Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1029 “The Will to Create Man Anew”: Eugenics, Past, Present and Future

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Adolf Hitler: “Nation­al Social­ism . . . . is more even than a reli­gion: it is the will to cre­ate man anew.”

Intro­duc­tion: In numer­ous pro­grams, we have touched on eugen­ics and some of the out­comes of eugen­ics phi­los­o­phy, includ­ing the growth of the Nazi exter­mi­na­tion pro­grams from the Knauer case. Some of these pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 32, 117, 124, 140, 141, 534, 664,  and  908.  A look at future pos­si­bil­i­ties of eugenics–something that we dis­cuss in this program–are high­light­ed in FTR #909 and AFA #39.

Impor­tant book on the sub­ject include The War Against the Weak, by Edwin Black and The Nazi Con­nec­tion by Stephan Kuhl. In FTR #1013, we recapped Peter Lev­en­da’s pre­scient analy­sis of the over­lap between eugen­ics and fas­cist iter­a­tions of anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment. In this broad­cast, eugen­ics, anti-immi­gra­tion sen­ti­ment, genet­ic engi­neer­ing and the “immor­tal­i­ty-striv­ing” Tran­shu­man­ist move­ment are high­light­ed, not­ing the pro­gres­sion from the fas­cism of the 1930’s to immi­nent steps that would aug­ment the ascen­sion of a tru­ly “super­hu­man” elite, to the ulti­mate­ly lethal detri­ment of the rest of soci­ety.

We begin with prog­nos­ti­ca­tions about the future.

Pro­fes­sor Stephen Hawk­ing has pre­dict­ed that gene-edit­ing tech­niques will lead to the cre­ation of super­hu­mans, who will super­sede those who do not ben­e­fit from such tech­nolo­gies. ” . . . . The sci­en­tist pre­sent­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that genet­ic engi­neer­ing could cre­ate a new species of super­hu­man that could destroy the rest of human­i­ty. . . . In ‘Brief Answers to the Big Ques­tions,’ Hawking’s final thoughts on the uni­verse, the physi­cist sug­gest­ed wealthy peo­ple would soon be able to choose to edit genet­ic make­up to cre­ate super­hu­mans with enhanced mem­o­ry, dis­ease resis­tance, intel­li­gence and longevi­ty. . . . ‘Once such super­hu­mans appear, there will be sig­nif­i­cant polit­i­cal prob­lems with unim­proved humans, who won’t be able to com­pete,’ he wrote. ‘Pre­sum­ably, they will die out, or become unim­por­tant. Instead, there will be a race of self-design­ing beings who are improv­ing at an ever-increas­ing rate.’ . . .”

Peter Thiel

The obser­va­tions of Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing con­cern­ing the role of genet­ic engi­neer­ing in the ascen­sion of super­hu­mans is the Sil­i­con Val­ley-based Tran­shu­man­ist move­ment” . . . . Thiel and oth­er eccen­tric, wealthy tech-celebri­ties, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zucker­berg, have tak­en the next step to coun­ter­act that inequal­i­ty – by embark­ing on a quest to live for­ev­er. . . .Thiel and many like him have been invest­ing in research on life exten­sion, part of tran­shu­man­ism. Draw­ing on fields as diverse as neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing and phi­los­o­phy, tran­shu­man­ists believe that the lim­i­ta­tions of the human body and mor­tal­i­ty can be tran­scend­ed by machines and tech­nol­o­gy. The ulti­mate aim is immor­tal­i­ty. Some believe this is achiev­able by 2045. . . .”

Michael Anissimov–a pre­vi­ous media offi­cer at the Thiel-fund­ed Machine Intel­li­gence Research Institute–published a white nation­al­ist man­i­festo. In a 2013 inter­view. ” . . . . Thiel him­self is a Don­ald Trump sup­port­er. A one-time asso­ciate Michael Anis­si­mov, pre­vi­ous media offi­cer at Machine Intel­li­gence Research Insti­tute, a Thiel-fund­ed AI think tank, has pub­lished a white nation­al­ist man­i­festo. In a 2013 inter­view, Anis­si­mov said that there were already sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence between the races, and that a tran­shu­man­ist soci­ety would inevitably lead to ‘peo­ple lord­ing it over oth­ers in a way that has nev­er been seen before in his­to­ry’. It doesn’t take much to guess who would be doing the ‘lord­ing’. . . .”

The iden­ti­ty of the peo­ple doing the “lord­ing” may be gleaned from the fol­low­ing: ” . . . . Zoltan Ist­van, the tran­shu­man­ist can­di­date for gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, told Tech Insid­er that ‘a lot of the most impor­tant work in longevi­ty is com­ing from a hand­ful of the billionaires…around six or sev­en of them’. . . .”

Carl Schmitt, on the right. Arguably Nazi Ger­many’s top legal the­o­reti­cian and a dom­i­nant influ­ence on Thiel’s think­ing.

Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni defined fas­cism as “cor­po­ratism,” and labeled his sys­tem “The Cor­po­rate State.” In that con­text, it is instruc­tive to weigh tran­shu­man­ism: ” . . . . You basi­cal­ly can’t sep­a­rate tran­shu­man­ism from cap­i­tal­ism. An idea that’s so enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly pur­sued by Musk and Peter Thiel, and by the founders of Google, is one that needs to be seen as a muta­tion of cap­i­tal­ism, not a cure for it.’ . . . . If those who form soci­ety in the age of tran­shu­man­ism are men like Musk and Thiel, it’s prob­a­ble that this soci­ety will have few social safe­ty nets. There will be an uneven rate of tech­no­log­i­cal progress glob­al­ly; even a post-human soci­ety can repli­cate the unequal glob­al wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion which we see today. In some cities and coun­tries, inhab­i­tants may live for­ev­er, while in oth­ers the res­i­dents die of mal­nu­tri­tion. If peo­ple don’t die off, the envi­ron­men­tal con­se­quences – from wide­spread nat­ur­al resource dev­as­ta­tion to unsus­tain­able ener­gy demands – would be wide­spread. . . . ”

These are auguries of a future-to-come. A look at the present sug­gests that these prog­nos­ti­ca­tions are not unre­al­is­tic.

Nazis/white suprema­cists are already dis­tort­ing genet­ic research to suit their own ends. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, aca­d­e­mics in the field have not been enthu­si­as­tic about engag­ing them. In the past, genet­ic research has been sup­port­ive of eugen­ics phi­los­o­phy.

” . . . . Nowhere on the agen­da of the annu­al meet­ing of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Human Genet­ics, being held in San Diego this week, is a top­ic plagu­ing many of its mem­bers: the recur­ring appro­pri­a­tion of the field’s research in the name of white suprema­cy. ‘Stick­ing your neck out on polit­i­cal issues is dif­fi­cult,’ said Jen­nifer Wag­n­er, a bioethi­cist and pres­i­dent of the group’s social issues com­mit­tee, who had sought to con­vene a pan­el on the racist mis­use of genet­ics and found lit­tle trac­tion. But the specter of the field’s igno­min­ious past, which includes sup­port for the Amer­i­can eugen­ics move­ment, looms large for many geneti­cists in light of today’s white iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics. They also wor­ry about how new tools that are allow­ing them to home in on the genet­ic basis of hot-but­ton traits like intel­li­gence will be mis­con­strued to fit racist ide­olo­gies. . . .”

Ukrain­ian Nazis hon­or David Lane’s pass­ing. Lane was a mem­ber of The Order and mint­ed the 14 words. The para­mil­i­tary wing of the fas­cist Svo­bo­da Par­ty is C14, named after the 14 words.

A 14-word post­ing on the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty web­site has raised eye­brows. We believe it is an exam­ple of dog-whistling by fascist/Nazi ele­ments inside of the DHS. The “Four­teen Words” were mint­ed by Order mem­ber and Alan Berg mur­der get­away dri­ver David Lane. “88” is a well-known clan­des­tine Nazi salute. In the imme­di­ate after­math of World War II, using the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” was banned. To cir­cum­vent that, Nazis said “88,” because H is the eighth let­ter in the alpha­bet.

