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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

Wrote this song around 2008 or so, based on an idea I had in 2004. Still relevant today.

Tell me who to hate today
tell me what to feel
tell me who’s the enemy
tell me who to kill
tell me what is right and true
tell me what is really real
tell me what I should believe
tell me who’s the enemy

Welcome to the United States of Delusion
Where every day’s an illusion
bathe me in your cool blue glow
tell me what to think and feel
Welcome to the United States of Delusion

Images on a glowing screen
teach me what is really real
I sit in my reclining chair
as they tell me who to blame today
for my dreary life of pain
and emptiness of dreams long died
Handsome men in expensive suits
fill me with their simple lies
simple lies to fill the holes
of a life empty of hope

[chorus]

Because if you do, it’s likely to find you. You can get hurt. You can get killed. And if you end up killing someone, accidentally or not, you’re in a world of hurt. You’re going to be in jail (especially if you crossed state lines, where prosecutors will argue you are a flight risk if let out on bail), your family is going to go bankrupt paying for your lawyer and for bail bond fees (if you’re allowed out on bail).

Furthermore, if it’s a controversial shooting because you’re a white kid who crossed state lines to provoke black kids into doing something to justify you shooting them, you’re going to be hounded for years. Your car is going to be egged and its windows smashed. You’ll have trouble getting high paying jobs because businesses don’t want anything to do with the controversy that happens if they hire you. Your only friends will be skinheads and Klansmen who are, let us say, Not Nice People. And forget about going to college at anything other than in-state open enrollment public colleges — any selective institution will look at your name and background, and decide you’re not the kind of person they want in their institution, if only because of the controversy admitting you would bring. Your life will basically be over, for years.

Unfortunately, you get young kids who are impressionable, who’ve watched all these superhero vigilante movies and think it’s cool to be a vigilante and carrying an AR-15 and fighting crime makes them a cool superhero. Uhm, no. There’s nothing cool about it. You’re putting your life at risk and you’re not getting paid for it, and because you’re a private civilian, you don’t have sovereign immunity if you kill someone. Cops are getting paid for it. Cops have sovereign immunity. Let cops handle it. Or if the cops can’t handle it, let the National Guard handle it, they’re being paid to fight crime too. You and me? Oh fuck no. If it’s not one of my close friends or relatives calling for help, my gun stays in my house where it belongs. It’s just not worth the buttload of hurt that will come down on me if I go looking for trouble — and find it.

But that’s the difference between an old dude with common sense, and a young twirp raised by vigilante superhero movies who thinks what he sees in the movies is real. Uhm, no. Unless you’re the Black Panther — the literal king of a kingdom, complete with diplomatic immunity if you manage to kill someone outside your kingdom — being a vigilante is a good way to ruin your life or even get killed. There ain’t shit “cool” about a lack of common sense. Stupidity is not a good look, ever.

– Badtux the Common Sense Penguin

I get really annoyed with the “thin blue line” copaganda. where cops propagandize that they have to be brutal and do illegal things because they’re the only thing standing between society and anarchy.

The reality is that most people want to do right and want things to operate smoothly. Otherwise we could not have a society — the number of police officers in America (roughly 850,000) could not force 300,000,000 people to “be good”, there just isn’t enough of them. The reality is that there are relatively few people who want to abuse others, who want to kill or brutalize. And at least half of them are cops. We hire thugs in order to make sure that other thugs are taken care of, but the number of thugs on both side of that line is a fairly small percentage of the population as a whole.

In short, cops aren’t holding the “thin blue line” between civilization and anarchy. They’re taking care of a relatively few criminals who want to hurt other people. There could be civilization without cops — in fact, there was civilization for tens of thousands of years without cops, modern police forces don’t arrive in history until the 1830’s, less than 200 years ago — it just had different mechanisms for handling the relatively few thugs, ranging from vigilance committees sometimes directed by town constables or county sheriffs to private security forces hired by merchants, and the outcomes were generally hangings rather than jails or prisons.

