The Border Concentration Camps

At any given time, for the past several weeks, the US Border Patrol has held more than 2,000 children in custody without their parents. Legally, border agents aren’t supposed to hold them for more than 3 days before being sent to the Department of Health and Human Services as they’re responsible for finding their closest US relative to house them while their immigration are adjudicated. However, in practice, Border Patrol’s holding the kids for days, sometimes weeks, in facilities without enough food or toothbrushes. And the children go for days without showering, overcrowded and undercared for.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that asylum seekers detained in ICE-overseen private detention centers could buy toothpaste in the commissary for $11.02 per 4 oz tube of Sensodyne. Bob Barker doesn’t sell Sensodyne but does sell Colgate Cavity Protection by the case at $2.32 per 4 oz tube, and an off-brand sensitive toothpaste for even less. On the $1/day that detainees at Adelanto Detention Facility can earn for working menial jobs, the decision comes down to maintaining hygiene verses managing hunger. As Ramen is only 58 cents, over half a day’s labor at Adelanto. Meanwhile, employees of at least one company doing business with Border Patrol are speaking out against their CEO. In late June, 550 Wayfair employees staged walkouts outside company headquarters in San Francisco and Boston after reports of a $200,000 order including kids’ beds for a contractor known to work for detention centers emerged.

Low wages for undesirable work drive the US prison economy. Inmates serving long sentences at federal, state, and for-profit prisons hope to save enough money to call loved ones, send and receive email, hire lawyers and contribute to their defense, and send money home, let alone take basic care of themselves. As Racked reported in 2016: “But prison laborers are not commensurately paid. They’re not protected by OSHA. They’re forbidden from organizing into unions. They’re not eligible for workers’ comp. Inmates can be ordered to work for nothing. None of this is illegal.” Rules on what personal care items detention centers must give detainees are few and far between. In June, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian argued in court that the law’s “safe and sanitary” stipulation doesn’t mandate that the government provide detained children soap and toothbrushes, a position baffling judged as well as anyone who believes in what constitutes as basic hygiene. According to the National Institute for Jail Operations (NIJO), touted as “your primary resource dedicated to serving those that operate jails, detention and correctional facilities,” soap, toilet paper, toothbrush and “cleaning agent,” comb, sanitary napkins or tampons, and lotion (if medically needed) “should be provided at no cost to inmates.” But the NIJO states these are only guidelines since laws and statutes are left to the states and jails’ jurisdiction.

Because detention centers don’t provide immigrants with their basic needs, many with the chance to work have no choice but to. As Reuters puts it, “Detainees are challenging what they say is an oppressive business model in which the companies deprive them of essentials to force them to work for sub-minimum wages, money that is soon recaptured in the firms’ own commissaries.” And yet, many detention centers are meant to be temporary facilities despite violating that promise by holding kids for months rather than days. As such, many don’t create opportunities to make income, however minimal. Though there’s at least one unofficial route for detainees. Although attorney Warren Binford told the New Yorker of a teen at Clint tasked by Border Patrol with maintaining order among the other kids as “an unofficial guard” in exchange for more food.

In late June, conditions at a detention facility in Clint, Texas became public. When investigators checked on US obligations under the Flores Agreement governing the care of immigrant children in US custody, they were so horrified that they turned whistleblower and told the Associated Press what they saw. Their stories disturbed the American public into national outrage that the acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol resigned, despite officials’ denial. But like in most situations, the problem goes beyond one official or facility. The story gained even wider traction after New York US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s reference to the detention facilities as “concentration camps” and the ensuing debate over whether that term was appropriate (it is).

On Monday, June 24, 2019, officials confirmed that all 350 of the Clint facility’s children would be moved to other facilities by the next day. But about 250 have been placed with HHS and the rest were being sent to other Border Patrol facilities. At least that was supposed to be the case. However, on Tuesday morning, a Customs and Border Protection official told a New York Times reporter on a press call that about 100 children are currently being housed in Clint. Of course, that just illustrates the Trump administration’s hectic improvised response to the current border influx. But it’s a much, much bigger problem than what’s going on at a single facility. Since the problems investigators identified at Clint linger elsewhere as well.

One legal investigator from the Clint team visited the El Paso facility where many of the Clint children were sent to. Called “Border Patrol Station 1,” that investigator told Vox that conditions there were just as bad as in Clint and with the same problems like insufficient food, no toothbrushes, and aggressive guards. Thus, the problem isn’t the Clint facility, but the hastily-cobbled-together facility system Customs and Border Protection has thrown together during the last several months, as an unprecedented number of families and children coming into the US without papers has overwhelmed a system designed to deport single adults. Thus, it’s apparent that even an administration acting with the children’s best interests in mind at every turn would be scrambling right now. But policymakers are split on how much the current crisis is simply a resource problem Congress could help by sending more and how much is deliberate mistreatment or neglect from an administration or neglect from an administration that doesn’t deserve any money or trust. But come on, it’s most likely the latter given how Donald Trump and his swamp cronies peddle xenophobia and racism to his supporters.

According statistics sent to congressional staff in late June, between May 14 and June 13, 2019, US Border facilities housed 14,000 people a day, sometimes as many as 18,000. With most recent tally as of June 13, 16,000. Most of these were single adults, or parents with kids. But consistently, over that month, around 2,000 were “unaccompanied alien children,” or children held without adult relatives in separate facilities. In an early June press call, a CBP official said, referring to the total number of people in custody, “when we have 4,000 in custody, we consider that high. 6,000 is a crisis.”

Traditionally, an “unaccompanied alien child” refers to a kid who comes to the US without a parent or guardian. Increasingly as lawyers have reported and as investigators who’ve have interviewed detained children in late June, kids have been coming to the US with a non-parent relative and being separated. And because the law defines “unaccompanied” without a parent or legal guardian here, border agents can’t keep a child with a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or older sibling over 18. Though advocates have also raised concerns that border agents are separating relatives even when there’s evidence of legal guardianship. Under US law terms (especially after the 1997 Flores Settlement), immigration agents are obligated to get immigrant children out of immigration detention as quickly as possible, and in the least restrictive conditions possible while there. Save for emergencies, children aren’t supposed to be in Border Patrol custody for more than 3 days before being sent to HHS, which is responsible for finding and vetting a sponsor to house a child (usually a relative in the US). However, this isn’t happening. Attorneys, doctors, and even human rights observers have consistently reported are being detained by Border Patrol for days or longer before HHS picks them up. In the meantime, they’re being kept in facilities to hold adults for that time period, or in improvised “soft-sided” facilities that resemble (and are commonly referred to as) tents. Put the kids in blue Civil War uniforms and it’s a kiddie version of Andersonville (though that may be exaggerated).

Since late 2018, US immigration agents have been overwhelmed by the number of families coming across the border. Since the US immigration system was built to quickly arrest and deport single Mexican adults crossing the southern border to work, doesn’t have the capacity to deal with tens of thousands of families (mostly from Central America) who are often seeking asylum in the US. The length of time migrants are spending in Border Patrol custody (and the conditions there) have attracted some alarm before. In April, pictures of migrants held outside under an El Paso bridge, fenced in and sleeping on the ground, attracted outraged and led Border Patrol to stop holding migrants there. In May, the DHS Office of the Inspector General released an emergency report about dangerous adult overcrowding in 2 facilities: with 900 people being held in a place designed to hold 125.

The Clint reports broke when the Trump administration was already playing defense about its compliance with the Flores Settlement. While the administration’s working on a regulation that would supersede the agreement’s terms, which isn’t expected to be published in its final form until this fall and may well be held up in court. Anyway, in an earlier 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing about whether the administration needed to allow a court appointee monitor conditions for children in ICE and CBP custody, Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian told judges that kids don’t necessarily need towels or toothbrushes to be in “safe and sanitary” conditions in a clip that looked especially bad when the Clint stories came out showing children being denied just that.

As The Atlantic explains, Fabian’s cringeworthy “safe and sanitary” argument came from the Trump administration’s awkward stance taken on this litigation: in order to challenge the court appointment of a special monitor, arguing there’s a difference between a promise to keep kids in “safe and sanitary” conditions (which the government has agreed to for decades) and a guarantee of particular items like toothbrushes. The court was unimpressed and the stories about Clint and other facilities coming out in the ensuing days certainly bolstered the case that the Trump administration has either willingly violated agreement to keep kids safe and healthy (which is more likely), or has been unable to keep it. Perhaps a mix of both.

What problems investigators identified at Clint such as too many people, not enough food, no toothbrushes, weren’t inherent to that facility. They were indications of an overloaded or neglected system. And it’s already clear these problems go beyond Clint. ABC News obtained testimony from a doctor visiting another Texas facility in Ursula and witnessed, “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.” She claimed the conditions were so bad they were, “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.” The children are now being sent from Clint to a facility that’s just as bad. According to Human Rights Watch, Clara Long who was the only member of the Clint investigative team who visited another center in El Paso known as “Border Patrol Station 1,” was mostly being used as a transit center where migrants were supposed stay for a few hours before being transferred. But she spoke to one family who’d been held in a cell there for 6 days and who voiced the same concerns that the kids in the Clint facility did. Long said the mother was ashamed for not having clean teeth. Since like Clint, the El Paso facility wasn’t providing enough toothbrushes that, “when she was talking to you she would put her hand up in front of her mouth and wouldn’t take it down.” The teenage son said he was afraid of the guards. Because when he’d get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, a guard had shoved him back into his cell and slammed the door on him. For 2 nights, the family had to sleep on the cold floor without blankets.

Most of the kids who were at the Clint facility the investigators visited in late June were set to be sent to HHS custody by the next day. But questions remain about what’s happening to the other 1,750 or so children in Border Patrol custody. That is, if levels remained static since mid-June and why the government could only place 250 children over 5 days with the agency that’s supposed to take responsibility for all kids within 72 hours. It’s not clear where the bureaucratic breakdown really is and whether it’s due to resource constraints or choices about how resources are used. The Trump administration has definitely made the choice to keep single adults in detention, even if it can release them. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost told Congress that, “if we lose (the ability to keep and deport) single adults, we lose the border.” This raises questions whether overcrowding in adult facilities could be avoided.

But it doesn’t address the unaccompanied children issue who simply can’t be released with an immigration court notice. While kids with parents in the US can be theoretically placed with them, the government is supposed to vet potential sponsors to make sure it’s not placing kids with traffickers. But that’s HHS’ job and the vetting doesn’t start until the kids are released from Border Patrol custody. Observers and policymakers agree that HHS simply doesn’t have the capacity to take migrant kids in. One Democratic Capitol Hill staffer compared it to a “jigsaw puzzle”: Not only are there only so many spaces available, but the facilities available might not match the child’s particular needs. For instance, you can’t put a baby in an HHS shelter for teens. But another Hill staffer that HHS claims it never refused a transfer for space reasons, muddying the waters.

Then there’s the question whether CBP is really doing all it can to care for kids in their custody. One Clint observer told the New Yorker stories of cruelty from some guards, indicating they were deliberately punishing children for the sin of coming to the US without papers. But she also claimed of many sympathetic guards and told the observers that the children shouldn’t be in their custody, implying they were doing the best they could and simply didn’t have the resources to do more. Advocates also said they’ve tried donating supplies to Border Patrol facilities but had their contributions rejected. As have other Texas citizens who’ve done the same. It’s not clear if Border Patrol decided this or if a 19th century state legal complication bans outside donations. Former CBP policy adviser Theresa Brown told the Texas Tribune, “It’s partially a constitutional thing about Congress controlling the purse and only being able to spend money that Congress gives, but it’s also about ethics.” Ethics? For God’s sake, refusing donations because of an outdated law doesn’t even hold water for me.

