The Wacky World of Wish.com Merchandise

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A rival to Amazon and eBay, Wish.com is an online retailer that has gained quite a following in recent years. Founded in 2010, it began as an app where users would create wish lists for their desired items and the company would approach merchants to order that product’s particular amount. They also earned revenue with Pay-per-click model by advertising on Facebook. In 2013, Wish became an electronic commerce site after asking merchants to host their products directly on the app, with Wish taking a 15% sale cut. Nonetheless, as with its merchandise, Wish is basically Spencer’s with Dollar General prices. But order something and you’ll have to wait for a few weeks since the products were made in Asian countries. And you’ll find plenty of crazy weird stuff on there which you didn’t know existed. So for your reading pleasure, I give you an assortment of ridiculous products from the site. Some of these might not be safe for work, by the way.

  1. Rock your car with these fuzzy seat covers.
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Available in 4 different colors. Yet, might make people think you’re strange.

2. Defend yourself with these decorative keys.

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The kind of switchblades for the girly gang members out there. Might leave a wound in your enemies. But open doors? Not so much.

3. Improve your lady libido with Hergasm.

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Because why should men get the boner pills? Then again, I don’t think these actually work.

4. Like coloring books? Behold, The Big Adventures of Tiny Dick.

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Just because it’s a coloring book, doesn’t mean it’s for kids. As this coloring book certainly isn’t.

5. Relieve your sphincter with Comfortably Numb Anally Desensitizing Cream.

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Yes, they actually have cream for your asshole. And this one smells of spearmint.

6. Heard of a mechanical bull? Well, you can get the floating bull.

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It’s something you can ride on when you’re in the pool. Hope it doesn’t put you underwater.

7. Apparently, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch is getting into pot.

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Actually, this is just a T-shirt. But those cereal bits are totally baked.

8. There’s something fishy about these shoes.

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Since they resemble fish. Available in 4 sizes and 3 colors.

9. Have you just died? This book is for you.

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Actually, I don’t think this book is useful. Since the dead can’t read.

10. Always look sharp with metal claws.

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Consists of 10 pieces. Not sure if they qualify as weapons. Probably.

11. Eat Asian cuisine in style with a pair of metallic chopsticks.

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Available in 4 different colors. Still, I think wooden ones would do just as well.

12. Discover your faith with The Catholic Hipster Handbook.

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Because sacred imagery and incense is so out of the mainstream. Still, it might be interesting to read.

13. Perhaps you want more manly fishing lures.

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What are these lures used to catch? Piranhas? Not recommended for the father/son fishing trips.

14. Any girl would like a pair of fish earrings.

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Though ones with fish in a bag, I’m not so sure. Comes in 2 varieties.

15. Get your Cage pants on.

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Yes, these pants have a picture of Nicholas Cage all over them. And yes, it’s pretty creepy.

16. Get  a light on from this Chinese dragon ashtray.

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I actually don’t approve of smoking. But you can light up the dragon by pushing its tail.

17. Show love to your princess with this Zelda engagement ring.

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Zelda is a Nintendo RPG video game. Nonetheless, I’m sure guys might like to propose to their girlfriends with a ring like this. Though I don’t recommend it.

18. Now you can turn your bike in to a motorbike.

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This is a bike motor set. However, I kind of advise against it unless your unusually mechanically skilled. Seriously, a regular bike is fine for me.

19. Don’t leave for a hike without a survival bracelet.

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Includes a knife, compass, whistle, and Firestarter. Available in several different colors, too.

20. Care to give your campfire a little color?

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These can turn a fire into the colors of the rainbow. But I’m not sure about their safety record.

21. Feel free to attract with some magnetic slime.

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You can see the image above how it gravitates toward metal. Available in 6 colors.

22. Keep things behind your car with these organizers.

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I’m sure any driver would need these. Has a place for tech, drinks, and napkins.

23. You might find these food earrings quite stylish.

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Consists of donuts, cake pieces, pastries, and kitchen utensils. Not sure what I’d wear any of these with.

24. Defend yourself with this invisible blade ring.

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They’re basically rings containing knives you can use to stab attackers. Though mace also works, too.

25. Always have a toothpick crossbow in handy.

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Good for finger archery contests. If such events even exist.

26. These gem earrings will light up your night.

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Yes, they’re light up earrings while the stones aren’t real. Available in 6 colors.

27. Wear a masterpiece on your feet.

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Each pair of socks shows a famous painting or sculpture. And all in vibrant colors.

28. Listen to the music with this car MP3 player.

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Is that something you’d put on your dashboard? Think you’re better off just hooking your MP3 player to your car.

29. Now you can go undercover with this hidden camera.

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Great for spying on neighbors, family, and friends. Not meant for those with restraining orders.

30. Lose weight with this magnetic weight loss bracelet.

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I don’t think this works. But at least it makes a great piece of jewelry.

31. Don’t let your bad eyesight get in the way of poker night with these large cards.

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And yes, these are very big cards. But at least you won’t have trouble seeing them.

32. Clear your ears with this cleaning kit.

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On second thought, if you have clogged ears, better see a specialist. Seriously, these tools look pretty dangerous.

33. Perhaps you’d like a Nic Cage T-shirt to go with those pants.

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Yes, this Nic Cage T-shirt also exists. And yes, the expression is quite unsettling. Wonder why anyone would buy it.

34. These skeleton hair clips will be perfect for Halloween.

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Goes with any scary costume. Or if you plan to dress up as a character from a Tim Burton movie.

35. A pole dancing sloth will always amuse.

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And it seems the sloth is making it rain. Nonetheless, this shirt is hilarious.

36. You have to be crazy to get this jacket.

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Since they used to put a jacket like this on crazy people. Before they were put in a padded cell.

37. You might have an appetite for one of these food hoodies.

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Each comes in several different colors. And all are equally ridiculous.

38. Got clogged ears? Try ear candling therapy.

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Please don’t. For one, I don’t think it works. Second, since it involves burning, I suspect it’s quite dangerous. No cure is worth setting your house on fire.

39. A handy Scotsman always wears a cargo kilt.

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Includes large pockets to keep tools and other essentials. Let’s hope a guy wears underwear underneath.

40. Feel free to take one of these pills.

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Just don’t eat one because they’re not meant to be eaten. Yet, each one has a rather unique expression.

41. Keep your home lit with these LED mushroom night lights.

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Come in several different colors. Perfect to put near houseplants.

42. Do you snore? These snoring cones can help.

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You can just put it up in your nose and it’ll expand your nostrils. Not sure if it really works though.

43. Get rid of pimples and blackheads with this extractor kit.

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Because you can’t get rid of zits if you can’t bear the pain. Still, this kit seems to resemble what you’d keep in a torture chamber.

44. Brighten up this winter with this fur coat.

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Great for any ugly sweater party around Christmas. Though I hope the fur is fake. Yet, you’ll piss PETA off either way.

45. Say goodbye to zits with this vacuum acne cleaner.

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Not sure if it actually works. Since once zits and blackheads are removed, they’ll appear again.

46. Soak in this inflatable gold bathtub.

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I’m sure you’ll have use a hose to fill it up. And I don’t think the experience is as pleasant as it’s portrayed to be.

47. Recharge with these blood energy drink bag.

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Also doubles as a Halloween decoration. Available in several different colors.

48. Even skeletons have to use the bathroom sometimes.

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Though I have no idea why they’d use a toilet. Since they have no organs.

49. If you need a big umbrella, this is the one for you.

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You can have a whole meeting underneath this. Yet, you must have a designated holder.

50. Never get locked out again with this lockpicking kit.

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Great for break-ins, home invasions, and bank robberies. Will probably get you arrested.

51. Didn’t know toys had to contend with the zombie apocalypse.

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This is a mashup T-shirt between The Walking Dead and Toy Story. Yet, the blood on Buzz’s helmet is disturbing.

52. No one will mess with your tiger backpack.

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Available in orange and white. No real tigers were harmed in the making of this so the fur’s fake.

53. These reusable wedding party straws are a much have.

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Those aren’t straws. Those look like crack pipes. Seriously, I think they can get confiscated as drug paraphernalia.

54. Keep your pooch sharp with these dog undies.

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Are these even necessary? Seriously, most dogs don’t wear undies. Why do these exist?

55. Who says men can’t wear frilly undies?

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Yes, these are lace bikini briefs for men. Because what can make tidy whites more embarrassing than black lace?

56. Instead of a gun, why not give the NRA person in your life this rifle pen?

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Hey, at least this won’t kill you. Available in gold with a silencer lid.

57. Tone your face with this slim mask.

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Yes, that’s used to tone wrinkles. I don’t think it works. Unless you use it as a Halloween costume.

58. Brighten up your life with these dual purpose table lamps.

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Yes, they resemble spilled paint cans. Except they light up when you turn them on. Available in 4 colors.

59. Pierce your own ears with this contraption.

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On second thought, I wouldn’t advise it since it looks dangerous. Seek a professional instead.

60. There are boxers, briefs, and boxer briefs. Then there are these.

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This men’s underwear has a pocket for his uh, special appendage. Available in several different colors.

61. Now you can have this collectible gold and silver dogshit coin.

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The coin depicts a dog shitting. Seriously, I have no idea who comes up with such ideas.

62. How a moose hunting decal like this on your truck?

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Okay, that’s really disturbing. Seriously, why would a moose do that to a hunter? He has antlers. And yes, I said, “he” because female moose don’t have them at all.

63. This summer, get yourself a shower curtain depicting Jeff Goldblum with an ape.

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Apparently, Goldblum has become quite popular. Not sure why he’s with an ape in this picture.

64. If the doorbell’s broken, use this rug.

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It instructs you to yell “Ding Dong” really loud. Though you can just knock.

65. Need to do your business in the woods? Use these pee bags.

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You just put them on when you need to answer the call of nature in the outdoors with no bathroom in sight. Still, at least they’re disposable.

66. Remove security tags with this device.

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Perfect of shoplifters. Though I’m not sure if I’d recommend it. Since I think they do it for you in checkout.

67. Capture your world with this wi-fi mini camera.

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Uh, is this guy stalking that woman. Since he seems to view her from his phone. Creepy.

68. Need to pee on the go? This contraption can help.

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Just put it up to a bottle and go ahead. Though women might find this a lot more complicated.

69. Behold, the Kim Kardashian human centipede.

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Yes, they have a T-shirt of that. And yes, it’s as disturbing as the fact that she’s famous for being famous.

70. Protect yourself with these stun gloves.

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Touch someone with these and they’re in for a literal shock. Make sure you’re not wearing them among friends and family.

71. With these undies, your man will come howling to you.

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Okay, that’s really unsettling. Seriously, the wolf’s snout is where the guy’s dick is supposed to be.

72. Nobody will steal your make up if you put them in a fish purse.

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After all, the fish looks pretty realistic like it’s been caught. So no one will probably bother with it.

73. Love The Office? Get a load of this Michael Scott T-shirt.

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This one features Michael Scott in all his character itineration’s Not as disturbing as any clothing with Nicholas Cage.

74. Instead of using a disposable plastic straw, use this.

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It’s a folding metal straw you can use on the go. Available in pink and black.

75. Got a pot business? Wish has got you covered on hempseed.

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Available where pot’s legal. Because I’m sure they’ll confiscate it otherwise. Seriously, these are marijuana plants.

76. Hold your smartphone and enjoy some snacks with this bowl.

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Has a shelf where you can set your phone. Though you can just use a shelf and regular bowl.

77. This T-shirt will take you straight to Flavortown.

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This one is incredibly fitting. Includes pizza, hotdog, and Fieri in his flaming shirt.

78. Feel free to look at yourself with this laptop mirror.

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It’s basically a compact for computer nerds. Yeah, it’s pretty weird.

79. Be prepared for the apocalypse with this gold gas mask.

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I think this is more of a fashion accessory than anything. Also includes spikes.

80. See Kim Jong Un as you’ve never seen him before.

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Someone better mail this one to Donald Trump. Sure Kim Jong Un is a brutal dictator, but this Mona Lisa T-shirt of him is hilarious.

81. Keep your head dry with this umbrella hat.

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Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Nonetheless, guaranteed to make you look like an idiot.

82. Work out in this codeine track suit.

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By the way, codeine is a narcotic and shouldn’t be taken without a prescription. And certainly not something you’d want in a cough syrup.

83. Grow your plants with these beads.

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They’re plant soil beads you can put in a transparent flower pot. Don’t ask me how it’s supposed to work.

84. Get your hair dry with this hair drying bonnet.

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From Slapped Ham: “Are you sick and tired of looking sensible while drying your hair? Is waving a blow dryer over your head just too much hassle? Well thanks to Wish, you can wear this ridiculous contraption and look like a complete goon for no apparent reason at all. Finally you can get that much sort after ‘exploded rats nest’ look at home for a fraction of the cost you’d pay at the salon.”

85. Love Shrek? Get this 3D Shrek head.

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From My Favorite Daily Things: “The perfect night light for people who sleep better with a futuristic Shrek head staring at them all night.” Okay, that’s horrifying.

86. Bind your legs with leg plastics.

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From My Favorite Daily Things: “We can’t really figure out if these are for cellulite, weight loss or leg strength, so we’re just calling it leg plastic.” Neither can I.

87. Ingrown toenails? Try this corrector.

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Yes, this looks incredibly crazy. But will it work? Who knows.

88. Hairy armpits? Use these hair removal sponges.

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For use when you run out razors. Still, shaving armpits is incredibly tough.

89. Keep your toilet on during the night with this LED light.

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For when you’d like to party on the toilet. Why anyone would do that, I don’t know.

90. Shut your dog up with this duck bill muzzle.

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For when you want to keep your dog quiet and subject it to humiliation. Available in 4 colors.

91. Get bigger knockers with this breast enhancement vacuum.

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For the love of God, please don’t put this on your body. Just don’t. It’s not worth it.

92. Get down and dirty with this gardening glove with claws.

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Looks rather impractical and unnecessary. Seriously, how will it help you garden? I have no clue.

93. Keep your home warm with this wall space heater.

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Of course, if your way of heating the house is burning it down, by all means. Otherwise, you might want to stay away from this one.

94. Need an eyebrow touch up? These brow stamps are for you.

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Brows come in 3 colors. Great for those bushy mornings.

95. Keep an eye on your people with this spy cam pen.

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For the paranoid sort who thinks everyone is out to get them. Perfect to put in your shirt pocket.

96. Have your home smell nice with this mermaid incense burner.

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I guess the incense comes from the mermaid’s boobs. Now I have so many questions on how they reproduce.

97. Insecure about your tiny penis? Use this enlargement oil.

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From The Daily Edge: “For just €3 you can get this ‘Men sex products enlargement extender oil sex oil male’ which is pretty comprehensive. I can foresee no problems with this at all.” I think it’s a bottle of snake oil.

98. Bendy toes? Get the toe straightener.

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From The Daily Edge: “Bendy toes are the worst and for just shipping you can sort out that problem immediately with this toe straightener. No comment on how painful or medically safe the actual process will be but we’ll just casually ignore that.”

99. Scared of the dentist? Use this home dental kit.

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From The Daily Edge: “Have you ever felt the urge to examine your own teeth? Maybe you want to give your housemate with bad breath a check up. For just €8 plus shipping you can get a set professional dental trays to do what you want with. Not creepy at all.” On second thought, better to see a dentist.

