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Clowns in rubber suits

It was a dark and stormy night in Gotham City. Jake Jones had come up with the perfect bank robbery — he cut through the roof of the bank then through the top of the vault using a cutting torch, and had filled up a backpack with money. Now he was climbing back out using the rope ladder he’d used to climb down.

Just as he was back on the roof again, he heard a noise. Some clown in a black rubber Halloween costume wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants had just thumped down on the roof about 10 yards away.

“Who the fuck are you?” Jake said.

“I’m Batman”, the figure said in a voice that sounded like he’d been gargling glass.

“Okay, that’s batty enough,” Jake said. “So what’s some clown with a sore throat wearing a Halloween costume doing loitering on rooftops?”

“You are going down, evildoer.”

“Well yeah,” Jake said, pulling up the ladder. He pulled it over to the side of the bank and tossed it over, letting the hooks catch on the wall at the edge of the roof. “So what else is new?”

“You’re coming with me,” the man in the Halloween costume said.

“Yeah, no,” Jake said, and headed down his ladder.

The weirdo in the costume hooked his own rope to the wall and soared down it as Jake walked a few feet to his car and tossed the backpack into the back seat. Jake got in and locked the door, started the engine, and then the clown smacked the passenger side window with his fist. He looked pissed. Then he looked like he was in pain as the window didn’t budge. It turns out that car windows are tougher than in the movies, and all that happens if you punch one is that you get a sore fist.

“What the fuck is the matter with you, man?” Jake yelled as he put the car in reverse and started driving away. The lunatic in the rubber suit jumped in front of Jake’s car, hands outstretched as if he was going to stop the car by physical force. Jake hit the gas and the idiot bounced off the front of the car, coming to rest in a parking space.
“IDIOT!” Jake yelled out the window. Then he roared away. The moron in the rubber suit just sprawled on the parking lot looking dead. Jake shrugged.

It was Gotham City, after all, and lunatics were nothing new. It wasn’t the first time some loon had jumped out in front of his car and ended up taco’ed. Mostly nobody cared anymore, because people were tired of all the crazies crapping on the sidewalks and shooting up everywhere. And whoever the dude in the rubber suit was, that had to be some special kinda crazy indeed.

So a question was asked, “what’s the worst thing that can happen to a journalist’s career?” Well, that’s simple. The worst thing I’ve ever seen happen to a journalist’s carreer is telling a truth that is not liked by the CIA.

Back in the 1980’s, the CIA was illegally running guns to the Contras in Nicaragua using money received from the Iranians in exchange for anti-tank missiles sent to Iran. The CIA was using private contractors with private aircraft to do this from airstrips in the desert Southwest, and those private contractors figured out an easy way to make some extra cash both for themselves and for the Contras — bring crack cocaine from Nicaragua, offload that at the desert airstrips to accomplices, and then load up the guns to take back to Nicaragua. Since this was all 100% illegal the CIA prevented other law enforcement agencies from intervening, the result being huge amounts of cheap crack cocaine flooding the Southwest and thousands dead.

So anyhow, a while later by the name of Gary Webb who worked for the San Jose Mercury News managed to meander across this story. He started with a street dealer in Los Angeles and followed it up to a supplier who then connected it to a known CIA operation that had been revealed during the Iran-Contra trials, and they published it in his newspaper, a mid-market newspaper that until then had courageously published nothing of note.

Then the CIA came in. They pulled out their big guns — one of their assets at the Washington Post, a man by the name of Walter Pincus, being the biggest — and ran a huge smear campaign, including threatening the editor of the Mercury News, who then retracted the story. Gary Webb was fired and blackballed from the news industry, and eight years later when it appeared that everybody had forgotten his sin and he might be able to get a job at the Los Angeles Times, his motorcycle was stolen so that he couldn’t make it to the interview. Gary realized that the CIA was never going to leave him alone, and ate the revolver that he had inherited from his father.

Being harassed to the point of suicide is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a journalist’s career.

And in the decades since, the San Jose Mercury News once again has courageously published nothing of note, having learned their lesson that printing the truth about powerful organizations like the CIA is not allowed in the U S of A.

