Shared posts

22 Apr 14:14

Clutter

I found a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but the idea of reading it didn't spark joy, so I gave it away.
20 Apr 05:20

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Geometry

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
You can also just use an infinite quantity of compasses as on-off switches.

New comic!
Today's News:

4/5ths of BAHFest tickets are gone! Get'em while they're extant.

19 Apr 15:46

The First Female President

by CARA MICHELLE SMITH

The first female president will be bald. This will be permissible, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower went completely bald during his first presidential term. Also during his first term, Eisenhower suffered a heart attack, was hospitalized for eight weeks, and was elected to his second term in a landslide victory. Were a female president to be hospitalized for even eight days during her presidency, she’d definitely be re-elected and not seen as fragile or weak.

- - -

The first female president will love pork rinds. She’ll love pork rinds so much, in fact, that she’ll mention it in an interview with Time Magazine, just as President George H.W. Bush did in 1988. Pork rind sales around the country will skyrocket, as they did in ‘88, and not a single think piece on her diet will be published.

- - -

The first female president will go through chewing tobacco like it’s candy. Folks will be hard pressed not to find her bottom lip bursting at the seams with the stuff, and if the habit ever affects her public image, it won’t. She’ll challenge foreign dignitaries to spitting contests and brag of her ability to hit a spitoon as far as six feet away. Neither she, nor President Zachary Taylor, will ever be called “trashy.” Like Taylor, her nickname will be “Ol’ Rough and Ready” and it won’t have a thing to do with sex.

- - -

The first female president will be single. Like President James Buchanan, she’ll never once be asked about her biological clock, when she plans on settling down or whether she simply “plays for the other team.” Like Buchanan, historians will wait until she dies to start assuming she was gay.

- - -

The first female president will insist upon keeping a crocodile in the Lincoln Bathroom’s vintage clawfoot bathtub. She’ll need the crocodile because she wants the crocodile, and her request will go uncontested. She won’t be called a “crazy crocodile lady,” or a “witch,” or a “diva,” or “impractical,” or “difficult,” just as President John Quincy Adams was never called any of these things for keeping a live crocodile in the White House’s master bathroom for the entirety of his term.

- - -

The first female president will be emotional. So emotional, in fact, that she’ll pay homage to President James Monroe by chasing her Secretary of the Treasury out of White House while waving a pair of white-hot fireplace tongs. Nobody will ask if she’s on her period.

- - -

The first female president will sleep with her subordinates. All of them. Or, none of them. Nobody really knows. But everyone will pretty much agree that she slept with at least one intern. After her impeachment, the first female president will leave with the highest end-of-office approval ratings in U.S. history, receive a $19 million book deal and speak at every Democratic National Convention for the next twenty years. Over the years, the public will gradually blame the affair on her husband and his inability to keep her satisfied. The intern’s livelihood will be ruined.

- - -

The first female president will have five children by three different men. Nobody will care. Her extramarital affairs with porn stars will be a matter of public record. She won’t be called a slut. She’ll be accused by 19 people of sexual assault. It won’t affect her political standing in the slightest. She’ll be caught on tape saying that she likes to “grab men by the dick.” It’ll pretty much blow over in a few weeks. The first female president will threaten nuclear war against an unstable adversary, fire the FBI director investigating her for treason, feud with more than one family of a dead U.S. soldier, defend white supremacists, attempt to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., encourage the public to find a sex tape belonging to a Miss Universe contestant and accuse her predecessor of literally founding ISIS, one of the largest and deadliest terrorist factions in the world.

The first female president will be rotten to her core — arguably the most selfish and incompetent person we’ve ever elected into public office. Rather than becoming an example of what happens when you elect a woman into a position of power, though, around half of the public will simply deem her a breath of fresh air and continue to elect women as U.S. presidents until the end of time.

- - -

At a time when her approval ratings are at an all-time high, the first female president will skip out on makeup for a day. She will be impeached.

19 Apr 12:32

When an artist should consider forming a corporation for tax purposes

by David Malki

Embed from Getty Images

It’s tax time again, of course, and I see a lot of freelancers (artists and writers and others) bemoaning the big tax bill they have coming due, feeling as frustrated as this stock footage lady whose computer is inexplicably off.

On Twitter the other day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give a broad overview of what it means for a freelancer or independent type to create a corporation or an LLC, and what the tax benefits can be, and what the challenges might be as well.