100. Want your home to look straight from Dr. Seuss? Plant a blue bonsai seed.

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From The Daily Edge: “You can buy seeds for a blue bonsai tree whose existence is actually disputed by gardeners. Order them, plant them and see what happens. Also they can’t be that rare because you can buy a lot of them on the internet apparently.”

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The Disappointing World of Epic Design Fails

Nobody’s perfect. And those who design all the stuff we look at and use are no exception. After all, we all make mistakes. But if you design something, people are going to notice. At best, it’ll be overlooked like it’s no big deal. At worst, it’ll be emblazoned all over the internet and you may be known as a “you had only one job” person. Actually that may not be the worst since that might depend on your profession. Though some of these pieces might include more than one terrible mistake. From bad architecture to bad ads, you’ll find design blunders all over the place. Sometimes it’s bad font, wording, and ad perception. Sometimes it’s something much more practical. So for your reading pleasure today, I’ll give you an assortment of epic design fails. So enjoy. Though some of these might not be safe for work for obvious reasons.

  1. To be fair, counting miles is pretty tricky.
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No wonder running this trail feels longer than it should be. Still, there’s a difference between 4 and 5 miles.

2. I think you might mean jaguar.

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Because jeopards don’t exist. Seriously, it’s not even a word. But little kids might not know that.

3. What do you mean I can’t smoke in this ashtray?

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Don’t you know what an ashtray is for? If you don’t permit smoking, why do you have them?

4. Hunters Plaza is so heartless these days.

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Okay, they’re raising money to help kids with childhood cancer. Couldn’t they just say so and not look like monsters?

5. The Econo Camper Mat makes for a great book surface.

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Uh, aren’t you supposed to be lying on it? Better on an air mattress than the grass, I always say.

6. Even superheroes listen to their parents…oh wait.

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If you’re familiar with superheroes, you can see why these don’t add up. For one, Batman saw his parents murdered. Second, both Superman’s dads died when he was young. And both seem to send him conflicting messages. Third, superheroes don’t have bed times.

7. Perhaps your little princess would like to sit in this Cinderella car seat.

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Didn’t know one of Cinderella’s ancestors was a giraffe. Seriously, this is really freaky.

8. Apparently, the University of Texas doesn’t have a statistics department.

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Because these bars on this graph are way too high. Seriously, doesn’t someone understand percentages?

9. Bleach Cereal is part of a complete breakfast.

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Who the hell would buy this? Sure I don’t think it’s toxic, but you wouldn’t know by the packaging.

10. Okay, I think this Minion craze has gone too far.

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Minion bikini? What the fuck? I know they’re really popular but a minion bikini just doesn’t look right.

11. Did someone just die in here?

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Don’t worry, it’s just the carpet’s merely designed like a mass murder happened here. Still, I wonder how many 911 calls this place has inspired.

12. Why are those two guys banging a human centipede?

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To be fair, they might just be horsing around. But the positioning of these guys gives me a far dirtier impression.

13. Almond milk or laundry detergent? You decide.

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Because this almond milk bottle seems to resemble something you’d keep bleach in. Not sure if I’d take any. Oh wait, I wouldn’t.

14. We’re open 24/7 except when we’re not.

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To be fair, they’re only closed late at night on weekends. So it’s a time that most people won’t be calling anyway.

15. At Thunder Bay, golf is a man’s sport.

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Guess someone didn’t have the balls to tell the landscaper about this. Then again, you’d have to be nuts not to notice.

16. I’m sure your girlfriend will have quite the sensation once you hit the ‘Clit.’

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It’s a forest recreation area with plenty of bush. Not far from the G-Spot Nature Reserve. You’ll have such a good time you’d want to come again. Oh, it’s supposed to be “The Cut?” Well, the font suggests otherwise.

17. So do you have a Jack or an Ace?

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Sorry, but the Jack of Diamonds doesn’t look like it. Seems more like a diamond Ace to me.

18. Since when did couches have ball backs?

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For when you don’t want your guests to stay long. Seriously, that can’t be comfortable.

19. I suppose Jeff Epstein and Roy Moore used to frequent this joint.

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Okay, this has one more to do with bad text placement. 8-12 is supposed to be the time not the age range. But yes, it’s pretty disturbing.

20. That doesn’t look like 5 bananas.

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In fact, there seems to be 6 bananas. Apparently, this children’s book illustrator couldn’t count.

21. Pool open for 9 days a week from 10 to 9:30.

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Actually, it just repeats Friday and Saturday. Still, you’d think anyone would notice it.

22. Is this supposed to be soap or candy?

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It’s supposed to be hand soap. But the label seems to suggest otherwise.

23. I don’t think you’d want to use this stall.

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Since the door’s basically a trapezoid. So it doesn’t provide any adequate privacy.

24. I don’t think your belongings will be safe in these lockers.

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Because they don’t seem to have any locks on them. So better keep your belongings on you in this place.

25. Apparently, Habitat for Humanity provides sniper lessons.

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The van is supposed to say, “Practice your skills.” But given how van doors slide, you can see where the unfortunate message comes in.

26. Seems like the poop emoji recently got a makeover.

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Yes, it’s supposed to be toothpaste. But no matter what the color scheme, a glop with a smiling face is always the poop emoji.

27. Please don’t season the birds.

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Okay, it’s supposed to say don’t feed the birds. But the bird should be facing the other way.

28. Pencil’s got on Nikes but no pants.

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Wonder why he’s not getting arrested for indecent exposure. Then again, he’ll have to sharpen his tip once he gets going.

29. Maybe you should just put “Jazz” not anything fancy in between.

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Yeah, the shirt seems to say, “Jizz Addicts.” Coming soon to a club called The Golden Shower.

30. Didn’t know Paw Patrol was such a dark show. Though it was catered to toddlers.

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Well, the box says, “Paw Concentration Camp.” Like, what the hell? I don’t think 2-year-olds are ready to learn about the Holocaust.

31. Before you erect a pay meter, make sure it’s capable with its environment.

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Since I don’t think solar panels work in parking garages. Still, this place must be a popular place to park.

32. Looks like Ohio State’s not doing so good.

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Okay, this is an alarm clock. But why would they put the time on the scoreboard, I have absolutely no idea. Couldn’t they just put the time on the time clock like they do in every game?

33. Excuse me, ma’am, but I think you might have a severe case of diarrhea.

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Actually, she’s wearing a white dress with brown flowers. But it surely looks like she massively shit herself.

34. On second thought, maybe mirrored ceiling tiles in the bathroom was a bad idea.

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I mean they obviously reflect the toilets in the stalls. Guess someone has no concept of privacy.

35. Jesus Christ, these people are monsters.

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Okay, they actually support Child Abuse Prevention Month. But the last 2 words are in smaller type.

36. So how are you supposed to use the toilet if you can’t reach the toilet paper?

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I mean the toilet paper should be near the toilet. Not near the sink. Yeah, I don’t know how this is supposed to work out.

37. How do you know how much water you have in this bottle.

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I mean it should be at least translucent, not opaque. This doesn’t make any sense.

38. Didn’t know I could find Seven of Nine’s baby picture on a bus.

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You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Still, I didn’t think the Borg would get her this early.

39. Do you squirt?

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It’s supposed to stand for Silent Quiet Un-Interrupted Reading Time. However, “squirt” also has a rather different connotation in the bathroom.

40. I don’t think whoever designed this knows how.

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The words are divided into columns. Yet, given how we read, you can see how it doesn’t make sense.

41. Aaris is home to the Eiffel Tower.

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Okay, it’s supposed to say Paris. But somehow, someone had the brilliant idea to put the Eiffel Tower on the P instead of the A.

42. These activewear Speedo pants will show off your, uh….big dick energy.

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Actually that’s supposed to be a leg, not a penis. But looking at them from this angle makes you think otherwise.

43. You can now watch movies from the comfort of your home or car.

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The scaling on this is incredibly bad. Also, you can’t put a couch in your car.

44. Want to take some mulled spice bleach?

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Okay, it’s probably not bleach, but mouthwash. Still, despite its cinnamon flavor, I wouldn’t want to put that in my mouth.

45. Care for a Tex Cock Mextail?

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It’s supposed to say “Tex Mex Cock Tails.” But given how we read, it doesn’t come out right.

46. I’d have to get a ladder to plug something in.

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I don’t see anyone using this electrical outlet anytime soon. Since it’s in a very inconvenient location.

47. No, “stressed” spelled backwards isn’t “desserts.”

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It’s actually “desserts.” But apparently, this person didn’t get the memo.

48. You don’t want to drink that. Seriously.

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Because it’s radiator coolant. Why they thought it would be fine in a tall pop can container, I absolutely have no idea.

49. So how do you use this keypad?

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Look, I understand what most of these buttons are supposed to do. But the commands on the right don’t match the colors and symbols. So something might mess you up.

50. I don’t think you should wear these flamingo pants.

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No, it has nothing to do with whether they might make one’s but look big or fat. But the flamingos just don’t make your crotch look good.

51. Make your home great again with some white power accessories.

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I understand white is to signify color. But “white power” is also a white supremacist chant. Doesn’t look good.

52. Is that where the speakers are supposed to be?

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I don’t think speakers are supposed to go near the pedal and brakes. Seriously, why?

53. Soul-Feel – to remember that perfect voyeur moment.

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It would be easier just to take a selfie. Why not, I have no idea.

54. Is this supposed to be a dentist’s office or an execution chamber?

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Given how the standing figure appears to be holding a gun at the lying figure’s head, you’d think the latter. Still, it’s pretty crazy.

55. Seems like this upcoming basketball game’s going to be a real snoozer.

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Better not watch this one. Will probably slog on for hours. Also, this announcement is from New Zealand.

56. Warning: incoming dancer coming down the stairs.

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Yeah, you don’t want to be near someone silly walking. This is especially the case at the stairwell.

57. Seems like I found Hannibal Lecter’s favorite restaurant.

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Best thank Jessica’s family for offering their bodies to nourish all the cannibalistic customers. Once again, word placement is the key.

58. In this year’s Christmas Bazaar and Craft Show, we’re fighting children with diabetes.

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It should be “Fight Childhood Diabetes” fundraiser. Otherwise, it means that you’re beating the crap out of diabetic kids.

59. This urinal placement’s bound to create some awkward moments.

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Because I don’t think guys want to pee that close to each other. Seriously, they don’t even design stalls so close together.

60. Don’t bother parking in this driveway.

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Since it has power lines running down. So what’s the point having a driveway right there?

61. Don’t let your kids go down this playground slide.

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For this slide doesn’t have any side rails. Also kind of resembles a very long tongue.

62. Apparently, whoever came up with this toenail file wasn’t consulted on product names.

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Pedi File? Seriously, I understand what they’re trying to get at. But the name too closely resembles a term they use for a child molester.

63. He should remember not to dive in the shallow end.

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Apparently, this giant is seconds away from being paralyzed. Probably not the smartest tool in the shed.

64. Wonder what kind of prick would pay for this pool.

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Hope whoever owns this one doesn’t have any kids. Because I’m not sure if they’d have the balls to explain the shape to them.

65. I don’t think bathroom carpeting is a bright idea.

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Considering that you’re bound to drip water quite often, you’re better off with tile. Seriously, why?

66. Well, I guess I’ll lose then.

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After all, if you can’t win at Tic Tac Toe, you can keep the other person from winning. So I’ll call it a draw.

67. I just want to listen to the radio not shift gears.

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A gear shift shouldn’t be a knob. Seriously, it just confuses people.

68. I don’t think the stairs can make it to this bedroom.

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Seems like you have to make quite a step to get inside. Best you don’t sleepwalk. Parkour fans only.

69. Shouldn’t you not go under that ramp anyway?

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From Bored Panda: “The Rails Should Prevent People From Hitting Their Head, But Instead They Trip Over Them. So Now, Traffic Cones.”

70. There, that should keep intruders away.

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Apparently, someone didn’t get the memo on how anyone can just go around the gate. So it’s basically worthless.

71. How not to design a handicap parking spot.

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Not sure how the wheelchair can get around the bumper and onto the ramp. Disabled access shouldn’t be this difficult.

72. When it comes to signs, spacing is important.

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The letters are so close together that you can’t tell what it’s supposed to say. Other than it’s a bookshop.

73. So where is this vent supposed to go to?

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Apparently, it’s screwed on a tile wall. So it doesn’t seem to lead anywhere.

74. So how do I get this thing out of the packaging?

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Seems like these things can help you open stuff. But then they come encased in plastic impossible to rip open.

75. So how do I use this keypad if I want to warm up something?

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Because the keypad on this microwave doesn’t have any numbers on it. Just pictures and that won’t help me or anyone else.

76. 50 lanes? Let’s merge them into 4.

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Man, if you have to deal with traffic on your commute. Be happy you don’t drive on this road.

77. Apparently, I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a wheelchair.

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Does this person have a large butt? Just jumping on a bouncy ball? What else?

78. If only there was an easier way to see who’s outside the door.

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For God’s sake, there’s a window right there. Seriously, you don’t need a peep hole. The window’s good enough.

79. I think I’ll use the garden hose instead.

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Since the fire extinguisher more or less resembles a flame thrower. Not a great indicator in the least.

80. Perhaps you’d want a couch like this in your house.

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Oh my God, this is just incredibly ugly. Also, some of the upholstery may not be suitable for children.

81. When you have to take a shit at a public lecture.

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“Hello, everyone, I’m here with you today to discuss our sales figures. But first, I have go to the John. I apologize if you have to watch me drop my pants.”

82. Remember that nothing is impossible.

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Except you can’t see the first 2 letters. So you might find this rug rather pessimistic.

83. I don’t think this sends a great message to kids.

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Actually, it’s an anti-smoking PSA. But given that it’s on a school bus, it seems like an ad encouraging kids to drop out of school. Still, kids, don’t quit school. It never ends well.

84. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the dumbest couple around.

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Uh, I think the woman’s well past the first trimester since she’s obviously showing. Seriously, she doesn’t really need a pregnancy test by now.

85. Get ready for the Dublin Staff relay.

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Since when do men wear a tie on their wrists? Because I’ve never seen guys doing any such thing.

86. If you don’t know the language and can’t get a translator. But you need to open right away.

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That doesn’t seem like this business will do well. Wonder what’s going on with the translator.

87. Hope you don’t do your business at the beach.

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It’s supposed to say “suit yourself.” But sometimes the typeface doesn’t do the phrase justice.

88. So what will you have for the wedding: chicken, beef, kids?

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They should put the kids under the guest line. Not next to the menu. Bunch of sickos.

89. The slide goes 3 ways.

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I don’t think a kid may want to slide down on that. Where they’ll land, no one knows.

90. Do you really need an iWatch that big?

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This seems more suited for people that are about the size of as skyscraper. Maybe Godzilla or King Kong.

91. Lounge in your pool with this air mattress from Always.

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In case it’s your time of the month, this float is extra absorbent. Seriously, why would anyone want to design a pool float that looks like a maxi pad? It’s just ridiculous.

92. How about joining the Cool Jizz Association?

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Oh, it’s supposed to be the Cool Jazz Association. Still, I heard they’re streaming on Netflix. Bet you’re already bursting since holding it in. Since urine luck.

93. No, I wouldn’t know what accident to do.

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This is supposed to convey “If you were in a car accident, what would you do?” But the font and size doesn’t seem to do justice.

94. Unfortunately, the memories don’t seem to last forever on this time.

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Since the word, “memories” is faded. Because it doesn’t have the same color as the other words on here.