– Badtux the News Penguin

You might wonder how a Senator who was once called the “Senator from Chase-Manhattan” because he was so friendly to big banks and big business in general could be called a “socialist” by Republicans once he started running for President.

The word “socialism” as used by Republicans doesn’t mean “a system where all economic assets are owned by the government”. Rather, it’s a dog whistle for “I don’t want none of them thare n-words to get the same advantages as me.” It’s coded racism. The word “socialist” as used by Republicans is a dog whistle for “people who oppose white supremacy.”

This is why poor whites consistently are voting against Democrats these days. They still have not forgiven Democrats for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1965. LBJ muttered that he’d lost poor whites for the Democratic Party for a generation because poor whites wouldn’t vote for a “n-word lover”. He was off by a couple of generations. And this is also why poor whites consistently label Democrats as “socialist”. It’s not because Democrats want all businesses to be owned by the government. It’s because Democrats are against white supremacy. And that makes them evil because taking white supremacy away from white trash Americans… what do white trash Americans have left after that? Other than seething resentment and hatred of everybody who isn’t white, I mean?

White supremacy is a hella drug. As lethal as meth, in the end. These white trash Americans will literally vote to kill themselves rather than allow black people to have the same rights that they have. And I doubt there’s a damned thing we can do about it other than to ignore their racism while making sure they have access to health care, education, and other necessities of life, which we Democrats will do because we’re good people, not because there’s any hope of us converting people who think it’s okay to rip babies out of their mothers’ arms and put them into cages to anything resembling human decency. There’s no way to reach out to hate-filled people and make them *not* be hate-filled people. All we can do is treat them with kindness while making sure they’re as far the fuck away from the reins of power as we can manage.

– Badtux the Dog-whistle-recognizing Penguin

So, Joe Biden is going to be our next President. That’s what the numbers say. Short of a thousand Box 13’s suddenly turning up with 100% Trump votes, that’s how it’s going to be.

It is unsurprising that the most corrupt, racist, incompetent, and dishonest president since the 19th century was voted out of office. What is surprising is that it was by such a narrow margin despite Trump’s mishandling of, well, virtually everything, from foreign affairs to the plague.

All because white people.

Specifically, over 57% of white people either being either racist or brainwashed members of a cult that claims to be “Christian” but doesn’t stand for anything Christ stood for.

Oh sure, you’re probably white if you’re reading this, But you’re also probably well educated and live in an urban area, and probably not a member of an evangelical “Christian” cult. I keep telling my friends here in the West Coast Bubble that they are, indeed, in a bubble, that they don’t know just how racist most of white America really is. Then I have Indian friends who look Hispanic or black go out on a road trip and they’re appalled to find out that they get pulled over every hour or so by racist cops who see two minorities in a Mercedes Benz and think “drug dealer”, and when they go into a roadside diner to eat the waitress won’t seat or serve them because she thinks they’re a biracial couple, or white people in monster pickup trucks flying Confederate flags cut them off and brake check them because minorities don’t belong in an expensive car, or etc., and then those friends come back and they’re upset but they *still* don’t understand why exactly that’s happening.

Well, there’s two words that explain why that’s happening: White people.

Deal being, white people got their place in America by oppressing minorities, by forcing minorities to do the hard work that actually built America while they took the profits. It was imported Chinese and Japanese laborers who built the state of California, who built the railroads and highways and worked in the mines that made the state great. It was black people who built the entire South, who built everything from the homes to the roads while being almost 100% of the workforce growing the crops that were the main reason for the South to exist. It was imported Mexicans who built Arizona and Texas, who built the houses and roads and worked in the fields that made those states great. And they did this while being oppressed by white people, who either enslaved them or forced them to accept wages well below their worth via laws that rendered them less than human and unable to do other things.