On Monday, July 2, 2019, a congressional Democrat delegation visited 2 overcrowded detention centers in El Paso and Clint, Texas. They were met by children and adults denied access to safe drinking water, kept in cold windowless warehouses, and were separated from their families. These were immigrants were hungry, scared, and hungry. One woman handed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a clear plastic pamphlet of Meridian shampoo that the congresswoman tweeted, “[S]he told me that this is all they give women to wash their entire body. Nothing else. Some women’s hair was falling out. Others had gone 15 days without taking a shower.” Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues’ accounts accompany new detailed reports on the inhumane conditions pervading inside Border Patrol facilities, and about many Border Patrol agents’ online behavior, given that they police the grounds. While the law requires that detention centers housing children to be safe and sanitary. However, lawyer and child advocate Warren Binford told the New Yorker “And there is nothing sanitary about the conditions they are in. And they are not safe, because they are getting sick.” With reporting from the New York Times on “the stench” permeating the Clint detention center, an odor belying stained clothes, diaperless toddlers, and babies caked in dirt, questions emerge on the lack of necessary health and hygiene toiletries. The Meridian shampoo packet sheds light on what little the detainees have access to and more critically, what they don’t.

According to its website, “Meridian Clear Shampoo Packet, .35 Oz” hails from Bob Barker “America’s Leading Detention Supplier.” Using the Federal Procurement Data System’s records, Vice reported that US Customs and Border Protection contacted Bob Barker in at least 10 instances between 2013 and 2017. Line items for “Personal Toiletry Articles” are listed at $3,177.93 in 2013 and $0 in 2017. Among Meridian’s ingredients: Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone, 2 preservatives that nonprofit Environmental Working Group report are associated with allergic and irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs. Lab studies on former indicate that the chemical may also be neurotoxic or, carry potential damage developing nervous systems. Bob Barker sells Meridian Clear Shampoo at $94.07 at 1000 packets, among the supplier’s cheaper offerings. Bob Barker also sells a lot of other products on its Personal Care & Hygiene, including body washes from Olay, Suave, and Dove along with bar soap from Dial, Zest, and Bob Barker-branded antibacterial. Oh, and they sell toothbrushes and toothpaste, 2 of the items that the New York Times reported aren’t distributed to the kids held at Clint.

Whether or not Border Patrol’s hands are tied in supplying detainees with basic care amenities, a secret Facebook group’s existence rife with hate speech indicates that some agents don’t have migrants’ health and survival in mind. On July 1, 2019, ProPublica released a report on a secret Border Patrol Facebook group around 9500 members strong, almost half of the country’s 20,000 Border Patrol agents. And as Ocasio-Cortez points out, where current and former agents make light of migrants’ deaths as well joked about inciting violence against Democratic congresspeople during their July 1 facilities tour, and questioned the authenticity of an Associated Press photo depicting a father and his 23-month old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande after Border Patrol denied them immediate US entry in their asylum case. Post comments range from racist (“throw a […] burrito at these bitches”), to sexually violent (“Fuck the hoes,” not to mention a lewd photoshop of Ocasio-Cortez), and apathetic (“If he dies, he dies”). In response, US Border Patrol chief Carla Provost tweeted, “These posts are completely inappropriate & contrary to the honor & integrity I see—& expect—from our agents. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

However, it’s not just hygiene and nutritional needs that aren’t being met. The abhorrent living conditions seen in these reports show that some detained migrants find it nearly impossible to sleep. Overhead fluorescent lights remain on 24/7, intense cold temperatures blast the warehouse, kids and adults lie on concrete floors, sometimes under aluminum blankets, sometimes not. Without access to clean drinking water, Border Patrol agents have directed Clint women detainees to drink from the toilet. The lack of clean water to drink, wash hands, and bathe along with much needed medicine, combined with overcrowded quarters and poor nutrition have resulted in flu and lice outbreaks. Physician Dolly Lucio Sevier’s medical review of a McAllen facility in Texas, as ABC News reported, declared the conditions “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.” In May, a 16-year-old Guatemalan girl died at the McAllen facility from flu. And as of June 2019, 2 dozen detainees have died in ICE custody since Donald Trump took office.

In anecdotal reports, Border Patrol agents appears to have made certain health-related products available as needed. But as Warren Binford reports in one New Yorker story, the lice shampoo and 2 lice combs allotted to a group of 25 kids at Clint came at a great cost. “And then what happened was one of the combs was lost, and Border Patrol agents got so mad that they took away the children’s blankets and mats. They weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds, and they had to sleep on the floor on Wednesday night as punishment for losing the comb.” A 2007 Clinical Infectious Diseases article on jail and prison infections found that inmates pose a high risk of catching any number of diseases, including airborne viruses and treatment resistant staph infections. Jails and prisons weren’t designed “to minimize the transmission of disease or to efficiently deliver health care,” as California Correctional Health Care Services chief Joseph Bick wrote. “The probability of transmission of potentially pathogenic organisms is increased by crowding, delays in medical evaluation and treatment, rationed access to soap, water, and clean laundry” among other factors. Bick then adds, “the abrupt transfer of inmates from one location to another further complicates the diagnosis of infection, interruption of transmission, recognition of an outbreak, performance of a contact investigation, and eradication of disease.”

Congress is currently considering a package to give the Trump administration billions more dollars to deal with migrants coming into the US. To Democratic leadership, the solution to poor conditions in custody is to throw more money to improve them. They emphasize the funding’s bulk will go to HHS to increase capacity for migrant kids and that ICE and CBP funding will be strictly limited to humanitarian use. But some progressives, led in Congress by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, decry that giving any money to immigration enforcement agencies right now endorses the current state of affairs. The not-one-more-dime camp, in part, is taking a bright-line stance against child detention. However, in part, they’re demonstrating a lack of trust in the Trump administration to adhere to any law or condition. And they assume that any money for migrant kid transit will, in some way or another, encourage ICE to detain more families and arrest more immigrants in the United States.

On the other hand, the “smart money” camp firmly believes that without the funds to improve detention conditions, things will only get worse. That’s especially relevant in the case of kids “unaccompanied” who have to remain in custody until a sponsor is found. The past couple weeks have demonstrated that children are extremely vulnerable and that much of the American public wants their situation change. It’s not clear how.

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I Want You to View These Vintage Wartime Propaganda Posters (Fourth Edition)

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Over the years around the 4th of July, I have done annual posts on propaganda posters. Mostly I use American wartime posters from the early 20th century. Mostly because their artistic quality is way better than those in the 19th century. Nonetheless, their presents appears to loom large since they were once seen everywhere to encourage the war effort. So it’s no surprise that so many became icons of pop culture. However, given that these were made decades ago, you’ll find plenty that haven’t aged well for some reason. Some may be racist. Some may be sexist. Some may depict very backward attitudes. Others may have terrible artwork and weird facial expressions. So for your reading pleasure I give you another assortment of vintage propaganda posters. Enjoy.

  1. Send your trash to the US military for war stuff.
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Well, at least it’s recycling. Though it’s applied to a rather sinister purpose.

2. Want to support the troops? Reduce your food intake.

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After all, soldiers, sailors, and marines need to eat, too. So best you might want to cut back on portion sizes.

3. Defend your country. Or else black guys will ravish your women.

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This is a WWII Italian poster evoking a common racist trope against black guys raping white women to stoke white people’s fears. And you can tell this is targeted toward Americans despite that black people served in multiple allied armies thanks to colonialism.

4. Buy war stamps to keep the Hun out.

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Still, I wonder how he could get through the window without bumping his helmet. Also, the blood on his bayonet might mean he’s out of ammo and is willing to kill again.

5. Are you a lady who can drive? Volunteer as a military driver.

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Still, I’m not sure if wearing a skirt that long is practical for being behind the wheel. Might get tangled. Also, you don’t want to go to the Western Front.

6. Germany is a place of manly strength.

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Nonetheless, compared to the guys you see in superhero movies, this man is kind of scrawny. Also, holding a torch naked doesn’t seem to fly.

7. Hey, sailors, no need to be stingy in the mess hall.

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Because you may not know when you’ll have your next meal. Still, military food doesn’t have a great reputation so make do with what you got.

8. Don’t let the shadow of Nazism touch your kids.

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Then again, it might be too late if you kid’s a neo-Nazi. Still, the swastika hovering over them is menacing.

9. Josef Stalin’s like, “Take that Hitler.”

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Despite the fact that Stalin made the near fatal mistake of trusting Hitler when the war started. Still, this is kind of funny that it’s hard to take it seriously.

10. War dogs are ready for trouble.

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Though you wouldn’t tell it by this dog’s face. Still, apparently, dogs can also be as disillusioned with carnage of war as people.

11. Are you a responsible civilian man? Volunteer as an air raid warden.

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However, like this guy, you’ll feel ridiculous to wear a hat with your business suit. Yeah, he doesn’t seem very happy.

12. Don’t get left behind with VD.

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Because we all know that STD-infected men make bad soldiers. So keep it in your pants for freedom.

13. Let’s hit the Axis leaders square in the ass.

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Since we’re making weapons for victory. So every time you make a bombshell, you’re getting rid of Fascism.

14. Britain has always come from proud generations of fighting for freedom.

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Except, much of the time they were usually the guys who most people were fighting against for freedom. Why do they not have an independence day?

15. Join the US Army for we build men.

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So you can put your lives on the line so you can either die, come home a mangled mess, or spend the rest of your life marred with PTSD. Yeah, not a pleasant experience.

16. Keep on the job and turn D-Day to V-Day.

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Yes, you want to see that Nazi surrender don’t you? Though this guy appears to have the same sullen face like he doesn’t mean it.

17. Servicemen fed courtesy of the Salvation Army.

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So they even serve food for the troops? Thought they just do charity work and raise money during the holiday season.

18. Factories are the big guns on the home front.

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However, I’m sure those smokestacks have horrible emissions. Way to contribute to climate change.

19. Shut off that light so they won’t see us.

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Because you don’t want Germans destroying your house. And let’s just say, that happened a lot in WWII Britain.

20. Our labor and our goods are meant for fighting.

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Still, perhaps you might not want to sew a guy’s pants while he’s working. Cause that’s kind of inconvenient.

21. Want to help with the war effort? Join the school garden army.

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Where you can learn about horticulture by growing veggies for those in uniform. Though I don’t think a skirt is practical for plow work.

22. Don’t forget to give generously to help sustain Russia.

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However, once the war’s over, stop donating money to the Russians. Since they’re our enemies and we’re fighting a nuclear arms race with them.

23. China is the first to fight so support it.

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Until after the war when the factions will resume their ongoing civil war and the Communists take over. Let’s just say things will get worse under Chairman Mao.

24. Behold all the people the Brits have terrorized.

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Well, this Italian WWII poster isn’t wrong since the British have inflicted a lot of death and destruction in the name of imperialism. However, we must understand this was made under Mussolini’s Fascist rule.

25. France is burning. Send help for the Red Cross.

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Since what kind of person wouldn’t want to help this pretty nurse? Still, France will face worse in WWII.

26. Supporting the war effort has always been a tradition for American women.

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They just do different things like sew or drill rivets. Still, after the war, the latter lady will have to give her job to a man.

27. Blood means life for defense so donate today.

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Offer not available for black people. Because the American Red Cross was racist at the time.

28. Soldiers caught in hellscape? Someone must’ve talked.

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Not sure if that’s the case most of the time. Since war’s all no matter what you do within it.

