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10 search-engine keyphrase searches bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. john delorean in 1974
  2. direct democracy
  3. howard scott technocrat
  4. virtual reality inside our head
  5. autonomous car is a moving panopticon
  6. anwar sadat interviewed at the pyramids
  7. auction of zoo animals
  8. when a society descends into chaos
  9. luciano fiordi on robots
  10. esso gas station benito mussolini

This week, Sebastian Gorka, who couldn’t get security clearance to be a greeter at Walmart, left his White House position to spend more time with his family.


Matt Bai thinks the media may prevent Trump from normalizing. Oy gevalt!

• John Dean tells Spiegel that Trump supporters crave authoritarianism.

• Jay Rosen analyzes the “ritualized warfare” of the Trump WH and the press.

Henry Giroux discusses American authoritarianism and other recent nonfiction.

Ezra Klein talks to Playboy about politics (of course), media, Virtual Reality, etc.

• Demis Hassibis and Garry Kasparov share optimism for machine intelligence.

Facebook is approaching its Fake News issue as an engineering problem.

• Steven Levy asks Jack Dorsey about Twitter trolls, including the President.

Laurie Penny on the selling of well-being ideologies in sick societies.

• Old Print Article: Rev. Billy Sunday preaches his last. (1935)

• A brief note from 1950 about germ warfare.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Michael Tolkin, Christof Koch, etc.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. michael tolkin discussing dystopia
  2. christof koch technological species
  3. joan didion newt gingrich moon
  4. cave of forgotten dreams
  5. robbing lincoln’s grave
  6. lawrence summers on artificial intelligence
  7. social welfare programs 1930s fascist europe
  8. are we living in a computer simulation?
  9. the ecological crisis in the 21st century
  10. p.t. barnum congressman

This week, Bill O’Reilly was finally fired after years of allegations and settlements regarding sexual harassment, which left him time for shoe shopping.

I want to loofah your vaginas.

We don’t have vaginas.

Okay, just give me some shoes then.


• Michael Wolff, a dreadful man, writes about Bill O’Reilly, a dreadful man. It’s what you’d expect.

• Response to Andrew Sullivan’s appallingly stupid take on race in America.

• Masha Gessen considers the ramifications of a U.S. military coup.

• Thoughts on Russiagate from Watergate accomplice John Dean.

• In purple Pennsylvania, Trump support has weakened but not collapsed.

David Grann includes All the President’s Men among his top True Crime titles.

• Life is cheap today in America, and cheap is often expensive.

Rachel Nuwer wonders if Western society is headed for collapse.

Alexei Navalny explains why Putin terrorizes the elites of his inner circle.

Steve Wozniak believes Apple and Facebook will be bigger in 2075.

• Online stars in China are investing heavily in surgical “perfection.”

• It’s best to never waste precious moments reading celebrity profiles.

Old Print Article: Maxwell Bodenheim murdered in Bowery flophouse. (1954)

• A brief note from 1934 about gangster John Dillinger’s remains.

• This week’s Afflictor keyphrase searches: Jose Canseco on killer robots, etc.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. stalin wife’s suicide
  2. fordlandia tragedy
  3. walter scheidel the great leveler
  4. jose canseco’s theory of robots
  5. ursula k le guin alternative facts
  6. nikola tesla sleep habits
  7. kazuo ishiguro wealth inequality
  8. ryan avent social disruption
  9. american secularism
  10. is there an alternative to nations?

Vlad, this is Don. What’s the good word?

Pee tape, recorded phone calls, money trail, evidence of treason, noose for hanging, yada yada yada.

Well, at least the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn went off without a hitch.

Arrest that gardener. He looks like an illegal.


  • Noah Smith writes of the plague effect of decades of neoliberalism.
  • Michael Tolkin talks apocalyptic visions from Trumplandia.
  • Garry Kasparov thinks intelligent machines will be a boon, not a threat.

Peter Singer advised utilitarians of good conscience to serve in the Trump Administration if they felt they could mitigate the awfulness of what was to be a deeply dishonest, bigoted, sociopathic White House, the caveat being they need be prepared to resign if asked to participate in unethical behavior.