95. Welcome to the 9/11 Superstore.

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This isn’t just an Indian Seven Eleven knock off convenience store. But also desecrates one of the worst days in American history like the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.

96. Here is a touching tribute to JFK at this Memorial. Oh, wait.

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For God’s sake, the guy was shot in the head during a motorcade in Dallas. While the corner is right near it. That can’t be good.

97. Music connects people.

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Unfortunately, these silhouette couple realized the world won’t let them be together. So they decided to hang themselves on 2 eighth notes. So tragic.

98. Apparently, this school administration knows nothing about current pop culture trends.

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For one, The Hunger Games is a trilogy. Secondly, it’s about teenagers who are forced to fight to the death by a repressive dystopic government. Apparently, the odds aren’t in their favor.

99. Feel free to hunt kiddies here with a shotgun.

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Actually don’t. Since the sign wants people to drive slower since kids are around. Also, hunting is usually reserved for certain times of the year. But you can understand the misinterpretation.

100. Feel free to take suggestions that we’ll normally toss away anyway.

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Because at this place, you’re opinion doesn’t really matter. So you better get used to it.

The World According to Stock Photography (Second Edition)

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A year ago before I went to Minnesota to attend my cousin’s wedding, I did a post on ridiculous stock photography. So I decided do another for 2019. After all, given how President Cheetofascist is supremely racist, ICE is rounding up undocumented immigrants, Central American refugees, Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest, and all the crazy stuff coming from a dumpster fire known as the Trump administration, I kind of figured we need something to laugh at. Other than the so-called invasion at Area 51 no less. Anyway, you might see stock photos all around you all the time whether for public or commercial use. Often these usually pertain to cheap business ads, spur-of-the moment PSAs, and low-budget greeting cards. While many of these like the image of an old guy on the computer with a fake smile hiding distress on his face, have become memes. Remember the one with the distracted boyfriend? Well, that’s a stock photo. Nonetheless, I can go on raving about the best stock photos in recent time. But I won’t since you’ve probably seen them anyway. Instead, I’ll show you another assortment of the worst and most ridiculous ones you wouldn’t want on your craft beer website. So for your reading pleasure, I give you another assortment of crazy stock photos.

 

  1. When you eat out and there are no cutlery options available.
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Apparently, judging by his hands, he just ordered dessert. I suspect it’s cheesecake.

2. Playing naked balloon fort has deep roots in the 18th century.

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Okay, that wasn’t a thing. Since they didn’t have mass rubber production at the time. But given that she’s naked, in a balloon fort, and has a hairstyle akin to Marie Antoinette, I couldn’t resist.

3. Unfortunately, Del Monte phone service was utterly worthless.

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Either that or he’s drunk arguing on a banana phone at the office. Then again, he just might be plain nuts.

4. On his off hours, a US Army IT guy shoots his rounds.

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But instead of using his gun, he uses his keyboard. Results in less lethal accidents that way.

5. Apparently, sex doll porn is a thing.

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I really don’t want to know what’s going on in this guy’s sex life. But at least he’s not hurting anyone.

6. Sandy’s new dress was full of baloney.

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And apparently, she wears these lunch meat slices as a dress. Or is that really salami?

7. The Christmas party was so crazy that even Dog Santa was wasted.

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Even funnier how this dog’s wearing a Santa suit and sunglasses. Man, I really don’t want to be around when it wakes up with a doggie hangover.

8. How not to bond with your kitten.

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Just because cat moms lick their young, doesn’t mean you should lick your feline fur baby. Since it’ll just think you’re insane.

9. Unfortunately, the Olive Garden had to reject Betty Spaghetti as its mascot.

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What? You don’t remember Betty Spaghetti? I mean at one point, she used to be on almost all their posters.

10. During the Great Depression, Big Bird’s dad would support himself through babysitting.

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Unlike his famous son of Sesame Street fame, the children weren’t very fond of him. In fact, he gave them nightmares.

11. Remember Distracted Boyfriend? Here’s Distracted Boyfriend on Escalator.

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Unlike the more familiar version, this one has the parties go in different directions. Also, it’s going on behind the girlfriend’s back.

12. When the only jean size available is XXXXL.

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I mean the jeans obviously go all the way up to the guy’s shoulders. Yet, he’s trying to make the best of it.

13. For God’s sake Lindsey, spaghetti isn’t finger food.

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You should’ve known that since your toddler years. Seriously, waving your spaghetti and meatballs in the air just makes a mess.

14. Hundreds of miles from civilization and this old man can still use a laptop.

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Still, I’m kind of skeptical how he can get a wi-fi signal that far. Besides, he’s old and not wearing a shirt.

15. Isn’t she way too big for that tricycle?

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I’d say so since she can lift it up by the handlebars. Also, she’s pregnant and dressed like she’s from the trailer park in Whoville.

16. When you’ve been riding the same tricycle everywhere since you were five.

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That guy really needs a car. Or at least live near a bus station. Seriously, he’s way too big for it and is wearing a business suit like he works in an office.

17. I don’t think fans will be happy with the next Predator movie.

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Apparently, they had a lot of budget cuts. So instead of CGI, the Predator will be played by some bald guy with dreadlocks.

18. Elephants always enjoy the great outdoors.

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The two calves are riding their bikes while their mom rides a scooter. Though they’d definitely crush these things in real life.

19. If you’re horny and you know it, blow your horn.

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Apparently, this guy blows for sex. Not sure if he’ll get any with that routine.

20. Even evil witches have their girl friends, too.

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But if Lexie dare steal Grimilda’s man, she’ll drop a house on her. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

21. Tragically, the peanut tight rope has become a very dangerous act.

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As you can see by how many cracked after a fall. Rest in Reese’s Pieces.

22. Duchess look behind you!

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Seems like dogs engage in murder and mayhem, too. As you can see by the one dog raising its paw with a knife.

23. She makes balancing a loaf of bread on her head look easy.

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And yet, she seems perfectly secure in herself. Though I have no idea how she can keep bread that large on her head. Photoshop?

24. “Is she dead? Or is she just sleeping?”

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Teacher appears like she’s trying to wake up a student sleeping in class. And she doesn’t want anyone to see her.

25. When your dog groomer plays Minecraft.

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Yes, the poodle’s all trimmed in blocks. And yes, it’ll look pretty ridiculous for awhile.

26. Before she became the sweet woman from accounting, Karen was once a badass soldier in the Army.

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Those look like two different women. Also, I don’t think women in the military dress like that.

27. “Kibble shares are doing great around this quarter.”

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Here a business dog is at work on his laptop. And it’s almost time for him to leave and go for his walk.

28. “Mr. Gigantis, I think you might’ve had an allergic reaction.”

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I’d hate to be there when that giant sneezes. Cause someone’s going to get covered in snot.

29. Nothing beats doing business on the beach.

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Since that tidal wave will basically destroy the computer within a second or two. There’s a reason why people don’t have beach offices.

30. In business, you have to see all the possibilities.

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That doesn’t mean you should do your business on a cliff. Since that’s incredibly dangerous.

31. Saint Nicholas receives a devastating call.

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“You mean the Dutch don black face to imitate my six to eight black men? Oh, the humanity!”

32. “Get that infernal egg away from me!”

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“Can’t even look how you poach, scramble, and have it over easy. It’s horrible! Stop it! Stop it!”

33. “I believe I can fly…”

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Though Kyle basically works on his laptop on Greg. Poor Greg. He’s going to have chronic back problems later in life.

34. This holy sister has a message for the red man downstairs.

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Oh, Sister Angelica, how could you flip two birds? So undignified for a nun like you.

35. “Want to see my business card?”

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Sorry, but if a guy’s dressed up like the Dude from The Big Lebowski, I’d rather not. For all I know, he could be promoting something shady.

36. There’s nothing like the joys of doing laundry.

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Here Lily sits in front of the washing machine, contemplating the emptiness of her own existence. While holding a pink balloon, no less.

37. Presenting the new Harold & Maude remake.

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Man, they really stretched the age gap from the original. How old is that boy supposed to be? Please let it be 18.

38. This disabled dwarf managed to snag a lady at a punk rock concert.

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What do you know, they have matching mohawks. Yet, the guy has her on a leash. Guess it’s a kink.

39. Though Walter managed to retain his 6-pack, he wasn’t put on right.

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I mean he’s got his butt on his front, no less. Wonder how he has sex and goes to the bathroom. On second thought, I really don’t want to know.

40. Cousin It’s daughter doesn’t have an active social life.

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She also finds it difficult to eat and drink. Mainly with all that hair around her face.

41. Beware of the 3-eyed cat.

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Okay, that’s really weird and kind of creepy. Since the third eye looks remarkably similar to the others.

42. Ever tried licking a cactus?

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Please don’t do this. Since your tongue will hurt like hell for cacti have needles to keep critters from eating their skin.

43. Meet Mike, the Cyber Internet Hacking Thief.

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He’s more machine now than man. Given that most of his body consists of robotic limbs.

44. Think you have to remove the bones and scales first.

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Don’t think that eating a fish straight out of the stream is a good idea. Might hurt your mouth. But, hey, a bet’s a bet.

45. Apparently, the sexy Ser Brienne of Tarth costume was not a success.

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Though I hear it’s been used in the Game of Thrones porn therapy and as a stripper costume. Still, Brienne deserves better.

46. Got a weird sexual fetish? These women got you covered.

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From Bored Panda: “What We Need Is A Picture Of A Blindfolded Woman In Lingerie Holding A Pomegranate With A Octopus On It. Oh And Could You Set Up A Mirror In The Corner Showing Another Woman Sulking? Perfect. Thanks.”

47. “I’ll have your neck for this, Hansen!”

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Let’s just say, the boss meant that literally as he literally grabbed Hansen by then neck. And apparently Hansen’s neck is abnormally large neck.

48. She expects to be the ultimate soccer mom.

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Since she’s carrying a future soccer player in her belly right now as seen how her abdomen resembles a soccer ball. Of course, that could just be all air.

49. Ronnie just wanted to seek some comfort from the Scriptures before ending it all.

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But he can’t decide whether to kill himself by hanging or poison injection. He’d really want it to be quick but is scared of needles.

50. You should know better than to mess with a pineapple businessman.

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He’s all about the Benjamins and he’ll stop at nothing to be the top fruit in the finance world. Though he’s bound to rot from the head.

51. “What’s in the Box?”

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Apparently, it’s Becky’s little head and she’s tearfully screaming. But at least whoever packed it in used bubble wrap and handled it with the utmost delicacy.

52. “We are trying to find the answer to the age old question on why the chicken crossed the road.”

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They didn’t find it. But the scientists managed to get a half dozen eggs out of their lab observations.

53. “I want adventure in the great, wide somewhere…”

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Yes, the guy yearns to go to another place with his hat and suitcase at his side. While jets fly high in the sky like they’re war planes.

54. When your mother’s an Olympic swimmer and your father is the Incredible Hulk.

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While Suzie Banner was in many ways a normal child. Her dad Bruce’s condition with gamma ray radiation resulted in her having a congenital mutation of Hulk hands.

55. “Stop right there! Your pizza or your life!”

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“But I just ordered this delicious pepperoni! Oh, God, please just let me enjoy just one little slice! I’m basically pissing my pants over this!”

56. Didn’t know Bigfoot had a more civilized side to him.

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Okay, he’s actually answering a call on his smart phone. He’s telling his friend how he’s adjusted to human civilization and asking how things are in the woods.

57. She’s got so many reminders that she doesn’t know where to put them.

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So she’s all covered in Post-It notes. If you’re married to her, give this woman some kind of organizer or a bulletin board.

58. A businessman can’t ask for anything more than being in a wheatfield with balloons and a briefcase.

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Someone must be on drugs. Seriously, who frolics in a wheatfield wearing a business suit?

59. Apparently, Japanese nurses are known to entertain hospital patients with conch shell performances.

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Patient is like, “I have to stay up with my food poisoning for this? Can’t I do anything to get this lady to stop?”

60. Don’t worry, Nurse Liloki will take good care of you.

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So she’s marching on the patient’s room with a baseball bat and glove. In case intruders come inside.

61. “Let’s try something a little more adventurous.”

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I think this is taking things a bit too far. I mean making love on a log over a waterfall can result in grievous injury.

62. “Born to be wild..”

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Looks like we have a true mountain lion on his mountain bike. And he’s having the time of his life.

63. When you spend so much on the phone that you don’t take time to listen to your wife.

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Here the wife’s wielding the frying pan while her husband is on the phone. Would love to see them in couples counseling.

64. “But Mrs. Fletcherson, I don’t want to play the recorder.”

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“Listen, Mister, we play recorders in music class and you’re gonna learn to it. Even if I have to drag your ass myself.”

65. Mr. July on the Gas Mask Hunks 2050 calendar.

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The kind of man you’d want in your post-apocalyptic bunker once our human civilization is ravaged by catastrophic climate change. Named as one of the year’s most sexiest men. Given that his body shows no signs of radiation damage.

66. David is a very special boy.

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Since while most people’s waists can only twist at 180 degrees, his turns 360. Yes, I know it looks freaky.

67. A child comes to terms with the harrowing reality that this is what it’ll be like until she retires.

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Go ahead and cry, little girl. Adult life sucks. Also, you’ll be crying in your office a lot more often from now on.

68. Sometimes giving last respects can be very awkward.

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I think we found the murderer. And they used the wrong casket, too.

69. It’s tough being a test dummy and in love.

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“If we make it through this crash, Stanley, let’s run away together. We can get married in Vegas. Nobody will want to condemn us to car testing there.”

70. Tragically, even the North Pole wasn’t exempt from the drug crisis.

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Given global warming, Donald Trump raging on Twitter over being on the naughty list, and other problems, could you blame Santa for shooting up heroin and snorting coke? Nonetheless, such image can ruin your childhood.

71. “Cheeseburgers! Cheeseburgers everywhere!”

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This woman his haunted by cheeseburgers. Best she stay out of a Burger King, MacDonald’s, In&Out Burger, and other places.

72. Featuring the latest thing in food technology: white bread.

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She kind of presents white bread as if it’s the new iPhone or something. Nice try, but she looks ridiculous. Since white bread has been around for decades.

73. Ladies can’t get enough of a manly canine lumberjack.

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By day you can see him cutting down trees as well as peeing on them. Also enjoys long walks in the park and catch. Not to mention, he’s house-trained and got all his shots.

74. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches.

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Seems like she’s getting a massage from a boxing glove. I know it seems straight out of an acid trip.

75. Ahhh…cactus.

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The boy’s smelling a cactus. Hope he doesn’t get a nose full of needles.

76. A one-eyed accountant flashes “East Side” while listening to an abacus.

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How do you listen to an abacus? Because as far as I know, you don’t.

77. In partnership with Lowe’s introducing the Victoria’s Secret Catalog: Handy Girl Edition.

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She can fix up your house and be a man’s bedroom fantasy at the same time. Though I don’t think wearing a skimpy outfit is a good idea, given the potential for injury.

78. “Honey, I can explain…”

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Sorry, Barry, but Jennifer knows you won’t leave your wife for her. So prepare to be bludgeoned to death by rolling pin.

79. “Ice, ice, baby…”

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Yes, we cling to anything to cool us down during the summer. But embracing a large block of it is a bit much.

80. Don’t mind Larry, he’s just taking a bath.

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However, most people don’t usually bathe in their scuba gear. Since most tubs aren’t as deep as the ocean.