In short, modern police forces don’t hold the line between civilization and anarchy. Rather, they provide a less brutal way of prosecuting crimes that has built in checks and balances and additional levels of punishment compared to just hanging suspected cattle rustlers that the vigilance committee catches. Or at least, that’s the intent. The actual practice doesn’t quite match that standard, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephon Clarke, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, and hundreds of others could attest. If they were still alive, that is.

— Badtux the History Penguin

Two Florida judges violated Florida law by requiring cash bond for “unlawful assembly” charges. The reason? The police union personally threatened them if they did not issue cash bond amounts that exceeded the bail schedule for protesters who were protesting against police violence.

The police union. Threatened judges.

And the judges buckled.

Our police are out of control. They feel they are judge, jury, and executioner, and can dictate to judges and prosecutors what charges to file and what penalties to inflict. And I don’t think it’s resolvable within the current structure of policing.

The only — ONLY — way to fix this is to completely abolish police departments as they currently exist, as a paramilitary occupation force that has impunity to do anything they like with the sole punishment being a paid vacation for anything short of murder (and sometimes for murder, too). Abolish all police departments and all police unions, and replace them with Community Safety departments staffed with Community Safety officers armed with pepper spray and nightsticks and a *small* armed unit (perhaps a dozen armed officers for a city of 250,000) to respond where the Community Safety officers can’t handle things.

This is how policing is handled in most Western nations — most Western nations do *not* put handguns and rifles into the hands of barely-trained kids just out of the police academy, you have to work hard for many years showing you can handle the job without resorting to deadly force before you’re promoted to a position where you are allowed to carry deadly force. Only the United States, and tinpot 3rd world dictatorships, dresses up their cops like occupation soldiers complete with machine guns and tanks.

Or if we can’t do that: Defund police departments. Strip all the Robocop equipment from the police. Make them walk beats wearing dress shirt and dress pants and black shiny shoes and a police hat, rather than combat BDU’s and steel-toed combat boots and a combat helmet. Fire those with white supremacist tattoos or white supremacist “fashi” or “skinhead” haircuts. Arm them with .38 revolvers and a nightstick with a civilian style 12 gauge pump as backup rather than military-style high-tech semi-automatic pistols and selective-fire assault rifles. Make them drive regular SUV’s and regular cars with a $1,500 police radio and dashcam setup, rather than specially-equipped $60,000 SUV’s outfited with $50,000 worth of high-tech electronic equipment that officers regularly operate while the car is moving and as a result regularly end up with officers — or civilians forced off the road — dead after smashing into a tree. Take police departments back in time to where Officer Obie enforced the law without needing to be frickin’ robo-cop. A small SWAT team armed with better equipment is all that most departments need. Every officer being armed with assault rifles and pistols with enough rounds to ventilate an infantry company? Madness.

And REMOVE ALL ‘WARRIOR TRAINING’ AND THE INCESSANT PARADE OF VIDEOS SHOWING COPS BEING KILLED from the police academy training curriculum. They aren’t helpful. They teach cops that all suspects are violent murderers out to kill them, and thus if a suspect even twitches, kill the suspect. There are some training scenarios that are useful for improving the decision-making of police officers, but these aren’t.

Will any of this happen? Nope. The reason? Racism. White America relies upon police to be their personal racism valets, keeping them thare darkies in their place, operating as occupation forces in minority communities to make sure those communities do not erupt in overt violence against the structural racism that keeps them from thriving. And if police are used by white America as an occupation force to keep the darkies down, they have to be armed and trained as an occupation force.

And so it goes. At least until America is majority-minority, at which point all hell breaks loose.

– Badtux the Racism-smellin’ Penguin

For some of them, they’re scared. They got less than 1000 hours of training in my state (California), less than that required to become a hairdresser (1600 hours of training in California), and a huge chunk of that training was them watching dash cam and body cam footage of cops being killed. Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam. Dead cop bodies all over the place. I’ve seen one of those training films, and even though the cop died off-camera, the mere *sound* of a human being dying is enough to give you nightmares. And they watch film after film after film of this. This instills into them a terror of the people they’re going to be dealing with, which in turn means their trigger finger is on hair trigger. The public they are dealing with are now the enemy, and a police officer must instill terror into the public or they will kill you. Even the “good” cops excuse the “bad” cops with, “well, if the bad guys know that some of us will kill them if they do the least thing wrong, it’s good for the rest of us because then they’ll be terrified of us.”