White supremacy built America. And white people are scared as fuck now that white supremacy is no longer the law of the land. For one thing, they’re scared that all those minorities they oppressed at government gunpoint are going to turn the tables and attack them. Crime against white people by minorities is fairly rare — white people are mostly murdered or raped by white people, for example. But the terror white supremacists feel about how they’re physically imperilled by minorities if a white supremacist is not President has nothing to do with that reality, and everything to do with terror that if white supremacy no longer holds sway, minorities will do to them what they did to minorities. For white people who built their entire identities around white supremacy, like, apparently, the majority of white people in America, this is scary as fuck.

So forget about all that nattering about “socialism” or “leftism” yada yada being the reason white people voted for Trump. That’s utter nonsense — Joe Biden was known as “the Senator from Citibank” when he was a Senator, he was one of the most big business friendly senators in the Senate. White people weren’t scared of Joe Biden because he was Vladimir Lenin reincarnated. White people were scared of Joe Biden because he spent eight years as Vice President to a black man — and never undercut that black man, always supported that black man, was clearly personal friends with that black man and treated that black man as if that black man was, well, the President of the United States of America. And that makes Joe Biden a threat to white supremacy.

So white people, despite their denials to the contrary, voted for the blatant white supremacist despite that white supremacist’s utter incompetence and corruption and despite the fact that this white supremacist is literally getting them killed because of his incompetence. Because they view white supremacy as more important than, well, pretty much everything. Because in their minds, if they don’t have white supremacy, the minorities they historically oppressed will turn around and do to them what they did to minorities, despite lack of any evidence that this will happen from states like California that are already majority minority. Because white supremacy is a hella drug, and they just don’t want to let go of it.

I expect that we’ll get plenty of pundits whining that Joe Biden didn’t get a 50 state blowout because he didn’t pander to Bubba White Person in Podunk, Idaho. Thing is, there is literally nothing other than white supremacy that Joe could have used to get Bubba’s vote — and that would have lost Joe the rest of his coalition. It was literally impossible for Joe Biden to pander to white supremacists more than an actual white supremacist did, and the (all-white) pundits who are suggesting this is the reason Joe didn’t get Bubba’s vote are, well…. white supremacists.

That is all.

– Badtux the anti-Racist Penguin

Silence is complicity

Why I am not silent.

Read JZ Ellis’s essay below. All the way. It’s long, but it’s important. It’s about every Border Patrol agent putting children into cages. It’s about every police officer shooting unarmed men in the back or suffocating them as they gasp for breath begging for their mother as they die, or just standing by in silence as one of their own does those things. It’s about every politician, every civil servant, who defends these monsters, or who order these monsters to do the things they do. It’s about every drug company, doctor, and hospital that deny life-saving treatment in the richest country on Earth because of the almighty Profit that is their only prophet. And ultimately, it is about the people who allow this to happen in silence either because they endorse or condone atrocity, or because they just don’t care.

It is about America.

Just some Nazis having fun

Just some everyday working people having some fun between genocides

JZ Ellis
November 2, 2018 · Shared with:Public
This picture always struck me, because unlike so many photos of the time, it’s so relaxed and unposed – just a bunch of coworkers, having fun. But this is a resort called Solahütte. It was built for these people, and it was 18 miles from where they worked, a place called Auschwitz. It was built to give them a break from their very important work.

These smiling, happy people were on their day off from putting Jews in ovens.

A lot of times people will say they look at the faces in photos like these and try to understand. But I don’t need to try. I understand these people thoroughly. Those two on the left in the front? They were besties, party girls, just waiting for the war to be over so they could get down to the business of finding husbands and enjoying their twenties. Blonde boy behind them? A bit awkward but always up for a laugh. The guy with the accordion learned it from his grandpa, but never had any intentions of playing professionally – it was good for parties, though.

They had their fun out there in the woods – it’s good sometimes to get away and just leave your worries behind, isn’t it? – and then they got back in their cars and they rode back to the camp and they got on with the business of genocide. The party girls, they were in charge of noting down every possession they took from the incoming as they went through processing. Blondie? He told the children, sternly but not unkindly, how important hygiene was, as he led them to the showers. Herr Accordion? A laboratory assistant to Doktor Mengele, absolutely marvelous at keeping the equipment clean and organized – that was his real skill, not just laying down a rousing chorus of “Horst Wessel” when the beer was flowing, and he was much valued for it, and the fact that he always remembered your birthday and asked about your family. That’s important when you’re stationed far away from them, isn’t it? To have someone who reminds you of normal life, just waiting on the other end of the Allied surrender.