81. Gone on a trip to an exotic Latin American country? Party in your car and pick up hitchhikers.

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Actually picking up hitchhikers is a very bad idea. Also, standing up in the jeep isn’t wise either. Not to mention, I don’t think that car’s supposed to fit 7 or more people.

82. Oh, God, Santa’s been a naughty boy this year.

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I’m sure Mrs. Claus won’t be happy when she finds out about this. Someone’s going to get coal in his stocking this Christmas as well as sleeping on the couch.

83. Jessie always feared the times when her daddy’s drunk.

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Why is this a stock photo? It basically shows a girl afraid of seeing her dad with a bottle in one hand and a belt in the other. I think we can figure out what he’s going to do.

84. “Yo, yo, what time is it? Show time!”

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“Uh, Holly, that’s not how we do a rap battle. You’re making us look like idiots. Can we just leave right now?”

85. “Put your hand on my womb, Jamie.”

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Please, have this boy be her son and not her baby’s daddy. Because that boy is basically a teenager and any sexual relationship between a teen and adult is grounds for statutory rape.

86. “Our love literally defies gravity.”

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I mean they’re jumping for joy yet their feet don’t touch the ground. This doesn’t conform to the laws of physics in the least.

87. “There’s a bear behind us? Let’s take a selfie.”

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After this, Gary and Linda were never seen again. Or at least in one piece since the bear basically devoured them.

88. Simba rules the corporate boardroom.

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Actually it’s a guy with a photoshopped lion’s mane. But Scar better watch his back since Simba will claim his rightful place as king of the pridelands.

89. “Help! I got myself stuck in the washing machine!”

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How is it possible to get stuck in a washing machine? Fortunately, none of the machines at the laundromat seem to be on at the moment.

90. Fancy a vacation on the moon?

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No, going to the moon isn’t like going to the beach. It has no atmosphere so you need to put a space suit on. Else, you’ll suffer a most horrible death.

91. “Good morning, class, hope you studied hard for today’s examination.”

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Seriously, a teacher in high heels and miniskirt? She seems more suited to a porn “hot for teacher” movie than a school?

92. He’s known simply as “Pencil Boy.”

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Because he has pencils stuck inside his orifices, save his eyes. Don’t be surprised if the teacher calls his mom saying he got beat up at school.

93. This year’s latest fashion trend: Lobster hair.

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Let’s hope the lobster is dead or plastic. Because a live one on that woman’s head simply terrifies me.

94. When you break into someone’s house in the most embarrassing way.

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Or when your scuba diving excursion goes humiliatingly wrong that you end up entering someone’s home through the toilet. Yeah, got to see how he’ll explain himself.

95. When the flight is overbooked but you can’t miss it.

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Yes, she’s sitting out on the wing which is incredibly dangerous. But she manages to sit comfortably in her business dress and work on her laptop.

96. “We’re about to be beset with some minor turbulence.”

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Either the plane is facing some major turbulence, got shot up into space, or she’s got the acid kicking in. I don’t know how else to explain.

97. “I’m Mary Poppins y’all.”

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Yes, the acid’s definitely kicking in. Since traveling by umbrella doesn’t necessarily get you where you need to go.

98. “Let’s celebrate my survival from a plane crash with interpretive dance!”

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Uh, now’s not the time to do an interpretive dance moves. Better to get supplies and send a signal for a rescue.

99. This caged woman dreams of freedom from her gilded prison.

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Many people might see her as Melania Trump in a nutshell. Though Melania’s prison is the position of First Lady of the United States. Despite that all she wanted to be was a trophy wife to a moral degenerate fake billionaire.

100. A teddy bear goes on his winter trek.

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I hope this bear isn’t trying to climb Mount Everest. Since he’s probably going to die after reaching the summit. Then again, the Sherpas won’t have trouble getting him there.

From Russia with Donald Trump

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As of 2018, we don’t know whether the Trump campaign willingly colluded with Russia in its efforts to undermine the 2016 election. But we do know that Russia hacked into DNC emails and spread fake news propaganda on social networks to help Donald Trump. We know the Russians wanted Trump to win and did whatever they could to accomplish that. We know the Trump campaign was at least okay with the Russian hacking and efforts. Hell, one Trump campaign official even drunkenly bragged about the Russians hacking into Hillary Clinton’s emails. And we know that several Trumpworld figures have corresponded with Russian hackers, Russian oligarchs, and people with ties to the Russian government. Furthermore, Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speeches, even when he’s every opportunity to criticize the Kremlin dictator. Though collusion hasn’t been proven, what we do know of Trumpworld’s connections with Russia gives us a reasonable case for Robert Mueller to investigate.

On November 9, 2016, just a minutes after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, a man named Vyacheslav Nikonov made a very unusual statement in the Russian State Duma. “Dear friends, respected colleagues!” he said. “Three minutes ago, Hillary Clinton admitted her defeat in US presidential elections, and a second ago Trump started his speech as an elected president of the United States of America, and I congratulate you on this.” Since Nikonov is the leader of the pro-Putin United Russia Party, his announcement that day was a clear signal that Trump’s victory was a victory for Putin’s Russia.

Longtime journalist Craig Unger has attempted to gather all the evidence we have of Donald Trump’s connections to the Russian mafia and government and lay it all out in a clear, comprehensive narrative in his book, House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia. Though the book claims to tell the “untold story,” it’s not entirely unclear of how much is new. Because like a lot of the skeletons in Trump’s gilded closet, one of the hardest things to accept about the Trump-Russia saga is how transparent it is. In fact, so much evidence hides in plain sight, and somehow that’s made it more difficult to accept. In his book, Unger names 59 Russians as Trump business associates and follows the purported financial links between them and the Trump Organization, going back decades. Many of them are quite shady. Although Unger doesn’t provide any evidence that Trump gave Russia anything concrete in return for their help, the case he makes for how much potential leverage the Russians have over Trump is damning. In fact, Unger thinks Russia’s use of Trump constitutes “one of the greatest intelligence operations in history,” as he puts in his book.

As Craig Unger claims. what most Americans don’t understand is that the Russian mafia is different from the American mafia. While American crime syndicates are often targets for FBI investigation, the mafia is essentially a state actor in Russia. When asked about the mafia, former KGB Russian counterintelligence operations Gen. Oleg Kalugin told Unger, “Oh, it’s part of the KGB. It’s part of the Russian government.” In Russia, there’s no Wall Street or anything like Goldman Sachs. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, rich gangsters and government officials were able to privatize and loot state-held assets in coal, oil, minerals, and banking. In Vladmir Putin’s Russia, criminal syndicates have become increasingly intertwined with its intelligence services, blurring the line between mafia dons and spies. In fact, Russia expert Mark Galeotti would agree with Unger since he wrote in his book, The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia that Putin’s Kremlin consolidated power by “not simply taming, but absorbing, the underworld.” Putin didn’t care what these gangsters did as long as they strengthened his power and personal financial interests. Since the 1990s, its estimated that some $1.3 trillion has flowed out of Russia.

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Semion Mogilevich is one of the richest and most influential gangsters in the world. Known as the ultimate Russian mob boss, he may not have any direct connection to Donald Trump. But many of his associates and underlings do.

One of the key mob bosses is the squat Ukranian Semion Mogilevich. In Russia, he’s a big time Russian crime boss with a multibillion empire and a wide range of crimes that will make Al Capone look like an inept convenience store robber. According to the FBI, Mogilevich started out as the key money-laundering contact for the Solntsevskaya Bratva, or Brotherhood, one of the richest criminal syndicates in the world. Craig Unger believed that he could’ve been the CEO of Goldman Sachs if he was born in America. The FBI considers Mogilevich the “boss of bosses” of the Russian mafia who’s even feared by his fellow gangsters as “the most powerful mobster in the world.” He’s run drug trafficking rings at an international scale. He’s used a jewelry business in Moscow and Budapest as a front for art that Russian gangsters stole from museums, churches, and synagogues all over Europe. He’s even been accused of selling $20 million in stolen weapons to Iran. From what the FBI has on him, Mogilevich has laundered money through more than 100 front companies around the world and held bank accounts in at least 27 countries. Mogilevich is famous for designing elaborate financial schemes that are extremely difficult, even possible to detect. Since the planning and setup can take years and involve a wide range of people in various positions of power whose roles/identities are sometimes never discovered. In Russia, his influence reaches all the way to the top. Ex-Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko said in an interview with investigators in 2005, “Mogilevich have good relationship with Putin since 1994 or 1993.” A year later Litvinenko was dead, suspiciously poisoned by Kremlin agents. Many of the Russian mobsters who bought units from Donald Trump have ties to this man.

According to Craig Unger, it probably all began as a money-laundering operation with the Russian mafia. After all, anyone who’s known about Donald Trump for a long time knows that he likes doing business with gangsters. Partly because they pay top dollar and loan money when traditional banks won’t. Essentially, for more than 30 years Trump was working with the Russian mafia. He profited from them. They rescued and bailed him out, taking him from being $4 billion in debt to becoming a multibillionaire again. And they fueled his political ambitions. And since Trump had worked with the Russian mafia, he was in bed with the Kremlin as well, whether he knew it or not.

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This is a chart of the Russian-linked and notorious criminals who lived and worked at Trump Tower. Since the place has been the HQ for money laundering operations and more. Helps that during the 1980s, it was the only high-rise to accept anonymous buyers.

To Craig Unger’s knowledge, the very first documented episode he could find was in 1984 when a man named David Bogatin met with Donald Trump in Trump Tower right after it opened since it was the only high-rise in New York City at the time to accept anonymous buyers. Now Bogatin is a Russian mobster, convicted gasoline bootlegger, and close ally of major Russian mob boss and king of money launderers Semion Mogilevich. Anyway, Bogatin came to that meeting prepared to spend $6 million which is equivalent to $15 million today. At that meeting, he bought 5 condos, which the Kremlin later seized on claims they were used to launder money for the Russian mob. We don’t exactly know what was in Trump’s head at the time or what he knew. But Unger has documented 1,300 transactions of this kind with Russian mobsters. These real estate transactions were all cash purchases made by anonymous shell companies that were obviously fronts for criminal money-laundering operations. By the early 2000s, 1/3 of the buyers of Trump Tower’s most expensive condos were either Russia-linked shell companies or individuals from the former Soviet Union. In Florida, about 63 Russian buyers spent at least $98 on Trump properties while another 1/3 of the units were bought by shell companies. Since this represents a large chunk of Trump’s real estate activity in the United States, it’s difficult to argue he had no idea what was going on. Aside from Bogatin, there’s his brother Yakov, who was involved in an elaborate stock fraud with Mogilevich. Two of Trump’s Sunny Isles buyers Anatoly Golubchik and Michael Sall were convicted of taking part in a massive international gambling and money laundering syndicate run out of the New York Trump Tower.

Another Trump buyer was an Uzbek mob-connected diamond dealer named Eduard Nektalov. At the time, Nektalov was under investigation by a Treasury Department task force for mob-connected money laundering. He bought a condo in midtown Manhattan’s Trump World Tower on the 79th floor, directly below Kellyanne Conway. A month later, he sold his unit for $500,000 profit. The next year after rumors circulated of him cooperating with federal investigators, Nektalov was gunned down on Sixth Avenue.

In 1991, Semion Mogilevich paid a Russian judge to spring fellow mob boss Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov, from a Siberian gulag. In Russia, Ivankov was infamous for torturing his victims and boasting about murders he arranged. After his release, Ivankov headed to New York City on an illegal business visa. Once there, he bought a Rolls Royce dealership to use “as a front to launder criminal proceeds.” One of Ivankov’s partners in the operation was Felix Komarov, an upscale art dealer who lived in Trump Plaza on Third Avenue. After receiving a briefcase filled with $1.5 million in cash, over the next 3 years, Ivankov oversaw the mob’s growth from a local extortion racket to a multibillion dollar enterprise. According to the FBI, he recruited 2 “combat brigades” of Special Forces veterans from the Soviet war in Afghanistan to run the mafia’s protection racket and kill his enemies. Feds later found out that Ivankov made frequent visit to Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Russian gangsters routinely laundered huge sums of money. So much that it was repeatedly cited by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for having inadequate money-laundering controls. And in 2015, was fined $10 million and admitted for having “willfully violated” anti-money-laundering regulations for years. The also found that he lived in a luxury condo at Trump Tower. Though despite being Donald Trump’s neighbor, there’s no evidence they knew each other personally. But the fact a top Russian mafia boss lived and worked in Trump’s building shows just how much high-level Russian gangsters saw Trump’s properties as a home away from home.

Then there’s Russian mob leader Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov who ran an entire gambling and money-laundering network out of Unit 63A at Trump Tower (which is 3 floors below Donald Trump’s residence). In fact, Tokhtakhounov was a VIP attendee at Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow just 7 months after the FBI busted his gambling rings and rounded up 29 suspects. The operation, which prosecutors called “the world’s largest sports book,” was run out of Trump Tower condos, including the building’s whole 51st floor. In addition, Unit 63A served as “sophisticated money-laundering scheme” moving an estimated $100 million out of the former Soviet Union, through shell companies in Cyprus, and into investments in the United States. According to the federal indictment, the money launderers paid Tokhtakhounov $10 million. A decade earlier, Tokhtakhounov was indicted for conspiring to fix the ice-skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics and was the only suspect to avoid arrest.

Russian mobsters and oligarchs also had ties to some of Donald Trump’s other properties outside the United States. In November 2017, NBC News reported Trump’s Panama hotel had ties to organized crime. While a Russian state-owned bank under US sanctions helped finance the construction of the 65-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto. And in December 2016, Jared Kushner met with that bank’s CEO. Since this represents a large chunk of Trump’s real estate activity in the United States, it’s difficult to argue he had no idea what was going on.

But how did Donald Trump become a “person of interest” to the Russians over 30 years ago, before his ascent to the presidency was even fathomable? It’s actually not as strange as it seems. First of all, Russians have always wanted to align with certain powerful businessman. Nor was Trump the only guy they targeted. For the Russians have a history going back to the American businessman Armand Hammer during the 1970s-80s who they turned into an asset. In fact, Russia had hundreds of agents and assets in the US. According to Gen. Kalugin, the US was a paradise for spies and they had recruited roughly 300 agents and assets in the country. Trump was one of them.

Nor were Russian operations just limited to money laundering for there was a parallel effort to seduce Donald Trump. Sometime in 1986, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Yuri Dubinin visited Trump in Trump Tower, said that his building was “fabulous,” suggested that he should build one in Moscow, and they arranged for a trip to the Russian capital. According to Gen. Kalugin, this was likely the first step in the process to recruit and compromise Trump, which they probably succeed with flying colors. Since Trump is a sucker for flattery. So we shouldn’t be the least surprised if the Russians have compromising materials on Trump’s Moscow activities. Since they’re very good at acquiring compromising stuff on just about anyone. Not that it would be hard for them.

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Here’s a picture of Donald Trump with Tevfik Artif and Felix Sater. Artif would be busted for running a prostitution ring on his boat in Turkey. While Sater served as an informant while doing his Russia-linked dirty deeds to avoid prison time for racketeering.

