear about all the trouble you’ve had at your warehouse…no shortage of degenerates these days. Also, glad to see you’re hiring and I’ll point folks your way anytime I hear someone say they can’t find a job. You seem like a fair and honest person that anyone would be lucky to work for. Stay safe and wishing you continued success. – Tony in Texas
Tony, thank you for your much-appreciated comments. The media and politicians are now portraying folks like you and me as a minority of unpatriotic agitators and bigots when the opposite is true. We are the patriots—and that includes a lot of citizens of a more liberal bent—and we are not a tiny minority, but rather a vast majority disinclined to be ruled by an arrogant mod elite. – Buddy
Subject: My go to read
I’ve always looked forward to the newsletter to read Odinson’s piece, and I still do, but I have to say the ‘Buddy’s Soap Box’ has become my go to read. Keep up the good work. – Steve in Massachusetts
Thank you, Sir, you are wind beneath my wings! – Buddy
Subject: A question
Hi Buddy, I’ve been buying comics from you for about five years. You guys do a nice job protecting the books through the mail, and I appreciate how easy the site is to navigate.
I hope you can forgive me for deviating off the topic of comics and into the socio-political realm. I’m not here to criticize anybody’s beliefs or feelings. As a former solider I have the utmost appreciation for free will, free speech and open-minded dialogue. What I struggle to understand is not why people agree with or support President Trump, but why the passion for him runs so high in his supporters? Everybody has “their guy” that they follow, support, believe in, etc. But what, in your opinion or from your perspective, is it about Donald Trump that spawns such an elevated sense of devotion?
Again, my goal is not to stir up an argument or be critical, just to gain a better understanding.
Thanks for your time and I hope to hear back. – Jeff in Wisconsin
Yours is an excellent question, one that cuts two ways. Essentially, why do some folks love the guy and others hate him as virulently as they do? I think I can answer the first part, although I can speak with certainty only for myself. As to the second, I’m equally curious as I can’t explain the little guy’s hatred of Trump, although the elite’s hatred is easily understood—he threatens their previously uninterrupted quest for wealth and power.
So why do we Trumpers admire Donald Trump with a fervor previously reserved only for this nation’s founders and a very select few who followed? The short answer is that in Trump we see a man who stands up for us. Despite all the powerful forces arrayed against him and us, he has delivered on promises made. He has not lied to us as both countless members of both the political parties have. We likewise respect Donald Trump for his genuinely incredible personal courage, strength, fortitude, his irrepressible stamina, and for his determination to do the right thing for us and in the process shrug off all the invective and attacks made by those who in no way have our best interests at heart.
One of my childhood heroes—thanks to Walt Disney—is Davy Crockett, “king of the wild frontier.” Davy said, “First be sure you are right, then go ahead.” I and other Trumpers who love our families, our God, and our great nation, try to follow Davy’s lead. Our forefathers had their rough edges. So does President Donald Trump. But he is ten times the man his enemies are and we stand with him. – Buddy
Subject: I know two things for certain
I know two things for certain: Buddy Saunders and myself love our country. Differences notwithstanding, we have the exact same strong and abiding love and gratitude for these United States of America.
So, it is incumbent on me to take exception with Buddy’s declaration in a past Soapbox that he will never “write the words” ‘President Biden’, nor indeed recognize Joe Biden as the selfsame President of the United States whom he is indeed now for the next four years. I find this odd and extremely disturbing coming from anyone, but exceptionally distressing coming from Buddy.
No single person or group has a “lock’ on being a ‘Patriot’ to these United States. As Buddy well knows, I have served and bled for this country in a formal/official capacity as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer. I didn’t serve a single administration or party. I served the United States of America, and swore an Oath to the United States, circa 1981, same as the United States, circa 2021.
At no time in my life or career did I ever refuse to acknowledge and serve based on my “feelings”. That I didn’t necessarily care for President Trump is immaterial. President Trump was my President. As were Presidents Reagan, Carter, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, Trump and now, President Biden. I am a patriot to this country, not a partisan to a party or to a single person. Deep down, I know that Buddy feels the same.
We are getting on in years, Buddy and I. He in his late 70’s, me approaching my 60’s. It becomes harder and harder to change our minds or seek what is real, easier to retreat into respective corners which validate long-held biases so close to the end of a lifetime. It’s no longer a question of “right-or-wrong”, Truth vs. Lies. We want to be right. At long last, so close to the end of our respective roads, we want to be right. No matter the cost.
Buddy and I are equally guilty of the above. But I still have to question Buddy’s refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden as the current President. It would be easy to say that Buddy is a ‘sore loser’ engaging in ‘sour grapes’ declarations as a lifelong Republican. That is simply not the case. I know that Buddy is more intelligent than a dozen pundits on either “side”; pundits who have monetized their opinions and financially rely on division. Dinesh D. Souza. Rachel Maddow, Tucker Carlson, Joe Oltman and Rodney-Howard Browne, ad infinitum.
