How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

I’m going to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon in three movies. And then some text.

There’s this universal shorthand that epic adventure movies use to tell the good guys from the bad. The good guys are simple folk from the countryside …

… while the bad guys are decadent assholes who live in the city and wear stupid clothes:

In Star Wars, Luke is a farm boy …

… while the bad guys live in a shiny space station:

In Braveheart, the main character (Dennis Braveheart) is a simple farmer …

… and the dastardly Prince Shithead lives in a luxurious castle and wears fancy, foppish clothes:

The theme expresses itself in several ways — primitive vs. advanced, tough vs. delicate, masculine vs. feminine, poor vs. rich, pure vs. decadent, traditional vs. weird. All of it is code for rural vs. urban. That tense divide between the two doesn’t exist because of these movies, obviously. These movies used it as shorthand because the divide already existed.

We country folk are programmed to hate the prissy elites. That brings us to Trump.

It’s Not About Red And Blue States — It’s About The Country Vs. The City

I was born and raised in Trump country. My family are Trump people. If I hadn’t moved away and gotten this ridiculous job, I’d be voting for him. I know I would.

See, political types talk about “red states” and “blue states” (where red = Republican/conservative and blue = Democrat/progressive), but forget about states. If you want to understand the Trump phenomenon, dig up the much more detailed county map. Here’s how the nation voted county by county in the 2012 election — again, red is Republican:

Mark Newman / University of Michigan

Holy cockslaps, that makes it look like Obama’s blue party is some kind of fringe political faction that struggles to get 20 percent of the vote. The blue parts, however, are more densely populated — they’re the cities. In the upper left, you see the blue Seattle/Tacoma area, lower down is San Francisco and then L.A. The blue around the dick-shaped Lake Michigan is made of cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago. In the northeast is, of course, New York and Boston, leading down into Philadelphia, which leads into a blue band which connects a bunch of southern cities like Charlotte and Atlanta.

Blue islands in an ocean of red. The cities are less than 4 percent of the land mass, but 62 percent of the population and easily 99 percent of the popular culture. Our movies, shows, songs, and news all radiate out from those blue islands.

And if you live in the red, that fucking sucks.

See, I’m from a “blue” state — Illinois — but the state isn’t blue. Freaking Chicago is blue. I’m from a tiny town in one of the blood-red areas:

Inqvisitor / Wiki Commons Where Oprahs fear to tread.

As a kid, visiting Chicago was like, well, Katniss visiting the capital. Or like Zoey visiting the city of the future in this ridiculous book. “Their ways are strange.

And the whole goddamned world revolves around them.

Every TV show is about LA or New York, maybe with some Chicago or Baltimore thrown in. When they did make a show about us, we were jokes — either wide-eyed, naive fluffballs (Parks And Recreation, and before that, Newhart) or filthy murderous mutants (True Detective, and before that, Deliverance). You could feel the arrogance from hundreds of miles away.


Warner Brothers Pictures: You’re not allowed to visit a dentist if you live more than 10 miles from the highway, apparently.

“Nothing that happens outside the city matters!” they say at their cocktail parties, blissfully unaware of where their food is grown. Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you’d barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage.

Mark Wolfe / FEMA No sports team = no fucks given.

But who cares about those people, right? What’s newsworthy about a bunch of toothless hillbillies crying over a flattened trailer? New Orleans is culturally important. It matters.

To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. “Are you assholes listening now?

City People Are From A Different Goddamned Planet

“But isn’t this really about race? Aren’t Trump supporters just a bunch of racists? Don’t they hate cities because that’s where the brown people live?”

Look, we’re going to get actual Nazis in the comment section of this article. Not “calling them Nazis for argument points” Nazis, but actual “Swastikas in their avatars, rooted against Indiana Jones” Nazis. Those people exist.

But what I can say, from personal experience, is that the racism of my youth was always one step removed. I never saw a family member, friend, or classmate be mean to the actual black people we had in town. We worked with them, played video games with them, waved to them when they passed. What I did hear was several million comments about how if you ever ventured into the city, winding up in the “wrong neighborhood” meant you’d get dragged from your car, raped, and burned alive. Looking back, I think the idea was that the local minorities were fine … as long as they acted exactly like us.

Supaflyrobby / Wiki Commons Our mental image of every single Chicago street corner, regardless of location or time of day.

If you’d asked me at the time, I’d have said the fear and hatred wasn’t of people with brown skin, but of that specific tribe they have in Chicago — you know, the guys with the weird slang, music and clothes, the dope fiends who murder everyone they see. It was all part of the bizarro nature of the cities, as perceived from afar — a combination of hyper-aggressive savages and frivolous white elites. Their ways are strange. And it wasn’t like pop culture was trying to talk me out of it:

Ruthless Records”… And Into Some Nightmares”

It’s not just perception, either — the stats back up the fact that these are parallel universes. People living in the countryside are twice as likely to own a gun and will probably get married younger. People in the urban “blue” areas talk faster and walk faster. They are more likely to be drug abusers but less likely to be alcoholics. The blues are less likely to own land and, most importantly, they’re less likely to be Evangelical Christians.

Mario Tama/Getty ImagesA day without hellfire and brimstone is like a day without sunshine.

In the small towns, this often gets expressed as “They don’t share our values!” and my progressive friends love to scoff at that. “What, like illiteracy and homophobia?!?!