Though we don’t have evidence whether such compromising material on Donald Trump’s Moscow activities exists and Craig Unger has tried but couldn’t find any corroboration from several people who assured him it does. But that’s all beside the point. Since Unger believes that the real evidence is already out there in the form of the Bayrock Group, a real estate development company located on Trump Tower’s 24th floor. The founder was a Kazakh man named Tevfik Arif while the managing director was Felix Sater. In 2005, Bayrock proceeded to partner with Trump and helped him develop a new business model he desperately needed. Because Trump was $4 billion in debt after his Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt that he couldn’t get a bank loan from anywhere in the West. Bayrock came in with a new business model that says, “You don’t have to raise any money. You don’t have to do any of the real estate development. We just want to franchise your name, we’ll give you 18 to 25 percent royalties, and we’ll effectively do all the work. And if the Trump Organization gets involved in the management of these buildings, they’ll get extra fees for that.” Apparently, Trump found the idea fabulously lucrative. Meanwhile, the Bayrock associates (particularly Sater) operated out of Trump Tower as well as constantly flew back and forth to Russia. In his book, Unger detailed several channels through which various people at Bayrock have close ties to the Kremlin. While he talked about Sater’s trips to Moscow even as late as 2016, hoping to build Trump Tower there.

Yet, Bayrock and its deals became quickly mired in controversy. First, Forbes and other publications reported that the company was financed by a notoriously corrupt group known as the Trio. In 2010, Turkish prosecutors arrested Tevfik Arif on charges of setting up a prostitution ring after found aboard his boat with 9 young women, 2 of whom were 16 years old. He was later acquitted since the women refused to talk. That same year, 2 former Bayrock executives filed a lawsuit alleging Artif started a firm “backed by oligarchs and money they stole from the Russian people.” In addition, the suit alleged Bayrock “was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated.” According to them, the company’s real purpose was to develop expensive properties bearing the Trump brand and use the projects to launder money and evade taxes. Though the suit doesn’t claim that Donald Trump was complicit in the scam, The Financial Times found that Trump SoHo had “multiple ties to an alleged international money-laundering network.” In one case, a former Kazakh energy minister is being sued in federal court for conspiring to “systematically loot hundreds of millions of dollars of public assets” before purchasing three condos in Trump SoHo to launder his “ill-gotten funds.”

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Donald Trump has often denied his association with Felix Sater. Yet, in reality, the two have been quite close as this business card shows.

During his collaboration with Bayrock, Donald Trump became close to the man who ran the firm’s daily operations, Felix Sater. Sater had numerous ties to Russian oligarchs and Russian intelligence. His father was a boss for Semion Mogilevich who was convicted for extorting local restaurants, grocery stores, and a medical clinic. Sater tried making it as a stockbroker. But his career came to an end in 1991 when he stabbed a Wall Street foe in the face with a broken margarita glass during a bar fight, opening wounds requiring 110 stitches. He then lost his trading license over the attack and served a year in prison. In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to racketeering on grounds of operating a “pump and dump” stock fraud partnership with alleged Russian mobsters that bilked investors of at least $40 million. To avoid prison time, Sater turned informer. But according to documents from the lawsuit against Bayrock, he also resumed “his old tricks.” By 2003, the suit alleges, Sater controlled the majority of Bayrock shares and proceeded to use the firm to launder hundreds of millions of dollars while skimming and extorting millions more. In addition, the suit claimed that Sater committed fraud by concealing his racketeering and that he threatened “to kill anyone at the firm he thought knew of the crimes committed there and might report it.”

By Felix Sater’s account in sworn testimony, he was very tight with Donald Trump. He flew to Colorado with him. He accompanied Donald Jr. And Ivanka on a trip to Moscow at Trump’s invitation. And he met with Trump’s inner circle “constantly.” In Trump Tower, he often dropped by Trump’s office to pitch business ideas. Trump and his lawyers claim he wasn’t aware of Sater’s checkered past when he signed on to do business with Bayrock. This is plausible since Sater’s plea deal in the stock fraud was kept secred due to his role as an informant. But even after The New York Times revealed Sater’s criminal record in 2007, Sater kept using office space provided by the Trump Organization. In 2010, he received a Trump Organization business card reading: FELIX H. SATER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP. As of 2017, Sater apparently remains close to Trump’s inner circle. One week before National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was fired for failing to report meetings with Russian officials, Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen hand-delivered a “back channel plan” for lifting sanctions on Russia to Flynn’s office. According to the Times, the co-author was Felix Sater.

Nonetheless, like many of Donald Trump’s business projects, his deals with Bayrock didn’t bear fruit. International projects in Russia and Poland never materialized. A Trump Tower being built in Ft. Lauderdale ran out of money before completion, leaving behind a massive concrete shell. Trump SoHo was ultimately foreclosed and resold. But Trump’s Russian investors left him with a high-profile property he could leverage since he and Ivanka are still listed as managers. And it’s said he made $3 million from it in 2015.

But is there any evidence that Donald Trump actively sought out Russian money by making clear that his businesses could be used to hide ill-gotten gains? According to Craig Unger, it’s difficult to say. Because he’s not sure if Trump had to. From how the Russian mob transactions took place, Trump didn’t have to say anything. After all, the Trump Organization was desperate for money and knew the caliber of people they were dealing with. So they were either okay with this or deliberately chose not to do their due diligence. Other real estate developers may do this as well, but they usually don’t become president of the United States.

Donald Trump seems much more motivated by money than political ideology. But was his drift into politics in any way influenced by his financial entanglements? There’s no clear answer. Yet, Craig Unger told Vox one weird anecdote about Trump’s first wife, Ivana, whom he married in 1977. Apparently, Czech secret police had started following her and her family in the late 1980s and one of their files said that Trump was being pressured to run for president. But what does that mean? Who was pressuring him and why? How were they applying the pressure? And did it have anything to do with potentially compromising materials the Russians had on Trump during his 1987 trip to Moscow? What we do know is that when Trump returned from his first Moscow trip, he took out full-page ads in the Washington Post, New York Times, and Boston Globe which pushed anti-European and anti-NATO views that were aligned with the Soviet plan to destroy the Western alliance. Whether he always believed such things or not, it’s worth noting.

Now Craig Unger didn’t go to Russia for obvious reasons given how Vladimir Putin tends to murder critical reporters. But most of what he found out came from public sources, which is stunning. One of his sources tipped him off on the high-ranking Russian mob boss Semion Mogilevich, whom he had never heard of before. He’s even been accused of selling $20 million in stolen weapons to Iran. Anyway, that led Unger to an online database revealing home ownership in the state of New York, along with purchases and sales. So he went to the Trump properties. Every time Unger found a Russian name, he’d research it. He’d take their name and Mogilevich in Google and as he told Vox, “it was like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine, time after time after time.” Among the Russians Unger found on the Trump property listings, there were countless people either indicted on money laundering or gunned down on Sixth Avenue. He also found a huge percentage with criminal histories, which sort of got him started. He also had a research assistant who spoke Russian and helped him break the language barrier for him.

But does Craig Unger’s book about Donald Trump and Russia offer anything new? Well, the insights Unger gained from Gen. Kalugin were completely new. Yet, most of what he did was compile what was out there but haven’t been pieced together. For instance, he found a lot of the Russian-connected stories published in the crime pages of the New York Post and the New York Daily News. These were just straight-up crime stories you’d see in a tabloid. After all, Americans don’t think crime stories involving the Russian mob would have any geopolitical implications or forces behind it. Nevertheless, many of these seemingly random Russian crime stories appearing in the tabloids again and again was connected to a much larger operation ensnaring Trump and the people around him.

Still, even if Donald Trump has no idea how many deals he and his businesses made with Russian investors, he certainly didn’t “stay away” from Russia. After all, he and his organization have aggressively promoted his business there for decades, seeking to entice investors and buyers for some of his most high-profile developments. Whether he knew it or not, Russian mobsters and corrupt oligarchs used his properties not only to launder vast sums of money from extortion, drugs, gambling, and racketeering, but even as a base for their criminal activities. In the process, they propped up Trump’s business and enabled him to reinvent his image. Without the Russian mafia, Trump wouldn’t be president of the United States.

However, if Donald Trump is a Russian asset, he’s not the only one targeted. During the 1980s and 1990s, the US government saw a pattern by which criminals used condos to launder money. As former Clinton official Jonathan Winer told The New Republic, “It didn’t matter that you paid too much, because the real estate values would rise, and it was a way of turning dirty money into clean money. It was done very systematically, and it explained why there are so many high-rises where the units were sold but no one is living in them.” One of the things Craig Unger’s book shows is that there’s a new kind of global war going on in which the weapons are information, data, social media, and financial institutions. The Russian mafia is only one weapon in this global conflict and the Russians have been smartly fighting it since the fall of the Soviet Union. The Russians start businesses and front companies and commodities firms appearing legitimate but essentially work to advance the Russian state’s interests. Many of today’s Russian oligarchs seek to portray themselves as unremarkable businessmen, preferring that their life-and-death struggles for riches in the 1990s fade into history. Yet, as their influence in the west grows, it becomes more important to understand any links to the authoritarians and kleptocrats back home. The Russians are very good at getting people financially entangled and then using that leverage to get what they want. This appears what the Russians have done with Trump and now he’s president. As former top official Elsie Bean told The Financial Times, “Russia has long been associated with dirty money. Anyone getting substantial funds originating in the former Soviet Union should have known that the funds were high risk and required a careful due diligence review to ensure the money was clean.”

Nonetheless, the most troubling part of all this is that the Russians simply exploited our own corrupt system. The studied our pay-to-play culture, found its weak spots, and very carefully manipulated it. As long as our culture remains unchanged, we should expect this kind of exploitation. Sometimes the worst part about a scandal is what’s legal. The Russians studied our campaign system and campaign finance law and masterfully exploited it. They’ve used pharmaceutical companies, energy companies, and financial institutions to pour money into politics. And we really have no idea the extent of their influence. Vladimir Putin may be right in his insistence that American democracy is also corrupt while he’s showing us exactly how screwed up it is. Donald Trump is just the most glaring example. But there are others, most of who we don’t know anything about.

Whether you believe Donald Trump is owned by the Russian mob or not, Craig Unger presents a compelling case in his book. Though some of his statements in issues might read like conspiracy theories, but so much of it makes a lot of sense. Besides, Unger isn’t the only guy who thinks the Russian mafia owns Trump. Nor Trump is the only prominent figure with shady Russian ties as you can see within his administration. Nor is the Trump Organization the only entity. Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen had an uncle who owned a Brooklyn catering hall called El Caribe, which “for decades was the scene of mob weddings and Christmas parties,” and housed offices of “two of New York’s most notorious Russian mobsters.” Then there’s the matter with the NRA receiving money from 23 Russian donors during the 2016 campaign. Not to mention, Rep. Dana Rohrbacher was considered “Putin’s favorite congressman” long before Trump ran for president and was instrumental in killing some critical anti-Russian legislation. Thankfully, he’s lost to a Democrat this year. We may not know whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia or the full extent of the Trump-Russian relationship. But as with many aspects of Trump’s business practices, what we know is damning. There is no doubt that Trump has taken Russian money. And when Trump receives millions of dollars from someone, he’s more likely to be beholden to them. But that doesn’t mean Trump is loyal to them, because he’s just as likely to drop his Russian backers once they prove no longer useful. Since Trump’s true loyalty is only to himself. So we must be concerned.

Donald Trump of Mar-a-Lago

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From the moment in 1985 when Donald Trump decided to make Mar-a-Lago his personal castle, he has shattered the Palm Beach, Florida old-money conventions with the same thin-skinned, sue-you-in-a-heartbeat, self-congratulatory ethos which has made him such a mesmerizing character akin to a derailed train you want to ignore but can’t look away. As we’ve learned since 2015, you can’t write too much about Trump since he’s a narcissistic sociopath with no moral scruples and way more scandals than Henry VIII. Whether you like him or hate him, you can’t write too much about Trump since he’s an inexhaustible source of good stories.

The last of Palm Beach’s estates to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway, Mar-a-Lago was a single-family of grand design. This Mediterranean-Revival style mansion had 118 rooms, including 58 bedrooms, 33 bathrooms, 35 dining rooms, a ballroom, a theater, a 6 car garage, a 9-hole golf course, 3 bomb shelters, and a 75ft tower you could see for miles. Built in 1927 for cereal heiress and richest woman in America at the time, Marjorie Merriwether Post, she willed it to the federal government for use as a winter White House for American presidents after her death in 1973. Though the home became a National Historic Landmark, presidents didn’t use it while the federal government became sick of paying $1 million a year to maintain it. So the federal government gave the estate back to the Post Foundation who put up for sale for $20 million.

At the time, Donald Trump was a hotshot 39-year-old real estate developer who had opened his 58-story signature Trump Tower skyscraper in Manhattan. Eager to get the Florida mansion off their hands, the Post Foundation agreed to a bargain $10 million sale- $7 million for the property and $3 million for the furnishings and in a contract requiring Trump to only put down $2,812 of his own money. A Palm Beach County property appraiser later wrote in a court brief that anyone buying a “rabbit warren condo” in a lower-middle class neighborhood would’ve had to put more money down than Trump did. Nonetheless, Trump listed his purchase of Mar-a-Lago as an example of his deal-making prowess writing in The Art of the Deal, “I’ve been told the furnishings in Mar-a-Lago alone are worth more than I paid for the house.” Mar-a-Lago was “as close to paradise as I’m going to get.” Palm Beach County agreed by assessing Mar-a-Lago’s property at $11.5 million, which was 64% than he paid for it. This left Trump in a tough position of politically bragging about getting his spare mansion in Palm Beach for a bargain, while privately arguing in court filings he should get a tax deduction. He testified, “I paid the highest price for a piece of land that’s costing $2 or $2 ½ million a year to maintain. Maybe the tax assessment will force us to develop the land, which I’m sure won’t make the town very happy.” Except he didn’t. Furthermore, a 1988 Associated Press article depicts how Trump fought against a $200,000 property tax bill, which he claimed should’ve been half. Nonetheless, back in the 1980s, this was the kind of brash talk Palm Beach’s old-money aristocrats feared from Trump. Since he wasn’t the sort of genteel patrician Palm Beach’s Social-Index Directory favored. In fact, some regarded him as a gated community barbarian as well as a hustler too eager to impress. While his threat of chopping up Mar-a-Lago was an open of some rough relations on the horizon.

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While Donald Trump was trying to acquire Mar-a-Lago, he launched another real estate venture called Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches. However, he ended up selling about 100 out of 221 condo units as well as borrowed $60 million which he couldn’t pay back. In the end, Trump lost his financial stake in the project and the bank took over.

While his Mar-a-Lago investment was in doubt, Donald Trump launched another local real estate venture across the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach. The property was an ailing 33-story, twin tower complex that a Palm Beach developer had lost in foreclosure. In 1986, Trump bought it for $40 million cash which was $3.2 million less than what the Bank of New York paid to reclaim the property at a public foreclosure auction. And like Mar-a-Lago, it was becoming a deal he couldn’t afford. Trump then renamed the West Palm Beach condo project after himself while spending millions to spruce up the Trump of the Palm Beaches’ public areas and advertise the sale of its luxury condos in Northeastern newspapers. Trump said at the time, “This is not a very large deal for me, but it’s a quality deal. We expect a lot of people in Palm Beach to be buying apartments for family, et cetera.” But after 4 years of heavy promoting, he only managed to sell 100 of the 221 units, which was less than half. In addition, Trump borrowed $60 million from the Marine Midland Bank of New York to pay for the project, which he couldn’t pay back. In 1991, 2 months before filing for corporate bankruptcy on his Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Trump turned over the Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches to Marine Midland Bank of New York for his $14 million personal guarantee on the loan. The bank unloaded the unsold units in a fire-sale auction accepting bids of $75,000 for units previously priced as high as $470,000. Yet, because he can’t admit to personal failure, Trump took a victory lap saying, “It’s great for me because I get off a guarantee. Only because of the success of the development could I have done that.”