Not to bury the lede here, but the takeaway from this is that in some cases, you can save a lot of tax money by paying yourself through a corporation or an LLC. In some cases! If you are making decent money as a freelancer, you might consider incorporating or forming an LLC if you haven’t already.

So in this post is the same information for posterity, in a slightly expanded and more readable form!

I hope you find it interesting, and if you think I’ve gotten something wrong, feel free to leave me a comment and explain why I am an idiot, or might be going to tax jail. I will appreciate the head’s up (and check the comments to read corrections folks may make).

I should also note that this is at least a “102-level” overview of decisions you may have to make as a freelancer or small businessperson to optimize your business structure. Jim Zub posted a more “101-level” overview of the basics of tracking business expenses, etc.:

I’m assuming you know how to keep receipts for your business expenses and so on, but if that’s a new concept or you’d like a refresher, read Jim’s thread!

Why are taxes taken out of one’s paycheck?

First caveat: I don’t know what the new Republican tax bill will do to this information. It probably will change it a little bit. Also, I live in California and your area may differ with regard to state & local taxes. So please remember to do research or to consult a tax professional for your specific case.

Second caveat: I only know what I have done and I’m comfortable recommending for people in GENERALLY my same shoes. I have a small business, and I make my money as the owner of the business. Your situation may differ!

OKAY. Starting from first principles: When we talk about “self-employed” people we mean people who get money NOT in the form of a paycheck, and by “paycheck” I specifically mean a payroll-issued check with taxes taken out.

Payroll checks are the ones that you get at most jobs. You fill out a W4 form with your Social Security number (SSN), number of exemptions (we’ll get to that), and so on.

Generally the company deducts, from your overall wage, three things: income tax withholding, payroll taxes, and the share you pay of your medical insurance (if your job offers insurance). The insurance part isn’t really relevant here, but I will touch on it again briefly later.

Income tax withholding is just prepaying the income tax you will eventually owe. When you fill out the W4 and name your exemptions, you are telling the company how MUCH tax to withhold for your eventual income tax bill, based on how much you think you’ll pay at year’s end. If you withhold too little (to take home more), you will have to pay the balance later. It affects the amount of your check each pay period, but not how much tax you actually pay or owe — it’s just a choice to pay in more or less during the year.

Payroll taxes include charges for unemployment insurance (which you can claim if you are laid off), Social Security (which you can claim at retirement), and Medicare (same). These are paid directly to the IRS and to your state. You never see that money back unless/until you make the claims listed above.

At the end of the year, you get a W2 form that shows your total pay and the total amount withheld in all categories. So when you file your taxes, the W2 shows that you have earned X amount, and thus paid taxes on X amount.

But when you have other deductions, say for dependents, or mortgage interest, or charitable donations, etc., those amounts are subtracted from your income, and thus your taxable income total goes down. This means, if you have a lot of deductions, that you might get a refund for overpayment!

(You can also claim the “standard deduction” which is an average amount. If you have a lot of individual deductions that add up to more than the standard deduction, you should list them all, or “itemize”. If you don’t itemize, you can claim the standard deduction instead. There is a lot in the new tax law changing the rules around deductions but that’s a bit of a separate topic.)

What about income that doesn’t come from a paycheck?

If at the end of the year, you paid taxes on X amount through your regular job, but then ALSO earned OTHER income, such as freelance income, or income from somewhere like Patreon or Gumroad or Kickstarter, you now probably have paid TOO LITTLE tax. Boo!!!

This is where SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME becomes a factor. Any income in which you are paid NOT via payroll, and taxes are NOT deducted in advance (aside from investment gains, etc.), is SELF-EMPLOYED income, also known as freelance or contract work. YOU’RE responsible for figuring the tax that you owe, because YOU are your own employer, whether you like it or not!

To be clear: if you are doing freelance work basically as a regular job, working someplace where THEY set the hours and THEY provide the work materials at THEIR location, technically speaking that is not supposed to be freelance work. They should put you on payroll.

For short gigs it’s often too much trouble, but for months on end? They may be keeping you as a contractor because they don’t want to pay you benefits, or because they (or YOU!) don’t want to deduct payroll taxes, and therefore diminish the size of your paycheck. But they can get in trouble if they treat a long-term full-time employee as a contractor.