The num­bers 14 and 88 are often com­bined by Nazis.

The title of the DHS  post­ing is: “We Must Secure The Bor­der And Build The Wall To Make Amer­i­ca Safe Again.” The 14 words of David Lane are: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”

It comes as no sur­prise that Ian M. Smith–a for­mer DHS Trump appointee–had doc­u­ment­ed links with white suprema­cists.

Ian Smith was not alone. John Feere and Julie Kirchener–both hard line anti-immi­gra­tion activists–have been hired by Team Trump. ” . . . . Jon Feere, a for­mer legal pol­i­cy ana­lyst for the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies, or CIS, has been hired as an advis­er to Thomas D. Homan, the act­ing direc­tor of Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment, accord­ing to Home­land Secu­ri­ty spokesman David Lapan. At Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, Julie Kirch­n­er, the for­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform, or FAIR, has been hired as an advis­er to Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion act­ing Com­mis­sion­er Kevin McAleenan, said Lapan. The hir­ing of Feere and Kirch­n­er at the fed­er­al agen­cies has alarmed immi­grants’ rights activists. CIS and FAIR are think tanks based in Wash­ing­ton that advo­cate restrict­ing legal and ille­gal immi­gra­tion. The two orga­ni­za­tions were found­ed by John Tan­ton, a retired Michi­gan oph­thal­mol­o­gist who has open­ly embraced eugen­ics, the sci­ence of improv­ing the genet­ic qual­i­ty of the human pop­u­la­tion by encour­ag­ing selec­tive breed­ing and at times, advo­cat­ing for the ster­il­iza­tion of genet­i­cal­ly unde­sir­able groups. . . .”

The Fed­er­a­tion for Immi­gra­tion Reform has been part­ly fund­ed by the Pio­neer Fund, one of many orga­ni­za­tions that oper­at­ed in favor of the eugen­ics pol­i­cy of Nazi Ger­many. “. . . . Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR received around $1.2 mil­lion in grants from the Pio­neer Fund. The Pio­neer Fund is a eugeni­cist orga­ni­za­tion that was start­ed in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who want­ed to pur­sue “race bet­ter­ment” by pro­mot­ing the genet­ic lines of Amer­i­can whites. Now led by race sci­en­tist J. Philippe Rush­ton, the fund con­tin­ues to back stud­ies intend­ed to reveal the infe­ri­or­i­ty of minori­ties to whites. . . .”

On CNN for­mer Repub­li­can sen­a­tor Rick San­to­rum thought the big sto­ry of the day on which Man­afort was con­vict­ed and Michael Cohen plead guilty was the first degree mur­der charge laid against an “ille­gal” Mex­i­can migrant work­er fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of a deceased white Iowa col­lege girl Mol­lie Tib­betts. Can this become a ral­ly­ing cry for Trump and his anti-immi­grant and racist sup­port­ers?

We note in this con­text that:

  1. The announce­ment of River­a’s arrest for the Tib­betts mur­der hap­pened on the same day that Paul Man­afort’s con­vic­tion was announced and Michael Cohen plead­ed guilty. Might we be look­ing at an “op,” intend­ed to eclipse the neg­a­tive pub­lic­i­ty from the the Manafort/Cohen judi­cial events?
  2. Rivera exhib­it­ed pos­si­ble symp­toms of being sub­ject­ed to mind con­trol, not unlike Sirhan Sirhan. ” . . . . Inves­ti­ga­tors say Rivera fol­lowed Mol­lie in his dark Chevy Mal­ibu as she went for a run around 7.30pm on July 18. He ‘blacked out’ and attacked her after she threat­ened to call the police unless he left her alone, offi­cers said. . . . It is not yet clear how Mol­lie died. . . . Rivera told police that after see­ing her, he pulled over and parked his car to get out and run with her. . . . Mol­lie grabbed her phone and threat­ened to call the police before run­ning off ahead. The sus­pect said that made him ‘pan­ic’ and he chased after her. That’s when he ‘blacked out.’ He claims he remem­bers noth­ing from then until he was back in his car, dri­ving. He then noticed one of her ear­phones sit­ting on his lap and blood in the car then remem­bered he’d stuffed her in the truck. . . . ‘He fol­lowed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that par­tic­u­lar day. For what­ev­er rea­son he chose to abduct her,’ Iowa Depart­ment of Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion spe­cial agent Rick Ryan said on Tues­day after­noon. . . . ‘Rivera stat­ed that she grabbed her phone and said: ‘I’m gonna call the police.’ . . . . ‘Rivera said he then pan­icked and he got mad and that he ‘blocked’ his mem­o­ry which is what he does when he gets very upset and does­n’t remem­ber any­thing after that until he came to at an inter­sec­tion.’ . . .”
  3. Just as Sirhan had been in a right-wing milieu pri­or to the Robert Kennedy assas­si­na­tion, so, too, was Rivera: ” . . . . The promi­nent Repub­li­can fam­i­ly which owns the farm where Mol­lie Tib­betts’ alleged killer worked have insist­ed that he passed back­ground checks for migrant work­ers. Christhi­an Rivera, 24, who is from Mex­i­co, was charged with first degree mur­der on Tues­day after lead­ing police to a corn field where Mol­lie’s body was dumped. Dane Lang, co-own­er of Yarrabee Farms along with Eric Lang, con­firmed that Rivera had worked there for four years and was an employ­ee ‘of good stand­ing.’ Dane’s broth­er is Craig Lang, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Iowa Farm Bureau Fed­er­a­tion and the Iowa Board of Regents, and a 2018 Repub­li­can can­di­date for state sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture. . . .”
  4. Trump cit­ed the Tib­betts mur­der in a Charleston, West Vir­ginia, ral­ly that day: ” . . . . Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump chirped in dur­ing his Tues­day address at a ral­ly in Charleston, West Vir­ginia, blam­ing immi­gra­tion laws for Mol­lie’s death. ‘You heard about today with the ille­gal alien com­ing in very sad­ly from Mex­i­co,’ he said. ‘And you saw what hap­pened to that incred­i­ble beau­ti­ful young woman. ‘Should’ve nev­er hap­pened, ille­gal­ly in our coun­try. We’ve had a huge impact but the laws are so bad. The immi­gra­tion laws are such a dis­grace. ‘We are get­ting them changed but we have to get more Repub­li­cans.’ Gov. Kim Reynolds com­plained about the ‘bro­ken’ immi­gra­tion sys­tem that allowed a ‘preda­tor’ to live in her state. . . .”
  5. As dis­cussed in FTR #1002, dur­ing tri­al of a mem­ber of The Order (to which David Lane belonged), it emerged that Nazi ele­ments were seek­ing to per­fect mind con­trol tech­niques. It is also a mat­ter of pub­lic record that ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence are active on behalf of the GOP, and have been for many decades. The assas­si­na­tions of JFK, his broth­er and Mar­tin Luther King are but exam­ples of this.

A Dying Robert Kennedy, “the pol­ka-dot dress girl,” and Sirhan

Under hyp­no­sis, Sirhan Sirhan was able to recall a con­sid­er­able amount of infor­ma­tion about “the girl in the pol­ka-dot dress”–a fig­ure report­ed by many eye­wit­ness­es to have cel­e­brat­ed the assas­si­na­tion of Robert Kennedy and appeared to have impli­cat­ed her­self and oth­ers in the crime.

