Fall in Love with These Valentine’s Day Craft Projects (Second Edition)

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Pardon me for the interruption of the last essay, but that couldn’t really be helped. Anyway, moving on, we go to Valentine’s Day craft projects. And I’m sure plenty of us had made at least one in an elementary school art class. Though it would mostly be made from construction paper. However, while there are plenty of people like me who aren’t very much into the holiday with the possible exception of cashing in on it, there are plenty who are. Because you’re bound to find plenty of Valentine’s Day crafts on Pinterest. Though naturally a lot of these are suited for children. Last year, I did a post on V-Day crafts which was quite a hit. So I plan on doing one for this year. And like last year, these crafts aren’t really for kids. Then again, so are most of the stuff on my craft posts in general. Nevertheless, for your reading pleasure, I give you another installment of Valentine’s Day craft projects you’re sure to love.

  1. How about some pink hearts in a pot?
Well, they are propped like flowers with varying different patterns. Nice to put outside one's door.

Well, they are propped like flowers with varying different patterns. Nice to put outside one’s door.

2. If you have any troubles, Madam Ruth will fix you some Love Potion No. 9.

Might cause you to kiss everything in sight. And in the Harry Potter universe, it's a legal date rape drug.

Might cause you to kiss everything in sight. And in the Harry Potter universe, it’s a legal date rape drug.

3. A Valentine heart should always have flowers of pink, white, and red.

Well, not sure which flowers they are. But they sure look nice hanging over the window.

Well, not sure which flowers they are. But they sure look nice hanging over the window.

4. If you’re into the winter magic, this heart wreath is just for you.

This one consists of a snowy branch heart with two red cardinals. and a heart in the center. A perfect Valentine's Day decoration for male same-sex couples. Well, assuming the birds are cardinals.

This one consists of a snowy branch heart with two red cardinals. and a heart in the center. A perfect Valentine’s Day decoration for male same-sex couples. Well, assuming the birds are cardinals.

5. A white wine bottle should always come with some hearts.

Each heart is pink and red while held to a string. All in all this is quite lovely.

Each heart is pink and red while held to a string. All in all this is quite lovely.

6. A Valentine’s Day wreath should have stuffed felt hearts all around.

The red ones have a pink stitch in the middle. The white ones have a ribbon and button.

The red ones have a pink stitch in the middle. The white ones have a ribbon and button.

7. Got an unused picture frame? Hope you can hang a few shiny hearts.

Don't forget to put a pink ribbon on top. And paint the frame red while you're at it.

Don’t forget to put a pink bow on top. And paint the frame red while you’re at it.

8. A Valentine pillow should always have a secret pocket at the heart.

Because it should always have a love note in place. Still, both pillow and love note are made from the same materials.

Because it should always have a love note in place. Still, both pillow and love note are made from the same materials.

9. For Valentine’s Day, you can’t go wrong with a hugs and kisses ladder.

Okay, this is pretty ingenious that even I couldn't think of that. Love the hearts.

Okay, this is pretty ingenious that even I couldn’t think of that. Love the hearts.

10. Send a crocheted valentine to somebody close to your heart.

Though that special someone might not get the message. But I do like the heart button stamp.

Though that special someone might not get the message. But I do like the heart button stamp.

11. Nothing can drive these lovebirds apart this Valentine’s Day.

This might be a wedding cake topper. But it also can work as V-Day decorations. Still, the birds are so cute.

This might be a wedding cake topper. But it also can work as V-Day decorations. Still, the birds are so cute.

12. A V-Day tulle wreath should have some hearts for good measure.

Well, it's not totally pink. But the colors seem to run together. Like the hearts.

Well, it’s not totally pink. But the colors seem to run together. Like the hearts.

13. There’s nothing sweeter than a box of chocolates at your front door.

Though know these chocolates aren't exactly real. But you'd never know what you'd get from them.

Though know these chocolates aren’t exactly real. But you’d never know what you’d get from them.

14. A heart wreath should come with some red berries.

Well, the berries are fake and sure aren't holly. But they'll do. Love the hearts on the bow, too.

Well, the berries are fake and sure aren’t holly. But they’ll do. Love the hearts on the bow, too.

15. These Valentine’s Day pillows always give so much to love.

Each one has sayings on them with the letters in different colors and patterns. Comes in a set of 3.

Each one has sayings on them with the letters in different colors and patterns. Comes in a set of 3.

16. This crocheted pink rose makes an ideal V-Day corsage.

Then again, I'm not sure if it was made to be a corsage. But it's certainly a rose.

Then again, I’m not sure if it was made to be a corsage. But it’s certainly a rose.

17. For a more naturalistic V-Day, this heart wreath comes with all the flowers.

Seems like this one has all the floral trimmings you can ask for on your front door. Wouldn't mind having this.

Seems like this one has all the floral trimmings you can ask for on your front door. Wouldn’t mind having this.

18. An ivy heart wreath can always come with some red hearts.

Actually it seems to have red hearts and ribbons all over it. Might be used for spring if it weren't for the V-Day trimmings.

Actually it seems to have red hearts and ribbons all over it. Might be used for spring if it weren’t for the V-Day trimmings.

19. Nobody could resist a heart made from red buttons.

Doesn't hurt if there's a heart necklace at the center along with a gingham bow. Love this.

Doesn’t hurt if there’s a heart necklace at the center along with a gingham bow. Love this.

20. Don’t like wreaths? Well, this heart hanging will lift your V-Day spirits.

Sure it kind of resembles a Christmas decoration. But we should take note of the heart ribbon and chocolate box.

Sure it kind of resembles a Christmas decoration. But we should take note of the heart ribbon and chocolate box.

21. Count down the days to Valentine’s Day with this pillow of hearts.

Well, it consists of 14 hearts with ribbons on them. Great for any Valentine's Day.

Well, it consists of 14 hearts with ribbons on them. Great for any Valentine’s Day.

22. This Valentine yarn wreath contains 4 hearts in the center.

Well, it's a lovely wreath of white and pink. But most of the hearts are red.

Well, it’s a lovely wreath of white and pink. But most of the hearts are red.

23. A white feather heart always inspires warm and fuzzy emotions.

Sure it may not seem like much. But I think it's lovely in its own way. Besides, white's a V-Day color though more used as an accent.

Sure it may not seem like much. But I think it’s lovely in its own way. Besides, white’s a V-Day color though more used as an accent.

24. These wooden hearts contain plants and a key.

The plants in the jars may not be real. But you have to love how they come with keys to signify a lovely gesture.

The plants in the jars may not be real. But you have to love how they come with keys to signify a lovely gesture.

25. A love pillow will always give you watch you need.

Doesn't hurt that it has some hearts stitched on it, too. Though not sure about having the letters in cursive.

Doesn’t hurt that it has some hearts stitched on it, too. Though not sure about having the letters in cursive.

26. Each heart on this wreath says something special.

Well, they're usually sayings you'd find on valentines. And they're sure to make you feel all sentimental.

Well, they’re usually sayings you’d find on valentines. And they’re sure to make you feel all sentimental.

27. A bauble heart wreath can always have its love shining through.

Doesn't hurt if the baubles are red and pink and are trimmed with tinsel. All in all lovely.

Doesn’t hurt if the baubles are red and pink and are trimmed with tinsel. All in all lovely.

28. This garden urn is all full of hearts this Valentine’s Day.

Well, the hearts are in all different colors. But I like the bow best of all.

Well, the hearts are in all different colors. But I like the bow best of all.

29. Fancy hearts, flowers, and ribbons should always be on a wreath.

Now this one seems like you'd put it on someone's gravestone. Though it surely looks lovely on any front door.

Now this one seems like you’d put it on someone’s gravestone. Though it surely looks lovely on any front door.

30. You can always send a valentine in a crocheted envelope.

And you can use them over and over again. Come in 3 colors with a heart seal.

And you can use them over and over again. Come in 3 colors with a heart seal.

31. These flowers have come attached with a kiss.

Though the flowers are fake and used as a front door bouquet decoration. Still, if you don't want a wreath, this will certainly do.

Though the flowers are fake and used as a front door bouquet decoration. Still, if you don’t want a wreath, this will certainly do.

32. Show the love on Valentine’s Day with these heart towels.

Though these seem more made for the kitchen than the bathroom. Nevertheless, they're white with pink decorations and red fringe.

Though these seem more made for the kitchen than the bathroom. Nevertheless, they’re white with pink decorations and red fringe.

33. Cupid’s 3 arrows of one can always be joined as one with a pink bow.

Now these look quite easy to make. Just have feathers, twigs, ribbon, and red hearts.

Now these look quite easy to make. Just have feathers, twigs, ribbon, and red hearts.

34. Love lives here with these wings and arrows.

I bet this hanging is supposed to represent Cupid or Eros. Though often depicted as an angel baby, he's not.

I bet this hanging is supposed to represent Cupid or Eros. Though often depicted as an angel baby, he’s not.

35. With all these bottles together, they all spell love.

I'm always amazed by what people can do with old wine bottles around. Though I sometimes wonder why'd they have so many in the first place.

I’m always amazed by what people can do with old wine bottles around. Though I sometimes wonder why’d they have so many in the first place.

36. A wire heart only requires few flowers.

And if it weren't for the flowers, you might barely see it. Still, I think it's beautiful.

And if it weren’t for the flowers, you might barely see it. Still, I think it’s beautiful.

37. Crocheted chocolates always make a great gift to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.

Well, this is in a square box. Yet, though you can't eat any of them, they're sure adorable to behold.

Well, this is in a square box. Yet, though you can’t eat any of them, they’re sure adorable to behold.

38. Show your sweetheart you care this Valentine’s Day with this heart bouquet.

Yes, it may profess love. But make sure they feel the same way about you before you give it to them.

Yes, it may profess love. But make sure they feel the same way about you before you give it to them.

39. A wreath of red flowers can always send a lovely message.

Well, it certainly shows it loud and clear in a heart. Love the red flowers.

Well, it certainly shows it loud and clear in a heart. Love the red flowers.

40. This red burlap heart wreath comes with its own striped bow.

Well, that's quite a rustic looking wreath though made from burlap. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Well, that’s quite a rustic looking wreath though made from burlap. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

41. Curl up with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day with this crocheted heart pillow.

Comes with lace edging and a pink bow. Sure it might seem a bit girly but it's lovely.

Comes with lace edging and a pink bow. Sure it might seem a bit girly but it’s lovely.

42. This tulle heart wreath will bring you nothing but love.

It even has the word love in the center. And the tulle is in red, white and pink.

It even has the word love in the center. And the tulle is in red, white and pink.

43. Seems like Cupid’s arrow just shot through this wreath.

Actually it was made that way. Though I do think the arrow gives a nice finishing touch.

Actually it was made that way. Though I do think the arrow gives a nice finishing touch.

44. Felt roses can always make a heart wreath joy.

This is especially when the wreath is made from sticks. Seems like I have a lot of wreaths on this post for some reason.

This is especially when the wreath is made from sticks. Seems like I have a lot of wreaths on this post for some reason.

45. How about give your sweetheart crocheted chocolates in a crocheted heart box?

Now that seems more fitting for Valentine's Day for some reason. Though I think it's quite wonderful. Not sure about some of the packaging though.

Now that seems more fitting for Valentine’s Day for some reason. Though I think it’s quite wonderful. Not sure about some of the packaging though.

46. There’s nothing that shows the love on Valentine’s Day like a heart wreath filled with roses.

Well, it has roses and other flowers. And yes, it looks like it comes from a store. But it's quite stunning nonetheless.

Well, it has roses and other flowers. And yes, it looks like it comes from a store. But it’s quite stunning nonetheless.

47. A candy heart of candy hearts should always be sweet in a frame.

Because these candy hearts sure aren't great tasting candies. More like a combination of chalk and sugar.

Because these candy hearts sure aren’t great tasting candies. More like a combination of chalk and sugar.

48. A wooden palette heart like this always speaks of love’s endurance.

Well, that's a nice sentiment to put one one's front door. Love how it has deco mesh trimmings.

Well, that’s a nice sentiment to put one one’s front door. Love how it has deco mesh trimmings.

49. A crocheted heart pot holder is used to any kind of burn.

Well, as long as it's in the kitchen. Still, doesn't need to be too fancy.

Well, as long as it’s in the kitchen. Still, doesn’t need to be too fancy.

50. A bouquet of crocheted roses is almost as great as the real thing.

Except you never have to throw these roses out. For they can last year after year.

Except you never have to throw these roses out. For they can last year after year.

51. A pink yarn wreath can never have too many hearts.

Well, these have red hearts in the center hanging from string. While the wreath has white and red ones on its side.

Well, these have red hearts in the center hanging from string. While the wreath has white and red ones on its side.

52. All this silver heart wreath has to offer is love.

It even has a an arrow struck through it with a heart end. Love it.

It even has a an arrow struck through it with a heart end. Love it.

53. With wine bottles you can make a wonderful display to show your love this Valentine’s Day.

You can even put stuff inside them like berry branches or hearts. All in all, quite stunning to say the least.

You can even put stuff inside them like berry branches or hearts. All in all, quite stunning to say the least.

54. Tell your sweetheart you light up their lives with this glass block this Valentine’s Day.

It even lights up and has hearts on it. Love the bow though.

It even lights up and has hearts on it. Love the bow though.

55. There’s nothing fuzzier on Valentine’s Day like a pink feather wreath.

Well, it certainly seems like something you'd put on your front door. Then again, these kind of wreaths might make a mess.

Well, it certainly seems like something you’d put on your front door. Then again, these kind of wreaths might make a mess.

56. A burlap envelope comes all full with love letters.

Well, these aren't actually love letters. But it surely makes a lovely decoration.

Well, these aren’t actually love letters. But it surely makes a lovely decoration.

57. A candy hearts wreath can bring a lot of sweetness and light.

Well, at least this put the candy chalk hearts into good use. Love the bow, too.

Well, at least this put the candy chalk hearts into good use. Love the bow, too.

58. You can always say “Be Mine” with large wooden tags.

Doesn't hurt if they're bordered with hearts. Makes a nice door hanging.

Doesn’t hurt if they’re bordered with hearts. Makes a nice door hanging.

59. A wooden heart with green always gives a rustic touch.

Well, this is a lovely decoration for V-Day. Love the bow. Not sure about the foliage.

Well, this is a lovely decoration for V-Day. Love the bow. Not sure about the foliage.

60. No wreath on Valentine’s Day can ever be as welcoming as this one.

After all, it says love in wooden letters. Love the flowers and berry branches, too.

After all, it says love in wooden letters. Love the flowers and berry branches, too.