Unemployment insurance is a benefit of employment, by the way! If you are not on payroll, then you cannot claim unemployment if you are laid off. Unemployment claims aren’t paid by the employer, but they DO ding the employer — it changes how much they have to pay into the system. So they may be trying to avoid that cost, and that risk, at your expense.

BACK TO YOUR EARNINGS: If you are paid, as a contractor, by anyone in an amount totaling under $600 in a year, then neither you nor they are obligated to report that income to the IRS. Cool! Easy peasy.

If you are paid OVER $600 in a year, you should be prepared to submit a W9 form, and you will receive a 1099 statement of earnings at the end of the year. This means the IRS knows you earned that money, so you’d better report it on your tax return.

You now owe…DUN DUN DUNSELF EMPLOYMENT TAX.

In a nutshell, this means YOU are responsible for paying those payroll taxes that otherwise your employer would have otherwise paid. And guess what else? YOU HAVE TO PAY DOUBLE.

The reason is because, even though taxes were taken out of your check, your employer ALSO had to pay an equal amount FOR you, directly to the IRS and to your state. It’s another “benefit” you get by being an employee — they share the tax burden with you.

But as a self-employed person, remember, you are BOTH the employee AND the employer! So you get to pay BOTH HALVES! Hooray!!

(There are MANY ways that government makes life difficult for small businesses and freelancers, and this is just one of them.)

If you are issued a 1099 I believe you HAVE to file a Schedule C (or Schedule C-EZ, the simplified version) which is for SELF EMPLOYMENT INCOME. Both halves of the payroll tax (SSI, Medicare, etc) add up to about 15% of the total amount you earned. You pay that!

And THEN you pay income tax (in whatever bracket you’re in) on the remainder!! So if you’re not planning for that, this can be QUITE A BIG BILL TO PAY. Better save up!

You can also pay QUARTERLY ESTIMATED TAXES. This is when you send in checks in June, September, and January (IN ADDITION to April 15) for what you THINK you MIGHT owe at the end of the year. If you overpay, you get a refund; if you underpay, your April bill is bigger. 20/
The reason for this is that the IRS figures people are more likely to pay if they have to pay smaller amounts throughout the year. Do you HAVE to pay quarterlies? No, but you get a (very small) penalty for “late payment” if you don’t. Maybe less than $100 (?). 21/
If you otherwise would be put in hardship by paying the tax quarterly, then you can consider that penalty an “interest payment” for keeping the IRS’s money a bit longer. BUT making quarterly payments can help you avoid a giant tax bill in April (you might even get a refund). 22/

Doing freelance work automatically makes you a business.

Is there an income threshold at which you should be filing Schedule C and paying quarterly payments? Consult your tax professional! For a few hundred bucks here or there it may not be necessary. But at the thousands of dollars of freelance income level, you are A Small Business.

If you do NOTHING, by default you’re a SOLE PROPRIETOR. “Your Name” is the name of your business, and your Federal Tax ID number is your SSN. If you don’t want to hand out your SSN all the time, you can apply for a Tax ID that is just for tax forms. The one you want is called an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and you can apply for it online.

The EIN you get still represents you (as a sole proprietor), but it’s not linked to your personal credit scores, loans, etc. and so unlike your SSN, it can’t be used to steal your identity. Go ahead and get one, it’s free! As a Sole Proprietor, you are In Business but you are just a human being. You pay self-employment tax on your freelance earnings.

“What else could I be?” Well, if you want to have a business name that’s not your own, you can file a Fictitious Business Statement, also known as a DBA (Doing Business As). In my area it’s administered at the county level. This gives you a DIFFERENT legal business name.

To get a DBA, you fill out a form that makes a public record saying “Joan Smith is doing business as Fancy Puppy Grooming.” Then you can get a bank account in the name of, and cash checks as, Fancy Puppy Grooming. If anyone wants to know what this puppy grooming firm is all about, there’s a record that points back to you, since it’s still just you.

A DBA does not affect your taxes, but it allows you to do business under a name that is not your personal legal name, so it’s worth mentioning.

Transitioning to an LLC or corporation

HERE IS THE INTERESTING PART. There is a way, as a freelancer, to AVOID SELF-EMPLOYMENT TAX. You can form an LLC or a corporation, and put YOURSELF on the payroll as your own employer AND employee! Reap those “pass-through” benefits everyone talks about!

