Passing the Hat


By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | c/o Lake Union Mail | 117 East Louisa, #380 | Seattle, WA 98102

Hunter S. Thompson's Prescient 1972 Warning


That’s the real issue this time,” he said. “[Beating Nixon. [Clinton] [Trump]]. It’s hard to even guess how much damage those bastards will do if they get in for another four years.”
The argument was familiar, I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it. How many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame, but “regrettably necessary” holding actions? And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils? Now with another one of these big bogus showdowns looming down on us, I can already pick up the stench of another bummer. I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing this year is Beating Nixon. [Clinton] [Trump] But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960 – and as far as I can tell, we’ve gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same. —Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 | Zero Hedge

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I could have left the presidential choice blank,

out of my remaining loyalty to Hillary Clinton and the friendships I made on that 2008 campaign.
In Illinois, if you leave anything blank on a ballot, there’s a good chance that election officials will fill it in for you down the line somehow, so that’s not really a good option. If you leave a space blank, someone will cast a vote for a Democrat for you. Chicago Early Voting Begins as people break up with Hillary Clinton

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Ten Minutes in Lituya Bay


Bill Swanson’s bunk tilted, dumping him onto the deck.
When he looked outside, the water around his boat was in a state of severe agitation. In the distance he could see the towering mountains that stood at the inland end of the bay, their peaks shaking. He also thought he saw the distant Lituya Glacier tossed up into the air. “I know you can’t ordinarily see that glacier from where I was anchored,” he later told Alaska Sportsman magazine. “People shake their head when I tell them I saw it that night. I can’t help it if they don’t believe me but I know what I saw that night.” • Damn Interesting

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Like everybody else Trump is now trapped in a revolution he may never have intended to lead nor know how.

He's riding a tiger that neither he nor anybody else knows how to dismount.

By rights the conservatives should be doomed. Yet with the possible exception of the British Brexiteers the American electorate alone of the Western voting public is broadly aware that it is Blue Model which is desperately racing for harbor before the onset of a Perfect Storm. The financial system is trembling on the edge, bad news is seething just under the surface and there is but dubious haven in an "Third Obama term" supplied Hillary Clinton. Kerry's frantic ceasefire efforts, the offers of bailouts to domestic constituencies and bribes to foreign enemies only serve to emphasize how the system is just living from moment to moment, with no other plan but to hang on. Zone of Insanity | PJ Media

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Atheist Delivers Powerful Testimony Of Coming To Believe Life Has No Purpose


“I’m here as a witness to the power of atheism—the only reasonable worldview,” she declared.
“Things like right and wrong, love and beauty, passion and empathy, ecstasy and heartbreak—these are but leftover, superfluous, physiological baggage from our completely naturalistic journey to being. They don’t mean anything.” “We should not even exist. Nothing matters. Literally nothing matters at all,” she added with a smile, to the crowd’s enthusiastic applause. After Newberry finished telling the moving tale of her lack of faith, she reportedly invited anyone who felt called to commit their lives to the void of nothingness to raise their hand, “with every eye closed and every head bowed.” | The Babylon Bee

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Is there truth to the Bedouin Legend of the Great River in the Desert?

Apart from the oral legend itself, the evidence for an ancient river in the desert is persuasive. Firstly, the earliest maps of the Arabian Peninsula clearly show two major rivers draining the Rub al Khali, one flowing north into the Persian Gulf, the other south into the Arabian Sea. Although drawn in the 15th century, these maps were based on one by Ptolemy made around 150 AD, so essentially reflect the situation 2,000 years ago.
| Ancient Origins

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Since Syria became a problem, the “international community” has quietly stopped deeming regimes problematic.

The problem with Assad is that during Arab Spring, the US, aka “the international community” capriciously and whimsically decided he should fall, and he did not fall, which is a slap in the face to “the international community”.

If regimes deemed problematic by “the international community” always fall, then it is a self fulfilling prophecy. If people believe a regime will fall, it will fall. So if Assad does not fall, then other regimes could potentially get away with being deemed problematic by “the international community”. This is Russia’s objective – to deny “the international community” the power and authority to overthrow any regime that displeases it. Aleppo « Jim’s Blog

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Think Different


-- Gateway

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There was no diversity.

There were no ball caps or blue jeans anywhere in sight in the tour group.

There was no diversity. There were no spy cameras on the bus or in the hotel. There were no worries about “terrorism.” There were no color-coded “security alerts.” But there was the certitude of security without those things. Nor on public transit vehicles in 1960 were there any idiotic signs reading “If you see something, say something.” Americans in 1960 had not been trained to swallow such mush, let alone to swallow it as agreeably as they do today.Singing on a Bus « The Thinking Housewife

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I’m familiar with a troop of turkey that visit my yard throughout the day

I’ve gotten to know each turkey’s personality …shy …nervous …aggressive … and each turkey is different.