Of course. That’s exactly who they were. And absolutely none of it negates the fact that the nice people in this photo were fucking monsters, many of whom ended their war at the end of a rope or in front of a firing squad. And you know what? I bet they did it crying, begging, screaming that it wasn’t fair, that they had a job to do, that’s all, they were given a job and they were expected to do it, and what would you have done in their place?

That, right there, is the most important question you have to ask yourself. It’s one I’ve pondered my entire life. And I know my answer: I would never allow myself to be put in the position of finding out. I’d rather run or die. It’s why I could never have been a cop or a soldier. The lesson I learned from these people was to never put myself in a position where I was required to do evil in the name of following orders. And I have very little sympathy for those who choose otherwise.

There are not good people on both sides. There are party girls and weekend polka players everywhere, people who are kind to their children and bake extra cookies for their neighbors, but some people choose to be the instruments of horror and others do not, and history is rightfully merciless to the former.
So when you tell me that some of the people in America espousing the same madness that these people in this picture committed atrocities for are really not that bad if you get to know them, that there are good people on both sides, I don’t believe you.

Because I do know them. And I do not care.

Comfy cats

I put out several cat beds on my covered patio for use by the local ferals as the weather turns cooler this fall. A pretty calico girl is on the front (heated) cat bed, while a gray and white tuxedo is on the back (unheated) cat bed in this picture.

– Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

So. I watch the video of what happened in Philadelphia. Two police officers show up. There’s a guy roaming around with a knife while his mother is dragging on him. The guy shakes off his mother and starts charging the cops while waving the knife. The cops defend themselves against a deadly weapon.

And Philadelphia riots.

What the fuck, people? I know if someone charges me with a knife while I have a gun, I’m damn well shooting him in self defense. It’s not my job to die for someone else’s mental illness. And it wasn’t these cops’ jobs to die for someone else’s mental illness either.

So other bullshit I heard:

  • “Why didn’t they tase him?” a) Tasers don’t 100% work, and b) I’m not seeing a taser on the left hips of these cops. I see a radio there, but not a taser. They may not have been equipped with a taser. Not all cops are.
  • “Why didn’t they shoot him in the leg?” Uhm. It doesn’t work like that. This isn’t fucking Hollywood, people. Legs are a small target and they’re fucking *moving*. The chances of a cop hitting a leg is basically zero. Shooting and actually hitting leg is Hollywood bullshit, especially with adrenalin pumping. That’s why cops are trained to aim at center of mass — it’s the only thing that gives them some chance of actually hitting anything.
  • “Why did they put so many bullets into him?” Uhm, because they’re defending themselves and their training says to keep shooting until the threat to innocent life is over?
  • “Why didn’t they try to use their collapsible wands or asps on him?” Uhm, because a knife is a fucking deadly weapon? What part of deadly is confusing to you? I used to know a Marine who loved getting into bar fights. And someone pulled a knife, that’s when he got the fuck out of that bar, because someone was going to fucking die, because that’s what a knife does, bruh. It’s not a cop’s job to put himself within reach of a fucking deadly weapon!

In short — yeah, riot against a mental health system that doesn’t work. But not against these cops. This was a righteous shoot where cops were doing what they needed to do in order to protect innocent lives from someone who was swinging a deadly weapon. I’m hell on wheels against cops who break the law, who brutalize innocent people for no reason, who beat up and brutalize reporters who are doing their 1st Amendment protected jobs, who shoot people in the back 14 times or suffocate someone to death unnecessarily, and so forth. If a cop isn’t doing their job, if a cop is acting like a gang-banger in blue, I’ll fucking be down on his ass because while we need cops, we don’t need fucking gang-bangers in blue. But that’s not what happened here. We had cops yelling “Drop the knife” and then when instead the person charged them with the knife, they did their job. I’m sure they didn’t want to do what they did. But it was their fucking job, already. They’re not there to psychoanalyze someone, they’re there to protect innocent lives from people who are a threat to innocent lives, and that’s what they fucking did.