An LLC (limited liability company) or a corporation is a SEPARATE LEGAL ENTITY that you can be the owner of (or a part owner of). If your job is doing something dangerous that could get you sued, you WANT a separate legal entity to be the one who did the thing, so only the company can get sued, not you!

That is ONE reason to form an LLC/corporation, and it’s a whole topic of its own, but the tax benefits for freelancers are another.

There are different types of corporations, and what you want is probably a Subchapter S corporation or “S corp”. It’s the simplest.

Giant public companies are usually “C” corps. Their profits are taxed at the corporate level, before earnings are passed down to shareholders. Small businesses are usually S corps because only the OWNER is taxed on income, not the company itself. The income “passes through”.

The differences between an LLC and S corp are very minor. For Machine of Death we have an LLC because one of the owners (Ryan) is a citizen of Canada. S corps don’t allow foreign owners. So there are rules distinctions like that.

Most freelancers can choose either. For the sake of simplicity I’ll start saying “company” to refer to both S corps and LLCs. I have one of each, and the rules are mostly identical.

How do you form a company? You go to a law firm like eMinutes.com and fill out a form, it’s easy peasy. Costs a few hundo. You sign some documents, pay the fees, and the law firm sends your paperwork to the state.

If you were to do it yourself, it would be quite complicated — the aforementioned documents are pretty complicated if you were to fill them out from scratch. But incorporation firms like eMinutes just have a bunch of blank ones that they customize with your information. This includes your Articles of Incorporation, your company’s founding document that lays out the owner(s), principal place of business, and bylaws.

It’s SO easy to form a company, in fact, that shady people trying to hide the true sources and owners of assets do it all the time! But it can also be used for non-nefarious things.

The rules also differ state to state! You can form the company in your own state, or in, say, Nevada (assuming Nevada is not your state). See, SOME states want your out-of-state money, so they make their company-forming rules VERY FLEXIBLE. For example, you can rent a PO box in Nevada and form your company there. The PO box will forward your mail to wherever you are. Whole industries are set up to aid this.

Why would you form a business in Nevada? Well, in California, companies have a MINIMUM income tax of $800, REGARDLESS of income. In Nevada there is no such thing! So you would save money operating out of Nevada. Or Delaware, or probably some other states. Every credit card firm is headquartered in Delaware because the laws there are VERY FRIENDLY to giant financial firms (thanks, Joe Biden!).

“BUT WAIT,” you say, “I thought you could SAVE MONEY by forming a company!” Ah, mes amis, we are getting to that, as Poirot would say!

The rules for STATES vary. A company like eMinutes will form your company and also help with various legal filings that are necessary over time (for a fee). Your company gets its own Tax ID number, and has to file its own tax returns. The company, through your accountant, issues you, the owner, an earning statement called a K-1 at the end of the year. California has that grody $800 minimum tax, and those filings and paperwork all cost money…

…But for me, it’s STILL worth doing because the OVERALL benefit is greater than those costs (and it scales).

How to operate as a company, rather than as an individual

OKAY: so you have a company. Now what? How do you…y’know, use it?

You get a bank account in the name of the company, and pay in some money (your “owner investment”). You get a credit card, if you like (I do). You use your BUSINESS accounts to purchase all your supplies and equipment and pay for expenses such as travel and web hosting and so on. You tell everyone who’s going to pay you to pay the COMPANY instead, by issuing a W9 form in the name of the company. You let the company cash checks and receive deposits.

Now the company has money, and you own the company! TECHNICALLY, YOU have money!

If you get paid from places like Kickstarter, Kindle, Patreon, Square, PayPal, Gumroad, etc., they all have ways to set up the company as the recipient of funds. If you do freelance work, issue the invoice in the name of the company. Let the company make ALL the money.

You can even do work you would ORDINARILY do as a payroll employee AS A COMPANY INSTEAD. This is called a “loan-out” — your company is loaning its employee (you) to the other company. Some employers allow it, some don’t. But if they do, they pay you your FULL WAGES, without withholding taxes! They assume (rightly) that YOUR company will deduct taxes when the employee (you) is paid. So they will give you the full amount upfront.

OKAY, now the company has money! But now what happens? How do you GET that money as a human being, AND save taxes in the long run?