The attrac­tion described by Sirhan to “the pol­ka-dot-dress” girl sounds sim­i­lar to River­a’s being “drawn” to Mol­lie Tib­betts.  ” . . . . Con­vict­ed assas­sin Sirhan Sirhan was manip­u­lated by a seduc­tive girl in a mind con­trol plot to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his bul­lets did not kill the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, lawyers for Sirhan said in new legal papers. . . . Wit­nesses talked of see­ing such a female run­ning from the hotel shout­ing, ‘We shot Kennedy.’ But she was nev­er iden­ti­fied, and amid the chaos of the scene, descrip­tions were con­flict­ing. . . . Under hyp­no­sis, he remem­bered meet­ing the girl that night and becom­ing smit­ten with her. He said she led him to the pantry. ‘I am try­ing to fig­ure out how to hit on her.... That’s all that I can think about,’ he says in one inter­view cit­ed in the doc­u­ments. ‘I was fas­ci­nated with her looks .... She nev­er said much. It was very erot­ic. I was con­sumed by her. She was a seduc­tress with an unspo­ken unavail­abil­i­ty.’ . . . Sirhan main­tained in the hyp­notic inter­views that the mys­tery girl touched him or ‘pinched’ him on the shoul­der just before he fired then spun him around to see peo­ple com­ing through the pantry door. . . .”

1. Pro­fes­sor Stephen Hawk­ing has pre­dict­ed that gene-edit­ing tech­niques will lead to the cre­ation of super­hu­mans, who will super­sede those who do not ben­e­fit from such tech­nolo­gies. ” . . . . The sci­en­tist pre­sent­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that genet­ic engi­neer­ing could cre­ate a new species of super­hu­man that could destroy the rest of human­i­ty. . . . In ‘Brief Answers to the Big Ques­tions,’ Hawking’s final thoughts on the uni­verse, the physi­cist sug­gest­ed wealthy peo­ple would soon be able to choose to edit genet­ic make­up to cre­ate super­hu­mans with enhanced mem­o­ry, dis­ease resis­tance, intel­li­gence and longevi­ty. . . . ‘Once such super­hu­mans appear, there will be sig­nif­i­cant polit­i­cal prob­lems with unim­proved humans, who won’t be able to com­pete,’ he wrote. ‘Pre­sum­ably, they will die out, or become unim­por­tant. Instead, there will be a race of self-design­ing beings who are improv­ing at an ever-increas­ing rate.’ . . .”

“Essays Reveal Stephen Hawk­ing Pre­dict­ed Race of  ‘Super­hu­mans’” by Sarah Marsh; The Guardian; 10/14/2018

The late physi­cist and author Prof Stephen Hawk­ing has caused con­tro­ver­sy by sug­gest­ing a new race of super­hu­mans could devel­op from wealthy peo­ple choos­ing to edit their and their children’s DNA.

Hawk­ing, the author of A Brief His­to­ry of Time, who diedin March, made the pre­dic­tions in a col­lec­tion of arti­cles and essays.

The sci­en­tist pre­sent­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that genet­ic engi­neer­ing could cre­ate a new species of super­hu­man that could destroy the rest of human­i­ty. The essays, pub­lished in the Sun­day Times, were writ­ten in prepa­ra­tion for a book that will be pub­lished on Tues­day.

“I am sure that dur­ing this cen­tu­ry, peo­ple will dis­cov­er how to mod­i­fy both intel­li­gence and instincts such as aggres­sion,” he wrote.

“Laws will prob­a­bly be passed against genet­ic engi­neer­ing with humans. But some peo­ple won’t be able to resist the temp­ta­tion to improve human char­ac­ter­is­tics, such as mem­o­ry, resis­tance to dis­ease and length of life.”

In Brief Answers to the Big Ques­tions, Hawking’s final thoughts on the uni­verse, the physi­cist sug­gest­ed wealthy peo­ple would soon be able to choose to edit genet­ic make­up to cre­ate super­hu­mans with enhanced mem­o­ry, dis­ease resis­tance, intel­li­gence and longevi­ty.

Hawk­ing raised the prospect that break­throughs in genet­ics will make it attrac­tive for peo­ple to try to improve them­selves, with impli­ca­tions for “unim­proved humans”.

“Once such super­hu­mans appear, there will be sig­nif­i­cant polit­i­cal prob­lems with unim­proved humans, who won’t be able to com­pete,” he wrote. “Pre­sum­ably, they will die out, or become unim­por­tant. Instead, there will be a race of self-design­ing beings who are improv­ing at an ever-increas­ing rate.”

The com­ments refer to tech­niques such as Crispr-Cas9, a DNA-edit­ing sys­tem that was invent­ed six years ago, allow­ing sci­en­tists to mod­i­fy harm­ful genes or add new ones. Great Ormond Street hos­pi­tal for chil­dren in Lon­don has used gene edit­ing to treat chil­dren with an oth­er­wise incur­able form of leukaemia.

How­ev­er, ques­tions have been raised about whether par­ents would risk using such tech­niques for fear that the enhance­ments would have side-effects. .  . .

2. The obser­va­tions of Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ing con­cern­ing the role of genet­ic engi­neer­ing in the ascen­sion of super­hu­mans is the Sil­i­con Val­ley-based Tran­shu­man­ist move­ment” . . . . Thiel and oth­er eccen­tric, wealthy tech-celebri­ties, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zucker­berg, have tak­en the next step to coun­ter­act that inequal­i­ty – by embark­ing on a quest to live for­ev­er. . . .Thiel and many like him have been invest­ing in research on life exten­sion, part of tran­shu­man­ism. Draw­ing on fields as diverse as neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing and phi­los­o­phy, tran­shu­man­ists believe that the lim­i­ta­tions of the human body and mor­tal­i­ty can be tran­scend­ed by machines and tech­nol­o­gy. The ulti­mate aim is immor­tal­i­ty. Some believe this is achiev­able by 2045. . . .”

Michael Anissimov–a pre­vi­ous media offi­cer at the Thiel-fund­ed Machine Intel­li­gence Research Institute–published a white nation­al­ist man­i­festo. In a 2013 inter­view. ” . . . . Thiel him­self is a Don­ald Trump sup­port­er. A one-time asso­ciate Michael Anis­si­mov, pre­vi­ous media offi­cer at Machine Intel­li­gence Research Insti­tute, a Thiel-fund­ed AI think tank, has pub­lished a white nation­al­ist man­i­festo. In a 2013 inter­view, Anis­si­mov said that there were already sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence between the races, and that a tran­shu­man­ist soci­ety would inevitably lead to ‘peo­ple lord­ing it over oth­ers in a way that has nev­er been seen before in his­to­ry’. It doesn’t take much to guess who would be doing the ‘lord­ing’. . . .”

The iden­ti­ty of the peo­ple doing the “lord­ing” may be gleaned from the fol­low­ing: ” . . . . Zoltan Ist­van, the tran­shu­man­ist can­di­date for gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, told Tech Insid­er that ‘a lot of the most impor­tant work in longevi­ty is com­ing from a hand­ful of the billionaires…around six or sev­en of them’. . . .”

Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni defined fas­cism as “cor­po­ratism,” and labeled his sys­tem “The Cor­po­rate State.” In that con­text, it is instruc­tive to weigh tran­shu­man­ism: ” . . . . You basi­cal­ly can’t sep­a­rate tran­shu­man­ism from cap­i­tal­ism. An idea that’s so enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly pur­sued by Musk and Peter Thiel, and by the founders of Google, is one that needs to be seen as a muta­tion of cap­i­tal­ism, not a cure for it.’ . . . . If those who form soci­ety in the age of tran­shu­man­ism are men like Musk and Thiel, it’s prob­a­ble that this soci­ety will have few social safe­ty nets. There will be an uneven rate of tech­no­log­i­cal progress glob­al­ly; even a post-human soci­ety can repli­cate the unequal glob­al wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion which we see today. In some cities and coun­tries, inhab­i­tants may live for­ev­er, while in oth­ers the res­i­dents die of mal­nu­tri­tion. If peo­ple don’t die off, the envi­ron­men­tal con­se­quences – from wide­spread nat­ur­al resource dev­as­ta­tion to unsus­tain­able ener­gy demands – would be wide­spread. . . . ”

“The First Men to Con­quer Death Will Cre­ate a New Social Order –A Ter­ri­fy­ing One” by San­jana Vargh­ese; The New States­man; 08/25/2017

In a 2011 New York­er pro­file, Peter Thiel, tech-phil­an­thropist and bil­lion­aire, sur­mised that “prob­a­bly the most extreme form of inequal­i­ty is between peo­ple who are alive and peo­ple who are dead”. While he may not be tech­ni­cal­ly wrong, Thiel and oth­er eccen­tric, wealthy tech-celebri­ties, such as Elon Musk and Mark Zucker­berg, have tak­en the next step to coun­ter­act that inequal­i­ty – by embark­ing on a quest to live for­ev­er.