29. Yes, daddy helps build those plans indeed.

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The kids looking up kind of remind me of dolls from a horror movie. Kind of wish the planes shoot them down already.

30. War stamps are full of Vitamin “V.”

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This kid appears like a budding serial killer who’d slit your throat in a dark alley. Avoid him at all times.

31. Canadians, get your teeth into the job.

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Looks like Hitler climbed up the wrong tree. Since the Canadian beaver’s chopping like a storm.

32. Are you a boy under 18? Join the Victory Boys.

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This is an auxiliary unit for teenage boys to support soldiers. Yet, while our troops fight over there, they’re mostly doing care packages on the home front.

33. Produce your limit to stop the Axis Powers.

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This one depicts a monster with Hitler and Hirohito heads and smashing the Statue of Liberty. Yes, that’s Fascism to you.

34. Beware of the monstrous Liberators.

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This is a rather crazy Nazi propaganda poster from WWII. Seems assembled with everything the Nazis hated about the US but comes off as utterly ridiculous that it’s hard to take seriously.

35. Apparently, we got some sort of a traffic jam.

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This one is supposed to encourage people to use less sugar in their jellies. But the jam parade is utterly freaky.

36. In war, it’s best you watch what you say over the phone.

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For all you know, Hitler could be listening in. And you don’t want that, do you?

37. Even the walls have ears during wartime.

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Man, these propaganda posters might make you paranoid after awhile. And yes, you can have Nazis living next door, which is pretty scary.

38. Join a balloon barrage squadron to secure our nation.

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For one, those blimps fell out of favor after the Hindenburg crash. Second, more or less resembles a crazy steampunk cover.

39. Enlist in the Navy to help your country.

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I don’t know about you. But that naval captain seems like he’s tied to a net. Oh, that’s just his outfit.

40. You don’t want to call off work over syphilis do you?

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Yes, STDs are a bitch. So use protection or just keep it in your pants. Else, you lose your pay.

41. Behold, send in the Norwegian Legion.

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This guy seems like he wants to retreat but doesn’t have the confidence to. And now he realizes he’s in deep shit.

42. Wanted: 500,000 men to the Western Front. Your country wants you.

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That bald guy looks cartoonishly freaky, I’d pass on that. Seriously, the guy is the stuff of nightmares. Then again, anyone who refuses will get drafted anyway.

43. Don’t let the imperialist menace take away your babies.

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Yet, another poster from Axis Italy during WWII. Here death comes in Allied form and takes away a crying mom’s baby. Seems more fitting on a horror movie poster.

44. What are you waiting for, Canada?

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Okay, Canada did participate in World War II and many servicemen and women sent there served with distinction. Notable example: James Doohan from Star Trek. Still, that guy’s face is too priceless to take seriously.

45. Buy war savings stamps to save your kid from autocracy and poverty.

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Unfortunately, since we have the Trump Administration in power, your best bet is to vote for a Democrat for 2020. War saving stamps won’t save you today.

46. From the American Revolution to WWII, Americans have always fought for liberty.

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Well, that’s sort of true to an extent. Though Native Americans would beg to differ since we know what happened to them.

47. Be careful: telling a friend may mean telling an enemy.

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Now they’re telling us we can’t trust our friends. That our friends may be Nazis? Oh wait.

48. Ask yourself are you supporting the war effort with all you can?

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Well, that’s a good question with no easy answers. And you can see where it’s all headed to.

49. Put everything you can in this drive and keep on firing.

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Yet, I don’t understand the use of golf metaphors. But keep swinging at Hitler.

50. When do we get Hitler? It’s up to you.

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And the bombers seem to come after him right on schedule. Despite that he’ll shoot himself and his wife in a Berlin bunker in 1945.

51. For a quicker victory, we must do our part.

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Yeah, but we won’t achieve victory until 1945. So that’s 2 years off which will take some large scale invasions and 2 atom bombs.

52. Let beaver and lion join in pursuing victory.

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Yes, this is for Canada during WWII. Apparently, Canada was still part of Great Britain by then as far as this poster is concerned.

53. Pull for victory by helping us crack the world’s biggest nut.

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That’s Hitler by the way. But in the 1940s, he has some stiff competition with Mussolini, Stalin, Franco, and Mao.

54. As long as you keep it under your hat, the soldier will be safe.

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For careless talk costs lives. So don’t trust anyone with state secrets.

55. How will you save a life during Red Cross Week?

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For humanity’s sake, choose civilization over barbarism. Also, stay away from Trumpism since it’s basically an American variation of fascism.

56. Crowing is an easy way to lose the war.

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See the Axis leaders listening in to the rooster. Though you won’t get much intelligence from him. Unless he’s using a special rooster code.

57. Don’t forget to smack Hitler during your afternoon work.

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Sure, these women work part time. But they don’t put up with Nazis.

58. Beware of the snake of Fascism.

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Though given the language it’s in such as Spanish, I’m not sure who we’re supposed to root for. Are we supposed to be for the snake or the naked guy with the hammer?

59. Support your country. Dig for victory.

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But would you trust a small child with a hoe and shovel? Not sure if I would.

60. You can’t win without women at war.

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Indeed, someone has to make the bombs. And the young men need to be on the front lines. So….

61. Buy war savings stamps to share in the victory.

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So the angel has a sword in one hand and an olive branch in the other. So invest in war and relish in the peace.

62. Government training schemes come with paid allowances. So train to win.

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Though they really should use background checks. Since this guy seems to resemble the neighborhood psychokiller.

63. Use your blow torch to make a grilled cheese.

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I’m sure that would work. But you really shouldn’t trust me with a blowtorch.

64. Defending American freedom is everyone’s job.

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Here Uncle Sam puts on a more utilitarian hat so he won’t get his star-spangled top hat dirty. Though he doesn’t seem to be in prime condition.

65. Steel, not bread for the conquered.

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You can see the knife has a swastika on the handle. Though the conquered can also use bread, too.

66. Are you in the British war effort?

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The guys on the top go into the trenches. The others below stay on the home front. Be the folks at the home front.

67. The Patriotic Service League is America’s third line of defense.

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You can tell it’s from World War 1 since it says “Confront Prussia.” Prussia had ceased to exist as a country in the 1870s. It was Germany then.

68. Remember folks, war traffic must come first.

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Because in a time of war, the trains must run on time. Our servicemen’s lives depend on it.

69. Buy war bonds. They’re waiting.

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If you don’t, the kid and the dog dies from a bombing. Just saying.

70. Buy war stamps to keep the planes fighting over the ocean.

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Because we’ll need to a ton of planes to deal with those Japanese Zeroes. Still, the Pacific front is a real shitshow.

71. Your blood can save this soldier.

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Blood donation offers available to white people only. Because 1940s America is under segregation where blacks in the South are effectively disenfranchised.

72. Russian bricklayers are willing to do their part.

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Though this guy seems more likely to drop one on you. Make sure he’s not above you or you’ll live to regret it. If you live at all.

73. Cut down on the carbs and take down the Kaiser.

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Because the troops need food to take down those U-Boats. But WWI will be won in the trenches.

74. During wartime, create make your own victory home.

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So this means getting war work, raise and share food, walk and carry packages, conserve everything, and save 10% in war bonds. Some of this can apply to fighting climate change.

75. The American Junior Red Cross are builders of a new world.

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Though lately, the American Red Cross has been under a lot of scrutiny. Since they haven’t had a great reputation in recent years.

76. Arise women, your country needs you.

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And after you’re done, you might get the vote with the 19th Amendment. But don’t ask for it now.

77. Someone’s absent. Is it you?

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What’s unsettling about this is that John Bull kind of resembles Donald Trump in a top hat and Union Jack vest. Makes me want to puke.

78. Do your part to help your country and make these planes fly.

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Note that if you serve on a bomber plane, you don’t have very good survival odds. So write your last will and testament while you can.

79. Stay away from the red light district.

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Notice how the prostitute’s depicted like a skeleton? That’s because she’s riddled with STDs.

80. Want to help defend America, ladies? Join the SPARS.

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Guess that’s the female auxiliary to the Coast Guard. Yet, they show a woman wielding a shotgun in front of a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail. Bet she lost someone to dysentery.

81. Best keep your mouth shut since spies can be anyone.

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Note Hitler behind. So he has people listening around since he’d like an easy victory.

82. Express your thanks to the Merchant Navy.

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They don’t get appreciated for their work that much. But without them, the troops would have nothing. Still, it would be better to depict sailors than guys in business suits.

83. Join the Marines so we can smack ’em down.

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And yes, they have flyers like the Army and Navy. Make sure he’s not on a bomber or he’s probably history.

84. In France, gold fights for victory.

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And the rooster on the gold coin won’t let the soldier forget it. Also, chickens aren’t cowards since they can rip your freaking face off if you provoke them.

85. Ladies, join the WAVES to make your parents proud.

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Since little Jimmy is too young to serve. While you just want to get as far from your parents as you can.

86. Britain expects national service.

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And here you see Athena with a Union Jack over a military base. Sure won’t protect against German bombings.

87. If you can’t go across, come across by buying bonds.

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However, I pity the ship who gets this seaman. Since he has that killer instinct and probably tortured animals as a child.

88. Don’t let American GIs pistol whip innocent Italian children.

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Yes, this is another Fascist Italian poster. And yes, Americans aren’t depicted in a sympathetic light.

89. Want to be a ship’s officer? Join the Merchant Marines.

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For the guy who wants to do his part but doesn’t want to see combat. Seriously, Mr. Roberts is basically a war movie without battle scenes since merchant marine service is the boring side of war.

90. Beach fronts are only reserved for the Master Race.

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You’d almost think this was a vacation photo of the Malfoys. Except the Malfoys are pale while the dad seems like he’s related to the Trump family.

91. Join the Scottish War Savings Committee for honor’s sake.

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They may bomb our lands. But they’ll never take our Freeeedom! Okay, I have to include at least one reference to Braveheart.

92. You defeated the Germans. Now defeat VD.

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Because there’s gonna be a lot of it. So if you have an STD, keep it in your pants.

93. Apparently, France will be on fire soon if we don’t act now.

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Wonder what war is this for. Judging by the guy’s uniform, it might be straight out of the 19th century. Perhaps the Franco-Prussian War.

94. Slaughter a bunch of Russians, you’ll get an Iron Cross.

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Luckily, the Germans didn’t have much luck in Stalingrad. And Stalingrad marked the turning point in WWII. Sorry, D-Day fans.

95. Britishers need you so come across now.

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After all, the US and Britain are close. And the US is kind of leaning on the Allies. Though they won’t decide until Pearl Harbor. Or Lusitania since I might be talking about the wrong war.

96. Are you Irish and Canadian? We got a unit for you.

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By the way, they’re recruiting in Montreal. You know a major city in Quebec, where they speak French. Wonder what’s weird about this.

97. Since Pearl Harbor, we’re all in this together.

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Notice the big red letters designed to grab your attention. Still, we’re all in this together. So dump Trump from the White House once and for all in 2020. Please, I’m begging you.

98. The military still has a place for you.

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But if you haven’t joined already, don’t bet on avoiding the draft. We can’t all afford to get temporary bone spurs.

99. Appreciate America and stop the 5th Column.

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Because we must resist foreign propaganda. Whether it’s Nazi tirades or fake Russian websites and Twitter accounts.

100. Remember that a night with Venus could mean a lifetime of Mercury.

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So unless you got condoms on you, you might want to keep it in your pants, soldier. Yes, STDs are a bitch.