First thing to realize is that if you are doing enough freelance business to make forming a company necessary (I’ll explain the threshold shortly), PROBABLY most of the stuff you do is related to the business. Trips you take, stuff you buy (books, movies, games are all RESEARCH)…most of that is stuff that the company can pay for.

So if the company earns money, and then buys the thing, then YOU as the owner/employee GET that thing. So lots of money doesn’t NEED to ever LEAVE the company. You deduct those purchases as business expenses.

Of course, that’s true of a Sole Proprietor too. You can deduct business expenses no matter what kind of business you have. But in general, just realize that your PAY from YOUR company doesn’t need to be enough to cover all the THINGS and EXPENSES you have. The company pays for those!

Of course, you do need SOME pay. You need cash to pay for your personal expenses (rent, groceries, emergency vet visits…). If you have a home office or use your phone/internet for work, you can deduct a FAIR PERCENTAGE of your rent and phone/internet bill as a business expense.

Without another job, or union or association benefits of some sort, you will have to get private health insurance. If you get at least one other full-time employee (besides yourself or your spouse), you can set up a group plan for your company…But not as one individual or one family. As a self-employed person, though, you can deduct your health insurance premiums as a business expense.

BACK TO YOUR PAY: When you need money from your company, you have two choices: issue yourself a paycheck, or take an owner distribution.

As the owner of the company, you own 100% of the shares. You can make the company issue a “distribution” to its shareholders at any time.

This is — pay attention here — INVESTMENT INCOME and NOT PAYROLL INCOME. You DON’T pay payroll tax on this money. (I’ll explain in more detail shortly.)

The other thing to do is issue a paycheck. You can do this manually or through a payroll service (there are lots of them out there for freelancers). This means you pay yourself as an employee, and deduct the regular payroll tax. You send that tax to IRS & state, and take home a net amount like any other paycheck.

“But wait,” I hear you saying, “Why not just do the distribution thing you just mentioned? I thought I was trying to AVOID paying payroll tax?”

Thing is, if you ONLY take distributions, the IRS looks askance at that. Besides, taking payroll is the only way to accumulate Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment credits. You won’t want to claim unemployment, but that’s the calculation that’s used if you ever claim disability or take paid family leave. A meager payroll record means less benefits accrue to you.

So you SOMETIMES pay yourself with a paycheck, deducting taxes, and you SOMETIMES take a distribution. And you use the company money to buy yourself anything you need for your business, so you don’t need AS MUCH payroll income.

The tax math of being the company’s owner AND its employee

At the end of the year, you will tally up your company’s revenues and its expenses.

As the owner of the company, you pay INCOME tax based on the company’s earnings, because that’s profits. This is the “pass-through” thing: the company ITSELF doesn’t pay anything (except for weird cases like CA’s minimum tax), but the SHAREHOLDERS (you) end up with INCOME.

The reason this matters is because of what is actually being deducted when you are paid via payroll. Remember the two main categories that take a chunk from your paycheck: income tax withholding, and SSI/Medicare/SDI (disability/unemployment).

Only the latter set are “payroll taxes”. Those are what you have to pay (double) on ALL your income on a Schedule C as a self-employed sole proprietor.

As a company owner and employee, you still pay those on your PAYCHECKS, but NOT on your distributions or other earnings as an OWNER.

Remember, income tax withholding is just prepaying your income tax. You always have to pay income tax on everything you earn. But on distributions and company earnings, income tax is the ONLY tax you pay — you don’t pay payroll tax.

Let’s do an example to make this clear.

Let’s say you, as a sole proprietor freelancer, make $50K in a year. You have to file a Schedule C. You deduct $10K in business expenses, leaving taxable income of $40K. You pay self-employment tax (double payroll tax) on that whole 40K, and then income tax on what’s left.

Or let’s say your COMPANY makes $50K. You deduct $10K for expenses. You choose to take $15K in payroll, and pay payroll tax (twice, you are both employer and employee still) on that. The remaining $25K is the profit the company made (your payroll is a deductible expense). You can take some or all of that as a cash distribution (write yourself a check), but maybe not all; best to leave some of it in the company as working capital.

The point is you pay income tax on all 40K of revenue, but payroll tax on ONLY the 15K you took as payroll.

THERE’S the tax savings. You SAVE payroll tax on all the company profit that you DON’T take as a paycheck, but you still get to USE the company profit to do things for your business and yourself in your employee role.

When is the extra trouble of forming a company worth it?