Nope. Everything.

Trends Always Start In The Cities — And Not All Of Them Are Good

The cities are always living in the future. I remember when our little town got our first Chinese restaurant and, 20 years later, its first fancy coffee shop. All of this stuff had turned up in movies (set in L.A., of course) decades earlier. I remember watching ’80s movies and mocking the “Valley Girl” stereotypes — young girls from, like, California who would, like, say, “like” in between every third word. Twenty years later, you can hear me doing the same in every Cracked podcast. The cancer started in L.A. and spread to the rest of America.

Well, the perception back then was that those city folks were all turning atheist, abandoning church for their bisexual sex parties. That, we were told, was literally a sign of the Apocalypse. Not just due to the spiritual consequences (which were dire), but the devastation that would come to the culture. I couldn’t imagine any rebuttal. In that place, at that time, the church was everything. Don’t take my word for it — listen to the experts:

via Gallup

Church was where you made friends, met girls, networked for jobs, got social support. The poor could get food and clothes there, couples could get advice on their marriages, addicts could try to get clean. But now we’re seeing a startling decline in Christianity among the general population, the godless disease having spread alongside Valley Girl talk. So according to Fox News, what’s the result of those decadent, atheist, amoral snobs in the cities having turned their noses up at God?


Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images, Darren McCollester/Getty Images


The fabric has broken down, they say, just as predicted. And what rural Americans see on the news today is a sneak peek at their tomorrow.

The savages are coming.

Blacks riot, Muslims set bombs, gays spread AIDS, Mexican cartels behead children, atheists tear down Christmas trees. Meanwhile, those liberal Lena Dunhams in their $5,000-a-month apartments sip wine and say, “But those white Christians are the real problem!” Terror victims scream in the street next to their own severed limbs, and the response from the elites is to cry about how men should be allowed to use women’s restrooms and how it’s cruel to keep chickens in cages.

Sara D. Davis/Getty ImagesBoth sides agree with that slogan, but with completely different intentions.

Madness. Their heads are so far up their asses that they can’t tell up from down. Basic, obvious truths that have gone unquestioned for thousands of years now get laughed at and shouted down — the fact that hard work is better than dependence on government, that children do better with both parents in the picture, that peace is better than rioting, that a strict moral code is better than blithe hedonism, that humans tend to value things they’ve earned more than what they get for free, that not getting exploded by a bomb is better than getting exploded by a bomb.

Or as they say out in the country, “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

The foundation upon which America was undeniably built — family, faith, and hard work — had been deemed unfashionable and small-minded. Those snooty elites up in their ivory tower laughed as they kicked away that foundation, and then wrote 10,000-word thinkpieces blaming the builders for the ensuing collapse.


The Rural Areas Have Been Beaten To Shit

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Don’t message me saying all those things I listed are wrong. I know they’re wrong. Or rather, I think they’re wrong, because I now live in a blue county and work for a blue industry. I know the Good Old Days of the past were built on slavery and segregation, I know that entire categories of humanity experienced religion only as a boot on their neck. I know that those “traditional families” involved millions of women trapped in kitchens and bad marriages. I know gays lived in fear and abortions were back-alley affairs.

I know the changes were for the best.

Try telling that to anybody who lives in Trump country.

Mark Makela/Getty ImagesHard to be thrilled about Clinton when your Trump sign is the most valuable thing you own.

They’re getting the shit kicked out of them. I know, I was there. Step outside of the city, and the suicide rate among young people fucking doubles. The recession pounded rural communities, but all the recovery went to the cities. The rate of new businesses opening in rural areas has utterly collapsed.

Economic Innovation Group They could all move to Vegas, but then there’s that whole “decadence and apocalypse” thing.

See, rural jobs used to be based around one big local business — a factory, a coal mine, etc. When it dies, the town dies. Where I grew up, it was an oil refinery closing that did us in. I was raised in the hollowed-out shell of what the town had once been. The roof of our high school leaked when it rained. Cities can make up for the loss of manufacturing jobs with service jobs — small towns cannot. That model doesn’t work below a certain population density.

If you don’t live in one of these small towns, you can’t understand the hopelessness. The vast majority of possible careers involve moving to the city, and around every city is now a hundred-foot wall called “Cost of Living.” Let’s say you’re a smart kid making $8 an hour at Walgreen’s and aspire to greater things. Fine, get ready to move yourself and your new baby into a 700-square-foot apartment for $1,200 a month, and to then pay double what you’re paying now for utilities, groceries, and babysitters. Unless, of course, you’re planning to move to one of “those” neighborhoods (hope you like being set on fire!).

Tim Boyle/Getty ImagesThat is, if they don’t replace the only room you can afford with a $3,300-per-month high-rise.

In a city, you can plausibly aspire to start a band, or become an actor, or get a medical degree. You can actually have dreams. In a small town, there may be no venues for performing arts aside from country music bars and churches. There may only be two doctors in town — aspiring to that job means waiting for one of them to retire or die. You open the classifieds and all of the job listings will be for fast food or convenience stores. The “downtown” is just the corpses of mom and pop stores left shattered in Walmart’s blast crater, the “suburbs” are trailer parks. There are parts of these towns that look post-apocalyptic.

I’m telling you, the hopelessness eats you alive.