The jury is still out on that advice. Everyone involved is complicit in the wanton destruction of the environment, an existential threat, and any attempts at neutralization will be rebuffed. Civil rights, voting rights, and women’s rights will be rolled back, no exceptions. Scientific research and culture will be casualties.

Mattis and McMaster are sometimes exhibited as examples of those who can inject some sanity into an unprecedented shitstorm, but they’ve both already had to often act within the constraints of Trump’s alternative universe, a constellation of lies about his predecessor wiretapping him, millions of illegal voters casting ballots, etc. McMaster has been able to eject Bannon and other kooks from the NSA, a real plus, but over time he’ll certainly have to carefully weigh how far he’s willing range from his core values.

A poisonous environment can gradually work on the healthiest bodies.

· · ·

In a Nautilus essay, Singer analyzes a different ethical question: How should we treat non-humans who possess some form of consciousness, whether we’re talking about ETs or animals that help make a BLT? The moral philosopher breaks no new ground in his arguments but states them well. As he writes, “the existence of another mind—another center of consciousness—places moral demands on us.”

The opening:

Last January I was walking with my granddaughter along a beach near Melbourne when we noticed several people gathered around a rock pool, peering into the water. Wondering what had attracted their attention, we went over and saw that it was an octopus. If the spectators were interested in it, it also seemed interested in them. It came to the edge of the pool, one of its eyes directed at the people above, and stretched a tentacle out of the water, as if offering to shake hands. No one took up the offer but at least no one tried to capture the animal or turn it into calamari. That was pleasing because, as Peter Godfrey-Smith says in his recent book Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, an octopus is “probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”

If we do ever meet an intelligent alien, even a tasty one, I hope we have sufficient ethical awareness to think of more than pleasing our palates or filling our stomachs. My view that this would be the wrong way to respond to such an encounter, however, leads to a deeper question: What moral status would extra-terrestrials have? Would we have obligations to them? Would they have rights? And would our answers depend on their intelligence?•


Today’s my birthday, a day I celebrate with abject sloth. See you tomorrow.∼Darren


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. tvs watching people watching tvs
  2. trump economic lie joseph stiglitz
  3. “vaccine safety commission”
  4. regressive manufacturing fetish
  5. united arab emirates city on mars
  6. coppola’s the conversation
  7. dallas cowboys sensory deprivation tanks
  8. modern intentional communities
  9. tom wolfe william shockley
  10. i did once take judo in the days of the boston strangler

This week, an idiotic Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial that co-opted the Black Lives Matter movement, caused an uproar. Then things got even worse…

Mr. Putin, if I give you a Pepsi, will you stop murdering journalists and your political opponents?

No thanks. I’ll never be that thirsty.

How about I give you a Diet Coke and you help me avoid being charged with treason?

Still not thirsty. Enjoy hanging.


  • Trump country, a land that time forgot, is realizing its votes may be costly.
  • Bruce Cumings soberly analyzes Kim Jong-un’s motivations, a real challenge.
  • Yuval Harari thinks the next great industry will probably be upgrading humans.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. michael mcfaul trump russia
  2. mussolini’s burial
  3. joan didion impeachment
  4. steve bannon as exciting as the 1930s
  5. obscure peasant rasputin
  6. aubrey de grey in los gatos
  7. wernher von braun rocket expert
  8. salvador dali arrested 1939
  9. reality tv j.g. ballard
  10. ted chiang arrival

Vlad, this is Don. I’m in deep shit. The FBI is closing in, and there are more leaks in the White House than in an outhouse at Oktoberfest. What should I do?

Make sure noose for treason hanging made in America. Leaving now for Katt Williams concert. Bye.


  • Francis Fukuyama says our system is thwarting Trump’s autocratic aspirations. 
  • Anne Case and Angus Deaton follow up their 2015 bombshell about the declining health of middle-aged white Americans (1 + 2). Mark Harris pushes back at their findings.
  • America’s “deaths of despair” recall a similar crisis after the Soviet breakup.
  • Megan McArdle argues Utah is keeping the flame of the American Dream.
  • The current U.S. fetishization of factories fails to grasp some new truths.
  • A brief note from 1893 about an Indiana man who claimed to be a Russian spy.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. malcolm gladwell on satire
  2. werner erhard moshe feldenkrais
  3. konstantin semenchuk wrangel island tyrant
  4. tycho brahe’s metal nose
  5. hunter s. thompson on trumpism
  6. warren hinckle editor
  7. man-bird flying machine
  8. ai and humans working together
  9. dr. strangelove and autonomous weapons
  10. riccardo manzotti robotics engineer

Vlad, this is Don. The AHCA is deader than Alan Thicke and Mike Flynn might be flipping. What should I do?