HERE’S THE RUB: It does cost money to set up a company, and do tax filings, and sometimes there are other expenses such as the CA $800. It costs money to use a payroll service.

So those tax savings — 15% of the margin between your revenue and your paycheck — have to outweigh those costs.

It’s not worth doing if that margin isn’t big enough to save you money OVERALL — although there are other benefits, such as liability protection and also the ability to sell all or part of the company, if that has value to you.

But if revenue is high, that margin can be big.

My back-of-the envelope calculation (back in 2012, note) was that if you are making over $50K in freelancer income, you might see a tax benefit to working through a company.

If you’re making less, then the costs and trouble are probably too high to be worth any tax savings. Mainly because the less money you make, the more of it you actually NEED for personal expenses and so the more you will actually have to take as payroll throughout the year. Conversely, the more money you’re making, or the lower your cost of living personally, the less you will have to take out of the company as payroll.

(Even that aside — I also LIKE having a company! It helps you keep things compartmentalized for accounting, etc. Even though I think California is a particularly hard state to stay compliant in — there is a lot of paperwork and it can be more time-consuming and aggravating to do it all. It is really frustrating to hear politicians talk so much about “helping small business” and “business friendly climate”, etc., when it is FRIGGIN HARD to do the paperwork you need to run a business in accordance with city, county, state, and federal regulations. It’s DUMB. But I still like the parts of it that aren’t dumb.)

Final caveat, this is all based on my own experience and understanding, please consult someone local and/or smart to answer specific questions in your own circumstance!

Also, sovereign citizens are not a thing.

Thank you for reading, I hope you found it helpful. I’ll end with a plug — if you are in California, my sister is an accountant and does my bookkeeping and taxes and does a great job, if you need someone with loads of experience in managing small business/freelancer stuff, I’m happy to pass on a referral.

16 Apr 15:25

robyn graves, when will you / your name ever not be perfect, the answer: never

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April 16th, 2018: GUESS WHAT I HAVE A NEW BOOK!! It's coming out this September and it's called HOW TO INVENT EVERYTHING and I really hope you like it!

– Ryan

16 Apr 15:23

Rickrolling Anniversary

Want to feel old? The 'want to feel old?' factoid meme dates back to around 2011, closer to the Bush/Kerry election than to today.
16 Apr 15:19

List: Nine Rhetorical Greetings, Sorted by Appropriate Profession

by MARK GARTSBEYN

Astronomer: “What’s up?”

Journalist: “What’s happening?”

Engineer: “How’s it going?”

Philosopher: “What’s good?”

Historian: “How’s it been?”

Curator: “How are things?”

Graphic designer: “What’s going on?”

Interior designer: “How’s it hanging?”

Chiropractor: “What’s cracking?”

16 Apr 14:33

#1391; In which a Visit proves Vicious

by David Malki

Love yourself enough and you'll never get that screenplay written

13 Apr 20:48

Satan Informs His Devil’s Advocates That Their Services Are No Longer Needed

by SARAH CHEVALLIER

To all Devil’s Advocates:

I, Satan, regret to inform you that, after careful consideration, I am terminating all contracts with the freelance Devil’s Advocates division, effective immediately, on the grounds that you assholes are unworthy of association with me and my brand.

I have not addressed this issue previously, because I have been otherwise occupied with enacting true evil on this world. Twitter has certainly been a boon to my work, but racism, sexism, and late-stage capitalism still require constant attention. I’m on this grind twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. (You hear that, God? Some of us don’t take Sundays off, because some of us have a work ethic. Lazy hippie beardo.)

Also, to be fair, I let it slide for a while because you guys were, surprisingly, pretty useful. Picking a fight with your Tinder date about how you think women are being a little “dramatic” about workplace sexual harassment is always good, sure. I’m all about accusing women of being hysterical morons. But then, when she gets angry with you for being such an asshole, you gaslight her by saying you’re just arguing with her as a purely intellectual exercise? Delightful! And the best part is, you truly believe that this is a legitimate way to hold an intellectual discussion! I thought the “no offense, but” team was impressive, but you asshats are something else. Deeply lame, obviously, but weirdly effective in furthering my work.