And if you dare complain, some liberal elite will pull out their iPad and type up a rant about your racist white privilege. Already, someone has replied to this with a comment saying, “You should try living in a ghetto as a minority!” Exactly. To them, it seems like the plight of poor minorities is only used as a club to bat away white cries for help. Meanwhile, the rate of rural white suicides and overdoses skyrockets. Shit, at least politicians act like they care about the inner cities.

Everyone Lashes Out When They Don’t Have A Voice

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

It really does feel like the worst of both worlds: all the ravages of poverty, but none of the sympathy. “Blacks burn police cars, and those liberal elites say it’s not their fault because they’re poor. My son gets jailed and fired over a baggie of meth, and those same elites make jokes about his missing teeth!” You’re everyone’s punching bag, one of society’s last remaining safe comedy targets.

Larry W. Smith/Getty ImagesJust because you can afford the big bottle of Pepsi doesn’t mean people are punching up when roasting you.

They take it hard. These are people who come from a long line of folks who took pride in looking after themselves. Where I’m from, you weren’t a real man unless you could repair a car, patch a roof, hunt your own meat, and defend your home from an intruder. It was a source of shame to be dependent on anyone — especially the government. You mowed your own lawn and fixed your own pipes when they leaked, you hauled your own firewood in your own pickup truck. (Mine was a 1994 Ford Ranger! The current owner says it still runs!)

Not like those hipsters in their tiny apartments, or “those people” in their public housing projects, waiting for the landlord any time something breaks, knowing if things get too bad they can just pick up and move. When you don’t own anything, it’s all somebody else’s problem. “They probably don’t pay taxes, either! Just treating America itself as a subsidized apartment they can trash!”

Charley Gallay/Getty Images “Oh dear me, the water pressure appears to be off. Time to burn it all down and then sue for a bigger house.”

The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I’m telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It’s not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.

Lionsgate FilmsInternet startup companies weren’t suffering under President Snow for a very good reason.

So yes, they vote for the guy promising to put things back the way they were, the guy who’d be a wake-up call to the blue islands. They voted for the brick through the window.

It was a vote of desperation.

Assholes Are Heroes

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“But Trump is objectively a piece of shit!” you say. “He insults people, he objectifies women, and cheats whenever possible! And he’s not an everyman; he’s a smarmy, arrogant billionaire!”

Wait, are you talking about Donald Trump, or this guy:

Marvel StudiosMake The Avengers Assemble Again.

You’ve never rooted for somebody like that? Someone powerful who gives your enemies the insults they deserve? Somebody with big fun appetites who screws up just enough to make them relatable? Like Dr. House or Walter White? Or any of the several million renegade cop characters who can break all the rules because they get shit done? Who only get shit done because they don’t care about the rules?

“But those are fictional characters!” Okay, what about all those millionaire left-leaning talk show hosts? You think they keep their insults classy? Tune into any bit about Chris Christie and start counting down the seconds until the fat joke. Google David Letterman’s sex scandals. But it’s okay, because they’re on our side, and everybody wants an asshole on their team — a spiked bat to smash their enemies with. That’s all Trump is. The howls of elite outrage are like the sounds of bombs landing on the enemy’s fortress. The louder the better.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images And when cameras record said elites BFFing with their supposed enemy, even better.

Already some of you have gotten angry, feeling this gut-level revulsion at any attempt to excuse or even understand these people. After all, they’re hardly people, right? Aren’t they just a mass of ignorant, rageful, crude, cursing, spitting subhumans?

Gee, I hope not. I have to hug a bunch of them at Thanksgiving. And when I do, it will be with the knowledge that if I hadn’t moved away, I’d be on the other side of the fence, leaving nasty comments on this article the alternate universe version of me wrote.

Cracked And not just because I reminded Rural Me of Billy Joel’s worst song ever.

It feels good to dismiss people, to mock them, to write them off as deplorables. But you might as well take time to try to understand them, because I’m telling you, they’ll still be around long after Trump is gone.


EU Will Ignore White House And Work Directly With US States On Paris Agreement

The US is slowly withdrawing from the Paris agreement, but the rest of the world’s not having it.

Last week, the European Union and China released a joint statement declaring their intentions to move on with the Agreement with or without America. They were clearly referring to just the Executive Branch, however, as now they’ve decided to work with US states and cities that are keen on cutting their carbon footprint by going over the President’s weirdly coiffed head.

“Strong transatlantic ties are far more important and far more durable than the latest unfortunate decisions of the new administration,” EU President Donald Tusk said at the end of an EU-China summit in Brussels.

Rebuffing Trump’s suggestion that the climate accords could be “renegotiated,” EU officials have decided to cut out the White House entirely, and will instead deal directly with Governors, mayors, and CEOs of major corporations. This will include the Climate Alliance, a growing bipartisan group of states that have vowed to uphold the terms of the accord.

The official statement also included the ambition of working even more closely with Canada, another nation that reacted defiantly to the Trump administration’s recent decision.

At the same time, China and the EU have vowed to make sure that the Green Climate Fund – donations from wealthy nations to help poorer countries meet their carbon-cutting targets – will be maintained, despite America’s refusal to pay. By 2020, they will be paying $100bn a year into the fund, something that is essential for the survival of low-income nations.

“The decision of the United States to pull out of the Paris agreement is utterly regrettable, and that is me choosing very restrained language,” Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, added.