Thiel and many like him have been invest­ing in research on life exten­sion, part of tran­shu­man­ism. Draw­ing on fields as diverse as neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing and phi­los­o­phy, tran­shu­man­ists believe that the lim­i­ta­tions of the human body and mor­tal­i­ty can be tran­scend­ed by machines and tech­nol­o­gy. The ulti­mate aim is immor­tal­i­ty. Some believe this is achiev­able by 2045.

Of course, humans have long har­nessed tech­nol­o­gy, from vac­ci­na­tions to smart­phones, to improve and extend our lives. But that doesn’t admit you into the tran­shu­man­ist club. Want­i­ng to live for­ev­er, and pos­sess­ing vast sums of mon­ey and time to research, does.

The hows and whens of tran­shu­man­ism are mat­ters of debate. Some advo­cate the “Sin­gu­lar­i­ty” – a form of arti­fi­cial super-intel­li­gence which will encom­pass all of humanity’s knowl­edge, that our brains will then be uploaded to. Oth­ers believe in anti-age­ing meth­ods like cry­on­ics, freez­ing your body after death until such a time when you can be revived.

Tran­shu­man­ism is no longer a fringe move­ment either. Darpa, the US government’s research arm into advanced weapon­ry, cre­at­ed a func­tion­al pro­to­type of a super sol­dier exoskele­ton in 2014, which will be ful­ly func­tion­al in 2018, and is research­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an arti­fi­cial human brain.

“Tran­shu­man­ism doesn’t have much to say about social ques­tions. To the extent that they see the world chang­ing, it’s near­ly always in a busi­ness-as-usu­al way – tech­no-cap­i­tal­ism con­tin­ues to deliv­er its excel­lent boun­ties, and the peo­ple who ben­e­fit from the cur­rent social arrange­ment con­tin­ue to ben­e­fit from it,” says Mark O’Connell, the author of To be a Machine, who fol­lowed var­i­ous tran­shu­man­ists in Los Ange­les.”You basi­cal­ly can’t sep­a­rate tran­shu­man­ism from cap­i­tal­ism. An idea that’s so enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly pur­sued by Musk and Peter Thiel, and by the founders of Google, is one that needs to be seen as a muta­tion of cap­i­tal­ism, not a cure for it.”

Sil­i­con Val­ley is char­ac­terised by a blind belief in tech­no­log­i­cal progress, a dis­re­gard for social accept­abil­i­ty and an empha­sis on indi­vid­ual suc­cess. It’s no sur­prise, then, that it is here that the idea of liv­ing for­ev­er seems most desir­able.

Musk has pub­licly declared that we have to merge with arti­fi­cial­ly intel­li­gent machines that over­take human­i­ty in order to sur­vive. Ray Kurzweil, the inven­tor and futur­ist who pio­neered the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty, is now an engi­neer at Google. O’Connell points out that “you’d have to be com­ing from a par­tic­u­lar­ly rar­efied priv­i­lege to look at the world today and make the assess­ment, as some­one like Thiel does, that the biggest prob­lem we face as a species is the fact that peo­ple die of old age”.

On an even more basic lev­el, a tran­shu­man­ist soci­ety would undoubt­ed­ly be shaped by the ideals of those who cre­at­ed it and those who came before it. Zoltan Ist­van, the tran­shu­man­ist can­di­date for gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, told Tech Insid­er that “a lot of the most impor­tant work in longevi­ty is com­ing from a hand­ful of the billionaires…around six or sev­en of them”.

Immor­tal­i­ty as defined by straight, white men could draw out cycles of oppres­sion. With­out old atti­tudes dying off and replaced by the impa­tience of youth, social change might become impos­si­ble. Arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence has already been shown to absorb the bias­es of its cre­ators. Upload­ing someone’s brain into a clone of them­selves doesn’t make them less like­ly to dis­crim­i­nate. Thiel and Musk, for exam­ple, iden­ti­fy as lib­er­tar­i­ans and have fre­quent­ly sug­gest­ed that tax­es are obso­lete and that gov­ern­men­tal mil­i­tary spend­ing needs to be curbed (and put into life-enhanc­ing tech­nolo­gies).

Thiel him­self is a Don­ald Trump sup­port­er. A one-time asso­ciate Michael Anis­si­mov, pre­vi­ous media offi­cer at Machine Intel­li­gence Research Insti­tute, a Thiel-fund­ed AI think tank, has pub­lished a white nation­al­ist man­i­festo. In a 2013 inter­view, Anis­si­mov said that there were already sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence between the races, and that a tran­shu­man­ist soci­ety would inevitably lead to “peo­ple lord­ing it over oth­ers in a way that has nev­er been seen before in his­to­ry”. It doesn’t take much to guess who would be doing the “lord­ing”.

“The first enhanced humans will not be ordi­nary peo­ple; they’ll be the peo­ple who have already made those ordi­nary peo­ple eco­nom­i­cal­ly obso­lete through automa­tion. They’ll be tech bil­lion­aires,” says O’Connell.

If those who form soci­ety in the age of tran­shu­man­ism are men like Musk and Thiel, it’s prob­a­ble that this soci­ety will have few social safe­ty nets. There will be an uneven rate of tech­no­log­i­cal progress glob­al­ly; even a post-human soci­ety can repli­cate the unequal glob­al wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion which we see today. In some cities and coun­tries, inhab­i­tants may live for­ev­er, while in oth­ers the res­i­dents die of mal­nu­tri­tion. If peo­ple don’t die off, the envi­ron­men­tal con­se­quences – from wide­spread nat­ur­al resource dev­as­ta­tion to unsus­tain­able ener­gy demands – would be wide­spread.

It would be remiss to tar all tran­shu­man­ists with one brush. In 2014, The Huff­in­g­ton Post that the mem­ber­ship of tran­shu­man­ist soci­eties and Face­book groups has start­ed to expand in num­ber and in diver­si­ty, draw­ing in young and old peo­ple of all polit­i­cal per­sua­sions and nation­al­i­ties.

It remains the case, though, that the major­i­ty of the mon­ey invest­ed in mak­ing tran­shu­man­ism a real­i­ty comes from rich, white men. As the descen­dants of a species with a ten­den­cy to exploit the down­trod­den, any posthu­mans must guard against repli­cat­ing those same bias­es in a new soci­ety. For some, poten­tial­ly in the near future, death might become option­al. For oth­ers, death will remain inevitable.

3. Nazis/white suprema­cists are already dis­tort­ing genet­ic research to suit their own ends. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, aca­d­e­mics in the field have not been enthu­si­as­tic about engag­ing them. In the past, genet­ic research has been sup­port­ive of eugen­ics phi­los­o­phy.

” . . . . Nowhere on the agen­da of the annu­al meet­ing of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Human Genet­ics, being held in San Diego this week, is a top­ic plagu­ing many of its mem­bers: the recur­ring appro­pri­a­tion of the field’s research in the name of white suprema­cy. ‘Stick­ing your neck out on polit­i­cal issues is dif­fi­cult,’ said Jen­nifer Wag­n­er, a bioethi­cist and pres­i­dent of the group’s social issues com­mit­tee, who had sought to con­vene a pan­el on the racist mis­use of genet­ics and found lit­tle trac­tion. But the specter of the field’s igno­min­ious past, which includes sup­port for the Amer­i­can eugen­ics move­ment, looms large for many geneti­cists in light of today’s white iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics. They also wor­ry about how new tools that are allow­ing them to home in on the genet­ic basis of hot-but­ton traits like intel­li­gence will be mis­con­strued to fit racist ide­olo­gies. . . .”