And I also know that Buddy does not suggest, endorse or wish violence against the United States of America to overthrow the Government of which he claims to be a Patriot. A lack of Government equals anarchy and societal chaos. An Authoritarian Government equals the illusion of freedom for those in power, which is not freedom at all. I would defy anyone to name a single freedom they have personally lost in this country, despite the constant verbal and social-media posting drumbeats to the contrary.
In order to form a “more perfect Union”, we need to hear from Buddy and me and everyone else in this country. To discuss and dissect our positions and arguments with the goal of achieving a “greater good” for all of us. “Unity” doesn’t mean we “agree”. “Unity” doesn’t mean we become “all the same” or else. And anyone who thinks that it does, should go and be a “patriot’ long from the shores of these United States. – Steve in Colorado
Had Joe Biden won the presidential election and not stolen it, I would have recognized him as president without reservation, recognized him not as the president of my choice, but indeed as the legitimate president chosen by the voters and not by machines (a party machine and one electronic). Barak Obama won election twice running, both times honestly. I didn’t vote for him but had no trouble accepting him as president. My respect for the office of the President of the United States remains undiminished. It is the man, stolen into that office, I neither respect nor recognize, a man who took millions from China and other foreign nations and then lied about it. Had President Trump done the same, he would be facing impeachment, rightly so, and I would favor it.
As to the factor of age, I consider my reasoning better honed now than at any time in the past, primarily because I know more now than when I was a kid.
As to Dinesh D. Souza. Rachel Maddow, Tucker Carlson, Joe Oltman and Rodney-Howard Browne, and others who comment on the state of the nation, I believe they—even Rachel Maddow—speak as they do out of genuine concern for the country and not simply to boost ratings. If MSNBC or CNN, for example, cared only about boosting ratings, then they would move to where the big audience is by becoming clones of Fox News and One America News.
Subject: A further email from Steve
I was angry and frustrated to hear about the hammerhead who stole the vehicle and caused so much damage to the business property. You know my background as retired law enforcement—what a great job that would be for me as a Night Owl—patrolling the grounds during the overnight/non-business hours. You know me, Buddy, I’d take a monthly stipend of comics as payment! I have never countenanced liars, thieves and bullies, especially those who take advantage of the work and duly-earned property of others. It seems as though these instances are rare at your location, but even once is certainly enough. Although an extra expense, a watchman or two might not be a bad investment. Such are the times we find ourselves in.
The good news from here are the letters I continue to see at the Soapbox from dissenting voices supporting your right of expression—which is the right of every human being. Each of us has our own journey, our own very private roads we travel in life. No single person can bring everyone together, no single person save for a demagogue can change another person’s mind or beliefs or values. The individual must do that for themselves in the best way they know how. In the meantime, all any of us can do is struggle together toward a shared sunrise of a bright day we all desire, while continuing to understand that frustration and loss is not a zero-sum cry to battle, but a malady shared by all lives. It would be interesting to see the more extreme responses you have (rightly) seen fit not to include; extremes from all sides of the spectrum. If only as a record for our future selves—what an education that would be for all involved to read such words ten years from now. – Steve in Colorado
At considerable expense, we are in the process of hardening our parking lot perimeter by removing the chain link fence and replacing it with an eight-foot-high wrought iron fence with steel and concrete bollards between the fence posts, making it impossible for a vehicle to exit by any way but the gate. And the gate, once closed, will be padlocked twice on each side with super-heavy-duty chains and equally difficult to cut padlock. There will be still more done with cameras, motion detectors and vehicle security devices. Again, the whole thing will cost a pretty penny but given where this country is going, we judged the expense necessary.
Returning to the Soap Box and your comment regarding letters. Keep in mind, those responding, whatever side of the fence they fall on, are comic fans, else they wouldn’t have signed up for our weekly comics email. So, the opinions and POVs expressed reflect comic fan values which, I’m pleased to say, both confirm a suspicion and give me cause to be impressed as well. I say “confirm” because long experience with fans tells me that the typical comic fan is both pretty smart and at the same time more open to ideas than the general public. And I likewise say “impressed” because I’ve also long known that comic fans tend to be, due primarily to their youth, more liberal in their thinking than I am, yet the letters coming to Buddy’s Soap Box almost universally support the free expression of opinions. Clearly, the comic books we read as kids taught us, among many other good things, to be tolerant of free speech, even when we disagree. I measure readership by the number of people who click through to the blog, a number that grows each week. We get few letters—blessedly, as my response time is limited and I feel an obligation to respond—but be assured I print every letter, no matter the perspective. Remember, I printed the two from the college professor who was about as virulent as they come. Such letters tell us a lot more about the writer than about me, so I don’t mind sharing them. – Buddy