Celebrate the Stars and Stripes Forever with These Star Spangled 4th of July Craft Projects (Fourth Edition)

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In the United States, since the 4th of July is considered the nation’s birthday, many Americans go all out with red, white, and blue decorations to show their patriotic pride. Some decorate their home with American flags. Some use other star-spangled decorations that you see in the photo above. While many Americans may purchase their Americana décor in a store, some might prefer to make their own. Unlike the treats, you can use these craft decorations year after year. As you can see on Pinterest and Etsy, you need not go far to find it. So for your reading pleasure, I give you another assortment of 4th of July craft projects.

  1. Perhaps you might want to put the stars inside the lantern.
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This one has red and blue lights inside. Perfect for any patriotic corner table.

2. Any patriotic mantle should have an American flag saw.

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Yes, I showed one before. But this one has the stripes go in a straight line.

3. A 4th of July wreath should come with star-spangled stars.

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This one uses 5-pointed stars of all sizes. Great for any all-American front door.

4. Make your salute to our country with these 4th of July blocks.

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One block says “4th of July.” The other says “USA.” The one in the middle has carved wooden stars in red and blue.

5. Nothing makes a more patriotic 4th of July like a red and white pom-pom wreath.

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This one has red and white pom poms and small blue stars. So pretty.

6. Don’t like wreaths? Use an umbrella bouquet instead.

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Contains red and white flowers with American flags. An all-American bouquet if there ever was one.

7. Bet you’ve never seen a 4th of July wreath like this before.

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This one is made out of curled cloth pieces. Like the red, white, and blue flowers in the center.

8. Grace your star-spangled table with this all-American bouquet.

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Mostly consists of sparkly and Dr. Seuss like decorations. Also includes a metal blue star in a blue bucket. Makes a great centerpiece.

9. Care for a star-spangled star?

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This star is decked like an American flag. Like the red, white, and blue decomesh bow.

10. Celebrate the spirit 1776 with this wooden plaque.

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Has red and white stripes. “1776” appears in shiny blue block numbers.

11. Celebrate the American spirit with this block American flag.

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Sure it might be a small flag. But our American flag is very hard to copy onto a small surface.

12. A giant Uncle Sam nutcracker should always stand by your door.

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Here he stands on a drum and waves a Betsy Ross flag. Sure it’s creepy but it’s incredible.

13. Make your 4th of July festive with these bouquets.

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Both use hats as a vase. One kind of resembles Uncle Sam’s. Love the flowers.

14. Any American would love these star-spangled flowers.

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These have starry centers and striped petals. The milk pail vase adds a rustic touch.

15. Support our troops this 4th of July with this wreath.

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Contains red, white, blue, and camouflage. Also includes an American flag and dog tags.

16. With these wooden candles, your 4th of July will be a blast.

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These are painted like the American flag. While they shoot up shiny stars in red, white, and blue.

17. Nothing makes 4th of July memorable like a wreath of the stars and stripes.

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This one is made from a stars and stripes ribbon. Include firework craft effects, American flags, and the word “Freedom” on the bottom.

18. Perhaps a more rustic 4th of July wreath will suit your tastes.

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This one is covered with burlap and denim. While it sports “4th” in big red print.

19. For your 4th of July bonfire use a pit like this.

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Depicts a flag and fireworks in iron. Perfect for any 4th of July party.

20. A 4th of July display should always include at least one firework.

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This one includes star-spangled ribbons and other red, white, and blue decorations. Makes a great centerpiece.

21. The more fireworks in your 4th of July bouquet the better.

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Each of these firecrackers is decked in red, white, and blue. The patterns are either stars or stripes.

22. Perhaps you might like a pallet stars and stripes.

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This one is in a Betsy Ross pattern. Though the stars seem to resemble an oval more than a circle.

23. Enjoy your 4th of July with these sand candles.

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Okay, the candles are fake for safety reasons. But the sand is nonetheless red, white, and blue.

24. Honor our serving men and women with this picture frame.

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Well, it’s more of a collage with a soldier picture and a wooden American flag. But any patriotic American would want it.

25. A rope red, white, and blue wreath is just as nice.

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Well, the wreath is mostly white with a little red. But the 3 blue stars give it a patriotic shine.

26. Perhaps you’d want a small flag on your mantle.

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This is made out of wood. Yet, the stars and stripes barely fit on it.

27. This American summer, curl up with this patchwork blanket.

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This one has patches of red, white and blue. But only the blue sports white stars.

28. Any patriot would die for a burlap wreath like this.

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This one is covered in red star ribbon and shiny star decorations. Love the bow, though.

29. Care to have red and blue stars on your white candles?

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Yes, these are real candles. But the stars make them perfect for 4th of July.

30. Show your pride for the USA with these block letters.

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Though they may be made of wood, they’re far more fancy than the letters you’ve probably seen. Also contains more patriotic touches.

31. A 4th of July wreath should always have an Uncle Sam hat.

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This one is decomesh with a shiny hat in the center. Great for any star-spangled front door.

32. Patriotic pockets should always have flowers.

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Well, these pockets are blue with white stars and red flowers. Also includes an American flag. Looks great on a white picket fence.

33. Feel free to put some American flags in your flower pot.

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Or pail, as this one is. Make sure the flowers are red, white, or blue.

34. Perhaps you’d want a heart wreath with bandanas.

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Make sure you tie them on the wire and put stars on the blue part. Perfect for any all-American home.

 

35. Have your all-American girl deck this cute 4th of July dress.

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This is for a small girl. While the blue skirt has stars and the red edging has white polka dots.

36. Greet your guests with this 4th of July wreath with folded paper.

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Well, these papers are folded in circles with stars on top. Each is in red, white, or blue.

37. Any soldier would want a rag wreath like this.

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Sure the cloth bits are felt. Yet, it’s a heart in blazing red, white, blue, and camouflage.

38. Got a straw hat? Make an Uncle Sam wreath out of it.

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This one uses string for the hair and beard. It even has a hat, ironically.

39. Feel free to wrap the grand old flag on your wreath.

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I don’t think it’s that old. But it does go nicely on a wreath like this.

40. A wooden flag cross should always have burlap bow.

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Well, I usually don’t take church and state separation when showing crosses like these. But I would try to show American flag items of other religions if I come across them.

41. Care to have an American flag at your window.

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Well, a window frame, anyway. Since the flag seems to go through it.

42. This Uncle Sam hat has all the bells and whistles.

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I only meant that figuratively, of course. Still, makes a great centerpiece on any American table.

43. Perhaps you might want some extra patriotic decoration on this white lantern.

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Includes ribbons of red, white, and blue as well as a small Uncle Sam hat. So pretty.

44. Make a patriotic impression this 4th of July with these Uncle Sam hat bouquets.

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Includes red, white, and blue flowers. Wonder what those squiggly things are.

45. A striped wreath should include a few stars.

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As long as the stripes and stars are red, white, and blue. Great for any home celebrating the 4th of July.

46. A bald eagle should always be majestic on an American flag.

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After all, the bald eagle is our country’s national symbol. Since it can always soar high in the sky.

47. A red and white striped canvas should always contain a blue star.

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This especially goes for this 4th of July decoration. Also includes a white tulle bow and branches of red berries.

48. Grace your living room with this American flag coffee table.

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It’s basically a simple wooden table with the American flag painted on it. Great for indoors and outdoors.

49. Anyone want Uncle Sam in their garden?

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Okay, this guy’s made out of wood. But he does bring some star-spangled charm.

50. Show your pride for the stars and stripes with these pinwheel hair clips.

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They look more like flowers to me. But each is in red, white, and blue felt glory.

51. A ragged flag always looks great in a frame.

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This one uses felt strips of red, white, and blue for the stars and stripes. Also says, “God Bless America” on the top.

52. Welcome your guests this Independence Day with this American flag curtain.

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This one includes sentiments of Americana. And all on printed scrolls.

53. Any American girl would appreciate a patriotic skirt like this.

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Consists of red and white stripes under a blue fabric with polka dots. Sure they’re not stars, but they’ll do.

54. You can make a pretty vase with red and white striped straws.

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By the way, these straws are made of paper. But I love the blue ribbon tying them together.

55. Perhaps you can put a red, white, and blue bow in your hair.

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Well, it’s made from red, white, and blue ribbons. Though one has white dots instead of stars.

56. A simple rustic wreath will always do.

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This one has a red bow with a blue cloth of white stars. Also includes an American flag near the top.

57. Nothing makes 4th of July a patriotic spectacle like a decomesh wreath like this.

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This is an American flag wreath. You can see the stars in blue near the top.

58. You might want a star in the red white and blue.

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This one has a lovely painting with the blue part containing white stars. So pretty.

59. An American flag should be covered in flowers.

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The flowers are fake, of course. Nonetheless, this is a rather creative design. Love it.

60. Deck your American home with this Uncle Sam wine bottle.

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This one has Uncle Sam’s face painted on it. And yes, it’s pretty adorable.

61. “Oh, crown thy hood with brotherhood/From sea to shining sea.”

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This one has Uncle Sam’s face painted on it. And yes, it’s pretty adorable.

62. A ribbon wreath should have at least 2 flags.

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The ribbons are red, white, and blue, naturally. Like the red bow on top.

63. Welcome your guests with this epic 4th of July display.

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Includes red, white, and blue firecrackers. Also has Uncle Sam at the top.

64. A burlap flag wreath brings a rustic touch.

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Has 3 stars in the blue near the top. Great for any American door around Independence Day.

65. A lantern decoration can’t have too many ribbons.

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This one is on a lantern. Some of the bows are even in an American flag pattern.

66. You might be in the mood for a patriotic window.

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Includes a wreath and a chain of stars in red, white, and blue. Perfect for any patriotic home.

67. Since pinwheels are popular this time of year, why not a pinwheel flag?

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Sure it’s not an exact replica. But it’s kind of cool if you think of it.

68. Want some wooden candles in a metal bin?

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Well, there’s only a couple of them. But they’re both painted like the American flag.

69. Let God bless America with this flowery flag cross.

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Good for a funeral for servicemen. Also topped with a star-spangled ribbon.

70. With paper flowers, you can make your own bouquet.

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You can even use blue wine bottles as vases. And both have gingham bows.

71. A flowery wreath should always have a big hollow star on it.

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This one has a large white one. In the middle, it says, “Happy 4th of July.”

72. An Uncle Sam hat isn’t complete without any golden stars sticking out.

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Well, gold, red, white, and blue stars along with gold berries. Perfect as a centerpiece.

73. Bet you’ve never seen stars like these.

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They’re wooden stars with wooden frames. One has stars. One has stripes.

74. Want a make a firework? Paint a stick and put string on it.

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Each is painted in red, white, and blue. And they’re put in a twig nest.

75. Curl up on your all-American couch with this flag pillow.

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The red and white stripes are made from fabric strips. As the stars on the corner are made from buttons.

76. This American flag comes in 6 parts.

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The red and white stripes are made from fabric strips. As the stars on the corner are made from buttons.

77. A clothespin wreath may intrigue you.

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Consists of red clothespins with white stripes and white clothespins with red spots. The blue ones have stars.

78. How about a wreath wrapped in a flag?

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Includes a star on the top. Great for any front door on the 4th of July.

79. I’m sure any girl would want American flag flowers in her hair.

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One has red and white stripes. The others are white and blue. So cute.

80. A red wagon should have plenty of patriotic décor.

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This one will really show the fireworks. Also includes American flags and flowers.

81. Curl up on your couch with this American flag quilt.

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Well, it doesn’t exactly resemble a flag. But it’s a real patchwork to hang.

82. Hope you’ll enjoy these firecrackers in this bouquet.

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They’re set in a white pail. But at least these fireworks won’t explode on you.