“Geneti­cists See Work Dis­tort­ed for Racist Ends” by Amy Har­mon; The New York Times [West­ern Edi­tion]; 10/18/2018; pp.A1-A18.

Nowhere on the agen­da of the annu­al meet­ing of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Human Genet­ics, being held in San Diego this week, is a top­ic plagu­ing many of its mem­bers: the recur­ring appro­pri­a­tion of the field’s research in the name of white suprema­cy.

“Stick­ing your neck out on polit­i­cal issues is dif­fi­cult,” said Jen­nifer Wag­n­er, a bioethi­cist and pres­i­dent of the group’s social issues com­mit­tee, who had sought to con­vene a pan­el on the racist mis­use of genet­ics and found lit­tle trac­tion.

But the specter of the field’s igno­min­ious past, which includes sup­port for the Amer­i­can eugen­ics move­ment, looms large for many geneti­cists in light of today’s white iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics. They also wor­ry about how new tools that are allow­ing them to home in on the genet­ic basis of hot-but­ton traits like intel­li­gence will be mis­con­strued to fit racist ide­olo­gies.

In recent months, some sci­en­tists have spot­ted dis­tor­tions of their own aca­d­e­m­ic papers in far-right inter­net forums. Oth­ers have field­ed con­fused queries about claims of white supe­ri­or­i­ty wrapped in the jar­gon of human genet­ics. Mis­con­cep­tions about how genes fac­tor into America’s stark racial dis­par­i­ties have sur­faced in the nation’s increas­ing­ly heat­ed argu­ments over school achieve­ment gaps, immi­gra­tion and polic­ing. . . .

. . . . Already, some of those audi­ences are flaunt­ing DNA ances­try test results indi­cat­ing exclu­sive­ly Euro­pean her­itage as though they were racial ID cards. They are cel­e­brat­ing traces of Nean­derthal DNA not found in peo­ple with only African ances­try. And they are trad­ing mes­sages with the cod­ed term “race real­ism,” which takes oxy­gen from the claim that the lib­er­al sci­en­tif­ic estab­lish­ment has obscured the truth about bio­log­i­cal racial dif­fer­ences. . . .

. . . . And while much of cur­rent white nation­al­ist rhetoric is framed in terms of pre­serv­ing a white cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, experts say it relies on a famil­iar nar­ra­tive of immutable bio­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences. On a YouTube talk show ear­li­er this year, for instance, Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, whose appear­ance set off a brawl out­side a Repub­li­can club in Man­hat­tan last week, echoed the pet white suprema­cist the­o­ry that the envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges of cold win­ters explain the sup­posed high­er intel­li­gence of north­ern Euro­peans.

4. A 14-word post­ing on the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty web­site has raised eye­brows. We believe it is an exam­ple of dog-whistling by fascist/Nazi ele­ments inside of the DHS. The “Four­teen Words” were mint­ed by Order mem­ber and Alan Berg mur­der get­away dri­ver David Lane. “88” is a well-known clan­des­tine Nazi salute. In the imme­di­ate after­math of World War II, using the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” was banned. To cir­cum­vent that, Nazis said “88,” because H is the eighth let­ter in the alpha­bet.

The num­bers 14 and 88 are often com­bined by Nazis.

The title of the DHS  post­ing: “We Must Secure The Bor­der And Build The Wall To Make Amer­i­ca Safe Again.”

The 14 words of David Lane: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”

In arti­cles below, we note the inclu­sion of ele­ments in the DHS for whom such atti­tudes would be expect­ed.

“Are ‘14’ and ‘88’ Nazi Dog Whis­tles in Bor­der Secu­ri­ty Document–Or Just Num­bers?” by Aviya Kush­n­er; For­ward; 6/28/2018. 

Some­times a dog whis­tle can be a num­ber, not a word. The num­ber “88” appeared in a strange con­text in a press release from Home­land Secu­ri­ty call­ing for build­ing a bor­der wall, along with a head­line that had a total of four­teen words — but until today, no one seems to have noticed.

Today, the press release, orig­i­nal­ly issued in Feb­ru­ary, is get­ting some atten­tion from jour­nal­ists cov­er­ing the “hate and extrem­ism” beat. Here is an exam­ple, from Christo­pher Math­ias, who cov­ers hate and extrem­ism for The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

What is hap­pen­ing, for those need­ing a trans­la­tion, is this: The num­ber “88” is code for Heil Hitler. And 14 is white-suprema­cist short­hand.

“One of the most com­mon white suprema­cist sym­bols, 88 is used through­out the entire white suprema­cist move­ment, not just neo-Nazis. One can find it as a tat­too or graph­ic sym­bol; as part of the name of a group, pub­li­ca­tion or web­site; or as part of a screen­name or e‑mail address,” the ADL’s hate sym­bol data­base notes.

Most of the press release, titled “We Must Secure The Bor­der And Build The Wall To Make Amer­i­ca Safe Again,” uses per­cent­ages, as do many sta­tis­ti­cal reports.

But the sec­ond-to-last line is what is draw­ing atten­tion on Twit­ter, because it has this curi­ous word­ing: “On aver­age, out of 88 claims that pass the cred­i­ble fear screen­ing, few­er than 13 will ulti­mate­ly result in a grant of asy­lum.”

That’s odd. Nor­mal­ly, a report might say some­thing like “less than 15 per­cent ulti­mate­ly result in a grant of asy­lum.”

It may just be coin­ci­dence, and on a day when jour­nal­ists are shot, every­one with a con­nec­tion to media is under­stand­ably on edge. But there is one oth­er fac­tor to con­sid­er, say those who hear a dog whis­tle: what if this “88” is read in con­junc­tion with the head­line, which has 14 words?

The 14-word thing is its own sig­nal. As the ADL hate sym­bol data­base explains in its unpack­ing of 88:

The num­ber is fre­quent­ly com­bined with anoth­er white suprema­cist numer­ic code, 14 (short­hand for the so-called “14 Words” slo­gan: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren”) in the form of 1488, 14/88, 14–88, or 8814.

That slo­gan can be under­stood as some­thing not very far from the press release head­line: “We Must Secure The Bor­der And Build The Wall To Make Amer­i­ca Safe Again.”

Coin­ci­dence? Maybe.

But a numer­i­cal sys­tem of inter­pre­ta­tion can be a way for a group to com­mu­ni­cate with itself. In Jew­ish tra­di­tion, gema­tria is one sys­tem of Bib­li­cal com­men­tary. Each let­ter in the Hebrew alpha­bet has a numer­i­cal val­ue, and some com­men­ta­tors use this sym­bol of num­bers to arrive at addi­tion­al mean­ings. Some see pro­found mean­ing in this, oth­ers have always dis­missed it as mere coin­ci­dence.

In the case of the DHS press release, it may be coin­ci­dence — or it may be more, a sig­nal to those who know the sys­tem of codes.

What can be said for sure is this: It is unusu­al to use the sta­tis­tic “13 out of 88.” It could, of course, be a typo. And the head­line bear­ing the req­ui­site “14 words” is not sooth­ing for any­one who has spent time with hate data­bas­es.

But right now, those are the only def­i­nite take-aways.

In a time of fear and anx­i­ety, it is impor­tant to take extra care before draw­ing con­clu­sions. Still, from now on, it may be wise to watch the num­bers, not just the words.

6. It comes as no sur­prise that Ian M. Smith–a for­mer DHS Trump appointee–had doc­u­ment­ed links with white suprema­cists.

“Emails Link For­mer Home­land Secu­ri­ty Offi­cial to White Nation­al­ists” by Rosie Gray; The Atlantic; 08/28/2018.