But see, the thing is, you’ve outlived your usefulness. Not to be too self-congratulatory about it or anything, but I am amazing at what I do. I mean, look who is the President of the United States, for shit’s sake! Clearly, I don’t need your help. At any given moment, I can deploy a vast army of tiki torch-bearing, “men’s rights”-loving, MAGA hat-wearing deplorables faster than you can say “Black lives matter”! What could I possibly want with you morons?

And therein lies my problem with you Devil’s Advocates. I’m very obviously my own best advocate, and my inevitable reign over Earth has never felt so close. So the insinuation that you idiots are on MY level… well, let’s be real, it’s character assassination.

Who am I kidding? I’m overjoyed that I can finally unload you guys! You’re all so depressingly self-serious that it genuinely bums me out. You insist on treating this bullshit “rhetorical” debate style like you’re some kind of modern goddamn Socrates, and I frankly just don’t have time for it. Honestly, the minute I vanquish God and plunge the world into darkness and despair, you douchebags are the first ones I’m throwing in the lake of fire.

In summary: I AM THE LITERAL DEVIL AND I DON’T NEED A BUNCH OF PRETENTIOUS JACKASSES WATERING DOWN MY BRAND WITH THEIR HALF-BAKED RHETORICAL FUCKERY. GET YOUR SHIT AND LEAVE BEFORE I CALL SECURITY.

Thank you for your service,
Satan

12 Apr 14:26

#1390; A Circus made by Circumstance

by David Malki

The fifth factor, though......is love

12 Apr 13:48

An Open Letter to Finland’s President Saul Niinistö

by ALEX BAIA

Mr. Saul Niinistö,

You have recently won a historic, landslide presidential re-election victory, with 62.7% of the vote in the Republic of Finland. But you are #NotMyPresident!

What have you ever accomplished? Presided over a peaceful, prosperous, Nordic nation for six years? Expressed respect and concern even for your opponents and for the disaffected farm-born youths of Finland? All while failing to invade even a single country? Pathetic. For these reasons, plus the fact that The Republic of Finland has absolutely no geopolitical authority over my home state of Texas, you, sir, are most definitely #NotMyPresident.

Apparently, winning in a landslide and capturing the admiration of your country wasn’t enough. You went and blew it all by saying: “I am very surprised at this kind of support. I must think hard how to be worthy of it.” That kind of humility is, quite frankly, unbefitting of the highest politician in the republic, Mr. Niinistö.

A president should be bold, reckless, and full of arrogant certainty. When you said, “I have no intention of making changes just for the sake of making changes,” I vomited, sir. What we need, desperately, is a daredevil who makes wild changes precisely just for the sake of making changes — a daredevil for whom I can legally cast a vote.

Why write this letter, you ask? I had a poor experience at a local branch of your shoe store, The Finish Line. I found your return policy to be appalling — 45 days!? I ask that you personally repeal this draconian, anti-American shoe return policy.

Will you cowboy up and smash the status quo? I doubt it, for my cursory, web-based research uncovered a thing or two about your character. In 2004, you were in Khao Lak, Thailand when the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake unleashed a Tsunami that brutalized thousands. Did you rally the locals and counter-attack this tsunami? No. You climbed a utility pole with your son Matias and hid in the air.

You have learned, first-hand, how menacing these tsunamis can be, and yet, even now, possessing all 486 deployed troops of the Finnish Defense Force, you have never had any tsunami indefinitely detained, waterboarded, or deported. Sir, how can I trust you to govern me and my people when you are so very restrained and sane and kind — and so very located in a strange, alien nation that eats reindeer?

I do not want to live in your world, Mr. Niinistö. I want a world free of modesty and self-reflection. I want a world where elections terrify us. I want a world where we put our common humanity aside and place our faith in a divisive demagogue. And where we can return our shoes without a box, a receipt, or an oppressive six-week return window. You fail to embody these ideals at all. Also, you fail to live within the borders of my country. Could you ever, perched up there in your mighty igloo palace in Helsinki, represent me in the least?

I don’t claim to have all the answers, or even a solid understanding of history, geography, moral philosophy, or basic civics. But I do know this: I have never visited Finland. I do not speak Finnish — your language is called “Finnish,” right? And I have no intention of ever residing within one-thousand miles of Finland. Therefore, you are #NotMyPresident.

Sincerely,
Alex Baia
Austin, Texas

p.s. If you would grow some balls and bomb Sweden, I might reconsider. #NoPromisesThough

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Hovertext:
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Hovertext:
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Hovertext:
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