“This is why it is necessary now after this announcement by the US administration yesterday evening, to turn our attention to the future.”

At the same time, Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic organization said that it will donate $15 million to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – something the US government is still obliged to pay – that, among other things, helps coordinate the Paris Pact.

“We can’t wait for national governments to act on climate change,” Bloomberg noted on Twitter. “For solutions, look to cities.”

It’s a thrill to see that the rest of the world, and much of the US, is essentially defying the President on this overwhelmingly important issue.

Ignoring the vast population of the planet – who think that pulling out of the Paris accord is a disgraceful one at the very least – there has been a total of 159 reactions from senior politicians, media outlets and figureheads from around the world. Out of these, 137 are negative, 10 are neutral, and just 12 are positive.

Of those positive reactions, one comes from his own administration (Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy), two come from Trump apologists Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan, and the rest come from right-wing press or think tanks.

This reckless decision was one of the most roundly condemned political moves of the last few decades, and it’s not difficult to see why – the world wants to do something about climate change, as it’s an existential threat to a vast swath of the planet.

No wonder the EU is taking unprecedented steps to circumvent the federal government to get things done. Some issues are far more important than scoring political points, and saving the planet, thankfully, is one of them.


[H/T: Guardian]



Canada’s New Law Lets Government Take Children Away If Parents Don’t Accept Their Gender Identity

A Canadian province has passed a law that gives rights to the government to take away children from families that don’t accept their kid’s chosen “gender identity” or “gender expression”.

The Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act of 2017, also know as Bill 89, was passed in Ontario by a vote of 63 to 23, The Christian Times reported.

The law, which replaces old laws governing child protection, foster care and adoption services, instructs all child services and judges, to take into consideration a child’s “race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”

Minister of Child and Family Services Michael Coteau, who introduced the bill, said “I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently.”

“If it’s abuse, and if it’s within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”

The old law used to allow parents to “direct the child’s education and religious upbringing.” The new bill, however, amends such rights of the parents.

It now emphasizes a child’s “identity and allows parents only to “direct the child or young person’s education and upbringing, in accordance with the child’s or young person’s creed, community identity and cultural identity.”

Ontario children and youth advocate Irwin Elman celebrated the bill and said it signals a “paradigm shift” and creates a “child-centered system of service” with “the commitment to anti-racism and children’s rights.”

Jack Fonseca, a political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, meanwhile, criticized the new law.

“With the passage of Bill 89, we’ve entered an era of totalitarian power by the state, such as never witnessed before in Canada’s history. Make no mistake, Bill 89 is a grave threat to Christians and all people of faith who have children, or who hope to grow their family through adoption.”

The child services in Ontario, Canada got into hot water back in April after it removed two foster children from a Christian couple’s home because they said no to lying to the girls that the Easter bunny is real, The Christian Post reported.

Derek Baars, one of the foster parents, said “We have a no-lying policy” after being told by a child support worker that they must tell the girls, aged 3 and 4, that the Easter bunny is real because it’s an important part of Canadian culture.

“We explained to the agency that we are not prepared to tell the children a lie. If the children asked, we would not lie to them, but we wouldn’t bring it up ourselves,” he added.



Ex-Ukip politician calls for death penalty for suicide bombers

A former Ukip politician has demanded the death penalty be introduced – for suicide bombers.

Janice Atkinson, who stood for Ukip in Folkstone and Hythe before becoming an independent politician, made the comments following the Manchester terror attack which claimed 22 lives on Monday night.

She is currently an independent elected MEP for the South East of England.

Calling for the death penalty, Atkinson said: ‘Much needs to be done to eradicate this evil.

‘But there is one simple step which we can take now: we must bring back the death penalty.

Nigel Farage (2L) sits with fellow ex-Ukip candidate Janice Atkinson (Picture: Getty)

‘This is the first time I have called for this. For decades I have shifted in both directions: taking any life is wrong: it’s right to execute certain types of killers, but what about miscarriages of justice?’

Atkinson, who was expelled from Ukip amid an expense scandal for which she was later cleared with no charge, added: ‘Many will argue that I’m calling for revenge killings, motivated by hatred. Others will argue that I’m inhumane, that we live in a civilised society.

‘Then there will be those who say that the death penalty is not a deterrent, that the warped perpetrators want in any case to die.’

‘I’m not wringing my hands trying to find answers, I’m a politician, it’s my job to come up with answers.

‘Today, we should announce that the death penalty will be brought back for terrorist crimes,’ she said.

The Manchester bomber, named as Salman Abedi, was killed when he detonated explosives outside the Arena following an Ariana Grande concert.

A representative for Atkinson asked to make it clear that no charges were ever brought against the MEP, who had no knowledge of the activities of her assistant, Christine Hewitt who later admitted the offence at Canterbury Crown Court.



How do EU like that? Theresa May ready to hand Brussels its OWN Brexit divorce bill

THERESA May is preparing to slap Brussels with a hefty Brexit bill of its own in response to European Union (EU) demands for an eye watering £85 billion divorce payment.

Mrs May said the bloc owed Britain billions of pounds for its share of the European Investment Bank and other joint projects.

She told the Sunday Telegraph “money paid in the past” by the UK must be taken into account in any final financial settlement thrashed out during the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

The Prime Minister insisted the UK had financial “rights” that must be respected during discussions about payments as well as “obligations” to the EU as it leaves.