– Badtux the “Guess that makes me a bootlicker?” Penguin

Reminder: There are only two ways to win a knife fight: A gun, or the way described in this video:

Before WW2, a house was something you lived in. There were no 30 year mortgages — there were one year personal loans backed by property, which had to be renegotiated each year. These loans were for only up to 50% of the price of a home, so you had to save up at least 50% to buy a home. The end result was that most homes owned by regular working people were modest and often built by the people who lived in them. In the big cities, most housing was rental housing, though the burgeoning middle class could afford the new brownstone townhouses that were being built in places like New York City because they were relatively affordable.

Before WW2, once you bought a home, you expected to live in it for the rest of your life. You didn’t want its value to appreciate because that would result in higher property taxes. Houses were not piggy banks. They were not a savings instrument. They were a place to live.

Starting after WW2, you had Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and FHA loans and VA loans and so forth. The 50% deposit before the war became a 20% deposit, or even less with the FHA and VA loans. What this caused was housing inflation. With more money going into a fixed stock of housing, the price of housing rose. This in turn encouraged builders to build more housing, often better housing than the existing housing stock, which encouraged people to sell their current house and buy a bigger / better house. People started wanting the value of their home to appreciate because when they sold their current home and bought up to a better home, that meant they could buy a bigger / better house. Then once people reached retirement age, it meant they could buy a smaller house in a cheaper part of the country and bank all that appreciation as income for their retirement.

Sometime in the 1970’s, people who owned houses realized: If we don’t allow more houses to be built, demand for our houses will go up, and then we will be able to get more money when we sell our house! This realization didn’t happen nationwide. It happened mostly in affluent cities like San Francisco and New York City. NIMBY-ism became predominant in those cities. Anything that could cause a decline in the price of a house became basically illegal — including the construction of high density housing, the construction of housing for the poor or mentally ill, and so forth. And as the price of housing increased every year but no new homes were built, the poorest of the poor started being thrown out on the streets and told “Sorry, the American Dream is not for you. Live like a stray dog, not like a human being.”

So now the streets of major cities are clogged with homeless people, a large number of whom are mentally ill, who use the sidewalks as toilets because there are no public toilets, and the homeowners in these cities are outraged, outraged I say. But for some reason, their own part in this outrage never seems to occur to them. Strange, that, eh?

I mean, it seems obvious that Trump just isn’t a very good person. He lies. He cheats. He steals. He is a serial adulterer. He worships mammon. He doesn’t keep the sabbath, preferring to play golf instead. Not much Christian in all that, right? So how can someone who claims to be a Christian support that, rather than for a lifelong Catholic who goes to church every Sunday and prays every day?

Well, it’s simple. They say he’s “Born Again”.

At which point I’m like, say whuh?

First thing I do is check out whether Trump himself has ever claimed to be a Christian, born-again or not. So I go to Google and look at his official campaign site to see if I can find any statement by him or his campaign staff claiming that he is a Christian, born-again or not. Okay, so I see he’s got an Evangelicals For Trump sub-site, and a Catholics For Trump sub-site, and he has a lot of stuff calling Joe Biden (a church-going Catholic) un-Christian, but nowhere on any link in this page does he or his campaign staff state that he’s Christian, born-again or no.

Okay, so next thing I look at is his campaign speech transcripts. Has he ever stated he’s a Christian there? So I found a site that appears to have transcripts for all of his campaign speeches at all of his rallies, and searched it for the word “Christian” and got this result:

Your search – christian site:https://www.rev.com/…/donald-trump-rally-transcripts – did not match any documents.

So he’s never said he’s a Christian in any of his campaign speeches either. Huh.

So who *has* said that Donald Trump is Christian? Not Donald Trump. He has never claimed that he is Christian at all, nevermind born-again. There are various TV pastors who have said Trump is Christian, but Trump himself has never made that claim about himself.