83. How about a rug of Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty?

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They’re even adorned in American flag attire. Perfect for any liberty loving home.

84. Perhaps a few striped candles might do for your 4th of July.

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Make sure that they have red and blue stripes along with white stars. Has stars sprouting out of their wick holes.

85. Your little Uncle Sam can use a suit.

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The little boy has a cotton beard. Still, he looks quite cute.

86. A 4th of July wreath can use a few bows.

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Some are red, some are striped, and some are blue with white polka dots. So pretty.

87. A straw wreath is sure to impress.

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Yes, they’re paper straws. But they’re striped in red, white, and blue.

88. Perhaps your 4th of July wreath can use a star in the center.

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This one has strips tied to the frame. While the star says, “God Bless America.”

89. I call this the Liberty Tree.

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Since it has hearts on a tree that are red, white, and blue. And on a copy of a math book page.

90. Any America should relish a wreath of roses.

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Okay, they’re fake. But they’re in true American red, white, and blue with stars.

91. You can put anything inside an Uncle Sam hat.

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Has evergreen branches, stars, and an American flag inside. Makes a great centerpiece.

92. Got a grater? Make a decoration out of it.

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Has a star and a flag inside. Great to put beside the door.

93. An Uncle Sam bouquet always has to include red roses.

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Sure it’s part of a collection. Yet, the roses surely look fabulous.

94. A rag wreath can do with some firecrackers.

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Also includes stars in red, white, and blue. Great for any American front door.

95. Seems like this Uncle Sam is unusually potted here.

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That’s because he’s made out of flower pots. So adorable.

96. No one can resist this star-spangled star.

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It’s made from wood scraps. Includes a scheme of red, white and blue.

97. This American flag cross has a horseshoe for luck.

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This one is made from 2 pallet strips. And yes, they’re painted in the stars and stripes.

98. These firecrackers will be a blast at your 4th of July table.

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And they’re all in red, white, and blue patterns. Like the stars on the wires to create sparks.

99. A pinwheel wreath is simply spectacular.

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This is especially if the pinwheels are shiny. Wonder if they actually turn with the wind when hung on a door.

100. A proud patriot would hang this Uncle Sam.

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This one even uses long hat and a long fuzzy beard. So cute.

Salute the Red, White, and Blue United States of America with These Patriotic 4th of July Treats (Fifth Edition)

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Now that summer is around the corner and Father’s Day is over, it’s on to prepare for the 4th of July, or Independence Day. Normally, this would inspire patriotism, fireworks, and anything red, white, and blue. However, during the dark times of the Trump administration, it’s very difficult for me to get pumped with patriotic pride except when it comes to, “Impeach the Motherfucker.” Anyway, during this time, you’ll find plenty of stores across the country filled with red, white, and blue patriotic decorations, flags, and paper plates. In addition, the 4th of July is a time of fireworks and barbecues. And nothing inspires patriotic devotion to the flag like some star-spangled treats, which is where I come in. So for your reading pleasure, I give you another treasury of star-spangled 4th of July treats.

  1. Don’t forget to add blueberries to your red and white cheesecakes.

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Because a 4th of July dessert has to be red, white, and blue. Includes mint leaves for flavor.

2. Nothing makes a 4th of July party like a star-spangled cake.

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The cake is blue with white stars. Also includes folded red and white stripes.

3. A 4th of July cake should always have Lady Liberty on top.

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Since she’s a beacon of liberty throughout the world. Of course, you don’t want Trump anywhere near her.

4. Grace your star-spangled dessert platter with an American flag ruffle cake.

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Well, it’s like an American flag cake but fancier. Perfect for any 4th of July party.

5. Any American will love a Lady Liberty cake with fireworks.

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It’s a more festive Lady Liberty cake but way more festive. Includes a star base and sailboats.

6. A summer 4th of July cake should always contain some fruit.

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Includes strawberries and blueberries over white icing and 2 tiers. If you want healthier options for dessert, this cake’s for you.

7. Instead of ice cream sandwiches, cake batter sandwiches can be just as nice.

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All of these have batter between 2 graham crackers and include, red, white, and blue sprinkles. Some even have stars.

8. 4th of July bites contain all that fruity patriotic goodness.

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Contains raspberries and blueberries. Each tart includes a couple of crusty stars.

9. Perhaps you might want some dessert kabobs.

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Consist of iced marshmallows, strawberries, and cake stars. And it seems the stars contain red and blue stuff inside.

10. Nobody could resist these patriotic trifle treats.

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One side has raspberries. The other side has blueberries. Both sides have stars.

11. No 4th of July cake can be more star-spangled than this.

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This one has 3 tiers with stars in red, white, and blue configurations. Only the white tier has the flag, though.

12. 4th of July cupcakes should always have red, white, and blue icing.

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Helps that these are chocolate. Yet, each one wishes a happy 4th of July to you.

13. You might prefer some fruity red, white, and blue kabobs.

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Consists of strawberries, blueberries, and banana slices. And all on skewers.

14. A great 4th of July cake should always have a few stars.

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This one has 2 tiers. One consists of red and white stripes. The other is blue with white stars.

15. Cool off this Independence Day with these American flag jello bars.

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May or may not contain alcohol, depending on who brings them. Still, wonder how these jello shapes could have many colors.

16. A small fruity patriotic tart may suit your appetite.

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Contains strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. And it can fit on a small plate.

17. A red, white, and blue trifle will make a lovely addition to your 4th of July dessert platter.

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Has strawberries and blueberries on top. While red and blue cake pieces are mixed with whipped cream inside.

18. Perhaps you might want a star-spangled tart with strawberries.

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Well, this one contains strawberries and blueberries on top of white icing. Perfect for any 4th of July party.

19. Red, white, and blue shoes belong on any 4th of July cake.

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Cake is even trimmed with red, white, and blue flower stars. While it contains stars on the sides.

20. Treat your guests this 4th of July with this fruity cheesecake.

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Contains strawberries and blueberries on top. Perfect for any patriotic dessert platter.

21. A red, white, and blue cake always needs a few patriotic pinwheels.

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Sure you can’t eat the pinwheels. But they emphasize star-spangled pride.

22. An icing trifle can be just as sweet.

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Contains strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows. Has red and blue cake on the bottom.

23. Anyone would love a cake with stars and stripes.

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Has 3 tiers with stripes in the middle. Still, got to love the white bow on top.

24. Nothing makes an American treat like these star tarts.

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Each tart contains strawberries inside. Though I recommend you eat these with a plate.

25. Any patriot would want these starry cupcakes.

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These have blue icing and white stars on them. Will go quite nicely with the star tarts.

26. A simple patriotic cake will always do.

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This one has 3 tiers of red, white, and blue. And each has minimal decoration dots.

27. The Statue of Liberty should always stand tall on a red, white, and blue foundation.

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She stands on 2 tiers. One has stripes. The other is blue with white stars.

28. Nothing makes your 4th of July party like firework hotdogs.

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These are covered with hotdog wraps with cheese triangles on top. Served on a stick.

29. Patriotic flag wavers will love this Uncle Sam cake.

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Yes, it’s professionally made like a lot of cakes on these posts. But he’s nevertheless adorable. And no, you can’t eat the flag.

30. This star is happy to salute the red, white, and blue.

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Yes, that’s a smiling star holding the American flag. And yes, its edges are covered in sprinkles.

31. An angel food cake like this will put you in a patriotic heaven.

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Has 3 layers with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries on top of icing. Perfect for any patriot’s dessert platter.

32. Perhaps a true patriot would want a 4th of July cake like this.

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The bottom tier has the US Constitution. The top tier has the American flag.

33. Nothing makes your patriotic dessert platter like red, white, and blue sugar cookies.

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Of course, food coloring is involved here. But they make a charming dessert addition.

34. No American can resist these patriotic cake pops.

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These sit on top American flag pencils. Also includes chocolate stars and toothpick American flags. Oh, and they’re covered in red, white, and blue sprinkles.

35. Care for a patriotic M&M cookie?

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These are chocolate cookies with M&M flower designs. And yes, they are the red, white, and blue ones.

36. Would you like some trifle in a cup?

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Contains blueberries, raspberries, and whipped cream inside. And yes, it’s quite fruity.

37. This star-spangled cake is a real patchwork.

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Has blue and white squares with red and white stars. While the American flag is front and center.

38. These star bites make great all-American appetizers.

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Each of these consists of a hotdog slice and a hotdog wrap in a star shape. You can even dip them in cheese.

39. These patriotic cookies will warm your all-American heart.

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Includes cupcakes and stars. Stars have red, white, and blue decorations. Cupcakes have hearts and sprinkles.

40. Anyone would love these patriotic cookies.

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Yes, they’re professionally made. Yet, each gives you an aura of the stars and stripes and the summer.

41. Iced cookies must have red and blue swirls.

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Of course, you have to keep up the patriotic spirit. But make sure you don’t make a mess.

42. With this cake, you can begin your 4th of July with a bang.

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Well, the design on top is supposed to resemble a firework. Yet, make sure you use red, white, and blue icing.

43. No American should take a pass with these 4th of July cookies.

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Mostly consist of hearts, stars, and American flags. And all in red, white, and blue glory.

44. You’ll have a blast with these fireworks cookies.

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The firecrackers may be blue. But they surely give a blast of red.

45. Any American will have to try these American flag brownies.

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Each one has a blueberry and a star in the corner. While the brownies are chocolate.

46. You might enjoy these patriotic cupcakes.

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These include straws and drizzle. Each is topped with white icing. So pretty.

47. Why leave your dog out of the 4th of July festivities?

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Yes, these are 4th of July dog treats. And yes, they’re in red, white, and blue.

48. Your 4th of July can’t be complete without this star-spangled cake.

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This one has stripes on the edges and stars on the top. Lovely for any 4th of July party.

49. Feel free to drape the American flag on this cake.

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Yes, it’s supposed to resemble a flag being crumpled up. Though I’m pretty sure it’s edible.

50. Perhaps you’d like this patriotic ice cream treat on Independence Day.

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This is an ice cream cone with red sprinkles and blueberries on the top. Perfect patriotic frozen treat.

51. A fireworks cupcake should go all out on the red, white, and blue.

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Though the icing here kind of resembles toothpaste. Still, like the fireworks decoration on top.

52. Celebrate Independence Day with this cake of the Statue of Liberty.

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I’m sure this one would be used for a large party. Yet, she stands quite gracefully.

53. This 4th of July picnic, treat your guests to some red, white, and blue fruit salad.

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Includes strawberries and blueberries. Not sure what else.

54. 4th of July trifle should always include some red velvet stars.

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Also has blueberries, strawberries, and whipped cream. Perfect for any patriotic dessert platter.

55. Fruit kabobs should always include stars.

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Also has strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows. Just to get the red, white, and blue.

56. A 4th of July cake should be bursting with stars.

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This one has red, silver, and blue stars. Love the red and blue bow.

57. For a cool treat, you can’t beat these star ice cream sandwiches.

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Each one has a red and star blue cookie along with vanilla ice cream in between. Decorated with red, white, and blue sprinkles.

58. Care for a shooting star cookie?

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These have white and blue stripes. Contains red sugar inside.

59. Perhaps you might prefer a patriotic parfait.

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Has white and red jello stripes. While the blueberries sit atop.

60. Enjoy your 4th of July with some patriotic fudge.

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Come in red, white, and blue blocks. Each is decked with sprinkles.

61. Hope you can enjoy these patriotic hand pies.

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Not sure what flavor they are. Though 2 have stars while one has a flag.

62. Patriotic popcorn makes for a great 4th of July treat.

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This is basically popcorn covered with blue and red sugar. Because it’s supposed to be red, white, and blue.