The intervention is a clear rejection of hardline EU countries who have argued that the UK should not get back its proportion of EU assets.

Theresa May
Reports from Brussels have claimed Brexit negotiators want
Britain to stump up tens of billions of pounds when the to cover EU payments that have already been agreed.But Mrs May pushed back on the amounts that “some of the figures the EU” have been pushing for the so-called Brexit bill.She said: “There is much debate about what the UK’s obligations might be or indeed what our rights might be in terms of money being paid in in the past. We make it clear that we would look at those both rights and obligations.”“There’s the investment bank, there’s the investment fund, there are various areas. This will be, as you know, an important part of the negotiations.”
Brexit talks are expected to get under way straight after the General Election
The comment is the first time the Prime Minister has indicated publicly she wants to keep a share of the European Investment Bank.Government sources said the UK’s share of the bank has been estimated at 16 per cent – which equals to around £8.5 billion.EU officials expect Brexit negotiations to begin in earnest just 10 days after the result of the General Election is announced.Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, is understood to have pencilled in June 19 as the first day for detailed talks on Britain’s departure from the bloc.
Britain has an £8.5bn stake in the European Investment Bank
The session is expected to kick off weeks of intense wrangling over the UK’s future relationship with the EU during the summer.Ministers from the 27 other EU nations are due to meet on Monday to confirm the timetable for the talks.An EUB official involved in the Brexit negotiation process said: ”The 19th is tentative, because Britain cannot confirm anything until after the elections.””The 19th is the earliest date they can envisage.”



Anonymous Artist ‘Wanksy’ Draws Penises On UK Potholes To Make Government Fix Them

After another cyclist friend was injured by potholes, Wanksy, an artist from Greater Manchester, England, decided to act. He used washable paint to draw penises around potholes in his neighborhood, and suddenly, they were repaired in 48 hours.

“People will drive over the same pothole and forget about it,” Wanksy said in an interview. “Suddenly you draw something amusing around it, everyone sees it and it either gets reported or fixed.” A Bury Council spokesman disagreed: “Painting obscenities around potholes will not get them repaired any quicker, but simply waste valuable time and resources.”

Bored Panda journalists found that using the Manchester City Council website, it took 5 clicks, 1 form, 1 survey, and a minimum of 5 days just to get a pothole inspected. Lithuanians use a similar-but-different tactic to get their roads repaired.

More info: Facebook | Manchester City Council (h/t: huffpost)

After another cyclist friend was injured by potholes, ‘Wanksy’ decided to act

“People will drive over the same pothole and forget about it”

“Suddenly you draw something amusing around it, everyone sees it and it either gets reported or fixed”

Potholes were repaired 48 hours after Wanksy used washable paint to draw penises around them

People are Planting Flowers in Potholes Because Cities Aren’t Fixing Them

In cities across the globe, the gripe is the same: potholes take forever to get fixed and many never are. While some guerrilla activists have taken a more drastic approach, other have chosen a more subtle form of protest: planting flowers in potholes.

Some argue (e.g., city officials) it is not only illegal but more dangerous, and go on to say there are proper channels for bringing such issues to the attention of the city. It’s not stopping people from doing so however, and the practice seems to be spreading.

Critics also like to point out that the amount of time people spend planting flowers they probably could have just fixed the pothole themselves. What do you think?

Photograph via Life of Dad


Photograph by Paige Breithart


Photograph by Paige Breithart


Photograph by Paige Breithart


Photograph by Mt Hood Summer Ski Camp


Photograph by Sara (@cyclemor3 on twitter)



Troll This Politician And He Just Might Call Your Grandma — Literally

Don’t mess with Rep. Brian Sims 🙂

When Pennsylvania House Rep. Brian Sims (D-PA) woke up Wednesday morning, he followed his usual morning routine: checking the news, and then deleting the hate speech left on his Facebook by trolls overnight.

An openly gay politician, Sims is used to having to go through these motions. However, this morning one comment stuck out to him: it read “n****r faggot.”

When Sims checked the poster’s Facebook page, he didn’t find much info or a clear-cut motive for the troll’s actions. 

“What caught me about it was there wasn’t a reference to something I said or something I’d done or some policy,” Sims told HuffPost. “And when I looked at his page there was very little there ― but he’d posted a telephone number a number of times.”

So Sims decided to call the number at 6:15 a.m. ― and the person on the receiving end turned out to be none other than the troll’s grandmother. 

”I explained to her exactly who I as and what he had done,” Sims told HuffPost. “Like any grandma she was very embarrassed at having this kind of convo and very ashamed at the actions of her grandson. The conversation ended with me telling her that I wanted to hear from him.”


Sims did in fact end up talking to the poster after the conversation with his grandmother. He said that he’d rather not discuss the specifics of their conversation but noted that it “didn’t resolve anything.”

“It is the ultimate calling card of a coward to ― under the guise of night and behind a keyboard ― use the kind of language that in person would cause most decent people to respond in anger and frustration,” Sims continued. “The reason people do things like this is they don’t have the courage, the education or gumption to do this kind of thing in person.”

Let this be a lesson to trolls everywhere: be careful what you’re posting ― it might just result in an early morning call to your grandmother!