However, Donald Trump was still trying to find a way to salvage his Mar-a-Lago deal. So he didn’t want to give his Palm Beach neighbors the notion he was really drowning in debt. So after the bank sold off units from Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches, Trump took out a full-page ad in The Palm Beach Daily News, which read: “This is an advertisement to explain the great success of a development, Trump Plaza of the Palm Beaches, which many people, until recently, had not been fully aware. When I look at Trump Plaza from Mar-a-Lago, I am proud that even in the horrendous real estate market of the early 1990s, I was able to rescue this previously troubled and unsold development, add management, construction expertise and the name Trump … and make it into one of Florida’s greatest success stories.” It didn’t mention that he completely lost his financial stake in the condos or how the project actually achieved full occupancy. So basically, Trump took an ad bragging about his “success” of his Palm Beach condo project, which was actually a total failure that he lost to the bank. Nor did that “success” change the fact that Trump still couldn’t afford Mar-a-Lago as a single-family home. And nobody was coming along to relieve him from the deal on “paradise” he had made.

Donald Trump’s proposed solution was to chop his National Historic Landmark into something he called the Mansions of Mar-a-Lago. This was a development that would put a public road running through the middle of the estate, leading to the 10 mini-mansions he’d build on the property, including one on the front lawn. But the Palm Beach Town Council shot down all of Trump’s proposed changes to the property, even when he reduced his mini-mansion plans from 10 to 7. Instead, they encouraged Trump to find a buyer if he couldn’t afford to keep the estate intact. After all, New York packaging magnate, Nelson Peltz had spent $21 million to buy Palm Beach oceanfront estate Montsorrel, 2 years after Trump bought Mar-a-Lago. So the town council advised Trump to just buy another Nelson Peltz to take the estate off his hands. However, as we all know, Donald Trump didn’t act on the Palm Beach council’s advice. In fact, when the town government refused to bend to his demands, he sued. The lawsuit against the Town of Palm Beach would eventually cause his neighbors to lawyer up against him. One of these lawyers told The Palm Beach Post at the time, “There are rules around here, and those rules apply to everyone, whether or not you have a famous name.”

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When Donald Trump’s Mansions of Mar-a-Lago plan fell through, he decided to turn it into a private club it is today. Naturally, the Palm Beach Town Council took him on it since it was an all around win-win situation.

After Palm Beach rejected his Mansions of Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump found another way to salvage his stake in his property. He offered to drop his lawsuit if council members allowed him to convert his estate into a new private club on the island. Since so much of Palm Beach social life was dictated by club memberships, this was a tempting offer. This was especially since there hadn’t been a new club on the island for a quarter century. In the deal, the town would get to have Mar-a-Lago remain in appearance it was in the Merriwether Post days. While Trump could unburden himself of its expenses by selling off memberships while maintaining his property ownership. Membership would be capped at 500, not including spouses and children. The initiation fee would be $50,000 with $3,000 annual dues (fee is now $200,000 with $14,000 in annual dues and charges $2,000 for meals). Members would get to dine, swim in the pool, and attend private parties and special events with world-class singers, lecturers, and entertainers. The town eventually approved the club.

But many Palm Beachers were still reluctant to trust Donald Trump. Socialite Tamara Newell said at the time, “A lot of people like to think Palm Beach is a little more genteel and old money. This is a new-money idea at an old-money location.” And approval of the club only gave them more reasons to peck at him. Now a lot of these disputes in the 2016 Politico article I read about his war with Palm Beach consist of a lot stupid shit like wedding fireworks, attendance limits to an Elton John AIDS concert, or changing the coat of arms to put Trump as an advertising ploy. While Trump is known for being notoriously petty, Palm Beach is filled with petty rich people and a town government that once banned shirtless joggers for tackiness and scented its sewer water with lilac and honeysuckle fragrances. Such petty disputes between Trump and the rich set of Palm Beach don’t seem to interest me much. Mostly because I care more about Trump deliberately screwing people out of their money or using intimidation tactics to get his way.

Yet, there is a telling incident in the 2016 Politico article on Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago that’s very telling, especially on his insatiable appetite for self-promotion and the media’s role should be. In the first January after his divorce from his first wife Ivana was final, Trump’s publicist called all the local TV news and newspaper outlets in Palm Beach County to say that Trump was about to hold the party of all parties for that Winter’s Palm Beach social season. The publicist explained that one reporter from each news outlet would be allowed to attend this party-of-the-year to mingle with a guest list of invited celebrities such as Tom Selleck, Slyvester Stallone, and football star Herschel Walker. Frank Cerabino was on the guest list to cover the event for the Palm Beach Post. But it turned out his role at the party was far more complex than he imagined. Writing for Political in 2016, he recalled, “As the real guests arrived, which included busloads of fashion models from Miami, I was part of a local media contingent who wasn’t allowed to actually come into the party, but instead would form a visual tableau of over-eager reporters playing the role of gate crashers to those who would see us as their cars drove up to the portico of the mansion.” He continued, “Trump left us standing in his driveway in a little cluster. We were unaware, at first, of our role. But he couldn’t help coming over to wring out every last drop of publicity for the night.” In other words, Cerabino and the local reporters were at Mar-a-Lago to make him and his party look good as props. Going out of his way to show that he was winning divorce (like you can even do that), Trump invited a national TV reporter Judd Rose and his crew from ABC’s Prime Time Live show, into his home as guests for the weekend. Rose and his crew eventually filmed the money shot of the invitees, but shunned the local reporters yelling across the driveway to Trump to let them in. While Trump made a shooting gesture as if to wave them off and later described the reporters in the driveway as those who invited themselves to the party. Over the years, Cerabino has learned that Trump admires or despises journalists based on how useful they are to him while his sense of humor doesn’t include anything directed to him.

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One of the biggest Donald Trump disputes of legend at Mar-a-Lago was when he put up an oversized American flag on a tall pole at the resort. This incident would later be lampooned on The Colbert Report.

In 2006, without getting a permit and variance, Donald Trump put up an 80ft tall flag pole with a 15 x 25ft flag flying from it on his Mar-a-Lago resort. Since Palm Beach restricts residents flying flags no bigger than 4 x 6ft and on pole no higher than 42ft, he knew he was plainly inviting a lawsuit by out-flagging his neighbors. Taking the bait, the town council cited the oversized pole and flag as town code violations and fined Trump $250 for every day the display remained on his estate. In retaliation, Trump responded, “The town council of Palm Beach should be ashamed of itself. He went on Nancy Grace’s TV show to complain about Palm Beach’s lack of patriotism. Then, ignoring the town’s violations, which grew into a $120,000 fine and counting as of 2016, he filed a lawsuit against Palm Beach for $25 million in damages to what he called an abridgement to his constitutional right of free speech. Trump eventually dropped his flag lawsuit white town waived its fines. As terms of a court-ordered mediation, he’d file a permit and be allowed to keep an oversized pole on Mar-a-Lago that was 10ft shorter and on a different lawn spot. He was also called to donate $100,000 to veterans’ charities.

Tucked into Donald Trump’s patriotic posturing was a completely unrelated legal but more important matter: a complaint about the town code requiring large commercial enterprises to be “town serving.” Under this ordinance, Palm Beach requires proof from local businesses that local residents contribute at least 50% of their business to them. For instance, when Neiman Marcus opened in Palm Beach, the town allowed it as long as it only advertised in the local newspaper, and not in publications to shoppers not living on the island. For Trump, eliminating the “town serving” requirement would mean he could offer more memberships to his Mar-a-Lago social club to people with no Palm Beach connections, making it easier for him to keep his club full. Creating a distraction on the flag issue to pursue some other angle is a classic Trump move. Though he has yet to get this particular exemption waived, Palm Beach knows that Trump’s lawsuits never get settled, they just become dormant. While one of his Palm Beach lawyers told Politico in 2016, that the “town serving” issue is still unresolved and ripe for more litigation.

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Also in West Palm Beach is the Trump International Golf Club. Donald Trump got this made out of a dispute with the county airport. Though he wanted the jail moved, which he obviously didn’t get.

While playing defense against Palm Beach’s constant attempts to rein him in, Donald Trump went on the attack against the county and its airport. Airlines routinely used a flight path in and out of Palm Beach International Airport in nearby West Palm Beach that brought the planes directly over Mar-a-Lago. This didn’t sit well with Trump, arguing that the noise and fumes were ruining his investment, and that the decent thing for the county to do was to move the airport farther west. Actually Trump had been arguing that for years, to no avail. Acting like a spoiled brat not getting his own way, he called airport director, Bruce Pelly, among other things, a “moron” and “the worst airport director in the country.” It turned out to be a useful gripe for Trump, which he could turn into a new business opportunity. For just south of the airport was a 214 acres of vacant scrub land owned by Palm Beach County, which he wanted. So like any rich spoiled adult, he sued the county for over $75 million over the airport noise. Only to negotiate to drop that lawsuit in exchange for the county giving him a 75-year lease on the nearby property for $438,000 a year. That land became the Trump International Golf Club, a $40 million, 18-hole, Jim Fazio-designed course that imported nearly 2 million cubic yards of dirt to transform the flat scrub into hilly terrain with waterfalls, rock formations, a clubhouse 4 stories above sea level. While planning to open the course with initiation fees starting at $100,000, Trump wanted the county to do one more thing for him: move the jail. Because no matter how much landscaping he brought to the course, there was no way disguising the 12-story Palm Beach County Jail towering over the course’s north side and was visible from some of the holes. So as he had done with the airport, Trump asked the county to move the jail. Naturally, they refused, while the sheriff found the idea amusing.

Yet, Donald Trump’s war with the Palm Beach International Airport hasn’t quelled. When the airport considered expanding by adding another runway, Trump threatened another lawsuit. Though the expansion never came, Trump sued the airport again in 2016 for $100 million from county taxpayers for the sooty residue left by planes flying over Mar-a-Lago. Still, perhaps his actions aren’t about the airport, which he’s using for leverage to get what he wants but can’t have at the moment. Because Trump is always at war and woe to those who stand in his way.

Over the years, Palm Beach has gradually come to accept Donald Trump’s outsized personality along with his private club as more of an asset than a potential source of trouble. Mar-a-Lago has hosted many glittering social events, charity balls, and political fundraisers. As a concert hall, it has housed Palm Beach Opera shows and performances from top-notch entertainers like Celine Dion and Tony Bennett. As town officials moved on, their successors gradually loosened their tight reins on the club, easing the restriction on the numbers of outdoor beach barbecues it would allow, permitting the construction of an outdoor pavilion, and allowing the club to build a 14,000 sq. ft. kitchen on the grounds so waiters don’t have to use golf carts for hauling food inside and outside the mansion. Trump has also figured how to pay less taxes on Mar-a-Lago. By giving up development rights on the land to the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation, it eliminated the county property appraiser’s ability to tax the place on the “highest and best use” standard that contemplated the estate can be still chopped up into lots and sold off. Yet, while Trump has become a Palm Beach fixture, it would be wrong to say he’s mellowed for he never does.

But that doesn’t mean Donald Trump’s presence hasn’t disrupted Palm Beach life in recent years. In fact, since his election to the presidency, his stays at Mar-a-Lago have raised issues not seen since he was a private citizen. Since they involve security and the impact his visits have on people and businesses in Palm Beach. Nowadays, whenever Trump resides in the Palm Beach region, the area becomes a zone of temporary flight restrictions affecting flights and other air operations within a 30 nautical mile radius. Coast Guard and Secret Service secure the 2 waterway approaches, ocean and lake. While the Secret Service cordons off streets to Mar-a-Lago. At Latana’s Palm Beach County Park Airport, the situation is dire. Whenever Trump is at Mar-a-Lago, Federal Aviation Administration restrictions ban all flights out of that airport, which is one of the busiest of its size in the country. It doesn’t help that the airport receives most of its business on weekends and holidays, particularly during the winter at peak snowbird season, when Trump would most likely be there. For instance, by the third weekend of February 2017, the Palm Beach County Park Airport had been shut down for 3 consecutive weekends, accumulating significant financial losses for multiple businesses. So to put it this way, as president, Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago during the winter have basically costs Palm Beach County millions of dollars in lost revenue from tourism. The county is also worried about the police overtime it’s racking up, which could be $60,000 a day.

While Donald Trump may give plenty of things for Palm Beach locals to talk about, there are other aspects we should discuss. First, since Trump became president, his visits have cost taxpayers millions of dollars for federal security detail, which has gone to the Trump Organization’s coffers. But it’s very clear that he’s making money off his presidency. Nonetheless, Mar-a-Lago club members enjoy the fact having Trump president gives them personal access to political power during his visits. In fact, since his inauguration, guests have been flocking to Mar-a-Lago to catch a glimpse of him. But the fact access to a president can be bought for thousands of dollars at his private club should worry every American. And it should make it alarmingly clear that Trump is a man of and for the 1%. Already, ProPublica claimed that a trio of ultrawealthy Mar-a-Lago members are effectively running the Department of Veterans Affairs in influencing policy and making personnel decisions. In fact, a veterans’ group has sued the VA over it.

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Here is Donald Trump with Melania and Barron posed with Mar-a-Lago’s employees. Most of them have HB-1 visas despite that Palm Beach locals were perfectly willing to do those jobs.

Second, despite Donald Trump’s self-promotion as a “champion” for US workers (which he isn’t), Mar-a-Lago has consistently hired a predominantly foreign workforce. He claims the local workforce is unwilling to do the work and that his foreign employees are best suited for the jobs. Except that’s not true. In 2016, The New York Times reported that over 200 locals had applied to work as cooks, waiters, and housekeepers since 2010. Only 17 of them were ever hired. Also, as with many Trump enterprises, there are plenty of wage theft complaints from contractors and employees. Given that foreign workers are easier to exploit since they can be threatened with deportation if they don’t toe the line, perhaps that’s why Trump prefers to employ them over locals.

Furthermore, The Palm Beach Post reported that Trump scored visas to hire 70 foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago for the 2017-18 tourist season. Third, in January 2017, Mar-a-Lago’s kitchens were hit with 13 health and safety violations, including 3 that were called “high priority.” Inspectors claimed that meat wasn’t properly refrigerated and could be unsafe for consumption, undercooked or raw fish that hadn’t undergone proper parasite destruction, and not maintaining coolers in proper working order. Another inspection in November resulted in 15 more health citations, according to the Miami Herald. In January 2018, Mar-a-Lago was cited for maintenance violations which could’ve posed a threat to public health, safety, and welfare like broken staircases, improper food storage, and inadequate smoke detectors.

Then there’s Mar-a-Lago’s security and cybersecurity woes. In recent years, Gizmodo reported that hackers found 3 of its networks as so weak that they could’ve breached the systems within 5 minutes. The 3 hackers behind the article claim they made the discovery using a 2ft wireless antenna from on board a 17ft motor boat parked offshore. Though Donald Trump’s company has expressed confidence in its cybersecurity as spokeswoman Amanda Miller told Gizmodo, “Our teams work diligently to deploy best in class firewall and anti-vulnerability platforms with constant 24/7 monitoring.”

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In April 2017, we have Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe receiving news of North Korea launching a nuclear missile in Japan’s direction. Note the classified information being shown in the cell phone screen.