What irritates me and annoys me the most about today’s cops is about how many of them are absolute weenies who kill because they’re terrified. I mean, brutal cops are not a new problem. When I was a kid the big Irish bruiser cops of my home town were racist AF and could be absolutely brutal. But they weren’t scared of *anything*. In a lot of situations where cops today shoot people, they woulda just grinned and pulled out their hickory nightstick and go to town on the perp. They knew how to handle themselves in a street fight without pulling their gun. Today’s weenies… not so much. Heck, most of them don’t even carry a tactical baton anymore. They rely on tasers — which are not 100% reliable — and pepper spray — again, not 100% reliable. And if those don’t work, then they shoot people.

Oh, how often do cops get murdered on duty? Well, the murder rate for cops on duty is less than half that of the city of Oakland, California. Yep, it’s literally twice as safe to be a cop as to walk down a typical street in Oakland, California.

But you take a 21 year old kid and show him film after film after film showing cops being murdered in horrifying detail, and that statistic doesn’t even begin to register. He begins his career in terror, and continues his career only if he controls his terror by inflicting it upon others in even greater intensity.

And that’s why even today’s “good” cops are dangerous AF and probably shouldn’t be on the streets. They’re young, undertrained, terrified (and usually hiding their terror by putting on a front of bravado), and given deadly weapons that they have no business handling and told “go get bad guys.” And they do, mostly, but sometimes…. well, sometimes they get “good guys” too. Because they are so terrified they just can’t tell the difference anymore.

– Badtux the Weenie-observing Penguin

Snowy the Cat

If you’re going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

Snowy was a local feral, and very wild. I trapped her after her first litter of kittens and adopted the kittens out and had her neutered and vaccinated. Unfortunately she was way too wild to tame and adopt out — she really made that trap shake rattle and roll.

This winter she started sleeping on my back covered patio in a kitty pile with Patches, a neutered male feral, initially on the rear door mat. I put out cat beds and made a little kitty tent by putting a blanket over a sawhorse. She spent the winter sleeping in a cat bed with Patches when he was sleeping, and sitting under the shelter of the covered patio waiting for him when he went out on patrol. Later, when the weather warmed up, she would move out to this stump, or to the back corner of the yard, or to the side yard where she would sleep under the lemon tree.

This morning I realized that I hadn’t seen Snowy for several days. So I went walking around the neighborhood, looking in all the places that ferals hang out, seeing if I could see her. Then I went to the back patio and looked behind the blanket. She was lying there dead, eyes closed, no obvious injuries. Checking the security cameras, she staggered there at around 4:45, looking like she was having more trouble than usual breathing. She never came out. She likely expired shortly thereafter, likely from a combination of her asthma and a kitty cold.

Just another small life that accomplished nothing of note and that no one will remember. Just like all of us here.

– Badtux the Sad Penguin

Her kittens, who hopefully have a better life in their new homes:
Kittens!

Unarmed black man killed by cops.
Riot follows.
Cue hand-wringing about riots being bad and how can we stop them.

Another unarmed black man killed by cops.
Riot follows.
Cue hand-wringing about riots being bad and how can we stop them.

Another unarmed black man killed by cops.
Riot follows.
Cue hand-wringing about riots being bad and how can we stop them.

I feel like I’m in frickin’ Groundhog Day.

Here’s a hint, people: If there’s always a riot after an unarmed black man is killed by cops, then the way to stop the riots is to *stop killing unarmed black men*. Gee whiz. You’d think some people flunked cause and effect in freshman Science class.

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Laser Eyes

Chuck and T’Challa are charged up and ready to blast any MAGAt who makes it past the doorway.

– Badtux the Cat-owneed Penguin