In the past two years, lead­ers of an embold­ened white nation­al­ism have burst into the fore­front of nation­al pol­i­tics and coa­lesced around a so-called alt-right sub­cul­ture as they have endeav­ored to make their ide­ol­o­gy part of the main­stream. Recent devel­op­ments have shed light on pre­vi­ous­ly unknown con­nec­tions between white-nation­al­ist activists and the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. Now, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty has denounced “all forms of vio­lent extrem­ism” fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of a pol­i­cy ana­lyst who had con­nec­tions with white nation­al­ists, accord­ing to leaked emails obtained by The Atlantic.

The emails show that the offi­cial, Ian M. Smith, had in the past been in con­tact with a group that includ­ed known white nation­al­ists as they planned var­i­ous events. On one of the email threads, the address of the alt-right white nation­al­ist leader Richard Spencer is includ­ed, as well as Smith’s. Anoth­er group of recip­i­ents includes Smith as well as Jared Tay­lor, the founder of the white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion Amer­i­can Renais­sance, who calls him­self a “white advo­cate.”

The mes­sages, giv­en to The Atlantic by a source to whom they were for­ward­ed, paint a pic­ture of the social scene in which white nation­al­ists gath­ered for an “Alt-Right Toast­mas­ters” night in 2016, and orga­nized din­ner par­ties and vis­its from out-of-town friends. And they pro­vide a glimpse into how a group that includ­ed hard-core white nation­al­ists was able to oper­ate rel­a­tive­ly incog­ni­to in the wider world, par­tic­u­lar­ly in con­ser­v­a­tive cir­cles. The rev­e­la­tion of these mes­sages comes amid increas­ing scruti­ny of white nation­al­ists’ ties to the admin­is­tra­tion; a White House speech­writer, Dar­ren Beat­tie, left the admin­is­tra­tion after CNN report­ed ear­li­er this month that he had attend­ed a con­fer­ence with white nation­al­ists in 2016. The Wash­ing­ton Post report­edlast week that Peter Brimelow, the pub­lish­er of the white nation­al­ist web­site VDare, had attend­ed a par­ty at the top White House eco­nom­ic advis­er Lar­ry Kudlow’s house. Kud­low told the Post he was unaware of Brimelow’s views and would not have invit­ed him had he known about them.

After being reached for com­ment about The Atlantic’s report­ing, Smith said in an email: “I no longer work at DHS as of last week and didn’t attend any of the events you’ve men­tioned.” Nei­ther he nor DHS dis­put­ed that it is him on the emails in ques­tion.

White nation­al­ists have an affin­i­ty for the pres­i­dent, who they believe shares some of their pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ties. After the coun­ter­pro­test­er Heather Hey­er was killed at a white-nation­al­ist ral­ly in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, in 2017, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump remarked that there were “very fine peo­ple on both sides” who attend­ed the ral­ly. After hear­ing the president’s state­ment, Spencer told The Atlantic he was “real­ly proud of him.”

Accord­ing to sources with knowl­edge of Smith’s role at DHS, he was a pol­i­cy ana­lyst work­ing on immi­gra­tion. He used to work for the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), an anti-immi­gra­tion legal orga­ni­za­tion asso­ci­at­ed with the right-wing Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR). From 2014 to 2017 he wrote a num­ber of columns on immi­gra­tion for Nation­al Review. (The NationalReview.com edi­tor Charles Cooke didn’t imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment).

Smith’s pub­lic writ­ings show­cased a right-wing per­spec­tive on immi­gra­tion, such as oppos­ing the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act of 1965, which end­ed race-based restric­tions on immi­gra­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly from coun­tries in Asia and Africa, and which Smith argued was respon­si­ble for the “bare­ly gov­ern­able sys­tem we have today,” oppos­ing sanc­tu­ary cities, and applaud­ing the con­tro­ver­sial S.B. 1070 anti–illegal immi­gra­tion law in Ari­zona.

In an inter­viewwith the web­site FOIA Advi­sor in 2016, Smith said he “was born just out­side Seat­tle, grew up in Van­cou­ver, British Colum­bia, and lived in Bei­jing, Hong Kong, and Syd­ney, Aus­tralia for many years.” In that inter­view, he described his role at the IRLI thus­ly: “I work at a non­prof­it law firm that rep­re­sents peo­ple harmed by the government’s fail­ure to reg­u­late immi­gra­tion.”

Dale Wilcox, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the IRLI, said in a state­ment: “Ian Smith was an inves­tiga­tive asso­ciate at IRLI, as an inde­pen­dent con­trac­tor for two years and an employ­ee for less than a year between Jan­u­ary 2015 and Octo­ber 2017. How our employ­ees fill their time out­side of the office, or the pri­vate rela­tion­ships they pur­sue, are not issues of IRLI’s con­cern. It is not any organization’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to track their employ­ees after hours activ­i­ties or peer into their employee’s pri­vate lives. For the record, IRLI and FAIR have no asso­ci­a­tion with the indi­vid­u­als men­tioned and we repu­di­ate their views. Fur­ther­more, if it would come to our atten­tion that any employ­ees are asso­ci­at­ed with indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions that hold nox­ious views on mat­ters of race and eth­nic­i­ty, that may be grounds for ter­mi­na­tion. Final­ly, it must be not­ed that sim­ply appear­ing on someone’s email list should nev­er be inter­pret­ed as a blan­ket endorse­ment of that individual’s point of view.”

After describ­ing the emails involv­ing Smith in detail to DHS spokes­peo­ple on Mon­day, The Atlantic learned on Tues­day that Smith had resigned from his posi­tion.

A DHS spokesper­son, Tyler Q. Houl­ton, said: “The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty is com­mit­ted to com­bat­ing all forms of vio­lent extrem­ism, espe­cial­ly move­ments that espouse racial suprema­cy or big­otry. This type of rad­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy runs counter to the Department’s mis­sion of keep­ing Amer­i­ca safe.”

Sev­er­al emails obtained by The Atlantic show Smith includ­ed on threads with peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with white nation­al­ism, such as Mar­cus Epstein, a for­mer Tom Tan­cre­do aide who entered an Alford plea in 2009for assault­ing a black woman in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in 2007, and Devin Sauci­er, an edi­tor (under a pseu­do­nym) at Amer­i­can Renais­sance. Epstein declined to com­ment; Sauci­er did not respond to a request for com­ment.

On June 3, 2016, Epstein emailed a group includ­ing Smith, Sauci­er, Tay­lor, and oth­ers to invite them to an “Alt-Right Toast­mas­ters” event. “We are hav­ing our much delayed fol­low up meet­ing on Mon­day June 6 at 7:00 PM. A cou­ple of out of town guests will be there. Please RSVP and if you want to invite any­one else, please check with me,” Epstein wrote. “I’m going to give a short pre­sen­ta­tion on ‘The Pros and Cons of Anonymi­ty’ at 8:00 fol­lowed by dis­cus­sion.” In a pre­vi­ous email on the sub­ject, Epstein had said he was tim­ing the event for a vis­it from Wayne Lut­ton, the edi­tor of the white-nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion The Social Con­tract. Accord­ing to a source who was there, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, Smith attend­ed this event.

On Decem­ber 17, 2015, Sauci­er and Epstein emailed a YouTube link, which is now defunct, to a group of address­es includ­ing Smith’s and Spencer’s. Reached by phone, Spencer said, “To my knowl­edge, I’ve nev­er met Ian Smith. I get roped in to all sorts of email con­ver­sa­tions, I receive too many emails every day for me to respond to.”