61. This glass block is bursting with lights and hearts.

Doesn't hurt that it has some silver tinsel inside. Nevertheless, it's as good as gold.

Doesn’t hurt that it has some silver tinsel inside. Nevertheless, it’s as good as gold.

62. There’s nothing better on Valentine’s Day like a corked heart.

Well, it's a heart made out of corks. Sure it may say love, but you have to wonder if drinking was involved in the creation.

Well, it’s a heart made out of corks. Sure it may say love, but you have to wonder if drinking was involved in the creation.

63. Hearts don’t always have to be red, white, or pink for V-Day.

On this wreath, you'd find hearts of all kinds of colors and sizes. For those who aren't fond of pink, this is for you.

On this wreath, you’d find hearts of all kinds of colors and sizes. For those who aren’t fond of pink, this is for you.

64. A V-Day place setting should always include hearts.

This ncludes a heart place mat, a heart closer, and a red silverware holder. Great for parties.

This ncludes a heart place mat, a heart closer, and a red silverware holder. Great for parties.

65. You can always make a simple bouquet from craft supplies.

And you don't have to throw out the flowers. Though you might make some think you're using scrunchies for the wrong purpose.

And you don’t have to throw out the flowers. Though you might make some think you’re using scrunchies for the wrong purpose.

66. A Valentine owl is always worth hooting for.

This one has "Owl" instead of "I'll." Nevertheless, it's so adorable that any child will love it.

This one has “Owl” instead of “I’ll.” Nevertheless, it’s so adorable that any child will love it.

67. A banner of love is perfect for a front door on Valentine’s Day.

Well, this is quite rustic but it'll surely melt hearts all around. Love the bow.

Well, this is quite rustic but it’ll surely melt hearts all around. Love the bow.

68. Be the hostess with the mostess this Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart hostess apron.

It has hearts all over it along with cute little pockets. Great for any V-Day party.

It has hearts all over it along with cute little pockets. Great for any V-Day party.

69. These XO pillows are all hugs and kisses.

I know don't use X's and O's for kisses and hugs these days. But back then, they didn't have emojis.

I know don’t use X’s and O’s for kisses and hugs these days. But back then, they didn’t have emojis.

70. A wreath with hearts spreads love all around.

Each heart is in pink, white, and red. And they're all surrounded by pink flowers.

Each heart is in pink, white, and red. And they’re all surrounded by pink flowers.

71. Make your love light up with this marquee style heart.

You have to admire how people can do these craft projects that require electricity. Still, this shines on.

You have to admire how people can do these craft projects that require electricity. Still, this shines on.

72. Or you can light up your love like this.

Well, it's quite elaborate. But sometimes you have to go all out.

Well, it’s quite elaborate. But sometimes you have to go all out.

73. These small felt hearts will surely make you smile.

Each one has s smile and blushing cheeks. Many are used for pins. So cute.

Each one has s smile and blushing cheeks. Many are used for pins. So cute.

74. This Valentine’s Day sheep pillow will inspire woolly feelings of warmth.

A couple of the sheep even have hearts on their fleece and are stacked against each other. So adorable.

A couple of the sheep even have hearts on their fleece and are stacked against each other. So adorable.

75. Keep your cold hands warm this Valentine’s Day with these candy heart mittens.

Contains candy hearts of different colors. Though the real stuff is chalky, the pattern is sweet.

Contains candy hearts of different colors. Though the real stuff is chalky, the pattern is sweet.

76. Send your V-Day gift with love in this crocheted tote bag.

It's pink with tiny red hearts on it. Now that I think of it, it's a great gift unto itself.

It’s pink with tiny red hearts on it. Now that I think of it, it’s a great gift unto itself.

77. A basket of roses for Valentine’s Day is always great for your front door.

This is called a rose wreath. But it's not a rose wreath. It's roses in a basket. Know the difference.

This is called a rose wreath. But it’s not a rose wreath. It’s roses in a basket. Know the difference.

78. These crocheted heart pillows have pockets for valentines.

Now you have a place to put your love notes. Well, if you have a sweetheart anyway.

Now you have a place to put your love notes. Well, if you have a sweetheart anyway.

79. This crocheted Valentine hat is all red with hearts.

Even has bows to go with it. Probably for some young girl but it's cute.

Even has bows to go with it. Probably for some young girl but it’s cute.

80. This rosy choker scarf will keep your neck nice and cozy.

Well, these are magenta roses. But it surely looks quite stylish to say the least.

Well, these are magenta roses. But it surely looks quite stylish to say the least.

81. Nobody can resist crocheted chocolates from a pink heart box.

Because they're soft and smushy. Love the heart decoration on the lid.

Because they’re soft and smushy. Love the heart decoration on the lid.

82. This rainbow heart mobile will delight any little ones with love.

Bet this is used for a little girl's room. Yet, I think it's a rather enchanting design.

Bet this is used for a little girl’s room. Yet, I think it’s a rather enchanting design.

83. Nothing beats a heart wreath with crocheted flowers.

Helps that the flowers aren't roses and are in different colors. Love the button centers.

Helps that the flowers aren’t roses and are in different colors. Love the button centers.

84. Catch the light with this Valentine heart suncatcher.

Well, it's certainly a valentine heart all right. Love how the glass around it makes up the lace.

Well, it’s certainly a valentine heart all right. Love how the glass around it makes up the lace.

85. Keep yourself warm this Valentine’s Day by curling up in a Valentine Hearts afghan.

Comes in a great patchwork design with hearts of red, pink, and purple. Love it.

Comes in a great patchwork design with hearts of red, pink, and purple. Love it.

86. Make your Valentine’s Day fancy with this doily of hearts.

Each red heart is surrounded with lace and has a pink bow. All in all, so beautiful.

Each red heart is surrounded with lace and has a pink bow. All in all, so beautiful.

87. This little Love Bug will melt your heart.

Or make your heart flutter you want to cuddle it. Oh, so adorable.

Or make your heart flutter you want to cuddle it. Oh, so adorable.

88. Look extra lovely this Valentine’s Day with these crocheted heart earrings.

Well, they might weigh heavy on me. However, they sure look quite cute.

Well, they might weigh heavy on me. However, they sure look quite cute.

89. This crocheted heart buddy just wants some love.

Here the heart is holding a cute little valentine. Love the bow on the head. Adorable.

Here the heart is holding a cute little valentine. Love the bow on the head. Adorable.

90. This amigurumi girl gives out her heart for Valentine’s Day.

Well, she's such a sweetie. Sure pink and red don't always go together. But here I make an exception.

Well, she’s such a sweetie. Sure pink and red don’t always go together. But here I make an exception.

91. If you like white roses, then you’d want to curl up with this crocheted Valentine’s Day pillow.

This one even has lace on the edging. Love it.

This one even has lace on the edging. Love the design, too.

92. A heart wreath of roses should come with a white wooden frame.

Doesn't hurt if the frame is decorated with berry branches. Still, the roses are beautiful.

Doesn’t hurt if the frame is decorated with berry branches. Still, the roses are beautiful.

93. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a wall hanging of a red yo-yo heart.

By the way, yo-yo is the style. Don't ask me why. there are some quilting terms I don't understand.

By the way, yo-yo is the style. Don’t ask me why. there are some quilting terms I don’t understand.

94. This Valentine’s Day quilt of cascading hearts is surely a sight to see.

Well, it has a 3 dimensional look to it. Love the hearts coming down from a distance.

Well, it has a 3 dimensional look to it. Love the hearts coming down from a distance.

95. This V-Day quilt contains an urn with hearts of all kinds.

Each heart has different colors and patterns. So lovely if you ask me.

Each heart has different colors and patterns. So lovely if you ask me.

96. A Valentine’s Day wreath should have a heart of gold.

And it's surely an ornate one at that. Love how the small hearts make it look like a red snowflake.

And it’s surely an ornate one at that. Love how the small hearts make it look like a red snowflake.

97. There’s nothing sweeter than a V-Day wreath of chocolates.

Well, the chocolates aren't real. Love the saying "Life Is Sweet."

Well, the chocolates aren’t real. Love the saying “Life Is Sweet.”

98. For even more sweet times, you might enjoy this candy heart wreath.

Each heart has a sweet saying among a pastel wreath. So lovely.

Each heart has a sweet saying among a pastel wreath. So lovely.

99. Make Valentine’s Day a sweet occasion with a candy hearts bouquet.

It has fake pink roses on the top. But at least the candy hearts are put to better use.

It has fake pink roses on the top. But at least the candy hearts are put to better use.

100. This Valentine’s Day tree gives you all to love.

Because why put away the Christmas tree just yet when you can decorate it with hearts? Nevertheless, I'm not sure if I understand.

Because why put away the Christmas tree just yet when you can decorate it with hearts? Nevertheless, I’m not sure if I understand.

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The Real Meaning of “America First” and Why It Matters

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For the love of God, please don’t use “America First” as a catchphrase. Seriously, that phrase doesn’t remotely mean what Trump, Republicans, and over 60 million voters think it means. Because it’s a saying with historical roots that evokes one of the ugliest chapters in American history.

Like most of the humanities, history is often an underrated subject that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Sure it may not lead to a lucrative career, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful or necessary. But historical knowledge is often essential when it comes to understanding our world and even ourselves, especially in the realm of politics and government. Though many people might think history class is a waste of time, they are sorely mistaken. To know history is an essential part of being a good citizen in any democratic society because whatever happens in the past doesn’t really go away. What happens in the past affects us in the present as well as becomes part of our heritage. By showing us how we came to be, history also tells us who we are and what we could be. Past events can give us answers on why things happened the way they did. And they can sometimes help us find solutions, especially on what not to do. Yet, though great moments in our history are worth remembering, there are also moments of great sin and shame we shouldn’t forget, especially if their impact persists to this day. Because it’s often said that those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it. Or at least make terrible decisions that might lead to history repeating itself. Those who don’t care to know about history and see no value in it are prone to disrespect the greater humanity. And if a historically illiterate person has political power, then they pose a serious danger to us all.

Even before Donald Trump became president, it’s very clear he doesn’t know much about American history nor does he see the value in knowing it. Sure his campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again” but the kind of past he’s referring to is one of nostalgia for a time in which the United States really wasn’t that great. Nor was it a time that most of us would want to live. At the same time, Trump embodies the absolute worst in our country’s past with his rhetoric of fear and division, his message of racism and xenophobia, his decades long history of corrupt business practices, his disregard for decency, his consummate lying, and his petty vindictiveness. His presidential victory was made possible by the fact Americans are embarrassingly ignorant in civics and history, as statistics widely support this claim. History will not look kindly on the Trump supporters who elected one of the most deplorable individuals of our time to the White House and will in time be deemed morally reprehensible and ultimately forced to explain themselves to their grandchildren. I know these words seem harsh and hard to swallow for many. But as a history major, I know far too well of what happens whenever people support leaders on the wrong side of history. It’s no question that Trump certainly is and that his presidency will be an absolute disaster. And there is no way I can sugar coat it.

Nevertheless, Donald Trump’s historical illiteracy and apathy can be better demonstrated than in his use of the phrase of “America First” that he used as a centerpiece in his campaign. At first, this saying may seem innocent on the surface. But what does “America First” mean exactly? According to Trump, “America First” is just a catchphrase for prioritizing American interests as in, “My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people, and American security, above all else. That will be the foundation of every decision that I will make. America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.” He likens it to an original slogan, telling David Sanger, “To me, America First is a brand-new modern term. I never related it to the past.” In many ways he wants to make it seem like it’s a patriotic affirmation like putting the US first above all else which certainly resonate to the over 60 million Americans who elected him president.

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Contrary to what Trump may say, the phrase “America First” has a long history. But it’s most identified with the America First Committee, a group that opposed US entry into World War II. Though it only lasted for about a year and a half, it was one of the biggest anti-war organizations in US history with members hailing from all walks of life. However, its failure to disown its ugliest supporters would forever poison its reputation.

However, contrary to what Trump may say, the phrase “America First” is actually not a brand-new modern term but one that dates all the way to the early 20th century. The phrase was originally a political slogan for Woodrow Wilson’s reelection campaign in 1915 to echo the isolationist policies he’d later abandon for good reason and is also the name of a credit union based in Utah.And William Randolph Hearst often used the phrase in the 1930s as a nationalistic enthusiasm for crushing the left by hyperbole in his anti-FDR crusade. But the term would become best associated with the America First Committee, an organization whose legacy remarks upon one of the ugliest chapters in modern American history. Originally established by a group of Yale Law students including Quaker Oats heir R. Douglas Stuart Jr., future president Gerald Ford, future Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver, and future US Supreme Court justice Potter Stuart, the America First Committee was the foremost non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. At its peak, it boasted over 800,000 paid members in 450 chapters and was one of the largest anti-war organizations in American history. It also claimed a lot of prominent members from all across the political spectrum and all walks of life. Some were millionaire financial backers like Henry Ford, General Robert E. Wood of Sears-Roebuck, meatpacker Jay Hormel, banker William J. Grace, Sterling Morton of Morton Salt, textile manufacturer William Regnery, publisher Joseph M. Patterson of the New York Daily News, and publishers Robert R. McCormick of the Chicago Tribune. Political supporters of the AFC included US Senate Democrats Burton K. Wheeler of Montana and David I. Walsh of Massachusetts, North Dakota Republican Senator Gerald P. Nye, and Socialist leader Norman Thomas. Another was Washington socialite Alice Roosevelt Longworth who was also a former president’s daughter, the then-current First Lady’s cousin, the then-president’s distant cousin, widow to a Speaker of the House, a former mistress and baby mama to a US Senator, and sister to a future Medal of Honor recipient. Oh, and her baby daddy Republican Senator William A. Borah of Idaho supported the AFC, too. The American First Committee even had celebrity allies such as novelist Sinclair Lewis, poet E. E. Cummings, Walt Disney, silent-screen icon and actress Lillian Gish, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, novelist Kathleen Norris, and most importantly famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. Future president John F. Kennedy and author Gore Vidal were also AFC members.

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Though hard to believe today, the reasons why many Americans didn’t want to fight Nazi Germany in 1940 are somewhat understandable. After all, many saw World War I as a meaningless bloodbath between imperialistic European powers that the US had no business in. And many thought the war in Europe at the time would be the same way.

