The Penguin Returns

One question is how Cobblepot so successfully got minions of henchmen to do his evil work for him. The same could be asked of Donald Trump or Vivek Ramaswamy … and their bankers.

9 min readNov 25, 2023


In early 2019 I published a satirical post featuring Donald Trump as The Penguin, the DC Comics Batman villain (true identity: Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot). I probably gave my readers more credit than I should have for knowing either the comic book history or understanding the comparison. Those posts, in April 2019, January 2020, and December 2022, did not generate high numbers of readers, but they were fun to write.

I called Trump “President Cobblepot” because of an uncanny resemblance to Batman’s nemesis who manages to get himself popularly elected Mayor of Gotham and then uses the position to continue building his crime empire and eliminating rivals. That first post opened with a quote from the authors of Limits to Growth, “We often recognize an untruth when we hear one, coming from our own mouths or those of others, and most particularly coming from advertisers and political leaders. Many of these untruths are deliberate, understood as such by both speakers and listeners. They are put forth to manipulate, lull, or entice, to postpone action, to justify self-serving action, to gain or preserve power, or to deny an uncomfortable reality. Lies distort the information stream. A system cannot function, especially in time of peril, if its information stream is confused or distorted.”

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One of the recurring themes in this space has been the growing difficulty of ascertaining truth when there are so many countercurrents. Another has been our improving awareness of neurobiological…



Albert Bates

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.