These are the 10 dark conspiracy theories that consume the mind of Donald Trump

If there was ever any doubt that conspiracy theories course through the dark, troubled mind of Donald Trump, his tweets in the weeks since he won the election should dispel that notion. Hot and bothered by the inconvenient fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than 2 million votes (and counting) and that he is president due only to the questionable decision by James Madison to deny direct voter election of our presidents and instead delegate that task to an Electoral College, the birther-in-chief-elect took to his preferred social media platform. On November 27, Trump tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Huh? That was quite a claim, given that no one had heard that alarming fact. At least no one in their right mind.

Turns out Trump’s fantastic claim came from his favorite bedside reading website, InfoWars, home of conspiracy monger Alex Jones, and the place where outlandish right-wing conspiracy theories come to thrive. Jones, a Trump pal (who privately boasts that Trump repeats his ideas “word for word,” according to the San Jose Mercury News), was one of the first people Trump called to thank after his upset victory on November 8. Jones is the guy who, among other disturbing lunacies, helpfully informed us that the Sandy Hook massacre of school children and teachers was all an elaborate hoax by the government to deprive people of their guns. (There is a special place in hell for people who buy into this hateful lie.) Jones has also peddled the notions that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are demons (“I been told this by high-up folks, and they tell me Obama and Hillary both smell like sulfur”); that the federal government orchestrated 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings; that juice boxes make children gay; and that old bugaboo, that fluoridation of our water is for the purpose of government mind control.

So, in a nutshell, Alex Jones is deranged and psychotic, and not in a good way at all.

In the case of Trump’s “fraudulent vote” tweet, it seems InfoWars picked up a tweet on November 13 by someone named Greg Phillips, a former Texas Health and Human Services employee and a member of a sketchy “voter fraud” monitoring organization called True the Vote. “We have verified more than three million votes cast by non-citizens. We are joining ‪@TrueTheVote to initiate legal action.” Despite repeated requests to come up with proof of these allegations, Phillips demurred, although he specified some unnamed time in the future when he would release the information, though not to the media. Facts be damned, Phillips’ tweet was picked up eagerly by InfoWars, and then the Drudge Report (though even the factually challenged Drudge referred to the tweet as a “claim”). Next stop, Donald Trump, who apparently has never met a conspiracy he doesn’t embrace if it suits his purposes. Meanwhile Phillips, who is no one’s liberal icon, followed up his tweet on November 15 saying, “By the way, we have never said they all voted for Hillary. Why lie?” Wait, what? Meanwhile, a 2012 analysis of voter fraud came up with exactly 56 fraudulent votes in the U.S. over an 11-year period. Shocking.

Conspiracy theories have been plaguing the United States for as long as the nation has existed. Pilgrims were convinced Satan was conspiring with witches. In the 19th century, Freemasons were controlling the government. In the 20th century, communists were infiltrating the halls of the Capitol. A cabal of the CIA, the Mafia, Cubans, and LBJ brought down John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Americans can be a gullible lot. Some polls (if we can believe them anymore) suggest that all of us subscribe to at least one conspiracy theory. Twenty-five percent of Americans believe there was a conspiracy behind 9/11; 61% of us think JFK was offed by more than one lone gunman; and 70% of us agree that wars, recessions and elections are controlled by a small secret subset of the population. Who peddles these theories? Mostly those outside the established system who use conspiracies to question the status quo or further their aims, be they political, monetary or otherwise. Think Joe McCarthy, Sarah Palin, and now Donald Trump, who has brought conspiracy theories out of the fringes and into the Oval Office.

“There’s something going on” may be Trump’s favorite four words. During the campaign he used the phrase constantly to imply that some mysterious “something” was manipulating America against the public welfare. The government was shadowy, evil and engaged in a coverup that dwarfed Watergate. And that, Trump implied, or outright stated, was responsible for your lost job or your diminished status or whatever ailed you. No need to be specific; Trump supporters could connect the dots themselves. Drain the swamp and America will be great again!

Trump seemingly can’t, or chooses not to, distinguish fact from fiction. He has a long history of adopting conspiracy theories. Here are 10 he has fully embraced.

1. Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. (aka the birther lie)

Birtherism is the the vehicle on which Donald Trump rode to political relevance. Beginning in 2011, Trump began publicly questioning the birthplace of Barack Obama, claiming he was born a Kenyan Muslim, not a Hawaiian Christian, and thus questioning the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president. The birther conspiracy did not actually originate with Trump. A fringe political candidate, Andy Martin, who tried to paint Obama as a secret Muslim in 2004, started it in Illinois. After Obama’s election in 2008, the birther lie more or less died down, until Trump took up its mantle in 2011: “Three weeks ago, when I started, I thought he was born in this country. Now I have a much bigger doubt than I did before. His grandmother, who was born in Kenya, said she was there and witnessed the birth.” When asked by Chuck Todd during the campaign if Americans could ever accept a Muslim president, Trump replied, “Some people have said it already happened, frankly.” This past February, when President Obama did not attend Antonin Scalia’s funeral, Trump tweeted that Obama would have attended if the funeral were “held in a mosque.”

Trump loved being Head Birther so much that even as he was supposedly disavowing and trying to move past it, he couldn’t help bragging (falsely), “I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate and I think I did a good job.”

2. Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11

In November 2015, Trump categorically stated that thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrated when the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11. “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering,” he said at an Alabama rally. When called on this fact-challenged claim, Trump doubled down, telling George Stephanopolous on ABC that he had seen them, and that only political correctness kept this from being common knowledge. “People over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down.” While there was celebration of 9/11 in the Middle East, reports of New Jersey celebrations have been thoroughly debunked. Although Trump pal Howard Stern reported on his radio show that celebrations occurred, the facts say otherwise, as the Newark Star-Ledger reported on Sept. 23, 2001:

Hours after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a story spread across the state: Palestinians in Paterson were celebrating in the streets. Braced for a riot, the Paterson police rushed to South Main Street, the center of the city’s Middle Eastern community.

“When we got there,” Paterson Police Chief Lawrence Spagnola said, “They were all in prayer.”

In the ensuing days, the rumor went national, lighting up talk radio phone lines. In the end, it was nothing more than rapid-fire urban myth.

3. Vaccines cause autism.

Now here’s a conspiracy theory Trump shares with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a doctor (!). The roots of the autism vaccine conspiracy are almost 20 years old. A medical researcher named Andrew Wakefield published a paper in 1998 linking the administration of the MMR vaccine (mumps, measles, rubella) with the onset of autism in children. Running with this, conspiracy theorists blamed Big Pharma for covering up the link in order to protect profits. In 2010, however, a panel of the British General Medical Council found that Wakefield, “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant” and acted against the interests of his patients and “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in his published research. Conspiracy mongers, including Donald Trump, couldn’t take “wrong” for an answer, and continued to spread the falsehood. In 2014, Trump tweeted, “Vaccines: Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!”

4. Daddy Cruz was in on the JFK assassination.

There have been a ton of JFK conspiracy theories over the years, but only one that Trump decided to make political hay of. After reading an article in the April 2016 issue of the National Enquirer (which he believes is an actual newspaper because sometimes they are right), he thought it was perfectly OK to bring up the fact that his primary opponent Ted Cruz’s father was maybe in on the Kennedy killing. His evidence was irrefutable: After all, a photo in the Enquirer that had been drifting around in conspiracy circles showed Cruz’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans before the assassination. Or someone that looked like Cruz’s father. Or someone…let’s just call him Cruz’s father just for conspiracy’s sake. In an interview with Fox News, Trump said, “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.”

Yes, we wonder why no one brings this up. Just for the record, Rafael Cruz is shorter than the man in the photo, was a Cuban refugee who hated Castro (the photo was of Oswald handing out pro-Castro flyers), and was probably living seven hours away in Austin at the time the photo was taken. Also, even in the unlikely event that it was Cruz in the image, it has already been established that the two men with Oswald were strangers Oswald paid a couple bucks to hand out flyers with him for a half hour.

5. African American criminals prey on white folks.

On Nov. 22, 2015 (ironically, the anniversary of the JFK assassination), Trump took to Twitter in response to criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement, to retweet some misinformation about rampant crime in America. The tweet, originally sent by a white supremacist group (oops) purported to summarize statistics from the Crime Statistics Bureau in San Francisco, and claimed that 81% of whites who are murdered in America were killed by black people, and that 97% of blacks were killed by blacks. In other words, black folks do all the killing. Couple of minor points, however. The Crime Statistics Bureau does not exist. Also, the statistics are radically wrong. Eighty-two percent of white people are killed by white people, only a little lower than the percentage of blacks killed by blacks. (Since, according to the FBI, most people are killed by people they know, these statistics are not surprising.)

When confronted with the correct stats, as well as the true source of his tweet (again, white supremacists), Trump responded, “I re-tweeted somebody who was supposedly an expert and was also a radio show. Am I going to check every statistic?” Correct answer: I shouldn’t have done that, and yes.

6. Global warming is a hoax.

Ninety-nine percent of climate scientists believe that manmade climate change is occurring, mainly due to carbon emissions from power plants, cars and other non-renewable energy sources. Donald Trump, however, has a different opinion. “I think there will be little change here. It’ll go up, get a little colder, get a little warmer, like it always has for millions of years. It’ll get cooler, it’ll get warmer. It’s called weather.” Far be it for climate experts to point out that climate and weather are two different animals. Also, Trump’s uncle, an MIT professor not remotely a climate scientist, who died 35 years ago when climate science was in its infancy, didn’t buy it either. Good enough for Trump. Feh. It’s China’s fault.

7. The Clintons killed Vince Foster.

In 1993, Vince Foster, White House deputy counsel and close friend of the Clintons, killed himself. Despite five, count ‘em, five investigations into his tragic death, it remains what it always was: a suicide. Foster had been in treatment for depression, and an FBI-assisted investigation concluded he committed suicide. He even left behind a note: “I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport.” Clinton-haters never stopped spreading the conspiracy theory that the Clintons were behind the death of their friend, killing Foster to cover up their Whitewater real estate deal in Arkansas.

In May 2016, Trump picked it up again, calling the theories of foul play “very serious” and “very fishy.” He went on to say, with pointed innuendo, “I really know nothing about the Vince Foster situation. I haven’t known anything about it. Somebody asked me the question the other day. I said a lot of people are very skeptical about what happened and how he died. I know nothing about it.”