Of course, you should know that Adolf Hitler had already invaded Poland by this point and posed a significant threat to European nations who stood in his way as Great Britain was experiencing its shittiest year of the war while France and Belgium fell to the Nazis. Oh, and a militarist Japan was causing all kinds of hell for Asian countries and/or European colonial possessions in the Pacific but their front won’t be the main focus for awhile. The standard rationale for the American First Committee was that the United States was protected by 2 oceans and its vast land mass, and that intervention in Europe would turn out no better than it had in WWI. While most Americans rooted for the Allies in 1940 (85% according to a Fortune poll), they didn’t want to do anything that would help them win either. After all, the US already did that in 1917 during World War I which strongly divided the American public and didn’t seem like a conflict the country should’ve gotten involved in. Yet, after the British found Germany trying to provoke a Mexican reconquista on the American southwest, maintaining neutrality was impossible. Then there’s the fact the US was home to so many European immigrants who didn’t want to support a country they didn’t like or be thoroughly demonized as the enemy. Not to mention, the US lost about 110,000 troops during this time, including 43,000 to the influenza pandemic and they were only in the war for a little more than a year while isolationism was such a powerful influence that the US Senate refused US entry into the League of Nations despite it being among Wilson’s Fourteen Points or at least on his terms. Though Gary Gerstle would prefer the term unilateralism in which the US should be free act in the world to preserve its own interests like it had in Latin America and the Pacific. And since WWI seems like a meaningless bloodbath provoked by an archduke assassination, well, you can see why Americans wouldn’t want to be entangled in another European conflict. Then there’s the fact Britain and France participated in imperialism with colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific which comes with the usual human rights violations.

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The America First Committee was often highly critical of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as opposed his Lend-Lease policy. On one hand, he did promise to uphold neutrality while attempting to maximize Allied support. But on the other hand, even when neutrality was popular most Americans wanted the Allies to win. FDR understood that the US would have to get involved in the war sooner or later.

Even before World War II kicked off with Hitler’s Polish invasion, most Americans demanded US neutrality on Europe that Congress passed a series of neutrality acts to keep the government from supporting either side. Though in practice, it was to keep FDR from corresponding with Winston Churchill and sending support to Britain. Because the Axis powers were widely disliked in the country, anyway.  Yet, though FDR promised to keep the US out of the war, he attempted to maximize support for the Allies on the side while skirting if not actually violating the principle of neutrality. The America First Committee profoundly distrusted him for this and harshly accused FDR of lying to the American people. Sure FDR probably acted dishonestly but to be fair, he understood that many of these Allied European nations were fighting for their lives. And he realized if Americans wanted the Allies to win, then the US government would have to help them. But the AFC criticized and opposed him at every step, especially when he decided to seek a third term and proposed Lend-Lease in early 1941 both of which most Americans supported anyway. Besides, though most Americans might not be happy with intervention, they’d be willing to so if US involvement was necessary to defeat fascism which only became increasingly apparent as 1941 went on particularly when Hitler stabbed Stalin in the back by invading Russia.

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Though America First often tried to brand itself as a mainstream anti-war organization, it included members whose views had more to do with their anti-Semitism, pro-fascism, xenophobia, and Nazi sympathies. Unfortunately, America First refused to disown these ugly elements and would later be defined by them as you see in this Dr. Seuss cartoon.

So where does the historical baggage come in? Because all you say about the American First Committee was that it was a bipartisan anti-war group opposing US entry into WWII for pretty justifiable reasons. However, not everyone in the America First Committee opposed US intervention over the catastrophes of World War I or in the name of general pacifism. Nor was it just a group for FDR haters either. Though the AFC was harshly critical toward him and many of his opponents joined up as a way of primarily attacking the guy for his New Deal. The AFC also included more than its fair share of people whose views had more to do with their anti-Semitism, pro-fascism, and xenophobia. Some members were even said to be Nazi sympathizers. Such facts weren’t helped from the fact that the AFC so staunchly wanted to preserve American neutrality even if it meant urging the government to be nice to Hitler. Nor that it counted prominent anti-Semites of the day among its ranks. Or that several prominent AFC members believed that old-fashioned democracy was in decline and that a modern, energetic fascism represented a The Wave of the Future as Anne Morrow Lindbergh titled her 1940 booklet. She even took her pro-fascist position one step further in her book by calling US sign a pact with Germany similar to Hitler’s Non-Aggression Treaty with Josef Stalin. Naturally, the Roosevelt administration attacked the book as “the bible of every American Nazi, Fascist, Bundist and Appeaser” and it was among the most despised books of the period. She also called Hitler “a very great man, like an inspired religious leader—and as such rather fanatical—but not scheming, not selfish, not greedy for power” in a letter. As America First tried to brand itself as a mainstream organization, the anti-Semitic attitudes and Nazi sympathies of some of its leaders and many of its members began to emerge. And their refusal to disown their ugliest supporters would be its fatal flaw. According to historian Susan Dunn in a CNN article from last April, “It had to remove from its executive committee not only the notoriously anti-Semitic Henry Ford but also Avery Brundage, the former chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee who had prevented two Jewish runners from the American track team in Berlin in 1936 from running in the finals of the 4×100 relay.” And America First’s anti-Semitic problems only became worse when Charles Lindbergh was recruited as their spokesman.

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The most famous face of America First was none other than famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, best known for his nonstop solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927. In 1940, he was a lauded as a national hero in the US. But in 1941, that was soon to change.

Now Charles Lindbergh was a natural choice to represent the America First Committee. For one, he was a major celebrity who was universally loved for his nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. He was also relatively handsome and had a lovely family that would eventually include 5-6 children. Of course, his oldest child had already been kidnapped and murdered which was reported so exhaustively and sensationally by the press that it became known as “The Crime of the Century.” Second, he had no interest in exploiting his celebrity and was a very private man for very good reasons. Nor did he have higher ambitions of any kind, political or otherwise. Third, he came from the Midwest, which was home to the bulk of the AFC’s registered members and he was certainly one of the most famous celebrities from that area at the time. Fourth, he was no fan of FDR and had feuded with him for years which satisfied some of the haters. Fifth, he was a charismatic man whose words can sound just as good on paper as they would coming from his mouth. And finally, compared to a lot of celebrities at the time, he had a rather wholesome reputation. It’s no surprise that the famed aviator from Minnesota would become the AFC’s highest profile spokesman whose speeches were heard by hundreds of thousands within the movement and millions outside.

Hermann Göring with Charles Lindbergh. Library of Congress photo

During the mid to late 1930s, Charles Lindbergh visited Nazi Germany several times where he toured the Luftwaffe as well as hobnobbed with a bunch of high Nazi officials like Hermann Goering. Unfortunately, the place impressed him a little too much that despite condemning Krsitallanacht and seeing Hitler as a fanatic, he kind of came off as a Nazi sympathizer.

Yet, behind that boyish face, was a man with very whacked out political views though they were not unusual or socially unacceptable for the time among the American people. Lindbergh believed in eugenics as he expressed his ideal woman as having a keen intellect, good health and strong genes because “experience in breeding animals on our farm had taught me the importance of good heredity.” To be fair, he was raised at a time when eugenics was espoused across the political spectrum even though it led to some of the worst known human rights abuses known to man and was based on junk science. In the mid to late 1930s, Lindbergh made several trips to Nazi Germany to tour the Luftwaffe which made a great impression on him that he became convinced that no power in Europe or the US could defeat it. He believed that a war between Germany and the US would be bad and it would be especially for the “white race.” So much so that Lindbergh stated that he believed the survival of the white race was more important than the survival of European democracy. “We can have peace and security only so long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against attack by foreign armies and dilution by foreign races,” he wrote in his infamous 1939 article for Reader’s Digest. It didn’t help that he publicly and privately spoke of Hitler in admiring terms as having “far more character and vision than I thought existed in the German leader who has been painted in so many different ways by the accounts in America and England. He is undoubtedly a great man.” As an ardent anticommunist, Lindbergh considered Russia a “semi-Asiatic” country and saw Communism as an ideology that would destroy the West’s “racial strength” and replace everyone of European descent with “a pressing sea of Yellow, Black, and Brown.” And if Lindbergh had to choose, he’d rather see the US allied with Nazi Germany than Soviet Russia. Oh, and he was an anti-Semite who subscribed to conspiracy theories. In his reaction to anti-Jewish pogrom Kristallnacht (which consisted of the Nazis destroying over 100 synagogues along with thousands of Jewish businesses while imprisoning thousands of Jews), Lindbergh wrote, “I do not understand these riots on the part of the Germans. It seems so contrary to their sense of order and intelligence. They have undoubtedly had a difficult ‘Jewish problem’, but why is it necessary to handle it so unreasonably?” Because Hitler wanted to do terrible stuff to the Jews, asshole. And it didn’t help that he received the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle from Hermann Goering on Hitler’s behalf a few weeks before which caused controversy, which he refused to return. “It seems to me that the returning of decorations, which were given in times of peace and as a gesture of friendship, can have no constructive effect,” Lindbergh wrote making excuses for Nazi Germany. “If I were to return the German medal, it seems to me that it would be an unnecessary insult. Even if war develops between us, I can see no gain in indulging in a spitting contest before that war begins.” Yes, but it would’ve at least absolved him from suspicion. Because in 1941, Lindbergh resigned his Air Force commission as colonel at FDR’s demand after proposing that the US negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany during his testimony opposing the Lend-Lease bill before House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Robert E. Wood;Charles A. Lindbergh

On September 11, 1941, Charles Lindbergh would give a speech at an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa. In it, he blamed the British, the Roosevelt administration, and American Jews for pushing the US into war with Europe. Guess which group he put on notice for pushing for war through their control of the media.

Charles Lindbergh’s political ideas on race, the Jewish people, and foreign policy might seem morally reprehensible and extreme today, but they were hardly fringe in the early 1940s and he had voiced them without serious public outcry at this point. If anything, resigning his Air Force commission may have worked in his favor as far as some non-interventionists were concerned. However, he would play a critical role in why “America First” has become the noxious slogan that continues to echo isolationist, defeatist, fascist, and anti-Semitic sentiments to this day. On September 11, 1941, Lindbergh would deliver a speech to a huge crowd during an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa. In it, he identified forces pulling the US into the war as the British, the Roosevelt administration, and American Jews. And it’s what he said about the third group where he made his true thoughts known. At first, he expressed sympathy for the persecution the Jews in Germany suffered and remarked on how he understood why any American Jew would want to see the Nazi regime pay. But then he went on putting American Jews on notice, saying that America’s “tolerance” for them rested upon a fragile foundation but most somehow most still don’t seem to understand that and want the US to intervene in a war that would endanger everybody but especially them. Then Lindbergh let the Jews know what he really thought about them, “Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government.” In other words, Lindbergh saw American Jews constituting of a wealthy, influential, and conspiratorial foreign, “race” that controls “our” media and has infiltrated “our” political institutions. And that they were an internal alien out-group, hostile to “us.” In short, he blames the Jews for pushing the US into war and manipulating the narrative through the media. Such sentiment reeks classic anti-Semitism which had no basis in fact. Though Lindbergh claimed he wasn’t “attacking either the Jewish or the British people,” he went on saying, “that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.” So fighting an enemy that’s either bombing the shit out of you on a regular basis or persecuting (if not exterminating) people from your ethnoreligious group and possibly your loved ones from the old country aren’t American reasons? Also, their interests weren’t exactly based on “natural passions and prejudices of other peoples” either. Though Lindbergh uses such words to make British and Jewish seem like they want to drag the US into a needless war that could lead to its destruction.

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Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech was met with public outrage from all over the country over his anti-Semitic and divisive remarks that he’d suffer a massive fall from grace. So much so that his hometown even took his name off their water tower. His now tarnished reputation would never fully recover.

Somewhere in his speech Lindbergh crossed a line because public reception was not kind to him or the American First Committee from this point on. Lindbergh was strongly and swiftly condemned for his anti-Semitic and divisive words. Reporting from Europe, New York Herald Tribune columnist Dorothy Thompson wrote, “I am absolutely certain that Lindbergh is pro-Nazi. I am absolutely certain that Lindbergh foresees a new party along Nazi lines.” The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “The voice is the voice of Lindbergh, but the words are the words of Hitler.” And those sentiments of outrage echoed widely among newspapers, columnists, politicians, and religious leaders. Interventionists opposed to America First created pamphlets indicating how Nazi Germany praised his efforts and included quotations like “Racial strength is vital; politics, a luxury.” The pamphlets also included pictures of Lindbergh and other American Firsters using the stiff-armed Bellamy Salute (a hand gesture described by Francis Bellamy to accompany his Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag that fell out of favor during the 1920s and 1930s because totalitarian regimes adopted salutes of similar form). Though the photos were taken at an angle not showing the flag, observers still found such gestures indistinguishable from the better known Heil Hitler. But Lindbergh’s detractors weren’t the only ones bashing him for his Des Moines speech. His fans who lionized him also had harsh words to say. The Des Moines Register called his speech, “so intemperate, so unfair, so dangerous in its implications that it cannot but turn many spadefuls in the digging of the grave of his influence in this country.” The anti-Roosevelt and non-interventionist loving Hearst papers condemned Lindbergh as “un-American.” His mother-in-law and sister-in-law publicly opposed his views while civic and corporate organizations cut all ties with him. Hell, his hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota took his name off their water tower. And I’m sure millions of kids probably took down their pictures of him that they put in the trash like he was a disgraced sports hero. In the public’s view, the once beloved aviator was now disgraced and his tarnished reputation would never fully recover.

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From that point on, the America First Committee would be associated with Nazi sympathies and anti-Semitism ever since. Soon even the more moderate isolationist cut ties with the organization before it disbanded after Pearl Harbor. Since then, almost no politician who’s wanted to draw close to America First as it remains a shameful stain on our history.

In turn the America First Committee was as TIME put it on a cover story, “touched the pitch of anti-Semitism, and its fingers were tarred.” Despite its protestations that it wasn’t an anti-Semitic group and that it was looking out for American Jewish interests, America First would become associated with such anti-Semitic rhetoric Lindbergh had voiced in that infamous speech in Des Moines. So much so that more moderate isolationists started dropping out and it acquired its very bad name and pernicious reputation. And after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor that December, the America First Committee disbanded since there was no possibility of isolation by that point. But echoes of “America First” have persisted in the years and decades since. Before Trump decided to make it a campaign slogan, Pat Buchanan used it for his presidential campaign to run in 2000 on the Reform ticket. Of course, Buchanan believes that World War II as an “unnecessary war.” In his book A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America’s Destiny, he’s depicted Lindbergh and other pre-war isolationists as American patriots smeared by interventionists during the months leading up to Pearl Harbor. And Buchanan suggests such backlash of Lindbergh highlights “the explosiveness of mixing ethnic politics with foreign policy.” He also campaigned against free trade. Ironically, it was Trump who seeking the Reform Party nomination at the time, called Buchanan “a Hitler lover.” So it’s possible he might know something about where “America First” came from even if he doesn’t care about the implications from employing it. Because Buchanan certainly does. But as far as political figures go, Buchanan is an exception since his views on history are outside mainstream conservatism. Since the 1940s, there has almost been no politician who’s wanted to draw close to America First.