Maybe chillax with ugly American prostitute? I have to leave now to beat up children. Bye.

He ain’t pretty no more.

Let’s go straight to the Lincoln Bedroom.


  • Chuck Barris, a schlock seller who didn’t wind up in the White House, just died.
  • Masha Gessen talks the increased volatility of the U.S. and Russia.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thinks AI is no threat to workers. Wrong.
  • A look at computational neuroscientists who believe biology itself a fatal error.
  • Yuval Harari fields questions on myriad topics from public figures and readers.
  • Some of our behaviors will make future peoples see as us barbaric.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. alexander dugin putin’s rasputin
  2. rasputin’s oldest daughter maria
  3. may otis blackburn los angeles cult leader
  4. jim jones preacher mass suicide
  5. cult infiltrator david sullivan
  6. trips festival lsd 1967
  7. war between major powers in our lifetimes
  8. walter winchell died alone
  9. willian hope coin harvey arkansas pyramid
  10. taking a personalized blue pill you just hallucinate in an entertaining way

Vlad, it’s Don. The walls are closing in. I need your help or I’m done for.

So sorry, Don. No time. Leaving now for a sexy three-way.

Hello, ladies.

No, I have no idea how I could have gotten dolphin syphilis.



10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. moral authority seems to be encased in a frail body
  2. trump dossier
  3. this is a new fascism
  4. oswald mosley
  5. kevin baker on giuliani and trump
  6. what happened to lenin’s brain?
  7. the financial cost of climate change
  8. forest fenn treasure hunt
  9. driverless cars in oahu
  10. luna 9 soviet spacecraft to the moon

This week, Donald Trump donned a military flight jacket and an admiral’s cap, recalling his years of brave service in bunkers.



10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. the idiot culture carl bernstein
  2. stupid seems to be everywhere these days jesse ventura
  3. modern conspiracy theories
  4. robots will show up in china just in time
  5. brain emulations
  6. does it matter that we might be living in a simulation?
  7. will the computer eventually be as common as the typewriter?
  8. edda mussolini
  9. please forget the statue of liberty
  10. statue of liberty daredevil

Vlad, it’s Don. The situation is getting extremely hot. You have to help me.

Too busy. Going to see Fifty Shades Darker with Steven Seagal.

Wait, what?

I hope it is sexy movie.


  • Trump’s address caused Van Jones and David Duke to orgasm simultaneously. A few notes.
  • Tim Harford thinks we’re at an inflection point with “fake news.”
  • Marc Levinson argues the postwar economic boom will not be replicated.
  • Yuval Harari talks the power of meditation with Ezra Klein.


10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. legendary film producer robert evans
  2. phone numbers resemble gene sequences
  3. new hate groups like the kkk
  4. human cannonballs
  5. late talk show host stanley siegel
  6. our minds connected to devices
  7. tad friend profile of sam altman
  8. oldest man in the world
  9. aubrey de grey creating immortality
  10. russian politician vladimir kara-murza poisoned

This week, it became apparent to Trump voters they may lose their Obamacare, though I’m sure the doctors they’ll be able to afford without it will be fine.

Drop your trousers, cupcake.

Take two of these and call me in the morning.

I don’t like Mexicans.

I’m prescribing lots of bed rest.


  • An Ahab’s in the Oval Office and the ship is in trouble, writes Eliot A. Cohen.
  • Henry Ford was as bigoted as the Andrew “Dice” Jackson who’s now President.
  • A NYT editorial tackles robotics and the American Dream has some blind spots.

Tried to imagine a President worse than Trump and all I could come up with was someone identical to him but competent and disciplined. Imagine that?

The new President and putative Putin puppet held a campaign rally this weekend, just four weeks after being inaugurated, because he never wanted to be President–he just wanted to run for the position. The trail is where the applause and consequence-less boasts are, while the Oval Office is the location of the hard work that never ceases. Of course, his inability to focus on the job, while it may impede some of his worst policy, can also get lots of people killed, right now and in the future.