63. No American can resist these patriotic pretzel bites.

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Consists of waffle pretzels with blue and M&Ms in white icing. An ideal patriotic snack.

64. Perhaps you might prefer some patriotic swirl cookie bars.

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The cookies are in red and while. While they’re topped with blue icing and sprinkles.

65. This 4th of July, treat your guests to some raspberry pie.

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You can even see stars on the crust. Nonetheless, feel free to serve.

66. Would you like some patriotic fruit salad?

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Consists of blueberries, strawberries, and banana slices. And all arranged into an American flag.

67. For healthier options, you might like some patriotic quinoa.

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Has strawberries and blackberries in it. Reminds me of some oatmeal in a commercial.

68. Cool down with some red, white, and blue popsicles.

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The top is blue while the rest consists of red and white stripes. Not sure how you get the colors together though.

69. Care for a Rice Krispie American flag?

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This one has icing red stripes and sprinkle stars on blue icing. Wonder how large the plate is though.

70. You’ll find this pie all covered with stars.

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The stars are made from pie crusts. Great for any 4th of July picnic.

71. Want any stars with your patriotic fruit salad?

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Contains strawberries and blueberries. While the stars are white.

72. Suit yourself to these red, white, and blue cookies.

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Well, these have red, white, and blue stripes. But they sure look tasty and easy to make.

73. Nothing is more patriotic on the 4th of July than red, white, and blue jello stars.

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Depending on host, may or may not contain alcohol. Yet, it has red, white, and blue layers.

74. This 4th of July grace your platter with these stars and stripes cookie bars.

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The top has red, white, and blue stripes on icing. While the filling has red and blue bits inside.

75. A fruity cake can use a few sparklers.

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This one has whipped cream and strawberry slices on the edges. While the blueberries are on top.

76. Salute your country with an American flag sheet cake.

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Yes, this is professionally made. But it surely shows the stars and stripes.

77. Surely an American flag doesn’t have to cover a whole cake.

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This one only has the flag in a triangle half. The rest of it is white.

78. A Statue of Liberty cake always stands tall.

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This one was made to denote a critical anniversary. Still, best to give your tired and poor.

79. Maybe you’d like a cake with an American flag square.

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The stripes on this cake are around the edges. The stars are on top.

80. Care for these American flag cookies?

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The red and white ones are of stripes. The blue ones contain stars. Said to be good for kids.

Can We Just Impeach the Motherf**ker Already?

During an ABC News interview on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, Donald Trump told George Stephanopoulos that he’d likely accept “information” offered by a foreign government for use in his reelection campaign. He said, “I think you might want to listen. I don’t — there’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country — Norway — ‘We have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” He then continued that if he thought there’s “something wrong” with the offer, he’d “maybe” tell the FBI. But Trump nevertheless asserted that accepting “oppo research” from a foreign government was perfectly fine, telling Stephanopoulos, “They have information, I think I’d take it.”

These recent remarks have obviously caused intense controversy and reopened wounds from the Mueller investigation and the 2016 campaign. In fact, Special Counsel Robert Mueller had just finished a 2-year investigation into this very thing. We have to recall that in mid-2016, Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. took a meeting to get dirt on Hillary Clinton allegedly from the Russian government. Mueller investigated Trump Jr.’s conduct for a potential campaign finance violation but decided not to charge him. Since word about it got out in 2017, Trump has continued defending his son’s actions, but his assertion poses legal and ethical issues. It’s also interpreted as yet another sign that Trump doesn’t seem particularly alarmed with broader Russian effort to help him win in 2016, including by hacking and leaking Democrats’ emails. Trump’s latest comments appeared to go too far for some of his allies. Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade noted on June 13, “You don’t want a foreign government or foreign entity giving you information because they will want something back. If anybody knows that, it’s the president. There is no free lunch. If someone wants information, then they’re going to want influence. I think the president’s got to clarify that.” South Carolina US Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted, “I believe that it should be practice for all public officials who are contacted by a foreign government with an offer of assistance to their campaign — either directly or indirectly — to inform the FBI and reject the offer.” While Texas US Senator Jon Cornyn stated that Trump’s remarks were “dangerous territory.” Of course, in a move of classic whataboutism, those 2 backtracked with arguing how Hillary’s campaign funding the Steele Dossier was equally problematic (it’s not) so they can continually kiss Trump’s.

Back in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. received an email from an acquaintance named Rob Goldstone, a British publicist who worked with the Agarlov family, an Azeri-Russian father-son pair of wealthy real estate developers who worked with the Trumps before. Goldstone claimed that Aras Agarlov had met with the “Crown prosecutor of Russia,” who had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” He then added: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin.” Trump Jr. enthusiastically responded, “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” They soon agreed to set up a meeting in Trump Tower to discuss the information. However, the meeting appears to be a dud since the Mueller report doesn’t document any information being passed or any deal being struck. Nor did Mueller find any indication that the offered information had any connection to the Russian hackings. But Donald Trump Jr.’s eagerness to accept dirt allegedly coming from a foreign government was viewed as scandalous. Some experts even argued it’s criminal since it’s a campaign finance law violation to accept or even solicit “thing of value” from a foreign source.

So when George Stephanopoulos asked Donald Trump about Donald Trump Jr.: “Should he have gone to the FBI when he got that email?” Obviously, the answer is yes. However, Trump said no, arguing that such a thing would be naïve, claiming, “Give me a break. Life doesn’t work that way.” What the fuck? Instead, he said that if something shady was going on, the correct response should be, “throw somebody out of your office,” since calling the FBI would be too much. When Stephanopoulos said that the FBI director (a guy Trump appointed, by the way) said that candidates should call them in such a situation, Trump answered: “The FBI director is wrong.” Then Stephanopoulos asked the question that would cause Trump so much trouble: “Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?” Trump gives the odd answer: “I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. I don’t — there’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country — Norway — ‘We have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” Note that Trump used a benign country like Norway instead of responding to the specific question about Russia and China.

Pressed by Stephanopoulos, Donald Trump distinguished between foreign, “interference” and simple “information” and “oppo research,” which he claimed was perfectly fine to accept from a foreign source. Here’s his answer:

“It’s not interference. They have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research. (mockingly) ‘Oh, let’s call the FBI.’

“The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressmen, they all do it. They always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”

Note that Donald Trump left open the possibility that if he “thought there was something wrong,” he’d go to the FBI. And he doesn’t say it’s okay to accept hacked or stolen material from a foreign power. Still, the idea that a foreign government would offer damaging information on your opponent in an election year should be cause for suspicion, since it’s a glaring red flag it wants to interfere in your political process and want something from you in terms of policy. This is especially the case if the government in question is a known adversary like Russia. And that is why you go to the FBI.

Nonetheless, Trump probably thinks accepting dirt about a political opponent from a foreign power is totally fine even if the info material is hacked or stolen. After all, he publicly asked Russia to “find” Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. Not to mention, he privately asked Michael Flynn to try and get a hold on those emails. Still, the whole idea seems to be: Donald Trump Jr. did nothing wrong. And if a foreign government has information that would help Trump’s reelection campaign, Trump would be happy to hear it.

Obviously, people are appalled by Donald Trump’s remarks. Some argue it’s simply unethical to accept “opposition research” from a foreign government, particularly an adversary like Russia. Federal Election Commission head Ellen Weintraub tweeted why it’s illegal for US political candidates to accept contributions from foreign governments, along with “I would not have thought I needed to say this.” She then went on to clarify: “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept. Election intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the founding of our nation.” Others pointed to the practical problem claiming that said foreign government might expect a reward. But there’s also an underlying legal issue on which Trump seems to be giving really bad advice. In other words, Trump doesn’t think it’s a problem for a campaign to accept “opposition research” because it’s just information. However, federal election law states that campaigns can’t accept foreign money contributions or any “thing of value” from foreign sources. Given that knowledge is power and information is very valuable resource in political campaigns, is opposition research like the “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” promised to Donald Trump Jr. a thing of value? Well, Trump Jr. seemed to think so that he was willing to go through all the trouble to set up a meeting at Trump Tower for it.

The Mueller report explored this very subject, and concluded: probably. The report reads, “There are reasonable arguments that the offered information would constitute a ‘thing of value.’” After all, knowledge is power. While political campaigns do tons of opposition research on a candidate in hopes for finding dirt on their opponents. As Robert Mueller writes:

“These authorities would support the view that candidate-related opposition research given to a campaign for the purpose of influencing an election could constitute a contribution to which the foreign-source ban could apply.

“…Political campaigns frequently conduct and pay for opposition research. A foreign entity that engaged in such research and provided resulting information to a campaign could exert a greater effect on an election, and a greater tendency to ingratiate the donor to the candidate, than a gift of money or tangible things of value.”

But Robert Mueller doesn’t unreservedly endorse this view. Since he also expressed concerns about how this interpretation would fare in court:

“At the same time, no judicial decision has treated the voluntary provision of uncompensated opposition research or similar information as a thing of value that could amount to a contribution under campaign-finance laws. Such an interpretation could… raise First Amendment questions. These questions could be especially difficult where the information consisted simply of the recounting of historically accurate facts. It is uncertain how courts would resolve those issues.”

Nonetheless, leaving the issue aside, Robert Mueller didn’t end up bringing charges against the meeting’s participants for 2 separate reasons. First, is establishing willfulness. Did Donald Trump Jr. and the other meeting participants know they were breaking the law? As Mueller wrote, “The investigation has not developed evidence that the participants in the meeting were familiar with the foreign-contribution ban or the application of federal law to the relevant factual context.” Secondly, Mueller said that Rob Goldstone’s promised information is difficult to value at above $2,000, the threshold for a criminal violation, writing “Although damaging opposition research is surely valuable to a campaign, it appears that the information ultimately delivered in the meeting was not valuable.” Besides, when Trump Jr. agreed to take the meeting, he might’ve understood the information “as being of uncertain worth or reliability.” So Mueller most certainly didn’t say that accepting opposition research from a foreign government is very legal and very cool (quite the contrary). However, he chose not to bring charges in this particular instance. For reasons relating to specific evidence and the situation. In all, Mueller didn’t establish coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. But his report makes it clear that the Trump campaign, “expected it would benefit from information stolen and released through Russian efforts” during the 2016 campaign.

Now the United States has laws to govern how political campaigns can and can’t operate. Many of these laws are meant to limit or in some cases, just illuminate the amount if outside money trying to influence political candidates. When it comes to foreign influence, the law is clear. As Weintraub wrote: it’s “illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.” In most cases, the meaning’s quite obvious: foreign nationals can’t donate money to a presidential campaign. In addition, it’s also illegal for candidates to solicit or receive money contributions from foreign nationals. But while a “thing of value” is easy to define when it comes to money, services, or in-kind contributions, it’s a lot more complicated in the realm of information like opposition research or campaign dirt. Northwestern University law professor Michael Kang told Vox, “Campaign-relevant information from a foreign national definitely can be an illegal in-kind contribution, but it gets trickier when the information does not have obvious cash value and isn’t necessarily something that a campaign regularly needs to buy. The policy concern is that any valuable advice or tip from a foreign national could, at least in theory, become an illegal in-kind contribution.”