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Then despite the highly negative historical connotations, why the hell does Trump keep using “America First” as a catchphrase? He’s said he likes the expression. But I think he likes how his supporters positively react to it as an innocent patriotic affirmation. Mostly because a lot of his supporters have absolutely no idea where “America First” came from or what it really means.

But why would Trump employ such a phrase like “America First” in his rhetoric despite that those words echoing such an ugly chapter in America’s recent past? Sure he may like the expression, but he may even enjoy more the kind of applause and provocation he gets from uttering those words by the very supporters who have absolutely no clue where that awful phrase came from nor care to find out. And he probably doesn’t care that such catchphrase makes some people hear disturbing echoes that the Anti-Defamation League has asked him to stop using “America First” and redirected fifty-six thousand dollars in donations from the Trump family to anti-bullying and anti-bias causes.  But Trump won’t stop saying that phrase anytime soon. Because to him, it’s a tremendously popular slogan that resonates with his economic nationalism. And he’s denied the phrase’s existence as a historical term whenever reporters have pointed it out for him. For instance, when asked whether he meant isolationism last April, Trump replied, “Not isolationist, I’m not isolationist, but I am ‘America First.’ So I like the expression. I’m ‘America First. We have been disrespected, mocked and ripped off for many, many years by people that were smarter, shrewder, tougher.” In some ways, it’s possible Trump wants “America First” to mean “we will not be ripped off anymore.” And since American historical consciousness doesn’t run deep, it’s possible that Trump supporters see “America First” as an innocent affirmation of patriotism that it’s not.

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It’s possible that Trump may believe his adoption of the phrase “America First” could supersede its past. However, I don’t think it’s possible not because of Trump. But mostly because such symbols and phrases with noxious connotations don’t usually change their meanings over time. And it’s a lesson I’ve surely learned when I argued for the Confederate Flag’s removal during the summer of 2015.

As NPR’s Ron Elving put it, “assuming he is aware of at least some of that history, Trump is demonstrating his confidence that his adoption of a phrase can supersede its past.” But is it even possible for him to shake off that phrase’s toxic past? The Atlantic states such endeavor could prove difficult especially since Trump’s inauguration speech offered little to no outreach to the millions of Americans who fear what his presidency may bring. However, I think this assumption is a bit too optimistic. I say this because many of those Trump supporters who see “America First” as an innocent patriotic affirmation also see the Confederate flag as a sacred emblem of their Southern heritage. In the summer of 2015, I wrote a post arguing why the flag should be removed due to being a symbol of white supremacy that’s been used to justify decades of subjugating, discrimination, and violence against black people, which apparently angered a lot of people who tried to tell me otherwise. The Confederate flag is often associated with very ugly chapter in American history in which a bunch of powerful white guys started a war after splitting off from the US in order to form a country where they can subjugate black people to a lifetime of involuntary servitude. It is very clear that many Southern whites still haven’t gotten over that the North won that war which outlawed slavery that they went to great lengths to make sure black people could never gain any social, economic, or political power. And despite the Civil Rights Movement and the election of Barack Obama, these people show no sign of stopping any time soon.

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In 2015, a group in Detroit, Michigan erected a billboard like this that was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League on grounds of anti-Semitism. As Heidi Budaj said, This particular sign goes a step further and raises an old anti-Semitic canard of dual loyalty, implying that Jews are not loyal to the country in which they live. Make no mistake that while many of the Jewish people in the United States support the state of Israel as a Jewish state, we are loyal Americans.” Of course, the use of “America First” is much more closer to its historical anti-Semitic roots. However, I’m not really sure if the group who put up this billboard knows what “America First” really means or even intends to incite anti-Semitism.

That being said, I think “American First” will continue to emanate how opposition to American entanglement in the world became polluted by anti-Semitism regardless of what Trump, his supporters, or Republicans may think. They may claim they don’t hate Jewish people nor embrace a 1940s isolationism. They may not be Nazi sympathizers or be soft on Hitler the way Charles Lindbergh was or how the America First Committee might’ve been. But however they use “America First” regardless of what meaning attached to it, none of their personal biases change that phrase’s toxic isolationist, defeatist, nationalistic, fascist, and anti-Semitic evocations. And just because such people don’t believe such stuff anymore doesn’t mean such interpretations go away. I also don’t think Trump helps his case by having a noted anti-Semite and white nationalist to write his speeches on his White House along with plenty of anti-Semitic supporters (i.e. white supremacists). As Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, “For many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history.” Conservative editor of The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol would say the same adding on Twitter, “I’ll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here: It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim ‘America First.’” Greenblatt and Kristol may not always agree with everything, but when it comes to “America First,” both these men see such phrase evokes a shameful chapter in our history. And one Jewish woman wrote on Facebook, “That America First part brought me to tears and anyone who doesn’t understand why can unfriend me right now.” Despite what anyone would say, such connotations pertaining to “America First” still persist in the historical contexts, especially among American Jews. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon. So if you’re a proud patriot who wants to make America great, you should stop saying “America First” and not support politicians who use that as a catchphrase, especially if they have no idea to what it really means.

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The historical contexts of “America First” still exist in the minds of many Americans whether Jewish or Gentile this day and that’s unlikely to change. So if you want to show love to America, don’t use “America First” as your patriotic affirmation nor support politicians who use the term as a campaign slogan. Because it’s very likely they have no idea of its historical roots as to what it really means.

Be Mine With These Valentine’s Day Treats (Third Edition)

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Of course, we’re now on to Valentine’s Day or the time of year people celebrate love with hearts, flowers, candy, and pink stuff in February. Lots of pink stuff. But since I am a lowly blogger, I have to keep an audience though celebration considerably varies. Though retailers always seek to cash in since it’s the biggest moneymaker holiday between Christmas and Easter. Of course, exceptions are any place selling sport gear (since the Super Bowl happens around this time), the town of Punxatawney, Pennsylvania (for Groundhog Day), the city of New Orleans and most of Louisiana (for Mardi Gras), and alcohol distributors (for Saint Patrick’s Day). Now for the last two years, I’ve done posts on Valentine’s Day treats like in the dinner setting you see above which I’m sure it’s not a romantic dinner. How can I tell? Because despite the fine setting and candles, there are places for 6 people. But I’m sure couples spend time with each other and polyamory exists. Anyway, Valentine’s Day is also a time for parties for either couples in love or people looking for love (perhaps in all the wrong places). Not to mention, if you’re in elementary school, you have to participate in Valentine’s Day festivities such as bringing Valentines and treats for the class regardless of what you think about the holiday. So for your reading pleasure, I bring you another installment of Valentine’s Day treats.

  1. These heart cookies come with their own flowers.
The flowers may be small. But each heart comes in red, white, or in a shade of pink.

The flowers may be small. But each heart comes in red, white, or in a shade of pink.

2. There’s so much to love about these heart graham cracker sandwiches on a stick.

Some of these even have pink filling in them with chocolate. Though I hope the pink isn't strawberry flavored because that combination tastes disgusting.

Some of these even have pink filling in them with chocolate. Though I hope the pink isn’t strawberry flavored because that combination tastes disgusting.

3. Like footprints, the love in these shoe cookies is always imprinted in one’s sole. I mean soul.

Sure they may look cute at one angle. However, they may suggest stomping on one's love at another.

Sure they may look cute at one angle. However, they may suggest stomping on one’s love at another.

4. This Valentine heart cake is bursting with hearts and flowers.

I'm sure what's sticking out of this cake isn't edible. But it's a stroke of genius.

I’m sure what’s sticking out of this cake isn’t edible. But it’s a stroke of genius.

5. Spread the love at your Valentine’s Day party with this hearty snack tray.

Includes, Ritz crackers, carrots, cucumbers, cheese, and salami. Because baloney is not appropriate for it's a lunchmeat attached to a name that also means bullshit.

Includes, Ritz crackers, carrots, cucumbers, cheese, and salami. Because baloney is not appropriate for it’s a lunchmeat attached to a name that also means bullshit.

6. These Oreo cheescake hearts offer so much to love.

And both are topped with whipped cream. Though they kind of resemble cookies.

And both are topped with whipped cream. Though they kind of resemble cookies.

7. These Valentine’s Day roll cakes will find their way to your heart.

Though let's keep cardiovascular disease out of this. But you have to love the white polka dots and heart.

Though let’s keep cardiovascular disease out of this. But you have to love the white polka dots and heart.

8. If you want to please your loved one this Valentine’s Day, say it with cupcakes.

Well, this is a cute display. Like all the pink, red, and white hearts. Though these were probably made at a bakery.

Well, this is a cute display. Like all the pink, red, and white hearts. Though these were probably made at a bakery.

9. Heart cookies don’t always have to be in pink, red, or white.

You can also find hearts in yellow, orange, green, blue, or purple. Lovely.

You can also find hearts in yellow, orange, green, blue, or purple. Lovely.

10. You can’t help but love these Rice Krispie treat heart mice.

Though you might not want to eat those ears. Those candy hearts are made from sugary chalk.

Though you might not want to eat those ears. Those candy hearts are made from sugary chalk.

11. These Cupid kabobs are awfully fruity.

Well, at least they won't cause much strain to your heart. But calling them "Cupid kabobs" not sure if the name has a ring to it.

Well, at least they won’t cause much strain to your heart. But calling them “Cupid kabobs” not sure if the name has a ring to it.

12. These candy heart cake pops always send a lovely message.

And they probably taste better than the real chalk filled candy hearts that have Necco in business. Available in any color you want.

And they probably taste better than the real chalk filled candy hearts that have Necco in business. Available in any color you want.

13. A heart cheese tray should come with two types of grapes.

However, whether to serve it with wine is optional. Though it might make you look French if you do.

However, whether to serve it with wine is optional. Though it might make you look French if you do.

14. You can say it with roses or rose strawberries.

Though at least they're healthy. Though they may look like a poor imitation.

Though at least they’re healthy. Though they may look like a poor imitation.

15. You can always serve your Valentine’s Day dinner with some heart shaped bread.

Not sure what they're supposed to be sprinkled with. But I'd certainly eat them.

Not sure what they’re supposed to be sprinkled with. But I’d certainly eat them.

16. These candy heart cookies are full of surprises.

In that, they're hollow and contain M&Ms in them. Also available in envelopes, too,

In that, they’re hollow and contain M&Ms in them. Also available in envelopes, too,

17. How about some heart shaped donuts with your coffee?

And you have to love the chocolate glaze and sprinkles. However, these can cause coronaries.

And you have to love the chocolate glaze and sprinkles. However, these can cause coronaries.

18. This pink heart Valentine’s cake comes with all the frills.

I'm sure it would go well on any Valentine's Day party dessert platter. Just as long as it doesn't clash with a male guest's birthday.

I’m sure it would go well on any Valentine’s Day party dessert platter. Just as long as it doesn’t clash with a male guest’s birthday.

19. Hope these custard hand pies find a way to your heart.

Though I don't exactly mean literally in this case. Still, like the sprinkles and small hearts.

Though I don’t exactly mean literally in this case. Still, like the sprinkles and small hearts.

20. A Valentine’s Day cake should always be decked with roses.

Yet, the roses here are small and made of icing. Still, I think it's so pretty.

Yet, the roses here are small and made of icing. Still, I think it’s so pretty.

21. If your sweetheart loves cookies and puzzles, I have just the thing.

Yes, it's a cookie crossword puzzle for Valentine's Day. Some have the squares. Others have clues.

Yes, it’s a cookie crossword puzzle for Valentine’s Day. Some have the squares. Others have clues.

22. These homemade pies are simply covered in hearts.

Though it's possible their crusts were made from the same dough. Yet, each has a different filling.

Though it’s possible their crusts were made from the same dough. Yet, each has a different filling.

23. With cookies like these, your Valentine’s Day is a fancy affair.

These were definitely made in a bakery. But yes, cookie decor can get that intricate.

These were definitely made in a bakery. But yes, cookie decor can get that intricate.

24. Nobody could resist these chocolate bears.

Because each of these has a real big heat. Yes, they're cookies but they're so cute.

Because each of these has a real big heat. Yes, they’re cookies but they’re so cute.

25. These mini pizzas make the perfect Valentine’s Day lunch.

And they don't contain many toppings either. Because we're talking about a small space.

And they don’t contain many toppings either. Because we’re talking about a small space.

26. In this bento lunch, your child will delight in these two lovebirds.

Sure they may be sandwiches with hearts on them. But they're lovely just the same.

Sure they may be sandwiches with hearts on them. But they’re lovely just the same.

27. These cannoli cones have a real chocolate touch.

Yet, I'm sure they contain a lot of icing in them. Since they're made from ice cream cones.

Yet, I’m sure they contain a lot of icing in them. Since they’re made from ice cream cones.

28. A bento like this contains 2 hearty sandwiches.

Okay, it looks like part of a clover. But still, this was made for Valentine's Day. Includes a dessert of chalk hearts.

Okay, it looks like part of a clover. But still, this was made for Valentine’s Day. Includes a dessert of chalk hearts.

29. Impress your sweethearts with these homemade candy hearts.

However, these are sugar candy on paper. So they may not taste appealing.

However, these are sugar candy on paper. So they may not taste appealing.

30. Make your Valentine’s Day wonderful with a hearty ham sandwich.

The bread also comes pressed for some reason. Hope you enjoy.

The bread also comes pressed for some reason. Hope you enjoy.

31. Bacon hearts make a worthy side to a Valentine’s Day breakfast.

However, they may not be great on your arteries though. Since we all know that bacon should be used as a side for a reason.

However, they may not be great on your arteries though. Since we all know that bacon should be used as a side for a reason.

32. This jello dish contains pink shades and strawberries.

Okay, it also has a lot of red in it, too. But at least the strawberry can be a heart shaped fruit when sliced.

Okay, it also has a lot of red in it, too. But at least the strawberry can be a heart shaped fruit when sliced.

33. Now you can pick your lipstick shade on a cupcake.

Though they're not in shades most women usually use. Seriously, gold lips? Why?

Though they’re not in shades most women usually use. Seriously, gold lips? Why?

34. Red velvet pancakes are always part of a complete Valentine’s Day breakfast.

Think of red velvet as the V-Day equivalent of pumpkin spice. Though it doesn't enjoy the same reputation since it's not ridiculous.

Think of red velvet as the V-Day equivalent of pumpkin spice. Though it doesn’t enjoy the same reputation since it’s not ridiculous.