This horrid time, however long it should last, will have all sorts of repercussions for tomorrow, especially since our foreign policy now is an ad hoc collection of ever-changing postures and trade wars, which will reduce the efficacy of our soft power even if we retain our military might. Additionally: Lots of people can get blown up.

Two excerpts below about the vacuum which now exists on the world stage where American doctrine formerly resided.

From Eliot A. Cohen’s Atlantic piece “The Rudderless Ship of State“:

There are two theories of the future of President Trump’s foreign policy and the National Security Council. In one, the good ship NSC, like a Nantucket whaler of old, has had a hard shakedown cruise, but is coming to. A couple of misfits have been tossed overboard, and the captain has given up trying to run the ship. He periodically shows up on deck to shake his fist at the moon and order a summary flogging, but for the most part he stays in his cabin emitting strange barks while competent mates and petty officers sail the NSC. It’s not pretty—the ship rolls and lurches alarmingly—but it gets where it needs to go.

This could happen. Trump, overwhelmed by a leadership task far beyond his experience and personality, will focus his efforts on infrastructure projects and the like, and quietly concede the direction of foreign policy to his sober secretaries of state and defense, with a retired general or admiral to reassemble something like an orderly White House process. He is erratic but not stupid: he knows he is in over his head, hates the bad publicity his first few weeks bought him, and has family members nudging him in this direction.

Unfortunately, another possibility is more likely: The ship is in serious trouble. The first reason is that the system cannot function with an absent commander in chief. Since World War II, the United States has evolved a system for making foreign policy that depends on an effective White House operation in the form of the National Security Council staff. (The NSC itself consists of Cabinet secretaries and the like, not aides and bureaucrats.) The elaborate hierarchy of interagency committees that evolved actually works rather well most of the time, but it depends critically on the ability of a competent staff working directly for the president to orchestrate it.•

From Jon Finer’s Politico article “Trump Has No Foreign Policy“:

What is different is that right now not only is there no discernible doctrine guiding President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, the United States currently has no real foreign policy at all. By that I mean not that the policies are objectionable, or that the Trump team is struggling with the learning curve each new administration faces at the outset, as it reviews its predecessors’ approach and settles on its own. Rather, I mean that we are experiencing an unprecedented degree of policy incoherence on virtually every major issue the country faces.

And so it was left to Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday to travel to the Munich Security Conference, the most important annual gathering of politicians and national security wonks, to reassure America’s increasingly nervous European partners that things in Washington are under control. The meetings can be insufferable, but they are also an important chance, especially at the start of an administration, to help the world understand what policies it will pursue.

Pence did perfectly well, in what must have felt like Mission Impossible. He told America’s allies what they wanted—actually, needed—to hear: that the United States would continue to “hold Russia accountable” for its aggression in Ukraine, that we remained deeply committed to the NATO alliance, that the values underpinning transatlantic relations remain sacrosanct.

The problem is, no one really knows if Pence speaks for the administration on foreign policy—or, for that matter, if anyone does. Policy is, at its core, a function of what the government does and what it says. While it is too soon for the Trump administration to have done much, what is being said is either nothing or completely contradictory things. Pence’s message about shared values was undercut both before and minutes after his remarks by President Trump, with his latest tweets attacking the mainstream media as “fake news” and, more outrageously, “the enemy of the American people.”

There are many more such examples of incoherence.•

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10 search-engine keyphrases bringing traffic to Afflictor this week:

  1. henry kissinger donald trump
  2. donald rumsfeld donald trump
  3. you won’t like what comes next after america
  4. ta-nehisi coates playboy interview
  5. certainly we are at peak dystopia
  6. don lemon gq profile
  7. brexit and its aftermath
  8. vladimir nabokov u.s. road trip
  9. virtual reality empathy machine
  10. first american killed in auto accident

This week, Florida car salesman Gene Huber told CNN he salutes a life-size cutout of Donald Trump every day.

Isn’t that great, Melania? It’s like there are two of me.


  • Jared Kushner isn’t a mitigating force but an enabler of Breitbart bigotry.
  • America’s future shouldn’t be manufacturing but instead the “caring industry.”

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