As part of his investigation into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Special Counsel Robert Mueller grappled with this question, where Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign members met with a Russian national who had promised them “dirt” on Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow’s effort to support Donald Trump. Mueller concluded in his report that, “candidate-related opposition research given to a campaign for the purpose of influencing an election could constitute a contribution to which the foreign-source ban could apply.” But he added that the issue hasn’t been court-tested and could also have freedom of speech implications. Nonetheless, Mueller ultimately decided not to prosecute Trump Jr. over enigmas in regards to information value and criminal intent, making it hard to prove campaign finance violations beyond reasonable doubt. But experts are split mostly because as Loyola University law professor Jessica Levinson told Vox, “There’s a reason campaigns pay for opposition research: We literally value it. It can be much more useful and valuable than walking in with a check.”

Nevertheless, given the blowback, Donald Trump has tried to sort of walk back in a Fox & Friends interview on June 14. He told them, “You’d have to look at [the information being offered], because if you don’t look at it, you won’t know it’s bad. But, of course, you give it to the FBI or report to the attorney general or somebody like that.” While it wasn’t an unequivocal condemnation, it’s renewed questions on what’s legal and what’s not in regards to foreign nationals in US campaigns. And to ensure that it’s illegal, House Democrats have promised to roll out a bill requiring campaigns to report any foreign government offering dirt on their opponents to the FBI. He also said that he doesn’t, “think anybody would present me with anything because they know how much I love the country.” But his comments during his interview with George Stephanopoulos suggest otherwise. Also, his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner also won’t say in an Axios interview the previous week whether he’d call the FBI if offered dirt again. So that refusal to be unequivocal about foreign interference undermines a thing of value for all Americans: the belief in the integrity of the vote.

Nearly 2 months after the Mueller report’s release, Congress remains at an impasse about what to do next. The special counsel didn’t end up charging any crimes related to collusion with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. He also chose not to say whether Donald Trump criminally obstructed justice. One House Democrat faction supports a beginning an impeachment inquiry against Trump, based on the conduct described in the report. Yet, the most of the caucus, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, doesn’t want to go down that road. Namely because Republicans control the US Senate and they’re all currently kissing Trump’s ass. So they’ll not only acquit him, but also frame the impeachment proceedings as a Democratic political stunt and a waste of everyone’s time.

Looming over all this is the question of what, exactly, this might mean in the 2020 election. Foreign powers could certainly interpret Donald Trump’s comments as a green light to send him whatever information he might find helpful. That said, Trump and foreign governments are all surely aware of what that might lead to: another lengthy investigation like Robert Mueller’s, which even though it didn’t end disastrously for Trump (unfortunately), surely wasn’t a pleasant experience. As Ellen Weintraub noted, America’s founders knew that when foreign governments seek to interfere in elections, it’s always to advance their interests, not ours. And that’s a bigger problem with Donald Trump’s apparent dismissal of the seriousness regarding foreigners reaching out to offer dirt to rival candidates. University of Miami law professor Frances Hill told Vox that while criminal law discussions are important, Trump’s “acting in a way that undermines national security.” As of 2019, just about the only thing Democrats and Republicans agree on the Mueller report is that Russia interfered in the 2016 Election. The intelligence community has said that Russia will certainly try again in 2020. While other countries like China and Iran will have learned 2016’s lessons and be eager to follow suit.

Nonetheless, it’s clear that even if Donald Trump’s campaign didn’t collude, he sees no problem with accepting dirt on opponents from foreign government, which should be reason enough to see Trump as a national security liability. Furthermore, the Trump campaign was willing to benefit from Russia’s election interference in 2016. Besides, not only does Trump not care that Russia’s actions in the 2016 election not only threatened American interests, sovereignty, and national security, but he’ll openly on Vladimir Putin to do it again. Still, let’s accept Trump’s “America First” nationalism for what it is: an exclusive nationalism centering on hating foreigners and difference. Or more accurately, xenophobia by another name. Any principled nationalist would see foreign efforts to interfere with a US election as an unacceptable infringement on American sovereignty and independence. Obviously, Trump isn’t principled nor does he value American independence. And if a president doesn’t have principles nor values independence should be impeached, especially if they pose a significant danger to the United States. Trump has. Furthermore, he’s personally profited off the presidency in flagrant violation of the Emoluments Clause in the US Constitution, especially since foreign dignitaries have stayed on his resorts and in his hotels on the taxpayer’s dime. So the question is not whether he should be impeached, but why he hasn’t been impeached now.

The Senseless Shutdown

We all know that Donald Trump’s presidency is one long series of unfortunate events that’s making living in the United States a dystopian nightmare. As we all know, Trump managed to win over his supporters by promising a big, beautiful wall that Mexico will pay for. Despite that Mexico sure isn’t, especially since Trump called them rapists and criminals in a campaign speech. Now that Trump is president, he wants $5 billion to fund his wall at the US-Mexico border, which Congress doesn’t want to give him. Because it’s a stupid waste of money, which is plain to see if you just look at a map of North America. Or a history book on the Great Wall of China, which has benefitted the country more as a tourist attraction than protecting against Mongol invaders. Honestly, even Republicans wouldn’t give Trump any wall money when they were in charge of the legislative branch. As a result, the federal government has shut down in December and now we’re deep into its third week. While at least 800,000 federal workers are now struggling to keep it together along with the countless subcontractors and citizens who depend on them.

For the legions of government employees and contractors, the holidays was hell as they agonized over how to cover their electric bill, mortgage payment, or trip to the grocery store. And God only knows whether 2018 would be the worst Christmas of their lives that Donald Trump’s latest temper tantrum has upended. Some 420,000 of these are “essential personnel” and working without pay. This comprises of 41,000 law enforcement officials, 54,000 Border Patrol agents, and 53,000 Transportation Security Administration workers. 380,000 of these employees have been furloughed, including 28,000 Forest Service staff, 16,000 in the National Park Service, and 16,7000 at NASA. The longer the stoppage goes on, the more people will feel the squeeze. Already, the Small Business Administration has been shut down, delaying loan processing. A growing number of national parks, museums, and historic sites will need to close, disrupting tourism and for surrounding businesses. At some parks during the holidays, there were as many rangers and other support staff furloughed. While trash piled up, toilets overflowed, and facilities were vandalized. FDA routine screenings have been put on hold. The Federal Communications Commission is set to halt most of its operations as far as I know. The Indian land situation is about to get dire. Not to mention, the food stamp program is almost out of cash. The list goes on and on.

Sure federal employees will receive back pay, but only retroactively through a Congressional act after the government reopens. Yet, in the interim we must understand that their suffering will not influence Donald Trump to cave. Because Trump doesn’t care who gets hurt when it comes to getting what he wants. As of January 5, 2018, the GoFundMe website has 1,000 results for pages regarding the government shutdown. Most of the federal workers who’ve posted pages on the site ask for amounts ranging from $1000-$5000. While most pages have yet to receive any donations.

For the workers affected, those facing the greatest economic uncertainty are contractors who make up more than 40% of the government workforce. These not only comprise of white-collar workers, but also thousands of blue-collar jobs like janitors and security guards. Unlike the regular government employees, many contractors won’t be compensated for lost time. For these Americans, the shutdown’s effects can be potentially devastating even after the government reopens.

Apparently, Donald Trump’s supporters elected him because they saw him as a wily tycoon and deft dealmaker who could shake up Washington and bring decades of big-business knowhow to the Oval Office. In reality, Trump was never a peerless or even particularly skillful dealmaker. In fact, many of the most significant business transactions he engineered imploded. But because he was born into wealth, he could make his way in the world as a shameless self-promoter, a marketing confection, and billboard who frequently licensed his name on buildings others had paid for. In Trump’s professional life, his inept deal making often resulted in unmanageable debt and multiple bankruptcies. While his presidency has saw bungled, hapless efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, forge a nuke agreement with North Korea, wage trade wars with China, Mexico, and Canada, retain Republican control of the House, turn military and diplomatic strategy on its head, lay siege on any sensible immigration policy, and force a government shutdown to secure funding for a stupid border wall along the US-Mexico border.

Striking deals must have intimacy with the finer points of what every party wants out of a negotiation like realistic goals, maturity, patience, flexibility, and enough leverage so the other side can’t stall or walk away from the table. Of course, in his repeated efforts to build the wall to satisfy the white supremacists in his base, Donald Trump hasn’t met any of those perquisites. Nor has he addressed any of the real shortcomings or necessary enhancements of federal immigration policy. Obviously, Trump lacks the sophistication or interest to steep himself into policy details. So he already enters the immigration debate and deal making on his dumb wall at a distinct disadvantage. While Democrat and Republican politicians on Capitol Hill have immersed themselves in immigration discussions for years.

However, Donald Trump is perfectly willing to burn things down and ruin people’s lives just to get his own way. After all, look what he did in Atlantic City and tried to do to tenants at 100 Central Park South during the 1980s and 1990s. And he needlessly publicized himself as the shutdown’s author. Politicians in Washington DC should know that voters get sick of government shutdowns and don’t like those responsible for them. Of course, you can count on Trump trying to blame the Democrats for it or try to spin it as a positive thing once people get fed up with it. Still, if people know you as the guy who likes blowing things up, you’ll have a difficult time making deals. Besides, Trump had plenty of chances to avoid it and might’ve gotten the wall he wanted. In fact, one generous bipartisan Senate proposal offered $25 billion for a wall as long as the government opened a path to citizenship for 1.7 million young, undocumented immigrants in the US. Trump would’ve been wise to accept this deal. But no.

Good dealmakers prepare their teams to get the support they need to see the negotiation through. Donald Trump has overlooked the fact that more capable Republican dealmakers have initiated and guided his signature accomplishments of putting 2 conservative justices on the Supreme Court, pushing through an ill-advised tax overhaul nobody but Corporate America wanted, and passing criminal justice reform. On the other hand, building a wall has been Trump’s signature publicity stunt and has invoked fantasies to promote it like promising that Mexico would pay for it. Also, he’s become so emotionally invested in to the fruitless effort that he’s put himself at a strategic disadvantage. And Trump is now so consumed with appearing to win that he may not win at all. Left reeling and desperate, Trump has recently hinted that he may declare a national emergency on the southern border so he could simply appropriate the taxpayer funds he wants. This move may not even be legal and may compel Democrats to file a lawsuit to stop him regardless, and will likely further alienate some Republicans already fed up by his antics.

However, this is who Donald Trump is. All he cares about is fostering his own carnivalesque image. While has very little real interest in policy outcomes or other consequences unless they affect him personally. And he’s been there before. In 1988, he overpaid in a Plaza Hotel deal because he was so irrationally enamored by the property. He lost it in a bankruptcy a few years later. At the same time, he screwed up negotiations for another project that would’ve made him a transformative figure in New York real estate. Because Trump can’t exercise restraint, foresight, and financial discipline necessary to complete the deal. In 1996, he passed on a selling stake in one of his casinos that would’ve netted him $180 million and helped prop up his struggling Atlantic City operation because he didn’t want his name removed from the property. As you can see reading my blog post on Trump’s Atlantic City casino woes, countless people suffered from his actions. While he has still not learned his lesson and most likely never will.

But we must understand this isn’t a fight over border security. Despite Donald Trump’s wild claims, there’s no flood of savage foreigners pouring across the border. Even so, reasonable Democrats and Republicans recognize the need for bigger staff, better technology, and better fencing. Not to mention, both sides acknowledge the need for a sensible and more humane immigration and asylum policies. Even for competent administration, achieving all of this has proven to be a tall order. But already, Congress has already been allocating more money for border security. Despite that the Trump administration has spent less than 10% of what Congress had allocated this past year. Thus, to avoid the complex hard work that has traditionally gone with his job, Trump has instead created a political impasse over a symbol, a wall. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney derided this wall as “an easy thing to sell politically” that “doesn’t really solve the problem.” While former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told the Los Angeles Times that the administration had long ago abandoned the idea of a concrete wall as irrelevant to border security’s real needs.