35. With red heart waffles you can make a stunning V-Day display at breakfast.

Hey, at least it's not as bad as whatever they serve at IHOP. Though it does seem more like dessert in some way.

Hey, at least it’s not as bad as whatever they serve at IHOP. Though it does seem more like dessert in some way.

36. There’s so much to love about these strawberry hearts in this bento box.

The strawberries even have eyes and limbs. There are also heart treats and flowers.

The strawberries even have eyes and limbs. There are also heart treats and flowers.

37. A chocolate heart cake should always have the appropriate sprinkles.

I'm sure plenty of women would love a cake like this from their significant other. Love the chocolate icing.

I’m sure plenty of women would love a cake like this from their significant other. Love the chocolate icing.

38. For Valentine’s Day, you might enjoy chocolate cookies with glittery hearts.

Not sure where they'd have glitter sprinkles. But hey, I'd take them.

Not sure where they’d have glitter sprinkles. But hey, I’d take them.

39. On a white heart cake, be sure to have pink flowers.

Though I'm not sure whether these are fake or made from icing. Still, gives a nice touch.

Though I’m not sure whether these are fake or made from icing. Still, gives a nice touch.

40. You can’t find anything not to love about these love bug cupcakes.

At any rate, these are a great treat idea for kids. After all, they're simply adorable.

At any rate, these are a great treat idea for kids. After all, they’re simply adorable.

41. Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day to some hearty salad.

However, I'm not sure if this one contains a lot of vegetables. But it has a vinaigrette dressing.

However, I’m not sure if this one contains a lot of vegetables. But it has a vinaigrette dressing.

42. For Valentine’s Day, you can’t have a candle dinner without some heart ravioli.

Yes, I had on heart ravioli before. But it wasn't served in sauce like this.

Yes, I had on heart ravioli before. But it wasn’t served in sauce like this.

43. Spread the love on Valentine’s Day with these heart-shaped buns.

I'm sure they won't be heard to make. Though you may not help but adore them.

I’m sure they won’t be heard to make. Though you may not help but adore them.

44. This cake roll has chocolate hearts all over it.

Yes, it's another cake roll. But this one is pink with chocolate hearts. And it has a darker pink heart in the center.

Yes, it’s another cake roll. But this one is pink with chocolate hearts. And it has a darker pink heart in the center.

45. For Valentine’s Day, your sweetheart might want a fruit breakfast like this.

It's proof that your loved one cares not about how you feel but also your health. Then again, it may depend.

It’s proof that your loved one cares not about how you feel but also your health. Then again, it may depend.

46. For your Valentine’s Day breakfast, treat yourself to some pancake hearts.

These have hearts in them. Some of them are red as you see here.

These have hearts in them. Some of them are red as you see here.

47. A candy heart cheese cake is just the thing for Valentine’s Day.

Still, however it tastes, it'll probably be better than the candies that inspired it. Seriously, those candies taste like chalk.

Still, however it tastes, it’ll probably be better than the candies that inspired it. Seriously, those candies taste like chalk.

48. A Valentine’s Day cake should always be covered in red roses.

Not sure if the roses are fake or made from icing. But I really love this beautiful cake.

Not sure if the roses are fake or made from icing. But I really love this beautiful cake.

49. This large cookie heart proves that love can take all forms even chocolate chip.

And what's better than a chocolate chip heart cookie? Not much as far as I know.

And what’s better than a chocolate chip heart cookie? Not much as far as I know.

50. These XO pancakes are all kisses and hugs.

Still, nobody uses X's and O's anymore than for V-Day. Mostly because we have emojis.

Still, nobody uses X’s and O’s anymore than for V-Day. Mostly because we have emojis.

51. Grace your appetizer platter this Valentine’s Day with some arrow snacks.

Consist of cheese and cherry tomatoes in a toothpick. So they're easy to make with little trouble.

Consist of cheese and cherry tomatoes in a toothpick. So they’re easy to make with little trouble.

52. Now this is the kind of V-Day breakfast in bed.

This one consist of muffins, a donut, a pancake, and raspberries. But it all spells, "Love."

This one consist of muffins, a donut, a pancake, and raspberries. But it all spells, “Love.”

53. For healthier options a V-Day veggie pizza will do.

And consist of vegetables it does. I'm sure your heart will thank you for not going with pepperoni.

And consist of vegetables it does. I’m sure your heart will thank you for not going with pepperoni.

54. There’s nothing romantic on Valentine’s Day like a spaghetti dinner.

This is especially when it's shaped in a heart. Might want to put some Parmesan on that though.

This is especially when it’s shaped in a heart. Might want to put some Parmesan on that though.

55. For Valentine’s Day a hotdog dish of mac and cheese is served with love.

Well, this was made with one hotdog for the heart. But I bet this dish doesn't do wonders for the arteries.

Well, this was made with one hotdog for the heart. But I bet this dish doesn’t do wonders for the arteries.

56. This pasta dish is served with alfredo and red peppers.

And the red peppers are in hearts. Yes, this is quite lovely and creative.

And the red peppers are in hearts. Yes, this is quite lovely and creative.

57. Children will delight in this Cupid pig sandwich.

Well, that's a creative spin on the Greek god of love. Still, it's adorable and original.

Well, that’s a creative spin on the Greek god of love. Still, it’s adorable and original.

58. These rose mini cupcakes almost resemble the real flowers.

Well, to a point, anyway. But I love how these were made. Makes me wonder how these icing roses were possible.

Well, to a point, anyway. But I love how these were made. Makes me wonder how these icing roses were possible.

59. These Valentine’s Day heart cookies come with wings.

Well, some hearts do come with them on V-Day. Nevertheless, wouldn't mind having them at a party.

Well, some hearts do come with them on V-Day. Nevertheless, wouldn’t mind having them at a party.

60. Grace your dessert platter this Valentine’s Day with this chocolate pudding heart cake.

And it sure looks incredibly tempting. Must resist now.

And it sure looks incredibly tempting. Must resist now.

61. These nutter butter owl Valentine cookies are surely a hoot.

Yes, I know owls don't have much to do with V-Day. But these owls are so irresistible.

Yes, I know owls don’t have much to do with V-Day. But these owls are so irresistible.

62. A V-Day cake like this is decked with flowers on the edges.

And they're not roses. Kind of has a spring feel to it if you ask me.

And they’re not roses. Kind of has a spring feel to it if you ask me.

63. These love bug marshmallow cookies will get under your skin.

Yes, they resemble ladybugs and have hearts on their backs. Adorable.

Yes, they resemble ladybugs and have hearts on their backs. Adorable.

64. No one could resist the allure of these chocolate cupcakes.

Now these have candy hearts I actually like. Because it's almost impossible not to like chocolate.

Now these have candy hearts I actually like. Because it’s almost impossible not to like chocolate.

65. These peanut butter Valentine cookies make a tasty treat on a cold day.

Well, at least they seem doable. Though they're not too flashy.

Well, at least they seem doable. Though they’re not too flashy.

66. You can’t have Valentine’s Day without these love bug Oreo truffles.

Well, they don't exactly look like bugs. But they're pretty adorable that you wouldn't care.

Well, they don’t exactly look like bugs. But they’re pretty adorable that you wouldn’t care.

67. Speaking of truffles, check out this truffle topped heart cake.

I'm sure this will be really hard to resist. Still, is that what truffles really look like?

I’m sure this will be really hard to resist. Still, is that what truffles really look like?

68. You can’t go wrong on Valentine’s Day with a candy cane heart cake.

Not sure if those candy canes were left over from Christmas though. Then again, I'll allow it.

Not sure if those candy canes were left over from Christmas though. Then again, I’ll allow it.

69. How about a cupcake with a chocolate rose?

Yes, it's probably professionally made. But the detail is so unreal that you'd wonder whether it's edible.

Yes, it’s probably professionally made. But the detail is so unreal that you’d wonder whether it’s edible.

70. Instead of heart cookies, how about heart cookie pieces?

On one hand, this is a creative and original idea. On the other hand, it might come a bit off as stalkerish to say the least.

On one hand, this is a creative and original idea. On the other hand, it might come a bit off as stalkerish to say the least.

71. Even the smallest hearts can be just as sweet.

These are Valentine's Day mini cookies. And they're all in red, white, as well as shades of pink.

These are Valentine’s Day mini cookies. And they’re all in red, white, as well as shades of pink.

72. Chocolate lovers everywhere would enjoy these ganache heart tartlets on V-Day.

Each one has small hearts of a variety of different colors, too. Love these.

Each one has small hearts of a variety of different colors, too. Love these.

73. Instead of candy hearts, these cookies will be just fine for your sweetheart.

Each one of these has their own sayings. I'm sure plenty would want their significant others to make them.

Each one of these has their own sayings. I’m sure plenty would want their significant others to make them.

74. These V-Day candy cake pops are better than a box of chocolates.

Because you probably know what you're going to get from them. With real chocolates, it's more complicated.

Because you probably know what you’re going to get from them. With real chocolates, it’s more complicated.

75. Pancakes on V-Day can always come from the heart.

Yes, I have V-Day pancakes again. But they're done in a different style than the others.

Yes, I have V-Day pancakes again. But they’re done in a different style than the others.

76. Show your loved ones you care on Valentine’s Day with these heart pockets.

They're homemade hot pockets. Not sure if every bite in them is a different temperature though.

They’re homemade hot pockets. Not sure if every bite in them is a different temperature though.

77. Seems like there’s something special in that bento lunch.

Still, I surely hope the sandwich isn't full of baloney. Then again, I'm not talking about the lunch meat here.

Still, I surely hope the sandwich isn’t full of baloney. Then again, I’m not talking about the lunch meat here.

78. This Valentine’s Day, have a hand in your heart.

Well, they're hand cookies with hearts in them. And they're in different colors to illustrate diversity.

Well, they’re hand cookies with hearts in them. And they’re in different colors to illustrate diversity.

79. A Valentine’s Day cake like this is jammed packed with all kinds of hearts.

Well, they have red, white, and chocolate. And they seemed to be made from pretzels as far as I know.

Well, they have red, white, and chocolate. And they seemed to be made from pretzels as far as I know.

80. These chocolate bear cupcakes will make your heart melt.

They have Ree's minicup heads and hands of chocolate icing. Nevertheless, they're just adorable.

They have Ree’s minicup heads and hands of chocolate icing. Nevertheless, they’re just adorable.

The Wonderful World of Vintage Valentines (Fourth Edition)

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Now that I got some Fuckface von Clownstick inaugural angst out of the way, I should now get into the Valentine’s Day posts. And what better way to start off than with a collection of political incorrectness of crazy vintage valentines? I mean these posts have been quite successful for some time and I know plenty might see it as the only fun part of the holiday. Because like me, there are many people who spend Valentine’s Day single and sometimes going to the store seeing the hearts, candy, stuffed toys, and what not can really get to you. Of course, when people think of valentine cards, they think cutesy heart cards like this one above depicting a couple in love. Yet, if I devoted a post to all the lovey dovey valentines, you’d probably throw up. So instead, I decided to go with vintage valentines that you wouldn’t believe actually existed. I mean people sent these to each other. So I give you yet another installment of unruly vintage valentines for you to love in an unintentionally hilarious way.

  1. If you receive a valentine like this, then your sweetheart must work for the Pentagon.
Okay, I don't think weapons inspired valentines are a good idea. And phallic imagery is the least of my worries here.

Okay, I don’t think weapons inspired valentines are a good idea. And phallic imagery is the least of my worries here.

2. For your Semper Fi sweetheart, this Marine valentine is a real marine.

And here he's preparing to shoot off his gun. Doesn't help that the sentiment includes "aim to make you mine." Mine what? Shooting target?

And here he’s preparing to shoot off his gun. Doesn’t help that the sentiment includes “aim to make you mine.” Mine what? Shooting target?

3. Guess it seems time for a commercial on this one.

Hey, I'm all for grand expressions of love and all. But a televised valentine is just going way too far. Seriously, you need help.

Hey, I’m all for grand expressions of love and all. But a televised valentine is just going way too far. Seriously, you need help.

4. Nothing says romance on Valentine’s Day like allusions to shellfish.

It's also a marriage proposal card, too, which is even more disturbing. I mean unless it's on a plate, do lobsters ever scream romance? No.

It’s also a marriage proposal card, too, which is even more disturbing. I mean unless it’s on a plate, do lobsters ever scream romance? No.

5. Speaking of sea life, check out this crazed fish hungry for a valentine.

I know this is supposed to be a fish but the fact it has a snout full of teeth kind of baffles me. Not to mention, it's wearing some sort of skimpy diving outfit.

I know this is supposed to be a fish but the fact it has a snout full of teeth kind of baffles me. Not to mention, it’s wearing some sort of skimpy diving outfit.

6. Nothing will make you feel valued like a valentine featuring a calf.

Uh, I don't think you'd want to use the word "veal" when pertaining to a calf. Also, it seems to stomp on the valentine.

Uh, I don’t think you’d want to use the word “veal” when pertaining to a calf. Also, it seems to stomp on the valentine.

7. “Okay, no tricky moves from you! This is a hold up, see?”

I guess the sex costume here is Wild West prostitute who's armed and dangerous. Then again, I think a guy might want to stay away from her.

I guess the sex costume here is Wild West prostitute who’s armed and dangerous. Then again, I think a guy might want to stay away from her.

8. “I’m prepared to meet your best defense, Valentine, so you’d better be mine!”

Okay, I think this boy might as well give up. No need for the wooden swords and pots and pans. If she doesn't want him, she doesn't want him. He can't force himself on her.

Okay, I think this boy might as well give up. No need for the wooden swords and pots and pans. If she doesn’t want him, she doesn’t want him. He can’t force himself on her.

9. This Native American prefers to have a heart roasted.

Okay, this is kind of offensive to Native Americans. If the heart roasting doesn't raise eyebrows, the speech should.

Okay, this is kind of offensive to Native Americans. If the heart roasting doesn’t raise eyebrows, the speech should.

10. “Gosh, Valentine, don’t you just like me a ‘weenie bit?'”

Of course, this can also be interpreted as, "I'm so desperate for a girlfriend that I'll settle for anything at this point." Also, don't tell me 'weenie bit' means what I think it does.

Of course, this can also be interpreted as, “I’m so desperate for a girlfriend that I’ll settle for anything at this point.” Also, don’t tell me ‘weenie bit’ means what I think it does.

11. “Hose your valentine? Me!”

From Buzzfeed: "I believe there is now an Adult film with this title." Yeah, he seems to be squeezing the nozzle a little too hard.