How do you suppose they came by their individual personalities?

Born that way - it couldn’t be more plain - particular jostles of the turkey genes.

Now, think about humans, yourself and your acquaintances.
- - Living Close To Nature | HappyAcres

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It's Probably Nothing:

US to send 600 more troops to Iraq for Mosul offensive A US-led coalition is carrying out air strikes against IS in Iraq,
and Washington has already authorized the deployment of more than 4,600 military personnel to the country. Most are in advisory or training roles, working with Iraqi and peshmerga forces, but some American troops have fought IS on the ground, and three members of the US military have been killed by the jihadists in Iraq.

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Several major universities now offer segregated dorms for black students.

Seems like only yesterday DC was forcing integration on us and demanding unqualified inclusion in all things while telling us how beneficial diversity was.
What these terms mean is pretty simple. Diversity means fewer whites. Inclusion means excluding some whites. Segregated dorms for black students means excluding all whites. Taken singly or together, the intent is clear. And so are the consequences. Woodpile Report

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[BUMPED] Your average piece-of-shit Windows desktop is so complex that no one person on Earth really knows what all of it is doing, or how.


Software is so bad because it’s so complex,
and because it’s trying to talk to other programs on the same computer, or over connections to other computers. Even your computer is kind of more than one computer, boxes within boxes, and each one of those computers is full of little programs trying to coordinate their actions and talk to each other. Computers have gotten incredibly complex, while people have remained the same gray mud with pretensions of godhood. Everything Is Broken – The Message – Medium

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Have These Idiots Never Been To Vegas?

Look, I’d love to have the male lead in the “Beauty And The Beast” show,
but it Is Not Going To Happen because I’m too FAT, too OLD, and not good looking enough. A 5 foot 2 inch 50 year old housewife with a midriff bulge is NOT going to be a showgirl in Vegas either. Nor likely to be serving at the VIP lounge to ‘whales’.

So let me get this straight: The “goods” they have on Trump
is that as a businessman running service enterprise for very wealthy clients, he wanted to staff his places with folks who looked good as part of the image of the place? That’s IT? Golly. Guess it’s time to fire Every Single Hiring Manager in Hollywood! I want Brad Pit and Angelina run out of town for being good looking too. | Musings from the Chiefio

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Why does time advance? New theory links flow of time with Big Bang

Space is not the only thing expanding, Muller says; spacetime is expanding. And we are surfing the crest of that wave, what we call “now.”
“Every moment, the universe gets a little bigger, and there is a little more time, and it is this leading edge of time that we refer to as now,” he writes. “The future does not yet exist … it is being created. Now is at the boundary, the shock front, the new time that is coming from nothing, the leading edge of time.” | 3tags

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“The nostril is really where it’s at.”

When I asked both scientists for the worst possible combination, they agreed that a bullet ant to the nostril would probably top the chart for intensity.
Schmidt gave the bullet ant a 4 out of 4 on his index and describes the sting as “like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel.” Smith found that the two most painful places to be stung are the nostril and the upper lip, followed by the penis shaft. The penis got more attention in press coverage, but Smith says “the nostril is really where it’s at.” This Is the Worst Insect Sting in the World

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The Servitude Bubble

There’s gold in them thar hills. Money’s pouring into the tech industry today. Too much money, chasing too few truly groundbreaking investments. And so a bubble is inflating — but not just any bubble. A bubble of an especially insidious kind. Of stuff that’s beyond eyewateringly, painfully, mind-numbingly trivial.
I’m going to call it a Servitude Bubble. For the simple reason that it is largely based on creating armies of servants. You can call them whatever buzzwords you like — “tech-enabled always-on super-hustling freelance personal brand capitalists”. But the truth is simpler. The stuff of the Servitude Bubble makes a small number of people something like neofeudal masters, lords with a corncucopia of on-demand just-in-time luxury services at their fingertips. But only by making a very large number of people glorified neo-servants…butlers, maids, chauffeurs, waiters, etcetera. — Bad Words — Medium

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All computers are reliably this bad:

the ones in hospitals and governments and banks, the ones in your phone, the ones that control light switches and smart meters and air traffic control systems.
Industrial computers that maintain infrastructure and manufacturing are even worse. I don’t know all the details, but those who do are the most alcoholic and nihilistic people in computer security. Another friend of mine accidentally shut down a factory with a malformed ping at the beginning of a pen test. For those of you who don’t know, a ping is just about the smallest request you can send to another computer on the network. It took them a day to turn everything back on. Computer experts like to pretend they use a whole different, more awesome class of software that they understand, that is made of shiny mathematical perfection and whose interfaces happen to have been shat out of the business end of a choleric donkey. This is a lie. The main form of security this offers is through obscurity — so few people can use this software that there’s no point in building tools to attack it. Unless, like the NSA, you want to take over sysadmins. Everything Is Broken – The Message – Medium

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The Great Enterprise of this age is the Asshole Industry.