Though the emails don’t show Smith and Spencer inter­act­ing, some of the mes­sages indi­cate a famil­iar­i­ty on Smith’s part with Spencer’s projects. In anoth­er email, sent on March 7, 2015, Smith refers to an event held by “NPI,” the acronym for the Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, Spencer’s white-nation­al­ist non­prof­it, say­ing he had missed it because he was out of town. And in anoth­er, on May 9, 2016, Smith rec­om­mend­ed some­one for a job at a promi­nent, Trump-sup­port­ing media out­let, say­ing that the per­son was “cur­rent­ly work­ing in devel­op­ment at LI” (the con­ser­v­a­tive train­ing group the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute) and “writes for Radix, Amren, VDare and Chron­i­cles under a pseu­do­nym.” The word Amren refers to Amer­i­can Renais­sanceRadix is Spencer’s pub­li­ca­tion. “Chron­i­cles” appears to refer to Chron­i­cles Mag­a­zine, anoth­er pub­li­ca­tion asso­ci­at­ed with this move­ment, which has pub­lished Lut­ton and Sam Fran­cis, the late edi­tor of the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens’ newslet­ter. Smith also wrote that the per­son he had rec­om­mend­ed “helps Richard and JT with their web­sites,” appear­ing to refer to Spencer and Jared Tay­lor.

In one email exchange at the end of Octo­ber 2015, Ben Zapp, a real-estate agent who has in the past been pho­tographed with mem­bers of this scene, invit­ed a group includ­ing Smith; Sauci­er; Epstein; Tim Dion­isopou­los, a Media Research Cen­ter staffer; and Kevin DeAn­na, the for­mer Youth for West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion pres­i­dent, to his apart­ment for din­ner, stat­ing that he wasn’t going to that weekend’s NPI con­fer­ence. (The 2016 con­fer­ence of NPI is where Spencer was caught on videolead­ing a “Hail Trump” chant while audi­ence mem­bers gave Nazi salutes.) Zapp, Dion­isopou­los, and DeAn­na did not respond to requests for com­ment.

Epstein replied to the thread say­ing he wasn’t going to NPI either but was plan­ning to social­ize with peo­ple who were, and that “I can’t speak for every­one, but this is prob­a­bly not the best time.” Zapp respond­ed, “It’s a din­ner, not a party—thus the hav­ing to get out by 9:30 or 10 at the lat­est. I would imag­ine this would start on the ear­ly side, like 7:00 or even ear­li­er. So it’s settled—we know my home shall remain juden­frei.” Juden­frei is a Ger­man word mean­ing “free of Jews,” which the Nazis used to describe areas from which Jews had been expelled or killed.

Smith respond­ed to the group: “They don’t call it Fre­itag for noth­ing,” using the Ger­man word for “Fri­day,” and added, “I was plan­ning to hit the bar dur­ing the din­ner hours and talk to peo­ple like Matt Par­rot [sic], etc. I should have time to pop by though.” Matt Par­rott is the for­mer spokesman for the neo-Nazi Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty, which flamed out ear­li­er this year after its leader, Matthew Heim­bach, had an affair with Parrott’s wife, lead­ing to the two falling out.

And in an email from 2014, Smith jok­ing­ly calls “spoon­ing dibs” on Jack Dono­van dur­ing a vis­it from Dono­van, a “mas­culin­ist” writer who has ties to mem­bers of the alt-right and is heav­i­ly involved in Wolves of Vin­land, a neo-pagan group entwined with the white-nation­al­ist move­ment. Sauci­er had emailed sev­er­al peo­ple to dis­cuss sleep­ing arrange­ments for Dono­van, telling them that, “There was some mis­un­der­stand­ing about how Jack Dono­van would arrive down in Lynch­burg for fes­tiv­i­ties this week­end”; the Wolves of Vin­land are based out­side of Lynch­burg, Vir­ginia.

7. Ian Smith was not alone. John Feee and Julie Kirchener–both hard line anti-immi­gra­tion activists–have been hired by Team Trump. ” . . . . Jon Feere, a for­mer legal pol­i­cy ana­lyst for the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies, or CIS, has been hired as an advis­er to Thomas D. Homan, the act­ing direc­tor of Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment, accord­ing to Home­land Secu­ri­ty spokesman David Lapan. At Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, Julie Kirch­n­er, the for­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform, or FAIR, has been hired as an advis­er to Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion act­ing Com­mis­sion­er Kevin McAleenan, said Lapan. The hir­ing of Feere and Kirch­n­er at the fed­er­al agen­cies has alarmed immi­grants’ rights activists. CIS and FAIR are think tanks based in Wash­ing­ton that advo­cate restrict­ing legal and ille­gal immi­gra­tion. The two orga­ni­za­tions were found­ed by John Tan­ton, a retired Michi­gan oph­thal­mol­o­gist who has open­ly embraced eugen­ics, the sci­ence of improv­ing the genet­ic qual­i­ty of the human pop­u­la­tion by encour­ag­ing selec­tive breed­ing and at times, advo­cat­ing for the ster­il­iza­tion of genet­i­cal­ly unde­sir­able groups. . . .”

The Fed­er­a­tion for Immi­gra­tion Reform has been part­ly fund­ed by the Pio­neer Fund, an orga­ni­za­tion that oper­at­ed in favor of the eugen­ics pol­i­cy of Nazi Ger­many. “. . . . Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR received around $1.2 mil­lion in grants from the Pio­neer Fund. The Pio­neer Fund is a eugeni­cist orga­ni­za­tion that was start­ed in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who want­ed to pur­sue “race bet­ter­ment” by pro­mot­ing the genet­ic lines of Amer­i­can whites. Now led by race sci­en­tist J. Philippe Rush­ton, the fund con­tin­ues to back stud­ies intend­ed to reveal the infe­ri­or­i­ty of minori­ties to whites. . . .”

“Hard-Line Anti-Immi­gra­tion Advo­cates Hired at 2 Fed­er­al Agen­cies” by Maria San­tana; CNN; 4/12/2017.

Two hard-line oppo­nents of ille­gal immi­gra­tion have obtained high-lev­el advi­so­ry jobs at fed­er­al immi­gra­tion agen­cies in the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty.

Jon Feere, a for­mer legal pol­i­cy ana­lyst for the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies, or CIS, has been hired as an advis­er to Thomas D. Homan, the act­ing direc­tor of Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment, accord­ing to Home­land Secu­ri­ty spokesman David Lapan.

At Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, Julie Kirch­n­er, the for­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform, or FAIR, has been hired as an advis­er to Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion act­ing Com­mis­sion­er Kevin McAleenan, said Lapan.

The hir­ing of Feere and Kirch­n­er at the fed­er­al agen­cies has alarmed immi­grants’ rights activists.

CIS and FAIR are think tanks based in Wash­ing­ton that advo­cate restrict­ing legal and ille­gal immi­gra­tion. The two orga­ni­za­tions were found­ed by John Tan­ton, a retired Michi­gan oph­thal­mol­o­gist who has open­ly embraced eugen­ics, the sci­ence of improv­ing the genet­ic qual­i­ty of the human pop­u­la­tion by encour­ag­ing selec­tive breed­ing and at times, advo­cat­ing for the ster­il­iza­tion of genet­i­cal­ly unde­sir­able groups.

Dan Stein, pres­i­dent of FAIR, not­ed in a 2011 New York Times arti­cle that Tan­ton did not hold a lead­er­ship role in the orga­ni­za­tion any more and was no longer on the board of direc­tors. He is still list­ed as belong­ing to FAIR’s nation­al board of advi­sors.

New aides and their con­nec­tions

Kirch­n­er worked as exec­u­tive direc­tor of FAIR from Octo­ber 2005 to August 2015. She then joined the Don­ald Trump pres­i­den­tial cam­paign as an immi­gra­tion advis­er before being appoint­ed to Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion.

While at CIS, Feere pro­mot­ed leg­is­la­tion to end auto­mat­ic cit­i­zen­ship for US-born chil­dren of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants. He argued that bear­ing a child on US soil pro­vides an immi­grant access to wel­fare and oth­er social ben­e­fits, which has spurred a rise in what he calls “birth tourism,” the prac­tice of for­eign­ers trav­el­ing to the Unit­ed States to give birth to add a US cit­i­zen to the fam­i­ly.