From Buzzfeed: “I believe there is now an Adult film with this title.” Yeah, he seems to be squeezing the nozzle a little too hard.

12. “Can’t measure my love!”

But if you can't measure one's love, what can you measure? Oh, wait, I think I see what might be going on here.

But if you can’t measure one’s love, what can you measure? Oh, wait, I think I see what might be going on here.

13. Happy Valentine’s Day, now enjoy this picture of a creepy clown dog on the violin.

This dog fiddler is the stuff of nightmares. It's not cute, especially since it has crossed eyes. Look away, I beg of you.

This dog fiddler is the stuff of nightmares. It’s not cute, especially since it has crossed eyes. Look away, I beg of you.

14. Speaking of clowns, hope this one doesn’t play a joke.

Okay, this clown makes the Joker seem like the guy you'd want to bring to a kid's birthday party. Even more disturbing is how he has his hand sticking out of the heart. Creepy.

Okay, this clown makes the Joker seem like the guy you’d want to bring to a kid’s birthday party. Even more disturbing is how he has his hand sticking out of the heart. Creepy.

15. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with love in a sausage.

However, judging by the sausage, this guy may not be looking for love. Yeah, I'm not fooled by the sausage bit.

However, judging by the sausage, this guy may not be looking for love. Yeah, I’m not fooled by the sausage bit.

16. “A valentine for you, I can’t help ‘mooning over you!'”

But explain to me how that rocket seems conveniently located between this girl's legs. Oh, and she's holding a rocket in her hand. I think I know why she might be mooning.

But explain to me how that rocket seems conveniently located between this girl’s legs. Oh, and she’s holding a rocket in her hand. I think I know why she might be mooning.

17. “I don’t want you to be my brother, I want you to be my valentine!”

Okay, that message is a little creepy and I saw Luke kissing Leia in The Empire Strikes Back. However, that woman's face makes me even more uncomfortable because the skin tones certain'y don't match.

Okay, that message is a little creepy and I saw Luke kissing Leia in The Empire Strikes Back. However, that woman’s face makes me even more uncomfortable because the skin tones certain’y don’t match.

18. “Come down ‘off your perch’ and be my valentine, you’d be a ‘birdie.'”

The fact she says this in a bird cage really makes me cringe. I guess she really wants a guy to get her out of there.

The fact she says this in a bird cage really makes me cringe. I guess she really wants a guy to get her out of there.

19. “Do you ‘tank’ you could love me?”

Not if you aim an actual tank at me asking that question. Seriously, military weapons have no place in valentines at all.

Not if you aim an actual tank at me asking that question. Seriously, military weapons have no place in valentines at all.

20. “I’m gonna plow right in and ask you to be my valentine.”

Okay, I really don't have a great feeling about this. But at least it's not being particularly forceful as far as I'm concerned.

Okay, I really don’t have a great feeling about this. But at least it’s not being particularly forceful as far as I’m concerned.

21. “I’ll camp and tramp until I find a girl like you for my valentine!”

So I guess this guy says, "So you better settle down with me or else, I'm going to spend my days as a homeless guy." Also helps if the girl's loaded with cash.

So I guess this guy says, “So you better settle down with me or else, I’m going to spend my days as a homeless guy.” Also helps if the girl’s loaded with cash.

22. Lovers, always beware of Cupid.

Is Cupid supposed to be the African tribesman that's depicted in highly racist caricature? Got it.

Is Cupid supposed to be the African tribesman that’s depicted in highly racist caricature? Got it.

23. “To be ‘frank,’ you’re ‘hot stuff!'”

Sure she may look innocent with her hotdog and fire tongs. But there's fire down below and she's holding the hotdog a little too tight.

Sure she may look innocent with her hotdog and fire tongs. But there’s fire down below and she’s holding the hotdog a little too tight.

24. This archer aims for your heart.

But whether he means to love you or kill you, I can't actually decide. But he seems to have his bow and arrows out either way.

But whether he means to love you or kill you, I can’t actually decide. But he seems to have his bow and arrows out either way.

25. “Want a little ‘harem scarem,’ for your valentine?”

Uh, girl, do you know what a harem is? If you do, are implying that you want group sex or an open relationship? Or do you just want to wear a skimpy costume?

Uh, girl, do you know what a harem is? If you do, are implying that you want group sex or an open relationship? Or do you just want to wear a skimpy costume?

26. “I’ve got my eyes on you, dear valentine!”

However, a girl with a heart head is the stuff of nightmares. No, that's not cute. That's terrifying for a V-Day horror movie.

However, a girl with a heart head is the stuff of nightmares. No, that’s not cute. That’s terrifying for a V-Day horror movie.

27. “I love being ;pushed around,’ valentine! I’m yours!”

You mean pushed around sucking real loud? Because that's what vacuums do. Oh, wait, that's kind of dirty.

You mean pushed around sucking real loud? Because that’s what vacuums do. Oh, wait, that’s kind of dirty.

28. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like being aimed at with a machine gun.

Sure that's a military themed valentine. But still, having a machine gun in one is just fucked up. Seriously, why?

Sure that’s a military themed valentine. But still, having a machine gun in one is just fucked up. Seriously, why?

29. Speaking of military weapons, get a load of this cannon.

Seems like he's a bit happier than expected. Hope the large gun isn't a metaphor for an erection.

Seems like he’s a bit happier than expected. Hope the large gun isn’t a metaphor for an erection.

30. As we all know, a nudist is bad at hiding who she fancies.

I know what you're thinking. How can they have a naked girl on a valentine like this? I'm still asking that question. Yes, she needs to get some clothes on.

I know what you’re thinking. How can they have a naked girl on a valentine like this? I’m still asking that question. Yes, she needs to get some clothes on.

31. “My heart pants for you!”

And it's hung with a bunch of women's undies on the clothes line. I can guess the hidden meaning behind that one.

And it’s hung with a bunch of women’s undies on the clothes line. I can guess the hidden meaning behind that one.

32. “You will get a big piece if you will be my valentine!”

Sorry, but a dog butcher doesn't make this valentine any less disturbing. This is especially when it has a heart on table and cleaver in paw.

Sorry, but a dog butcher doesn’t make this valentine any less disturbing. This is especially when it has a heart on table and cleaver in paw.

33. “Light of my life, do I satisfy?”

Now that can be read in any number of ways. One of them being sexually which might be what this tom cat is implying.

Now that can be read in any number of ways. One of them being sexually which might be what this tom cat is implying.

34. This Valentine’s Day, you should always have 2 on a seesaw.

Up, down, just decide and don't lead on. Of course, there are those who tend to play games with people's hearts on the playground.

Up, down, just decide and don’t lead on. Of course, there are those who tend to play games with people’s hearts on the playground.

35. Hand over your heart, or else.

Because nothing says Valentine's Day like the threat of lethal violence. How romantic!

Because nothing says Valentine’s Day like the threat of lethal violence. How romantic!

36. “I will have an axe to grind unless you’ll be my valentine!”

So I guess this means, "If you say no, I shall have to chop you to pieces." Sorry, but I'll take that risk.

So I guess this means, “If you say no, I shall have to chop you to pieces.” Sorry, but I’ll take that risk.

37. Any boy would wish to have a space themed valentine.

Kind of reminds me of Slim Pickens riding on a missile in Dr. Strangelove. Then again, it might imply something dirtier.

Kind of reminds me of Slim Pickens riding on a missile in Dr. Strangelove. Then again, it might imply something dirtier.

38. “You’re my valentine, sure as shooting.”

And he has his gun aimed like a true buckaroo. Yes, I find these gun valentines quite disturbing as always.

And he has his gun aimed like a true buckaroo. Yes, I find these gun valentines quite disturbing as always.

39. Looks like some fox’s got caught in a trap.

And he needs his valentine to open it to let his tail out. Or else he'd die. But in the meantime, he'll just sit and smell the flowers. No need to hurry.

And he needs his valentine to open it to let his tail out. Or else he’d die. But in the meantime, he’ll just sit and smell the flowers. No need to hurry.

40. Happy Valentine’s Day from the girl who’s trying to lose weight for you.

By the way, that's an old weight loss contraption called a fan belt. And no, it doesn't work. Still, ladies, if you try to lose weight, don't do it for a man.

By the way, that’s an old weight loss contraption called a fan belt. And no, it doesn’t work. Still, ladies, if you try to lose weight, don’t do it for a man.

41. Even sharks need some loving some time.

However, this green suited guy is a card shark. So I don't think he's the best kind of boyfriend. Because he might have a gambling problem. Or eat you alive.

However, this green suited guy is a card shark. So I don’t think he’s the best kind of boyfriend. Because he might have a gambling problem. Or eat you alive.

42. “Slicing baloney is not my line. I love you, my valentine.”

Okay, I might want to stay away from this creepy butcher. Really don't need that in my life.

Okay, I might want to stay away from this creepy butcher. Really don’t need that in my life.

43. If you want to show your appreciation to your teacher, this is the valentine for you.

On the other hand, teacher-student relationships should never be encouraged in any circumstances whatsoever. Doesn't help the kid is dressed in a sailor suit and holding a ruler.

On the other hand, teacher-student relationships should never be encouraged in any circumstances whatsoever. Doesn’t help the kid is dressed in a sailor suit and holding a ruler.

44. “I’m ready to show plenty of action, valentine, if you consent to be mine.”

Well, at least this boy is better about consent then the guys in some of these cards. But the projection is still kind of dirty.

Well, at least this boy is better about consent then the guys in some of these cards. But the projection is still kind of dirty.

45. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like being just out of the shower.

It's valentines like these that make me suspect that these vintage cards were made for adults. This especially goes for the ones with people naked like this.

It’s valentines like these that make me suspect that these vintage cards were made for adults. This especially goes for the ones with people naked like this.

46. “Let’s have a real blow out today!”

Or is it supposed to be blowjob? Because that's how I take it away from this picture.

Or is it supposed to be blowjob? Because that’s how I take it away from this picture.

47. Here’s a card that says, “Be my valentine, I’ll do anything like the housework.”

Well, this boy may not have much going for him. But he'll probably succeed in picking up chicks though he may not like doing chores.

Well, this boy may not have much going for him. But he’ll probably succeed in picking up chicks though he may not like doing chores. Still, he’s kind of creepy.

48. “Pick out a heart but be sure it’s mine, valentine!”

Hmmm...not sure if that's going to work since the two really don't see eye to eye. This particularly the case when one has a freakishly long neck like an ostrich or a giraffe.

Hmmm…not sure if that’s going to work since the two really don’t see eye to eye. This particularly the case when one has a freakishly long neck like an ostrich or a giraffe.

49. “Don’t be afraid, you’re going to be my valentine!”

Uh, girl, you have every right to be afraid right now. Because you're being pursued by a monstrous shadow with a card. Yeah, run for your life now.

Uh, girl, you have every right to be afraid right now. Because you’re being pursued by a monstrous shadow with a card. Yeah, run for your life now.

50. If you won’t be mind, then I’ll fade away until I’m all bones, you bonehead.

I'm sure this would be perfect if your sweetheart's a goth. Still, such sentiments from someone might mean they really need a therapist.

I’m sure this would be perfect if your sweetheart’s a goth. Still, such sentiments from someone might mean they really need a therapist.

An Open Inaugural Letter to Donald Trump

Mr. Trump, when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for some lowly blogger like me to pinch my two cents in with this whole fiasco. During the 2016 election, I worked tirelessly to ensure that you’ll never become President of the United States once you became the GOP nominee. I wrote 3 blog posts citing how you’re such a despicable human being who screwed workers, investors, contractors, banks, and pretty much anyone who’d dared to challenge you or your precious brand. Of course, my efforts failed since you wouldn’t be president if they succeeded.

However, if you think I’m writing to you to offer an olive branch and let bygones be bygones, you are sorely mistaken. You may have won over the support of the Republican Party establishment, enough votes to ensure a victory in the Electoral College as well as people in my neighborhood, family, community, and state, etc. You may have the constitutional legitimacy to be President of the United States. You may have a business empire worth millions of dollars and a name known the world over. But none of that guarantees that I’ll ever kowtow and respect you or see you as my president. Because you don’t win my respect by simply being very rich or famous or being President of the United States. No, respect has to be earned. You lost that chance forever long before you ever ran for president, especially after you started promoting birther conspiracy theories. Though I thought you were nothing more than a joke just using birtherism to garner publicity. Yet, your shock jock mentality stopped being funny the moment you referred to Mexicans as criminals, rapists, and drug mules while your popularity increased. Now that I know of all your dirty dealings and many grievous sins, you absolutely disgust me. And the fact so many people voted for you despite your critical moral failings and lack of qualifications incenses me to no end as well as makes me feel ashamed of my country. And the fact you’re President of the United States doesn’t change the fact you’ve flunked basic tests of decency as the unrespectable man you are.

To see you as president makes me feel that Americans don’t seem to have any moral standards whatsoever in the candidates they elect. Now I don’t expect for my political candidates to be saints by any stretch of the imagination. But I do wish they abide by certain standards of human decency such as having some semblance of a conscience which you completely lack. From what I’ve read or seen of you, I know of no moment when you’ve never been unconditionally nice to anyone. Nor do I know any time when you’ve taken any responsibility for your actions, ever said you’re sorry, or even admitted you’re wrong without someone pitting you in a corner. Nor could I ever tell whenever you’re telling the truth or making a promise you intend to keep. But I do know of countless times when you stiffed employees and contractors out of their hard earned wages as well as cheated investors and left them holding the bag whenever your business ventures failed. I know of instances of you using litigation as an intimidation tactic or lashing out on Twitter whenever someone dared to mock, challenge, or speak out against you. I do know of times when you’ve praised brutal dictators as well as done business with them. And I know of times when you’ve done business with known criminals. I also remember times when you’ve clearly lied, made promises you never intended to keep, as well as went to great lengths to avoid taking any responsibility for the widespread harm you’ve caused so many people. I’m not just talking about all the terrible things you said you’d do to minorities during your presidential campaign or your tirades against critics wanting to hold you accountable. But also the people who’ve put all their time, effort, and sometimes even resources into your ventures so they’d succeed only to have you swindle them out of what they’re rightfully owed. Yet, you feel absolutely no remorse and don’t give a damn about the consequences if they don’t affect you. If they do, you just deny, sue, intimidate, or blame someone else for them. Because you think your wealth and status guarantee you special privileges that exempt you from following codes of conduct you don’t think should apply to you. And I know that every time you were in a position of power or trust, you’d usually abuse it to enrich yourself with no second thought. You’re such a thoroughly despicable human being with delusions of grandeur who’d rather not let his dirty laundry see the light of day. I have no capacity to respect you and no amount of money and power could ever change that.