Speaking of security breaches, Donald Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago afford an unprecedented opportunity for eavesdropping and building dossiers on his routines and habits along with those in his inner circle around him. Add that with each repeated visit, the security risk escalates. As former Obama official David Kris told TIME, “The president is the biggest, richest intelligence target in the world, and there is almost no limit to the energy and money an adversary will spend to get at him.” According to former Secret Service agents, the security setup at Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s other private clubs presents challenges to the agency wasn’t built to deal with. Since the Secret Service’s main job is to protect the president from physical threats and monitoring for wiretaps and other listening devices. Not from the kinds of counterespionage challenges presented by the president’s choice to eat, sleep, and work at a club accessible to anyone who can get a member to invite them in. White House visitors must go through a rigorous background screening before they’re let in the door. Agents scan every visitor’s full name, birth date, Social Security number, city of residence, and country of birth. Gaining entry at Mar-a-Lago doesn’t require that degree of disclosure. Sure guests entering the club have to pass multiple security checkpoints staffed by Secret Service agents looking for weapons or other immediate threats. But there’s only one requirement to produce a photo ID, while the club doesn’t ask guests to provide their names or other information as they enter through the main wrought-iron gated door. At public events, attendees are only asked to provide their name. Since has Trump has become president, the lax security measures can make Mar-a-Lago a free-for-all for spies.

Hell, spies don’t even need to go to Mar-a-Lago to do their work. In early 2017, lists of the club’s nearly 500 exclusive dues-paying members were leaked to the news media, giving foreign intelligence names of potential targets for surveillance, bribes, or blackmail that could help them get closer to Donald Trump. In addition, a page on Mar-a-Lago’s website (which is accessible to the public with just a little search engine sleuthing), reveals the names, work email addresses, and phone numbers for more than a dozen critical club employees, including the managing director, the housekeeping director, the official in charge of food and beverage services, and the chief of security. All would be obvious targets for operatives trying to get information on Trump or others in his entourage.

Mar-a-Lago may be a winter White House for Donald Trump. But since his inauguration, it has become another political arena where one with wads of cash can have access to political power. Indeed, plenty of these guests are rich people from old money. Though others can be politicians, foreign dignitaries, and corporate heads wanting something in exchange for their service. This can be donations, but it can also be policy that could affect our lives and not for the better. Yet, it’s another arena that can be prone to spy infiltration from eavesdroppers listening into conversations which can compromise our national security. Since it’s already happened in 2017. Nonetheless, we must be wary when Trump goes there since his visits are marketing events and he’s used his trips to make money off the presidency, which is a very clear conflict of interest.

 

The Roadside World of Billboards

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Let’s face it, advertising is everywhere. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you’re still bound to see some kind of ad promoting some kind of product or service. After all, a business has to sell somehow and some way. Even in a rural area, whenever you’re traveling, chances are you’ll see all kinds of billboard signs advertising local businesses and services nearby. Some may even have public service announcements or political messages. Some may just promote products like fast food or beer. But whenever you travel, you’ll still see them. Nevertheless, you’ll come across some billboards with unique designs and funny slogans. And that’s where I come in. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasury of billboards that won’t make you bored to tears. Some of these may not be safe for work by the way.

  1. Come to Pedro’s south of the border.
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Not sure if using “sausage” is a good idea. Oh, I get it, it’s supposed to be “saw such.” My mistake.

2. Best to drive carefully through Branxton.

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Since it has 2 cemeteries and no hospital. So if you get injured, you’re out of luck.

3. Of course, some people just have to bring their personal lives out for everyone to see.

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Look, I know you’re hurting, Emily. But please, I think airing your anger on a billboard makes you seem like a crazy bitch.

4. Stop in at Big Dick’s Halfway Inn.

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Okay, this sounds kind of dirty for a rest stop. I’m sure “Original Minnow Shot” will have its own Urban Dictionary entry real soon.

5. With Esurance, you can cover your home in a click.

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Sure you might not see anything wrong with this message. But look at it from far away, and it says, “cover your home in a dick.”

6. This billboard was brought to you by Financial Arts, Inc.

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However, if you’re looking for anything silent but deadly, I don’t think their website will offer it. Though I don’t know what financial arts are anyway.

7. Pollo Tropical always offers island flavor.

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But they aren’t great choosing a font. Since the “island” part also reads bland, which won’t attract potential customers.

8. Your Local 5 is here when you need to know.

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Though the headline doesn’t help matters. Seriously, people might get the wrong idea.

9. Since you only live once, try to be happy.

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Brought to you by Wilks Funeral Home. Hey, at least they know how to cash in on a trend.

10. Spend your time at this golf range.

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This place boasts about great balls and grass. I know people might get the wrong idea.

11. If you need any help, call these guys.

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But what do these people do? Who are these people are? Seriously, I really don’t know.

12. Want to fly? Text while you drive.

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But I don’t think that kind of flying involves a plane. More likely involves a car crash.

13. Live the extreme with the Air Force Reserve.

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Since when did the Air Force do wind surfing? Not that I want to join since I don’t. But I need to know this.

14. Scandinavian Designs has their biggest sale ever.

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That woman doesn’t seem excited for some reason. In fact, she reminds me of a scream queen from a horror movie who’s freaked out about getting killed.

15. At Construct 2, we make computer games.

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Yet, this one seems to depict rather childish drawings. Perhaps they should’ve gone with state of the art graphics instead.

16. You can expect great care at Cancer Care Center.

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Don’t think that’s good for their ad campaign. Seriously, that pun goes nowhere.

17. Hope you can get a nice pair of these undies.

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Too bad this billboard ad was made by someone who couldn’t type. Seriously, the capitalization is nuts.

18. Lowe’s always takes care of unfinished projects.

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Well, at least Lowe’s knows how to advertise. Since that billboard looks unfinished to me.

19. She caught her cheating husband with state of the art equipment.

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I think ads like these belong on Craigslist. Not on billboards for all to see.

20. Cops hide here. So get a Mini Cooper.

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Sure the Mini Cooper is small. But an ad implying that cops hide behind the bushes is disturbing.

21. Want to see your teeth as we do? Go to Aspen Dental.

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I know she’s smiling. But it’s a frown upside down. That don’t look right.

22. Want to see the largest continent? Fly on Air Asia.

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Well, that’s a clever way to use puns. Hope it goes over the kids.

23. Got hemorrhoids? Tampa Proctology is at your service.

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Come in through the rear entrance. And please, no butt dials.

24. Want to enjoy Minnesota? Move to Wisconsin.

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Someone doesn’t seem to appreciate Minnesota very much. But this is from a Wisconsin real estate agency.

25. When burying your dead loved one, think outside the box.

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This is for a cemetery. But when they say to think outside the box, they usually don’t mean a coffin.

26. Don’t read enough? Try these audiobooks.

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I know some Americans may be offended by this. But this company is from Canada. Still, I’d replace the George W. Bush image with Donald Trump.

27. Your breasts won’t bounce with this bra.

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I don’t get the slogan. “Only the ball should bounce,” what the hell does that mean?

28. Seems like this billboard might’ve caused a car crash.

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Apparently, sex sells. Since this is for a mechanic’s garage. Guess they know how to drum up good business.

29. Is your wife hot? Get your air conditioning fixed.

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Well, that’s sure to get people’s attention. Though I’m not sure if it’s appropriate.

30. Got arrested? Call Jaeger & Blanker.

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Got to like their number 1-855-WTF-POPO. Though they seem to specialize in drugs and DUIs.

31. Seems like this lobster had to see a therapist.

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This is for an Australian lobster joint. Not sure why it featured cartoon lobsters in therapy.

32. The Dark Knight is open for litigation.

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Okay, his name just happens to be Batman. Wonder if he gets any flack from that. Couldn’t hurt his business.

33. Life Church TV is known to vanquish Satan.

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Not always a fan of religious billboards. But I think this one is quite clever if you ask me.

34. Texas Direct Auto loves your headlights.

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This is for a car buying service. And I don’t think the cars they buy aren’t anywhere nice.

35. Invest in your future, study engineering before sex.

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Funny how this ad implies you can’t have sex and study engineering. But still, use protection.

36. Asian Buffet: Poor English but great food.

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Though Asians will certainly find this sign quite offensive. This especially with the addition of “Oriental.”

37. Buy a diamond ring for her and get a free gun.

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Well, that’s one way to drum up business. Yet, should a jeweler really do this?

38. Alcohol: Cheaper than therapy.

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This is for a discount liquor store. Though between alcohol and therapy, I’d stick with therapy.

39. If you can bank anywhere, go with 1st Bank.

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Yet, why it has a surgeon operating, I don’t have the slightest idea. Seriously, banking shouldn’t be on your mind while cutting someone open.

40. Keep your butt covered.

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This one recommends that people get colonoscopies. Yet, why show someone’s butt cheeks, I don’t have a clue.

41. Fat and ugly? Join Fit 4 Less.

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Well, that’s a rather demeaning message. From a billboard in Great Britain, by the way.

42. Get your crabs at Dirty Dick’s Crab House.

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It’s a crab restaurant at Myrtle Beach. Yet, I see the dirty wordplay which would make many want to avoid it.

43. Spend time with your kids at the dinner table. Put family first.

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I know it’s supposed to encourage family togetherness. Yet, it seems to imply cannibalism.

44. Come to Buc-ee’s for food and gas.

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I know it’s just a run of the mill rest stop. Yet, kind of implies that the food you eat will give you gas.

45. Seems like we’ve come across a personal ad.

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Well, if you can afford a billboard, you can afford a spouse. Still, not sure about displaying one’s phone number though.

46. Texting while driving kills. But if you want to know more just text.

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Guess this is proof that irony knows no bounds. But seriously, texting while driving kills.

47. Got a DUI? Call 1-800-NOT-DRUNK.

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The fact so many people get DUIs can make this guy have a firm like this. Kind of a sad statement of our society.

48. So, what’s our slogan?

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Guess whoever made this billboard was totally high at the time. Wonder if it’s from Colorado.

49. Want to know information concerning your health and safety? See other side.

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And they seem to make it so urgent. But they wasted a whole space for the typography.

50. Save the whales. Go vegetarian and lose weight.

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This is from PETA, by the way. And yes, they have to get their message out their through fat shaming. Is there anything they wouldn’t do?

51. In advertising, it’s best to use only what you need.

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This one only uses a small orange square to get to the point. The rest is just bare.

52. Whether Pokémon or STDs, gotta catch ’em all.

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Not sure if Pokémon font is appropriate for this kind of matter. Seriously, why?

53. Committed a crime? Call Larry L. Archie.

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Famous clients include O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, and more. Okay, I’m just kidding. But that slogan’s just waiting to be mocked.

54. Serenity Creek Med Spa will get you from Sasquatch to smooth.

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So Bigfoot was basically a gorgeous blond woman inside the whole time. Didn’t see that coming.

55. Introducing Scooter, the neutered cat.

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Wonder what this is for. Bet it’s for a shelter or vet office.

56. Unfortunately, nothing can end hunger in Ohio.

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I think this is website. Still, kind of sends a rather dark message.

57. Greetings, from Quartzite, Arizona!

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Even includes, legends of camels. And it’s always the weekend there, except for people who live there. Since they have to work. Seems like someone’s desperate for tourists.

58. Don’t want to be caught dead in that dress? Tell the funeral home now.

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This is for a funeral home. Not sure if I agree with the slogan but it seems to work.

59. Illiterate? Write for free help.

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So if you’re illiterate, how can you write for free help. Because I don’t get it at all.

60. Prevent HIV and get tested with this crew.

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But I don’t know if this is the kind of way to get the message out. But whatever works for the kids.

61. Truth Ministry: where you can pray the Asian away.

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Boy, that’s racist. Guaranteed to work as well as gay conversion therapy like not at all with abusive side effects.

62. Don’t forget to turn your neighbors in.

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Not sure what this is for. But it’s kind of disturbing if you ask me.

63. Your local sheriff wishes you a happy Valentine’s Day.

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Well, that’s kind of awkward. Mostly because sheriffs don’t take billboards for Valentine’s Day.

64. Got man boobs? Call this number.

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This is from Minnesota, by the way. Not sure if I’d want to see that on the road though.

65. With the Daily Mail, both Kims are on the same page.

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Have to admit, at least the Daily Mail has a better ad campaign than the Post Gazette. Though I wouldn’t want to be associated with either Kim.

66. With Lean Plum, engage the shit out of your mobile users.

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Even uses the famous poop emoji. Though it’s only fair.

67. You’ll have liquor all over at Lee’s discount liquors.

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Says they have 17 Las Vegas locations. So even if it does well, it has a lot of competition.

68. Injured? Go to MyBaldLawyer.com.

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Well, at least he embraces his baldness. But not sure if him telling onlookers not to pull their hair out is a good idea.

69. Got a crack in your basement floor? Call the Crack Team.

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Even presents a guy named Mr. Happy Crack. Saying, “A dry crack is a happy crack!” That just cracks me up.

70. McDonald’s is always open at 6 am.

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Says “MY ASS.” Not sure what it means. But it’s hilarious.

71. Don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets as well as your loved ones.

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Not sure if you should neuter your weird friends and relatives. Don’t know what to think about that.

72. Inspire the youth, control the future.

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However, using a quote by Adolf Hitler on your billboard won’t give you any favors. Seriously, the guy killed about 6-9 million Jews and started World War II.

73. Don’t be a pickle and stop vegetable abuse.

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This is for a sex shop. Yet, I really feel bad for that pickle.

74. According to Restored Church, God likes sex.

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Though I guess the sex God loves is between a straight married couple. I’m just guessing in regards to this church.

75. Sask always tells you to pork the one you love.

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This is for pork. But pork is also another euphemism for fuck, which they use on Honest Trailers.

76. You can reach this website as soon as you solve the problem.

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Unless you’re math genius, you’ll never be able to guess. And I wouldn’t recommend you using a calculator while driving.

77. Before you put up a billboard, always run it through spellcheck.

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I don’t think “pubic schools” is the right word for it. Apparently, their public schools don’t seem great at spelling.

78. Marital problems? Get a bigger house.

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Well, that’s how realtors look at it. Still, I think a bigger house won’t solve anyone’s relationship problems.

79. Store your things in Bitterroot Self-Storage.

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On Cemetery Lane, apparently. Gives a whole new meaning of “self-storage,” doesn’t it?

80. Want to wreck? Just keep looking at the boobies.

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That will certainly do the trick. Since guys are said to be attracted by big boobs.

81. Injured? Call Brown & Brown.

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Don’t mind the man in the eyepatch. Though I’m not sure if it helps their brand of success.

82. Save the date for the Testicle Festival.

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You’ll have to be nuts to miss it. Make no balls about it.

83. Need help? Consider hiring a lady lawyer.

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So she’s playing the woman card, isn’t she? Seriously, I’m a woman and I don’t think my gender makes me good at arguing.

84. With Virgin America, flying to Chicago no longer blows.

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Well, “blows” can also mean sucks. So they didn’t think this pun through.

85. You can even use a billboard to promote yourself.

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After all, he spent a whole lot of money to get noticed. So somebody should hire him.

86. Annoyed by higher taxes in Illinois? Move to Indiana.

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Keep in mind that Indiana has loose gun control laws that contribute to Chicago’s high murder rate. Look it up in regards to gun trafficking.

87. Need a summer job? Try being a kept woman.

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Okay, that’s just downright sick. And they’re targeting this sign for students? Makes me want to barf.