Not that Donald Trump seems much interested in either the public will or the public good. Because Trump never has. For him, this shutdown is a self-declared point of pride like a gaudy display of his boldness, his manliness, and his political steadfastness. But in reality, it reveals his selfishness and his apathy. Nonetheless, this political charade is mostly about Donald Trump taking it out on everyone over not getting his own way. So he’s making it miserable for everyone and doesn’t care who gets hurt. Is making all these people go without pay worth it? For God’s sake, no way in hell. These people have work for the benefit of the people each and every day. They deserve better than be furloughed or work without pay over a budget dispute on a stupid wall that our country doesn’t even need. Many of these workers have suffered already with making rent, paying bills, or getting groceries. As of now federal workers and contractors reckon with the possibility that the shutdown will drag on for months, leaving them with no steady income to pay mounting bills. Even for regular non-contract employees who’ll eventually receive back pay after the shutdown is over, the grinding anxiety and financial costs of scraping by in the meantime will mount with each passing day. Many of these workers live paycheck to paycheck, with very little wiggle room. Some of their creditors are more understanding than others. But even one missed payment can carry heavy consequences.

Touchdown with These Super Bowl Sunday Party Treats (Fifth Edition)

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Now that we’re in January, it’s NFL playoff season. Of course, I probably not watch any games for 2 reasons. First, I’m not a big sports fan in any respect and mostly do my sports posts for up my viewership stats. Save for the fans and bad mascot stuff. Second, for the first time in a few years, the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to make the playoffs. So I have no reason to watch the Super Bowl anyway, unless it involves a famous musical artist performing the halftime show. Nonetheless, it’s not unusual for people to hold parties during this time, even if your team isn’t playing. Because we all want to see the New England Patriots lose. Not to mention, the Super Bowl normally receives the highest TV ratings each year. While parties normally include food. The map above depicts the most popular Super Bowl party dish from each state. Anyway, for your reading pleasure, I give you another assortment of Super Bowl delights.

  1. Let the cheeses hut and hike in this dip.
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It’s basically gouda’s against each other in the field. Not sure how many layers the dip has.

2. For healthy options, may I suggest a football fruit tray?

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This mostly includes melon and strawberries. Though the stitching is made of cheese.

3. Perhaps you might prefer chocolate footballs on a stick.

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They seem like sandwiches. Though I can be wrong.

4. You’d be insane not to include buffalo chicken salad football sandwiches.

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Not sure what’s in buffalo chicken salad. Yet, they seem to go with the pumpernickel footballs quite nicely.

5. Any snackadium should have a dip tray in the center.

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Unless you’re planning a large party. I would advise against snackadiums. Mostly since they consist of so much food that might get wasted. Unless you plan to donate the leftovers to the food bank.

6. Any Cincinnati Bengals fan would go crazy over these cookies.

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Well, the Bengals have made the playoffs several times in recent years. Though I’m not sure if they’re in it this post-season. Since I don’t pay much attention to the team.

7. Twinkies and sandwiches make great stadium walls.

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This was for Super Bowl 48. This one had the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks. Seahawks won.

8. Then again, you might want a purple snackadium for a change.

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This one is made out of wood and painted purple. Yet, you can find whatever dessert that suits your desires.

9. Football brownies are an easy game day treat.

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Sure, they may be squares. But each of them has the football stitching in icing.

10. Speaking of brownies, try these football bites for size.

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They may be small. But they will pack the chocolatey punch if you put them in your mouth.

11. Philadelphia Eagles fans would adore these cookies.

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Well, they won the Super Bowl in 2018. Yet, it’s even better that they didn’t go to the White House since Donald Trump is president. Need I say more?

12. Spaghetti with footballs makes for an ideal Super Bowl dinner.

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Well, the footballs are meatballs. While it’s all served in a stadium football-shaped bowl.

13. Nothing makes a game day party like a New Orleans Saints cake.

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Even includes strawberries bearing each player’s number. While it contains a black fleur de lis on top.

14. This Super Bowl, serve your guests anything from this football veggie tray.

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The football is made of carrots with mushroom stitching. While it’s surrounded by broccoli.

15. Perhaps this Arizona Cardinal cake will suit you.

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This was made at a cake shop. Yet, it has the Cardinal logo in all its glory.

16. You’ll always score with some football cupcakes.

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The footballs are cookies. While there’s little grass where they touch.

17. Super Bowl watchers would enjoy some stadium and football cookies.

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The stadiums have sprinkles to symbolize the crowd. While the footballs have some, too.

18. A Raven cupcake should always have purple sprinkles.

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Looks like a character from Angry Birds. Yet, the bird seems like it was made by a fan of the Baltimore Ravens.

19. You can never have too many football cookies on a field cake.

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This one has a megaphone cookie as well. Also includes goal posts.

20. Love the San Francisco 49ers? Try these cookies.

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Even includes Colin Kaepernick’s jersey. Later he was kicked off the team for taking a knee during the national anthem and making white people go nuts for no good reason.

21. These football calzones will warm you up on a cold day.

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Seems to come with some sort of sauce you can dip in. Then again, these may be tarts.

22. Nothing makes a dessert platter like some football jello.

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Though I have to admit that brown jello is disgusting. The stitching is white icing.

23. Care for a burger cookie sandwich?

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They seem to have a chocolate filling but it doesn’t include cheese. Still, are those sesame seeds on top?

24. A stadium nacho platter should suit your game day needs.

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This one has a guacamole dip field. Yet, you’ll find plenty of turnip slices within the chips and cheese.

25. Feel free to take anything from this football snack tray.

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This one includes crackers, cheese, and pepperoni slices. All on a football shaped tray.

26. This football spinach artichoke is quite savory.

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It’s even made with bread shaped like a football. So you can dip that in.

27. Is that a pizza in a snackadium field?

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After all, pizza needs cheese to be considered pizza. Not sure if there’s any on here.

28. Perhaps you’d like football cake pops with nutter butter.

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Indeed, the seem misshapen on sticks. Yet, they sure seem tasty.

29. There’s nothing better for game day than football burgers.

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Each of these has cheese on top for stitching. Along with American cheese in the middle.

30. You’ll always score with field goal pizza.

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This one has a green pepper goal post and a red pepper football. Great for any Super Bowl Sunday.

31. Helmet bites make an ideal Super Bowl snack.

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Though they’re mostly in icing, cake, and pretzels. While the teams are nonspecific.

32. Here we find the Seahawks and Broncos duking it out on guacamole.

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The outside is even made out of hotdogs and burgers. Not sure what the shapes on the field are about.

33. Want a piece of football cake?

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Well, it’s covered in chocolate icing. But I hope it’s chocolate all the way through.

34. This field cake is covered in candy.

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This one has bite size candy bars as players and pretzels as goal posts. While M&Ms give the field color. Or are those Skittles?

35. Want some footballs on a stick?

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These might be cookies or brownies. But I’m not sure which.

36. Always include a guacamole field for game day appetizers.

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Has small cherry tomatoes represent the players. Also includes 2 plastic goal posts.

37. Celebrate the Super Bowl with these buffalo chicken potato skins.

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And apparently, these have guacamole stitching. While they’re covered in cheese.

38. Grace your Super Bowl dessert platter with some football peanut butter cookies.

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Each of them consists of a football in chocolate icing. While each are shaped like a football.

39. In this sandwich snackadium, it’s Patriots vs. Giants.

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Well, this one seems to have an array of healthier options. But you’re hoping the Giants will beat the Pats in this one.

40. Now even your dog can enjoy some Super Bowl goodies.

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The bone treats all of have stitching on them for footballs. And so do the round treats, too.

41. Don’t know who’s going to be in the Super Bowl? Try these cookies.

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Well, at least it leaves it out in the open. Though I bet the teams that will play aren’t yours.

42. In this snackadium, you can make your own sandwich.

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You see some ham and cheeses outside the field. While the stands are filled with crackers, trail mix, and nachos.

43. Sandwiches are all stacked in this snackadium.

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Indeed, you can see all kinds of snacks in the stands. While someone’s about to score a touch down.

44. Perhaps a bean football in a guacamole field would suit your fancy.

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It’s a layered dip if you can see. So feel free to dip your nachos all you want.

45. Grace your Super Bowl dessert platter with this field cake.

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This one has a football in the center. Not sure what’s supposed to be the grass.

46. This dessert stadium will give you any treat you want.

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You’ll have plenty of cookies and fruit inside. Outside is made from twinkies and Rice Krispie treats.

47. Perhaps an onigiri football will suit your fancy.

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This is a Japanese dish. Contains turkey and avocado.

48. Nutella football truffles make an ideal Super Bowl snack.

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Indeed, truffle and footballs don’t always go together. Yet, these are guaranteed to please.

49. Feast your eyes this Super Bowl Sunday on this buffalo chicken pizza.

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Seems oddly fitting for Super Bowl Sunday. Since a major food is buffalo wings.

50. Care for some wings?

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Well, they actually have chocolate and cookie dough. So they’re more suited for dessert.

51. Perhaps these field brownies would suit you.

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They’re covered in green icing and white lines. While they have paper footballs on top with sticks.

52. I’m sure this cake will show the play.

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You can see bite size bars representing the players. While the long bars represent the benches.

53. Celebrate the Super Bowl with some football hotdogs.

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Each of the buns is shaped like a football. Though you might have a stitching preference for ketchup or mustard.

54. A football cheeseball sits at the snack trays center.

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This one has bacon stitching. But care to dip some crackers?

55. Hope you have an appetite for these football cookies.

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These are chocolate covered Oreos with icing stitching. Though they resemble brown baseballs.

56. Celebrate the Pittsburgh Steel with this Steelers field cake.

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Has the Steeler logo at the center. Unfortunately, they won’t be in the playoffs this post-season.

57. Nothing makes a Super Bowl dessert platter like this field cookie cake.

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You see a lot of candy on it. While the field is covered with icing and sprinkles.

58. Anyone would love a piece of these field cupcakes.

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The edges are covered in sprinkles. While the rest sport green icing.

59. This football bomb has a lot to pack in.

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It has a lot of stuff inside like cheese and chicken. Still, I hope it’s tasty.

60. These football ice cream sandwiches make for a tasty dessert.

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Consists of ice cream placed between 2 brownies. While the top has icing for stitching.

61. Feel free to take one of these almond joy footballs.

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Almond Joys contain almonds and coconuts. While these are shaped like footballs.

62. Don’t forget to include some football empanadas.

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It’s a kind of dish from South America. Seems like a cross between a burrito and a calzone.

63. You can make a simple snackadium with cans.

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This one seems doable. Just has a dip tray and a few bins for snacks and sauces.

64. Anyone in Seattle would love these Seahawks brownies.

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This one has layers of brownie, cookie dough, Oreo, and fudge. Has M&Ms and sprinkles on top.

65. These football potato skins are covered in cheese.

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This one includes bacon and celery as well. Perfect for any game day appetizer tray.

66. Always hut, hut, and bite these Reese’s footballs.

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These may contain Reese’s cups inside. While the stitching consists of white icing.

67. Try taking a bite from these Denver Broncos cake pops.

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Some have orange sprinkles. Others are covered in blue drizzle.

68. You’ll find plenty of footballs in some Denver Broncos popcorn.

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This one has blue and orange drizzle all over it. Not sure what the footballs are made of.

69. Care for a slice of Seahawks pizza?

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This one seems made from Papa John’s. But it sports the iconic Seahawks logo nonetheless.

70. You can make a compelling stadium with Chex Mix.

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Indeed, it’s another snackadium. Like the popcorn goal posts.