You may have won over a large swath of white voters with your virulent screeds of racist and xenophobic dog whistles, appeals to a whitewashed nostalgia, flag-waving patriotic grandstanding, and countless promises of making America great again. However, I know all too well that you really don’t give a rat’s ass about your supporters who think the world of you unless they have a generous bank account or their name in lights. And I know as president, you will certainly betray the white working class voters who elected you if you haven’t already done so whether it be for yourself, the GOP establishment, the corporate elites of the 1%, or your cabinet of swamp cronies. I may not know the full extent of your politics but I know you aren’t a man of the people and don’t give a shit about the working man you’d only cater to with empty promises if he can give you what you want. Even if it means voting for a candidate who goes against the kind of sacred American values they hold dear and who brings out the worst of this country. But that doesn’t mean you’ll deliver since I’m fully aware that your white working class supporters have been conned by an elite con artist of the 1%. But you don’t fool me because I know exactly the kind of piece of shit you are. The media may call you a populist but your populism is nothing but a charade while your presidential campaign was all smoke and mirrors but no substantive policies. Contrary to what your supporters think of you, you’re not successful, strong, or fearless leader who deserves respect but a weak, cowardly fraud who wouldn’t have his wealth or the presidency if he wasn’t born into the 1% and had his daddy’s money bailing him out of trouble. And I wasn’t surprised when you broke your promise to drain the swamp because your extensive history shows that corruption runs to the very core to your identity. I know you will use the presidency screw the American people your own self-enrichment with little regard to laws, rules, or others. I know you will honor no loyalties and commitments and betray the office and government you’re sworn to uphold. Because I know you have no respect for America, its values, its constitution, or its people. And I know you have no respect for democracy or believe a government conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. If anything, you certainly won’t fix what’s wrong with this country but make it worse for you’re part of the problem. Even if you are now the president, I see absolutely no reason why I should have any respect for you.

You may be the President of the United States as we speak. You may have the support of my relatives, friends, neighbors, community and fellow Pennsylvanians. But you can forget me addressing you as “Mr. President” and giving you a chance to lead or treating you with any kind of respect the office entails for the next 4-8 years even for the sake of unity or the country. Your supporters, the GOP, the media, and at least 60 million Americans may continually excuse and enable your appalling and despicable behavior no matter what you do. But I will not because not only do you go against everything I and America stand for, but you also constantly violate norms of ethical behavior which I still deem as unacceptable in a president. To unite behind you for the sake of the country will only give validation of racist, xenophobic, and misogynist and sexual predatory behavior as well as legitimized greed and authoritarianism as acceptable. To call my president would be to send a message it’s okay to bully, intimidate, incite violence, and lie to people in order to get what you want and not take responsibility for all the hurt you’ve caused. To recognize you as my country’s leader means being fine with a president who’s eagerly willing to violate my constitutional rights. To be willing to work with you shows I’m willing to live in your world of vanity, hate, recklessness, untruth, vindictiveness, and your disdain for democratic norms that will lead to national decline and suffering. And deferring any respect to you for the sake of the presidential office or national unity will only give legitimacy to everything about America I despise. As president, you don’t deserve being recognized as worthy of the respect the office entails because you’re still an unrespectable man who’s nothing but a disgrace to the nation whose principles he doesn’t represent. Having you as president doesn’t make America great again and never will since you’re nothing but a repulsive sociopathic demagogue who puts the dignity of the presidential office in jeopardy. Your election shatters my faith in the American people beyond recognition as well as the people I know and love. To accept you as my president is to give my stamp of approval of your character and behavior which I won’t tolerate as well as abandon the kind of moral values I won’t desert.

Now I may still respect my country, pay taxes, and observe its laws just like any citizen. But I will not do so out of respect for you or the policies which I so vehemently oppose. Though I will exercise civil disobedience if any of your policies infringe on my civil rights or liberties or those of my fellow Americans. I will fight for the welfare of all Americans including those who elected you since I care about and respect them much more than you ever will. And I vow to resist you in order to keep you from destroying this great nation any further even if it means calling for your impeachment and removal from office. For I think those calling for your assassination are way too kind and out of their minds. As long as you’re in office, I refuse to recognize you as an authority figure. I refuse to give you any benefit of legitimacy that you don’t deserve. I refuse to normalize, excuse, or defend whatever you say and do because I see your presidency as a disaster of American democracy and think you set a terrible example to children. You may be president, but you are not my leader and you don’t represent me or my values because you aren’t worthy of my respect let alone admiration. And as long as you’re president, I will not cooperate with you, I will not bow down to you, and I will not obey you. You may complain if you wish but you can go fuck yourself by the pussy and go straight to hell for all I care. While only God knows what’s redeemable in one’s heart and soul, I deny you the right to take away my rights or those of others, especially if they can’t defend themselves. Because I still believe in basic human decency as well as the notions of liberty, equality, and the common good that have made this country great. I will not submit to a presidential authority who rejects the Constitution as well as its underlying principles of democratic self-government and individual rights. I will not comply with a president who uses the mass media to lie, insult, to strip individuals of their dignity, to commit the grossest falsehoods against religious and national groups, as well as encourage persecution, torture, and violence. I will not get behind a leader who actively campaigns against any notion of sexual, religious, or racial equality, embraces a form of self-serving capitalism with no conscience, and threatens those opposing him with the unchecked power of the state. Because even as president, you have absolutely no right to strip minorities of equal status and protections or throw away a democratic future of posterity. And God be damned if I let it happen in my lifetime. I know what may be in other people’s hearts or minds today, but as for me, you will never be my president and I hope your term of office goes down in flames.

So instead of wishing you well and congratulations on your presidency, all I have to say to you is go to hell and fuck you. Because if you can’t respect democracy and American values or exercise any form of decency, then I see no reason to treat you with the utmost disrespect and contempt befitting of a public figure so worthy of being so strongly despised by the American public. You’re a piece of pussy grabbing human garbage who represents everything about America I hate. To see you as president gives me nothing but shame. So even if over 60 million Americans consented to you screwing them, doesn’t mean you have a right to fuck with me. Because you absolutely don’t, not now, not ever. And if you do in any way, which I’m sure you will, I will not let you get away with it and make sure your life becomes a living hell. And if you shall come to my area for any reason, fuck off. So goddamn you and everything you stand for since you’re nothing but garbage to me. Your con man’s words have no value to me since you’re a pathological liar who only tells your supporters what they want to hear while shamelessly robbing them blind with no second thought. To me, you’ll always be an outright fraud who belongs in jail instead of the White House. If reading this post inflames you to the point you’re tweeting nasty shit about me because I don’t give you the kind of respect you feel entitled to, remember that I owe you nothing. And if you’re not happy with me attacking your brand or so-called good name, then perhaps you can shove it up your ass you seem to talk out of. You can do whatever you want with me but all I have to say is screw you for I don’t care what you think of me. So you might as well go fuck yourself as your presidency fucks up the country.

The Legal Loan Sharks Among Us: The Matter of Payday Loans

 

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A loan shark is a person or body offering loans at extremely high interest rates. When we hear the term, we usually think about gangsters who lend money to people but enforce repayment through methods like blackmail and threats of violence. However, what you may not know is that while loan sharks are mostly seen as figures in the criminal underworld and organized, they’re not always seen as crooks linked to the mob, especially in the world of small time and salary lending. Historically, it wasn’t unusual for many moneylenders to skirt between legal and extralegal activity. In late 19th century America, the unprofitability and negative societal perception of small loans paved the way for a slew of lenders offering loans at profitable but at illegally high interest rates under a veneer of legality and preyed upon a borrower’s ignorance of the law. The 1920s and 1930s saw a rise of loan sharks who targeted high risk borrowers and small businesses either in dire straits or ill repute as well as enforced repayment through threats of violence. Sometimes these loan sharks were affiliated organized crime but they never had such monopoly. Today our non-standard lenders consist of subprime loans which led to a global financial crisis and payday lending which are both legal. But both are rather exploitative and prey upon those who can’t qualify for standard loans on mainstream sources. Yet, it’s the payday loans that generally don’t receive the attention they should since they’ve come under tremendous scrutiny as a predatory enterprise and must be stopped. Here I provide a small cheat sheet for explanation.

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It’s likely you may see a lot of payday loan ads like this. A payday loan is a small unsecured loan that’s typically due on the borrower’s payday. However, they tend to have an reputation of high interest rates.

What is a payday loan?

A payday loan is a small short-term unsecured loan that’s typically due on the borrower’s payday. They usually range from $100-$1,500 and are often due 30 days or less. A payday loan relies on the consumer having previous payroll and employment records. In a payday loan, a borrower gives the lender access to their checking account or writes a check for the full balance that the lender has an option to deposit when the loan comes due. Other loan features can vary. Though payday loans are often structured to be paid off in one lump sum payment, interest only payments known as “renewals” or “rollovers” aren’t unusual. In some cases, payday loans may be structured so they’re repayable in installments over a longer period of time. Payday loans usually include a finance that may range from $10-$30 for every $100 borrowed or the check’s percentage value.

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While payday loans are legal under federal law, state laws may vary. My home state of Pennsylvania is one of the states that prohibits them outright as you can see from the map.

Are payday loans legal in the United States?

At the federal level, yes and payday lenders are subject to regulation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well as the Federal Trade Commission along with the Truth in Lending Act that requires them to disclose their finance charges. And there are special protections for military servicemen through the Military Lending Act. However legislation regarding payday loans varies widely between different states. As of 2017, payday lending is legal in 27 states, legal with restrictions in 9, and banned in 14 including my home state of Pennsylvania.

How did payday loans come to be?

The history of payday loans can be dated as far as the early 1900s with some small lenders participating in salary purchases, buying a worker’s salary at less than its value days before the scheduled payday in order to avoid usury laws. Loan sharks and the mafia also had their own payday loan schemes starting from the 1920s. In the 1930s, check cashers cashed post-dated checks for a daily fee until the check was negotiated at a later date and began offering payday loan services in the early 1990s. When banking deregulation caused small community banks to go out of business in the late 1980s which, the payday loan industry sprang up in order to fill the void in the microcredit supply at expensive rates. From there, the industry grew from less than 500 storefronts to over 22,000 and a total size of $46 billion. The number has grown even higher over the years that by 2008, payday loan stores nationwide outnumbered Starbucks shops and McDonald’s restaurants. There are also major banks that offer payday loans as well as companies that offer them online. Deregulation also caused states to roll back usury caps and allow lenders to restructure their loans to avoid them after federal laws were changed.

What do I need to qualify for a payday loan?

According to the CFPB, payday lenders generally require you to have an active checking account, provide proof of income from a job or another source, show valid identification, and be at least 18 years old. Some may have additional criteria like minimum time at your current job or a minimum income to qualify for a certain amount.

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Like payday loans themselves, rollovers and renewals on payday loans also have varying legality among the states. However, they’re usually more or less regulated except in Kansas, Utah, and Nevada.

What does it mean to renew or rollover a payday loan?

According to the CFPB, “Generally, renewing or rolling over a payday loan means you pay a fee to delay paying back the loan. This fee does not reduce the amount you owe. If you roll over the loan multiple times, it’s possible to pay several hundred dollars in fees and still owe the amount you borrowed. For example, if you roll over a $300 loan with a $45 fee three times before fully repaying the loan, you will pay four $45 fees, or $180, and you will still owe the $300. So, in that example, you would pay back a total of $480.” Some payday lenders give borrowers this option if they can’t afford to make the payment when it’s due. Nevertheless, this practice is legal in only 14 states and most of them place limits on this save Nevada, Utah, and Kansas.

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Despite what ads may tell you, most payday loan users are low income workers who usually take them out for recurring expenses over the course of months. This is partly why a lot of users have trouble paying them off.

Who uses payday loans?

According to a Pew study, “Most payday loan borrowers [in the United States] are white, female, and are 25 to 44 years old. However, after controlling for other characteristics, there are five groups that have higher odds of having used a payday loan: those without a four-year college degree; home renters; African Americans; those earning below $40,000 annually; and those who are separated or divorced.” Recent immigrants, Hispanics, and single parents also were more likely to use payday loans. And most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses over the course of months, not unexpected emergencies over the course of weeks (contrary to what the industry states in its ads). So it’s not unusual for borrowers to use more than one. The average borrower is indebted about 5 months a year. In 2013, 12 million people took out payday loans each year.

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Payday lenders may claim to help people in tight spots. But they ensure employees to make tough times last forever thanks to obscenely high interest rates that may be impossible for some to pay off.

So why do payday loans have a shady reputation?

Payday lenders are notorious for their predatory lending practices of exorbitant higher fees and interest rates than traditional loans that don’t encourage savings or asset accumulation. According to the CFPB, “The cost of the loan (finance charge) may range from $10 to $30 for every $100 borrowed. A typical two-week payday loan with a $15 per $100 fee equates to an annual percentage rate (APR) of almost 400%. By comparison, APRs on credit cards can range from about 12 percent to 30 percent.” If that loan’s not paid on time, then the total cost will be much larger than expected $404.56 within 20 weeks or $2,862.22 within 48. The Pew study states that the average payday loan borrower took out 8 loans of $375 each and paid interest of $520 across the loans within a year.

Payday loans are usually marketed towards low-income households because they often can’t provide collateral in order to obtain a low interest loan or lack access to a traditional bank deposit account. Families who use payday loans are disproportionately black or Hispanic, recent immigrants, and/or under-educated since these individuals are least able to secure normal lower-interest-rate forms of credit. The payday loan industry takes advantage of the fact that most of their borrowers don’t know how to calculate their loan’s APR and don’t realize they’re being charged rates up to 390% interest annually. Those higher interest rates are likely to send borrowers into a debt spiral where they must constantly renew. And according to the Center for Responsible Lending, almost of half of payday loan borrowers will default within the first two years. Taking out payday loans also increases the possibility of economic difficulties that make it hard to pay the rent, mortgage, and utility bills. Such difficulties can also lead to homelessness as well as delays in medical and dental care along with the ability to purchase drugs. Since payday lending operations charge higher interest-rates than traditional banks, they have the effect of depleting assets in low-income communities. A consumer advocacy group called the Insight Center reported that payday lending cost the US $774 million a year in 2013.

Payday lenders have also made effective use of the sovereign status of Native American reservations, often forming partnerships with members of a tribe to offer loans over the internet which evade state law. While some tribal lenders are operated by Native Americans, there’s also evidence many are simply a creation of so-called “rent-a-tribe” schemes where a non-Native company sets up operations on tribal lands. The FTC also monitors these lenders as well. And the fact the Military Lending Act imposes a 36% rate cap on tax refund loans and certain payday and auto title loans made to active duty armed forces and their covered dependents as well as prohibits certain terms in such loans illustrates that the payday loan industry has targeted military servicemen.