88. Get your sit together and buckle up.

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Yet, the buckle is covered in the middle. Makes you imagine a different term entirely.

89. At Lou Redman’s Barstool’s and Dining, check out their stool samples.

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Well, they sell stools and chairs, what do you expect? And no, they’re not talking about that kind of stool.

90. Just pop the question with a ring from Robbins Diamonds.

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And here she’s flipping the bird to drivers. So stop by before she dumps you’re sorry ass.

91. Why is Justin Bieber so sad? Is it because so many teens are unemployed?

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No, because teen employment isn’t as big of deal. Besides, Justin Bieber doesn’t care about anything but himself.

92. Still a virgin? We can help.

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Is this an escort service or a brothel? Not sure if I want to know.

93. Keep country roads safe. Don’t drive like a wanker.

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Wanker is a British expression for jackass. Yet, you see what they mean.

94. Outhouse Springs provides you with America’s first recycled water.

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Okay, I don’t want to drink that. Who knows what that water has been through.

95. Get a free HIV test for Mom.

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Look, I know it’s supposed to project tenderness between a mother and son. But since I know how HIV is transmitted, this scene gives me Manchurian Candidate vibes.

96. Camerman  wishes dog guy happy holidays.

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Now that’s kind of weird. Wonder if it’s inspired by some acid trip. Oh, it’s for Adult Swim.

97. Hey, you can win a free booby prize if you follow the link.

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Wonder if the booby prize involves boobs. Or if that’s just used to entice viewers.

98. All he wants for Christmas is a Latina girlfriend.

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Let’s hope he’s not a Trump supporter. If so, he’ll have is work cut out for him.

99. Gary wants to know if you’re asking for it?

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No, I am not. And I don’t want to ask him either. Also, that mullet is ugly.

100. Hold it in, you’ll make it. Just drive through the exit.

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I know we all feel that way at one time or another. Best we get some encouragement now and then.

How Donald Trump Makes Money Off the Presidency

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Among the barrage of Donald Trump’s scandals, legislative failings, and Twitter tantrums, that appear in the news with constant regularity, there are plenty that seem to fall through the cracks. One of these concerns Trump’s businesses and his holding power as president. Despite promising to divest himself from his businesses while in office (he hasn’t), Trump is actively profiting from the presidency, which the founders never intended. While we still don’t have his tax returns to shed light on whether his behavior benefits his business’ ledgers, we know taxpayer money has been flowing to some of his businesses like Mar-a-Lago. However, despite the public seeing their tax dollars flow directly to the Trump Organization every time he goes golfing at his resorts and the rules being laid out in the Constitution, nobody has tried to stop this.

Previous presidents have disclosed and divested, so this hasn’t been a problem. After all, the Founding Fathers wrote protections into the US Constitution with emoluments clauses making it illegal for presidents to receive gifts from foreign governments or federal and state governments. Now Donald Trump did promise to release his tax returns during the campaign, and divest himself from his business while in office to avoid conflict of interests. After all, he promised to “drain the swamp” which his supporters think it meant that he’d stop corruption in Washington DC like limiting access to lobbyists, curbing deals with foreign governments, and refusing to profit from the White House. Yet, unlike his predecessors, he’s does nothing more than the legal minimum required.

However, we must understand that corruption and egregious abuses of power makes Donald Trump who he is. In fact, since he came to Washington DC, the United States has seen an unprecedented attack on presidential ethics. Trump campaign donors have gotten cushy White House jobs. Goldman Sacks bankers wrote the GOP tax plan. But most importantly, Trump hasn’t divested and most likely had no intention to in the first place. He doesn’t care about conflicts of interest. So he’s still making money.

First of all, the Trump Organization is huge private company with properties and business interests all over the world. But we don’t have a clear picture of exactly how big and valuable it is. According to a February 2018 Forbes report, Donald Trump rakes in at least $175 million a year from commercial tenants like the state-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. But it’s impossible to say which companies pay him and how much because federal disclosure laws don’t require an accounting of where his businesses get their money. So we don’t know where the money’s coming from and how much he’s getting. Since he hasn’t released his tax returns either. And that’s a big problem since Trump probably has many conflicts of interest that could influence public policy. As Forbes noted, “Take any hot-button issue of the past year, and there’s a good chance Trump’s tenants lobbied the federal government on it, either in support of or in opposition to the administration’s position.” In fact, according to Forbes, at least 3 dozen Trump tenants have “meaningful relationships with the federal government, from contractors to lobbying firms to regulatory targets.”

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Here’s a CREW timeline of Trump trademark approval actions by governments overseas. Not the ones coming from China.

In addition, foreign governments have been quick to figure out how to get on Donald Trump’s good side. According to a January McClatchy article, they’ve “donated public land, approved permits and eased environmental regulations for Trump-branded developments, creating a slew of potential conflicts as foreign leaders make investments that can be seen as gifts or attempts to gain access to the American president through his sprawling business empire.” The Chinese government has granted Trump at least 39 trademarks since he took office while his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka has received 7 since she joined the administration.

Then there’s the fact the Trump Organization still sells real estate. Last summer, a USA Today investigation found that during the last year Donald Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, “70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before.” According to the paper, overall in 2017, Trump’s companies, “sold more than $35 million in real estate … mostly to secretive shell companies that obscure buyers’ identities.” So since Trump became the Republican nominee and later president, mysterious investors have poured millions of dollars into his coffers.

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Since Donald Trump became president, the Trump International Hotel has become the go-to place for foreign visitors and anyone else wanting to curry favor with the White House. Not to mention, the GOP holds a lot of activities there. The lighting above the arch is by an anti-Trump protester.

Of course, the most obvious Donald Trump uses his position as president to promote his own business interest is through mixing and matching his presidential activities with his own properties while charging Secret Service and transportation costs to taxpayers. As Washington University professor Kathleen Clark told ProPublica, “Trump appears to be commandeering federal resources in order to maximize revenues at Trump properties, and he does this by visiting properties close to the White House. And when he travels to the golf courses in Florida, Virginia and New Jersey, other agencies that are involved in supporting the president end up spending money.” In fact, he spent 1/3 of his first year in office visiting his own commercial properties. Every Trump appearance at his properties is a marketing event. According to financial disclosures, Trump hotel revenue soared over the past few years. In 2015, records show just $16.7 million in hotel and resort revenues. In 2016, that income more than doubled to $33.8 million. Since Trump moved into the White House, Trump hotel income jumped about 80%, reaching $60.8 million in 2017. Sure in late 2016, Trump opened the Old Post Office Hotel in Washington DC despite the clear guideline that, “No elected official of the Government of the United States…shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease.” Since then, it’s become the go-to hotel for any foreign visitor looking to win favors from the Trumps as well as headquarters to GOP activity in DC.

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TIME magazine has a good cover for Donald Trump’s DC hotel. Funny how they call it “The Swamp Hotel” since Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” Though I think he might’ve meant the Everglades than Washington.

But what the public doesn’t know is that Donald Trump wasn’t the only political and/or business figure to visit his properties. According to a January 2018 report by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, during Trump’s first year in office, his properties hosted more than 100 executive branch officials, 30 members of Congress, and more than a dozen state officials. Trump’s properties also hosted events held by at least 40 special interest groups. At least 11 foreign governments and 6 foreign officials have appeared on Trump properties since 2017. The Kuwaiti Embassy held a National Day celebration in 2017 and 2018 at Trump’s D.C. hotel. While one Asian diplomat told the Washington Post shortly after Trump’s election that going to his D.C. hotel makes perfect sense, “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?'” In the business sector, USA Today found that executives from 50 government contractors and 21 lobbyists hold Trump club memberships.

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This is a CREW graph on top campaign spenders at Trump properties. You can see Trump’s top the list. But Republican governors and politicians aren’t far behind.

The Center of Responsive politics sorted the spending of political committees at Trump properties with Donald Trump’s own campaign events topping the list. In 2017 alone, Trump’s 2020 campaign spent $760,064 at buildings he owns. And since Trump still owns these properties, he and his family make extra money every time he holds a fundraiser. Since Trump’s DC Hotel is only a block away from the Justice Department and close to the White House, anyone who wants to make a contribution to Trump’s pockets simply books events there. Same goes for New York’s Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago. In 2016, the RNC spent $146,521 at Trump properties and $173,416 in 2017.

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Here’s a CREW map of members of Congress who’ve visited a Trump property. Kind of surprised to see Ted Cruz on there given what Donald Trump put him through. Yet, I don’t see Devin Nunes for some reason since he was on Trump’s transition team.

Before assuming office, Donald Trump vowed to donate his DC hotel profits from foreign governments to the US Treasury. However, to no one’s surprise months later, the Trump Organization admitted that tracking all foreign government money was “impractical.” But it promised to donate profits from guests self-identifying as foreign government representatives. Yet, in early 2018 the Trump Organization announced that it had donated profits from “foreign government patronage” after all but declined to disclose specifics like as the Washington Post speculated, “How much was donated? Which Trump properties were included in this accounting? Which foreign entities had paid money to Trump’s businesses?”

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Here’s a CREW map of foreign governments that have paid a Trump-owned entity since the inauguration. Includes China, India, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Turkey, and Malaysia.

Furthermore, neither Donald Trump nor his team have shied away from promoting his brand. After the 2016 election, Trump signaled he’d spend a great deal of time at his Mar-a-Lago in Florida. In turn, the club doubled its membership fees to $200,000 before taxes and charged $175 more to $600-$750 for its New Year’s Eve party. From January to August 2017, 2/3 of the 50 executives and lobbyist club members played golf on days Trump was. White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka brands on Fox News for God’s sake. During his first year in office, Trump mentioned his private businesses at least 35 times according to CREW estimates. Overall, their report found that political groups spent over $1.2 billion at Trump properties during his first year in office, after never having spent more than $100,000 “in any given year going back to at least 2002.” CREW chair and former Obama ethics czar Noah Eisen tweeted that the group’s report described Trump as “the most unethical presidency,” adding, “Year two has been even worse—& it’s just getting started.” In the fall of 2017, the Trump Organization debuted Trumpstore.com where you can buy all other-than-made-in-the-USA #MAGA gear, which is just another Trump family cash grab.

Nor is Donald Trump the only one in his family profiting from the presidency. In June 2018, the Washington Post reported: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, brought in at least $82 million in outside income while serving as senior White House advisers during 2017, according to new financial disclosure forms released Monday. Ivanka Trump earned $3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, while Kushner reported over $5 million in income from Quail Ridge, a Kushner Cos. apartment complex acquired last year in Plainsboro, New Jersey. The filings show how the couple are collecting immense sums from other enterprises while serving in the White House, an extraordinary income flow that ethics experts have warned could create potential conflicts of interests.” Allowing Ivanka and Kushner retain their outside income sources is remarkable since Cabinet officials are required to divest themselves from their holdings or abide by strict rules imposed by a blind trust. Shortly after the inauguration, the State Department’s web page promoted Melania’s jewelry line. The Secret Service has even provided protection for Trump’s family as they go on business trips as well, with their expenses being paid on the taxpayer dime.

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Here’s a small snapshot of Donald Trump’s and his administration’s over 500 conflicts of interest. You many not be able to read everything on here. But it’s truly staggering.

So why is all this a problem? Because it’s against the rules at a constitutional scale. The presidency shouldn’t be a get-rich-quick scheme. No president or First Family member should use the Oval Office to enhance their wealth. With his business interests on his mind, Donald Trump is making decisions as a country’s leader and under the guise of what’s best for the nation. But since he won’t be in office forever, he’s possibly putting Trump Organization interest before public interest. As CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder put it, “Every decision President Trump makes in the course of his job is followed by the specter of corruption. Because of his steady stream of conflicts, we have to question whether each decision he makes was made in the best interest of the American people or the best interest of his bottom line.” CREW estimates that Trump has over 500 conflicts of interest, which a clear picture of a presidency being used to turn a profit and his businesses serving as access points to corridors of power. Bookbinder adds, “Just as we feared, President Trump is not only making money in spite of his official position, in many cases, he’s making money because of it.”

Of course, the courts need to hash out this though with Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court almost a done deal, does this harm the public? (Absolutely). Is there any proof Trump’s violating the Constitution? (Yes, the Emoluments Clause which forbids the president from accepting money from foreign governments). Fortunately, the apparent Emoluments Clause violations haven’t gone unnoticed as several lawsuits work their way through the courts. It appears quite serious as Trump businesses are subpoenaed and ordered to preserve documents. 3-4 suits have been filed so far. Naturally, the Trump administration asked that they’d be thrown out. Again, a judge will decide if Donald Trump’s broken the law. As of March 2018, one suit has been thrown out in December while the others endure and may be gaining traction.

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Donald Trump doesn’t see anything wrong with profiting from the presidency. Since he sees himself having the right to the spoils. Nonetheless, making the presidency for sale greatly undermines our democracy.

So how is Donald Trump’s legal team defending profiting off the presidency? For one, despite how rich he is, we taxpayers are paying for lawyers to argue that Trump has a right to profit from his presidency. And according to a USA Today article, it all boils down to this: “The taxpayer-funded lawyers are making the case that it is not unconstitutional for the president’s private companies to earn profits from foreign governments and officials while he’s in office.” Further, “The government lawyers and Trump’s private attorneys are making the same arguments — that the Constitution’s ban on a president taking gifts from foreign interests in exchange for official actions does not apply to foreign government customers buying things from Trump’s companies. The plaintiffs, including ethics groups and competing businesses, argue the payments pose an unconstitutional conflict of interest.” Or to quote Trump before he took office, “The president can’t have a conflict of interest.” However, we must keep in mind that Donald Trump doesn’t see himself as constrained to any norm, rules, or even laws. He was born into wealth and privilege and sees himself exempt from certain restraints that get in his way that would land the average person in jail. Profiting off the presidency is political corruption at its finest and not at all normal. Yet, like any con artist businessman, Trump sees profit as natural and immediate spoils of office.

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This is a map of where Donald Trump owns property outside the United States. You can see that Russia is in bright yellow since it interfered in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf.

Whether you can agree or disagree with Donald Trump’s actions, it’s very obvious he’s at least violating the spirit of the law. After all, he promised to step away from his interests but didn’t, implying he knew he should’ve before taking office. But it’s still hard to say whether or not a court will throw the book at him since there’s not much legal precedent here. However, since presidential ethics laws never foresaw a businessman president who wouldn’t follow political norms of divesting himself from his businesses, disclosing his taxes, and generally trying to avoid conflicts of interests, much of this may be legal.

Nonetheless, it’s more than just making sure that a president acts in good faith while in office. The real issue here is establishing precedent moving forward. While Capitol Hill seems fine letting Donald Trump get away with anything he wants including Emoluments violations, what can we expect from future presidents? While it’s a test for the courts, it’s also one for how much the public is willing to put up with from our elected officials. If we don’t put our foot down now, what happens when another more competent president goes out of bounds?

But what’s certain is that each day he occupies the White House, Donald Trump continues to profit from the presidency and possibly because he’s the man in the Oval Office. By promoting his business in an official capacity without shame and by offering access and influence to his businesses’ patrons, Trump sends a message to special interests and foreign government that his administration is for sale. This is no message an American president should send to the world since it shows that Trump’s support can be bought with patronage. While most Americans can’t even afford to stay at any of his resorts or visit his golf courses. This isn’t how American democracy should function. Nonetheless, the remaining years of the Trump administration are unlikely to be any different unless the American people and their Congressional representatives demand better.

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