8. Obama was linked to the Orlando, Florida nightclub shooting.

In June 2016, a deranged Muslim man barged into an Orlando gay nightclub and killed 49 people. President Obama condemned the act, and said and did all the right things, including personally consoling the victims’ families. Not enough for Donald Trump. Why? Because Obama did not utter the three words he longed to hear. Radical. Islamic. Terrorism. “Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on,” he told Fox News.

9. ISIS pays for Syrian refugee cell phones.

One of Trump’s signature promises during the campaign was to stop the influx of Syrian refugees into the U.S. He claimed that to accept them would be to welcome terrorists into our country. For proof he pointed to all the cell phones they had! “It’s sort of strange. I mean, who’s paying for these cell phones? Where are they coming from? Who are they calling? These are people, can you imagine, millions, maybe many many many cell phones. Why? Where did they get cell phones? Who pays their monthly bill? What do they do? Don’t they get billed by the phone company? Or something?”

Apparently the idea that Syrian refugees are terrorists makes more sense to Trump then the reality that maybe they bought the cell phones like anyone else in the world buys them. Syria, prior to its civil war, was a relatively prosperous country (certainly more than Egypt, where cell phones proliferate). And before you flee your country, the first thing you want is a phone to communicate with family and friends. Apparently Trump is unaware of prepaid cell phones that don’t need a phone company sending a monthly bill to keep them operative. No. They must be terrorists.

10. A global cabal of Jewish bankers, power brokers and special interests is actually in control.

There’s no one in the world more familiar with conspiracy theories than Jews. Jewish people have been victims of conspiracy accusations from the moment Abraham and his tribe were chosen back in the day. So when Trump, after being outed as a serial p***y grabber, uttered these words at a rally, Jews around the world paid notice: “It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities. This is well documented, and the establishment that protects them has engaged in a massive coverup of widespread criminal activity at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation in order to keep the Clintons in power.”

Hitler himself could not have said it better.


There are many more conspiracies knocking around in the fevered Trump brain—lots more. The Mexican government conspired to send their bad hombres to the U.S. (“The Mexican government forces many bad people into our country because they’re smart”). The media rigged his microphone to make him lose a debate. Antonin Scalia may have been murdered. The Federal Reserve, under Obama’s thumb, is keeping interest rates low. Obama didn’t go to Columbia University or Harvard. World War I-era Black Jack Pershing massacred Muslim rebels in the Philippines (which Trump thought was apparently a good thing, if untrue). Hillary is dying. Hillary is on drugs (“at the beginning of the last debate, she was all pumped up”).



Nostradamus saw TRUMP as the ANTI-CHRIST who’ll trigger WORLD WAR 3

Nostradamus wrote: “The False Trumpet concealing madness will cause Byzantium to change its laws. From Egypt there will go forth a man who wants the edict withdrawn, changing money and standards. The trumpet shakes with great discord. An agreement broken: lifting the face to heaven: the bloody mouth will swim with blood; the face anointed with milk and honey lies on the ground.”

Not many people know that  Michel de Nostradame—commonly known only as NOSTRADAMUS—was a chemist and apothecary, before writing down four-line poetic verses called “quatrains” which seem to have predicted numerous events in the future.

In addition to writing numerous prophetic texts, Nostradamus is known for having written at least two books on medical science.

One of his most famous works is, without a doubt, the ‘Les Prophecies’. The first edition of Nostradamus’ work appeared in 1555 and ever since the publication of Les Prophecies, Michel de Nostredame, aka Nostradamus, has been credited with predicting major world events.

His second piece was published in 1557 and contained a total of 289 prophetic verses for the future. Nostradamus’ third edition was printed in 1558 containing 300 quatrains however according to reports it now only survives as part of the omnibus edition that was published after his death in 1568. This version is believed to have one unrhymed and a total of 941 rhymed quatrains written by the French seer and compiled into nine sets of 100 and one of 42, called ‘Centuries’.

Among the most notary predictions—that according to many were accurately foreseen by the great Nostradamus—are the French Revolution, Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and 9/11. However, not only did Nostradamus get all of that right, it is believed that the 16th-century prophet even managed to predict Trump’s presidential win: “The great shameless, audacious bawler. He will be elected governor of the army: The boldness of his contention. The bridge broken, the city faint from fear.”

Now, it is believed that when Nostradamus spoke about the Anti-Christ he was referring to the newly appointed, 45th president of the United States: Donald Trump.

Those who have followed the predictions by Nostradamus firmly argue that Trumps it the Anti-Christ who will cause World War 3, and to back up their claims they point to the following verses written down by Michel de Nostradame hundreds of years ago:

The False Trumpet concealing madness will cause Byzantium to change its laws. From Egypt there will go forth a man who wants the edict withdrawn, changing money and standards.

The trumpet shakes with great discord. An agreement broken: lifting the face to heaven: the bloody mouth will swim with blood; the face anointed with milk and honey lies on the ground.

According to Arthur Evans—who wrote the article “What are Presidential election Predictions 2016 of Nostradamus—those who believe in the ‘predictions’ of Nostradamus argue that the ‘false trumpet’ mentioned by the French apothecary represents the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump—who is “concealing his own madness“.

In an article about Nostradamus, Evans concluded: “Is Donald Trump really the Antichrist who will cause World War III, a nuclear war or biological warfare sustaining for 27 years? No one can be certain about this; however, I am pretty sure right now is the start to Nostradamus’ prediction of the apocalypse.”