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Payday loans are often a debt trap since they target people who can least afford to pay them back. And such debt may lead borrowers to take in more payday loans ensuring a vicious cycle to continue.

How are payday loans a debt trap?

A debt trapped is defined as “a situation in which a debt is difficult or impossible to repay, typically because high interest payments prevent repayment of the principal.” According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 76% of the total volume of payday loans are due to loan churning, where loans are taken out within two weeks of a previous loan. The center states that the devotion of 25-50% of the borrower’s paychecks leaves most borrowers with inadequate funds, compelling them to take new payday loans immediately. And they will continue to pay high percentages to float the loan across longer time periods, effectively placing them in a financial hole.

How do payday loans affect the economy?

Payday loans actually hurt the economy. Though they’re designed to provide consumers with emergency liquidity (despite being normally used to meet normal recurring obligations), payday loans divert money away from consumer spending and towards paying interest rates which can range from 200-500%. In 2011, payday loans cost the US $774 million in consumer spending, $169 million in 56,230 bankruptcies, and 14,000 jobs. States that have outlawed payday lending have lower rates of bankruptcy, a smaller volume of complaints regarding collection tactics, and the development of new lending services from banks to credit unions.

How long does it take to pay off a payday loan?

Borrowers typically have payday loan debt for much longer than the loan’s advertised two-week period, averaging about 200 days. Though most borrowers do know when they’ll pay them off and about 60% of them pay off their loans within two weeks of the days they predict.

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Payday lenders can be quite ruthless when it comes to collecting the debts. On some occasions, payday lenders have threatened borrowers with legal action that has led to a small percentage serving jail time.

How do payday lenders collect on loans?

Under federal law, a payday lender can use only the same industry standard collection practices used to collect other debts specifically standards listed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA forbids debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices to collect from debtors. Such practices include calling before 8 o’clock in the morning or after 9 o’clock at night, or calling debtors at work. In many cases, borrowers write a post-dated check to the lender and if they don’t have enough money in their account by the check’s date, it will bounce. When that happens, payday lenders will usually attempt to collect on the consumer’s obligation first by simply requesting payment. If internal collection fails, some payday lenders may outsource the debt collection or sell that debt to a third party. Yet, a small percentage of payday lenders have in the past threatened delinquent borrowers with criminal prosecution for check fraud which is illegal in many jurisdictions. But over a third of states in 2011 allowed late borrowers to be jailed despite the fact that debtor’s prisons have been federally outlawed since 1833.

Then there’s the matter with Texas, which prohibits payday lenders from suing a borrower for theft if the check is post-dated. But lenders get their customers to write checks for the day the loan is given knowing that they’d bounce since the borrowers didn’t have any money. If the borrower fails to pay on the due date, the lender sues them for writing a hot check. Sometimes they can file criminal complaints. This has led Texas courts and prosecutors becoming de facto collections agencies that warn borrowers they could face arrest, criminal charges, jail time, and fines. On top of debts owed, district attorneys charge additional fees. Borrowers have been jailed for owing as little as $200 and most of them who failed to pay had lost their jobs or had their hours reduced at work.

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There are several alternatives to payday loans whether it means borrowing money from work or from friends or taking money from a credit union. However, if you need some fast cash before your next payday, it’s better to pay a late fee on your bills than take a payday loan. Because payday loans are nothing but high interest debt traps.

Are there any alternatives to payday lending?

Yes, there are. Credit union loans have lower interest but more stringent terms that take longer to gain approval, employee access to earned but unpaid wages, pawnbrokers, credit payment plans, paycheck cash advances from employers (“advance on salary”), auto pawn loans, bank overdraft protection, cash advances from credit cards, emergency community assistance plans, small consumer loans, installment loans and direct loans from family or friends. Those who own a car can go with an auto title loan which uses the equity of the vehicle as the credit instead of payment history and employment history. You can also take advantage overdraft protection at your bank, establish a line of credit from an FDIC-approved lender. However, if you should consider taking payday loans, always consider the alternatives or at least try to avoid taking them. So if you need to pay your bills before payday, a late fee might be cheaper than a payday loan finance charge.

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Yes, payday loans work like that. So remember, if you’re a low income worker in need of money, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from a friend or employer. Chances are they’d probably not put you through financial hell like the predatory payday loan business. I mean such

They Made a Show Out of This? Stupid Reality TV Shows: Part 10 – House Hunters to The Hills

Seems like we’ve made it to the end of this series on reality shows. Even if you’re a diehard reality show fan, I hope you can walk away from this blog series without being too offended. For I don’t really mean to let you down on some of your favorites. Or at least understand that what you see on reality shows isn’t always real or accurate. But if you’re like me and don’t like reality shows at all, then I hope you can find some satisfaction that the world of such television is about as fake, sleazy, and contrived as you thought it would be. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to understand the concepts behind a lot of these shows as well as the questionable ethics employed by production crews. And yes, there’s a lot of manipulation involved. But what disturbs me most when reading about reality TV is how some networks and producers can sink to disturbing new lows for the sake of ratings. And so I bring you the final installment of my bad reality show series.

91. House Hunters

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Though House Hunters is stated to be about families and couples looking for a new home, in reality it’s not the case. Because it’s more likely the family already picked the house while the other two homes belong to their friends.

Station: HGTV

Premise: Follows individuals searching for a new home with help from a real estate agent. In each episode the buyers must decide between 3 properties, ultimately choosing one before the end of the episode. The show concludes by revisiting the buyers in their new home a few weeks or months later, where they describe the changes they’ve made and the effect their new home has on their life.

Why It’s Stupid: In 2012, a former participant told the Hooked on Houses blog that she and her family already picked the house before taping the show. In addition, she said the remaining 2 houses they viewed on TV were really just their friends’ homes. Another participant stated, “The show is not really a reality show. You have to already own the house that gets picked at the end of the show. But the other houses in the show are actually the other houses we considered buying.”

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on and with several spin-offs

 

92. Call of the Wildman

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Call of the Wildman follows a man who operates a Kentucky backwoods pest removal business. While the show was a hit, Mother Jones did an article exposing him of animal mistreatment with evidence to support.

Station: Animal Planet

Premise: Follows the exploits of Kentucky woodsman Ernie Brown Jr. nicknamed, “The Turtleman.” Aided by his friend and his dog, he operates a nuisance animal removal business while he catches and releases the pesky critters.

Why It’s Stupid:Because it depicts Brown’s Spartan existence in the backwoods of Kentucky, some poverty advocacy groups have expressed concerns that it exploits the stereotypical views of Southerners as being poorly educated, poorly groomed, and impoverished. Then there are detractors stating that while Brown actually does catch animals on his show, the scenarios and animal catching scenes are scripted and faked using appropriated animals instead of naturally occurring events. In 2013, the city of Danville, Kentucky released an investigation report that the city parks department and the crew failed to obtain the required approvals before releasing poisonous snakes into a local public pool in order to stage an apparent poisonous snake infestation there. In addition, the Kentucky Reptile Zoo director identified the species of snakes used in the scene as not indigenous to where the scene was filmed. Thus, making it impossible for the scene to occur naturally. In addition, after a seven-month investigation, Mother Jones published an expose on the show including testimony and supporting evidence that the crew obtained an opossum from a wildlife rescue in order to fake a supposed wildlife infestation at a Lexington fraternity house. They also discussed a baby raccoon dying from an apparent lack of appropriate food and medical care after being in Brown’s supposed possession for several days amongst numerous other actions against Brown and the crew. Since the release of the Mother Jones report, Kentucky state agencies have increased scrutiny of Brown because some records filed with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife that detailed what was captured, released and euthanized on Call of the Wildman appear to have been falsified. The Department of Agriculture also reviewed the situation in order to determine whether Brown or the show’s crew violated the Animal Welfare Act by not having appropriate federal licensing to display regulated animals on television.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 4 seasons.

 

93. Gold Rush

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Gold Rush is about men mining gold in the Yukon. If you know anything about past gold rushes, this goes about as you’d expect. Because the most successful miners mined miners, dummy.

Station: Discovery Channel

Premise: Follows various teams of miners mining gold placer deposits in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Why It’s Stupid: From Thought Catalog: “There has never been a reality show in the history of the world that’s more depressing than Gold Rush. These rugged miners spend tens of thousands of dollars and work grueling hours in order to uncover gold from every corner of the globe. The problem is that most episodes end with the guys spending $80,000 to mine an area and leaving with $400 worth of gold. The show will then cut to their family’s homes being repossessed by the bank as the theme song plays. As awful as that is, I can’t look away.”

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

 

94. Armed & Famous

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You have to wonder what the producers were thinking to come up with this show. Celebrities as police? Yes, this happened. Ironically someone in Muncie didn’t recognize any of them.

Station: CBS and Vh1

Premise: Follows 5 celebrities as they train to become police officers with the Muncie Police Department in Muncie, Indiana, followed by graduation. After that, the celebrities go on patrol with the same police officers who traditionally ride with the new ones.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, they featured celebrities less famous than who you’d normally see on Dancing with the Stars. Second, a woman named Lyndsay Clements filed a lawsuit over this show claiming her home was wrongfully entered and was questioned by people she didn’t know. LaToya Jackson and Jack Osbourne were named in the suit.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, and after one season.

 

95. Who Wants to Marry My Dad?

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In this show, grown children screen potential mates for their single father. Though seen as romantic, this show is actually very creepy.

Station: NBC

Premise: A dad’s 4 grown children shop for a new stepmother out of 12 ladies for their single dad to marry.

Why It’s Stupid: To be honest, it’s creepy, especially since the women involved are subjected to embarrassing tasks, mind games, lie detector tests, and truth serum while living in a luxurious Southern California mansion. The kids can even watch their dad make out with some of them, too. Sure wanting to help find a good stepmother is one thing. But despite being called “the most romantic show on television,” this is disturbing as hell.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 2 seasons.

 

96. Mystery Diners

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Mystery Diners has people go undercover to spy on potentially disobedient restaurant workers in a sting operation. In reality, most of the participants on this show are paid actors.

Station: Food Network

Premise: Follows an organization of Mystery Diners which at the request of certain owners, go undercover at certain restaurants and set up stings and unseen surveillance cameras to catch misbehaving employees in the act.

Why It’s Stupid: For one, this demonizes a group of people who really get treated like shit in the working world since many of them work on minimum wage, are often victims of wage theft, and have no access to health benefits or any kind of paid leave. Second, the mystery diners and restaurant employees featured on the show are all actors who passed auditions regularly held in Phoenix.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

 

97. Alaskan Bush People

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Though Alaskan Bush People was supposed to follow a family in the Alaskan wilderness, it was later found they live nowhere near in that remote lifestyle. Also they were in court on fraud charges.

Station: Discovery Channel

Premise: Follows the life of a family living deep in the Alaskan wilderness in Chichagof Island.

Why It’s Stupid: The Browns are portrayed as a true wildlife enthusiast Alaskan family who relies on hunting, fishing, and bartering skills to survive the Alaskan wilderness. However, they were recently in court for fraud charges and the LA Times exposed that the Browns doesn’t live the remote, antisocial Alaskan lifestyle the show would lead viewers to believe.

Did it Get Canceled?: It’s still on.

 

98. Lizard Lick Towing

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Lizard Lick Towing follows a tow and repo business in North Carolina. Cracked called it a show about towing mixed in with pro wrestling. Yes, it’s quite fake.

Station: TruTV

Premise: Follows a towing and repossession company in North Carolina.

Why It’s Stupid: As Cracked states, “Either its crew is by far the most inept that has ever operated or they’re putting something in the water around their garage (my guess: They replace it with whiskey), because absolutely every single second of their work life is a goddamned monkey brawl. This is partially entirely because a) they operate with all the tact and professionalism of a dog that has just seen a butthole it would very much like to sniff, and b) literally every person they encounter is a fucking psychopath that would make Hannibal Lecter go, ‘Whoa.’” They later add, “If you hit YouTube, you’ll find scene after scene of these situations, and the more you watch them, the more they start to seem like those dumbass skits WWE likes to air between matches, with all the acting ability that involves. Upon closer inspection, this is because — gasp — that’s pretty much what Lizard Lick Towing is.”

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes but it ran 4 seasons.

 

99. Cribs

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Cribs was a hugely popular show on MTV when I was a teenager. If you’re over a certain age, it follows a similar line to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous which tours the homes of celebrities. However, it was later found that some of these celebrities weren’t being as honest about their lives as they portrayed themselves to be.

Station: MTV

Premise: Camera crews take a tour into a celebrity’s mansion as well as get a glimpse into their lavish lifestyles. Think of it as Lifestyles of the Rich and famous for teenagers. Show has featured tours of the homes of over 185 celebrities, musicians, actors, and athletes.

Why It’s Stupid: Since this show aired, several celebrities have been accused or willingly used other people’s property and claimed them as their own. In 2004, the real owner of Ja Rule’s house sued MTV for alleging unauthorized taping of the interior and damage to the property caused by Ja Rule’s partying. The first MTV episode with Robbie Williams showcased Jane Seymour’s house as his home that he was renting off her. He later admitted to the con and showed off his real home in a later episode. Then there’s 50 Cent with 3 Ferraris that he claimed were his “whips.” In reality they were owned by a private collector who lent them for him for the episode and some music video work. Those are just a few examples.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran 13 years.

 

100. The Hills

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The Hills was a show that followed young women trying to make it in LA. Though it was structured like a soap opera, stars later admitted that a lot of the show was staged and were being prodded by production crews. Oh, and much of the problems and relationship drama was fake.

Station: MTV

Premise: Follows the lives of several young women living in Los Angeles, California though it originally focused on Lauren Conrad before she left halfway through and was replaced with Kristen Cavallari. But this show is best remembered for Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

Why It’s Stupid: It was often criticized for tending towards a narrative format more commonly seen in scripted genres including soap operas and appearing to fabricate much of its storyline. Among these include sex tape rumors as well as personal conflict and fights between the women. The costume changes were usually preset by the crew. Spencer and Heidi actually eloped in Mexico but had to marry on-camera due to frantic producers and how their marriage wasn’t valid in the US. A lot of their relationship drama was also scripted for the cameras. Kristen Cavallari’s drug problem was made up. Brody Jenner didn’t hook up with anybody. Audrina Partridge and Lauren Conrad didn’t live in that apartment. And if it weren’t for the show, Lauren would’ve ditched Heidi a long time ago.

Did it Get Canceled?: Yes, but it ran for 6 years.