It is well known by this time that Trump rarely attends church services, instead choosing to golf on Sundays (as can be seen by looking at his calendar of golf outings, most of which are on Sundays: https://trumpgolfcount.com/displayoutings ). He has hosted events for evangelical pastors at the White House and apparently has joined them in prayer from time to time. But Trump himself has never claimed publically to be Christian, born-again or not.

Not that it matters. Because, see, here’s the thing: Born-again isn’t something you say. It’s something you do

So, let’s say that Donald Trump actually *did* claim to be a Born Again Christian: What does that mean, actually?

Basically, what this means, in evangelical Christian faiths, is that you’ve accepted Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior. From this moment on, you will try to let the Lord guide your life.

According to evangelicals, what this means is that your prior slate of sins is wiped off the slate. You can be a murderer and go to Heaven, according to evangelicals, if you but bend the knee and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Your sins are then washed away in the Blood of the Lamb. So according to evangelicals, if Donald Trump did this, all of his prior sins — like serial adultery, bearing false witness against others, etc. — are gone.

But here’s the thing: Merely *saying* you are Saved doesn’t make you Saved. You have to actually accept Jesus in your heart and let Him guide you. You may still sin. Most probably you will. But you will try your best not to sin, and try your best to live a better life, a more generous life.

I remember reading about a murderer who was Saved in prison. He went from being an angry vengeful man to being a model prisoner, a gentle mentor for younger prisoners, a calming influence to others. He spent hours each day reading his Bible to become a better Christian. He expressed sorrow regularly for the evils he had committed as a young man and said he belongs in prison for what he did. He clearly had accepted Jesus into his heart as his guide. Is there any evidence — *ANY* evidence — that Donald Trump has done so? Has Donald Trump’s behavior changed in any way since he paid off multiple mistresses in 2016 to keep quiet about his affairs?

Has Donald Trump released the caged kids? Has Donald Trump quit violating the Ten Commandments by telling lies about his political opponents? Has Donald Trump embraced the Christian humility of turning the other cheek and saying only good things about people, not bad things? Has Donald Trump engaged in acts of Christian charity helping the least amongst us? Has Donald Trump quit mocking the disabled? Has Donald Trump quit embracing greed and venality? Has Donald Trump started respecting the Sabbath rather than playing golf most Sundays?

And the answer is: No. Since he was inaugurated, the president has borne false witness or made misleading statements at least 19,127 times, continuing to violate the 10 Commandments. And he continues to do so, the most recent one being his assertion that Joe Biden was not a Christian. (Joe Biden is an observant Catholic who attends church every Sunday and has never been accused of adultery). This is not a man who has changed his behavior to a more Christ-like behavior. This is not a man who is letting Jesus into his heart to guide his life.

The murderer who became a gentle mentor and guide for younger prisoners clearly accepted Jesus into his heart. There is no — ZERO — evidence that Donald J. Trump has done so. He continues to violate the 10 Commandments on a near-daily basis, and has never repented of his prior sins. That murderer in prison for life is literally a better Christian than Donald J. Trump. At least he has repented of his sins. Trump never has, and never will.

– Badtux the Religion Whisperer Penguin

Lies

I wrote this one around 2002 or so.

When I was a child
I thought I could dream
when I was a child
things were what they seemed
when I was a child
I thought that I could be
anything in the world
that I wanted to be
And lies….
And lies…
holding … holding me… on the ground

when I was a child
I thought life was fair
when I was a child
God was every where
when I was a child
the american dream
was something to hope
for tomorrow to bring
And lies… And lies… holding … holding me … on the ground

lie to myself
lie to each other
lie to someone
who deserves truth
but who wants the truth
when it hurts so much
better to lie
and pretend all is well
lies… And lies… holding … holding me … on the ground

when I was grown up
and thought I could fly
I jumped from the roof
and oh how I tried
but of course you can’t fly
if you have had your wings
clipped early on
by lies posing as dreams
And lies… And lies… holding … holding me … on the ground