The chain-store; the mall; the hypermarket. The corporation; the firm; the partnership. B-school; law school; med school. The boardroom; the backroom; the trading floor.
These are, by and large, Asshole Factories. They don’t make people. Capable of great things. Who create and build and touch and soar. They make assholes. They are designed to disinfect us of our fragility. To cleanse us of our flaws. To disinfect us of weakness. Love, grace, mercy, longing, forgiveness, passion, truth, nobility, dreams. Their objective is to stamp all that out; to eradicate it; to erase it. To replace it with calculation, ruthlessness, self-concern; gluttony; cruelty; anxiety, despair. By using the most sophisticated technology ever made to subjugate, oppress, and goad us into being little torturers ourselves. The Asshole Factory — Bad Words — Medium

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From now until the next debate, every single person who works for Trump should personally insult him several times a day.

Good morning, sir—your business is a total fraud.

Here are those trade stats you wanted—oh and you lied about opposing the war in Iraq.

The Cincinnati airport needs a tail number—why did you “fat-shame” that poor girl?

If he starts to respond, they should say, “No one cares, sir. Tell me how you’re going to stop Mexican drugs from pouring across our border.”
Ann Coulter -- Ann Coulter

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Who Says There's No Good News?

16 ISIS terrorists killed due to explosive belt malfunction near Kirkuk - Iraqi News
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The Marx Brothers in Posters


- - Notebook
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Bad Little Children's Books

(Hardcover) | ABRAMS

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I often wonder what happened to America’s battle of ideas.

I lift my gaze wistfully from the gutter – where the current debate takes place,
nonsensical 140-character arrows hurled back and forth over a pile of garbage – to contemplate dejectedly the past when the titans of American thought sat astride our purple mountains, rallying a nation to the orbit of their conviction and the consequence of their immense talent. A colossal contest it was, the minds of noble men wrestling with each other over the soul of the greatest nation on earth. They built agendas, waged campaigns and organized coalitions – the clamoring of the populace serving to enhance the volume of the debate, lending it energy and purpose if not substance; for that they already had. Garrett, Rand, Galt And The Fun Of Writing | Joel D. Hirst's Blog

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Huxley got it right and Orwell got it wrong.

The authoritarian model imagined in 1984 could never last because it had to rely on force and the math always works against such a system.
The violence required to hold it together eventually exceeds the systems capacity for violence. The Huxley model of a world populated by infantilized adults, cheerfully engaged in busy work requires much less coercion from the state and it has a higher carrying capacity. It turns out that the future is not “a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” The future is a conference call on which a cheery 30-something says things like “progressively coordinate functional strategic theme areas” – forever. Carnival of Nonsense

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But let's not jump to conclusions....

Two men seen removing undetonated bomb from suitcase left on Manhattan street 'by chicken shop terrorist' identified by FBI as 'Egyptian pilots who have left the U.S.'

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A tune that helped me sort out politics

I was much younger then. The youth today need a similar song. I hate the way this group of giant rock stars turn the refrain into an insipid, zipless line, but otherwise, good fun. McGuinn's guitar sets the tone. Bob his usual humble self. -- Bird Dog @ Maggie's Farm:
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Two Left. Time to Stock Up!


Experts suggest 9 weed strains to get you through a presidential debate 6. Stephen Hawking Kush
Matthew Criscione, a grower rep at Oregon's Finest, suggests this indica dominant strain from So Fresh, "so we can open our minds and still our bodies and not run away when it gets scary."

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Note on the Comments


Over the last week, in response to a few emails, I turned off comment sign in for the side blog here at American Digest. This was an effort to make things a bit easier and more accessible. Alas, the filtering system that comes into play when sign-in is lifted is a little too enthusiastic about filtering. The result was that many legitimate comments got sideways in the spam filter and did not show on the site. I apologize to those whose comments were caught in the filter.

I have now restored what I believe to be all mistakenly spamstained comments in the last four days and will be looking for others. At the end of this day, I'll have to reinstate the sign-in requirement. Sigh. It never stops.
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