The non­par­ti­san fact-check­ing web­site Poli­ti­fact has most­ly debunked those claims, con­clud­ing that US-born chil­dren do lit­tle in the long term to help their immi­grant par­ents. Cit­i­zen chil­dren can­not spon­sor their par­ents for cit­i­zen­ship until the young per­son turns 21 and any social ben­e­fits would be giv­en to the child and not their undoc­u­ment­ed par­ents, who would not qual­i­fy. The Pew Research Cen­ter also has found that the num­ber of babies born to unau­tho­rized immi­grants in the Unit­ed States has been declin­ing steadi­ly in recent years.

Feere also has been a strong crit­ic of Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals, the pro­gram enact­ed by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma via exec­u­tive action that has grant­ed pro­tec­tion from depor­ta­tion to young immi­grants brought to the coun­try as chil­dren.

In one arti­cle pub­lished by CIS, Feere ques­tioned whether chil­dren brought to the Unit­ed States at an ear­ly age were suf­fi­cient­ly assim­i­lat­ed or loy­al to this nation to be grant­ed any type of legal sta­tus.

In a 2013 inter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Post, Mark Kriko­ri­an, exec­u­tive direc­tor of CIS, wor­ried about grow­ing “mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism” and con­tend­ed that a “lot of immi­gra­tion push­ers don’t like Amer­i­ca the way it is” and want to change it.

Stein, the pres­i­dent of FAIR, defend­ed in a 1997 inter­view with the Wall Street Jour­nal his belief that cer­tain immi­grant groups are engaged in “com­pet­i­tive breed­ing” to dimin­ish Amer­i­ca’s white major­i­ty.

“CIS has pub­lished arti­cles that labeled immi­grants ‘third world gold dig­gers’ and that blamed Cen­tral Amer­i­can asy­lum seek­ers for the ‘bur­geon­ing street gang prob­lem’ in the US, while Dan Stein has said that many immi­grants that come to the US hate Amer­i­ca and every­thing the coun­try stands for,” said Hei­di Beirich, direc­tor of South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter’s Intel­li­gence Project, which over­sees the cen­ter’s year­ly count of anti-immi­grant groups. “We take these des­ig­na­tions very seri­ous­ly, and CIS and FAIR are far-right fringe groups that reg­u­lar­ly pub­lish racist, xeno­pho­bic mate­r­i­al and spread mis­in­for­ma­tion about immi­grants and immi­gra­tion.”

Through­out the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and since he’s tak­en office, Don­ald Trump’s immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy has mir­rored details found in CIS reports. In April 2016, for exam­ple, CIS pub­lished a list of “79 immi­gra­tion actions that the next pres­i­dent can take.” The list includ­ed such mea­sures as with­hold­ing fed­er­al funds from sanc­tu­ary cities, elim­i­nat­ing the “Pri­or­i­ty Enforce­ment Pro­gram,” which pri­or­i­tized the depor­ta­tion of the most seri­ous crim­i­nals dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, and reduc­ing the num­ber of wel­fare-depen­dent immi­grants liv­ing in the Unit­ed States.

Many of these rec­om­men­da­tions have already been enact­ed, pro­posed or dis­cussed by the admin­is­tra­tion, and some were includ­ed in Trump’s exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion issued in Jan­u­ary.

“The cam­paign and the admin­is­tra­tion have used oth­er mate­r­i­al of ours so I’m delight­ed that they are using that immi­gra­tion actions list,” Kriko­ri­an said. “But there’s a dif­fer­ence between using CIS’ mate­r­i­al as source of impor­tant research and CIS actu­al­ly hav­ing a direct oper­a­tional link to the admin­is­tra­tion.”

Kriko­ri­an declined to com­ment on Feere’s job at ICE.

Feere, Kirch­n­er, act­ing ICE Direc­tor Homan and act­ing Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sion­er McAleenan declined requests for inter­views.

Kirch­n­er and Feere’s advi­so­ry roles at Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion and ICE have rat­tled some immi­grants’ rights advo­cates, who say they are con­cerned by the new­found pow­er and influ­ence far-right nativist groups have gained with­in the gov­ern­ment since Trump came into office.

“These groups have spent 20 years look­ing for ways that they could hurt immi­grants and now they’ve been giv­en the keys to the king­dom,” said Lynn Tra­monte, deputy direc­tor of Amer­i­ca’s Voice, a pro-immi­grant advo­ca­cy group based in Wash­ing­ton whose goal is to cre­ate a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

Some pro-immi­grant advo­cates already sense a grow­ing break­down in their abil­i­ty to effec­tive­ly get infor­ma­tion from ICE.

“There is this gen­er­al, very harsh sense with­in the non­prof­it advo­ca­cy com­mu­ni­ty that we are being entire­ly shut out on every­thing from engage­ment on pol­i­cy all the way to indi­vid­ual immi­grant cas­es, and just very basic infor­ma­tion that ICE should be trans­par­ent about, like how many deten­tion cen­ters are cur­rent­ly in oper­a­tion around the coun­try,” said a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from a pro-immi­grant orga­ni­za­tion who, along with some oth­er col­leagues, request­ed anonymi­ty in order to speak freely.

ICE adds groups to stake­hold­er meet­ings

This marks what some say is a dras­tic change in the rela­tion­ship between ICE and pro-immi­grant advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions. Dur­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, a coali­tion of pro-immi­grant groups known as the ICE-NGO Work­ing Group start­ed hold­ing con­fi­den­tial, closed-door stake­hold­er meet­ings sev­er­al times a year with high-rank­ing immi­gra­tion offi­cials as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to express con­cerns and ask spe­cif­ic ques­tions about enforce­ment pol­i­cy, the rights of immi­grants and their treat­ment while in deten­tion.

The Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Lawyers Asso­ci­a­tion, the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion’s Immi­grant Jus­tice Project and the Nation­al Immi­grant Jus­tice Cen­ter are among the advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions that make up the ICE-NGO Work­ing Group.

In Feb­ru­ary, at the first such get-togeth­er under the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, mem­bers of the work­ing group felt blind­sided to dis­cov­er that some anti-immi­grant, pro-enforce­ment groups also were in atten­dance.

In addi­tion to CIS and FAIR, invi­ta­tions were extend­ed to the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute, which is the legal arm of FAIR, Num­ber­sUSA and Judi­cial Watch. These groups sup­port stricter enforce­ment of immi­gra­tion laws, reduc­ing over­all immi­gra­tion lev­els and the increased deten­tion and depor­ta­tion of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

“We are frus­trat­ed and angry that what felt like a pro­duc­tive con­ver­sa­tion and an exchange of ideas and infor­ma­tion about how to ensure the safe and fair treat­ment of immi­grants in their (ICE) cus­tody has mor­phed into a meet­ing with orga­ni­za­tions whose mis­sion is to restrict immi­gra­tion and per­pet­u­ate hate against immi­grants,” said one pro-immi­grant advo­cate who attend­ed the Feb­ru­ary meet­ing.

Pro-enforce­ment, pro-immi­grant groups debate

Lead­ers of the pro-enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tions argue, how­ev­er, that as clear stake­hold­ers in the immi­gra­tion debate they have every right to be at the ICE meet­ings.

“We were inten­tion­al­ly exclud­ed from the meet­ings under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, but with the new man­age­ment, ICE invit­ed some oth­er groups, too, and it’s long over­due,” said Kriko­ri­an, who acknowl­edged he does not remem­ber being invit­ed to these meet­ings.

Pro-immi­grant advo­cates have told ICE they would pre­fer if the agency met with those groups sep­a­rate­ly, which ICE has declined to do. Some advo­cates said they don’t take issue with peo­ple who have oppo­site views on immi­gra­tion, but believe these groups have con­sis­tent­ly spread ver­i­fi­ably false infor­ma­tion to demo­nize the immi­grant com­mu­ni­ty and its allies.

“There’s obvi­ous fear in the com­mu­ni­ty because of the anti-immi­grant rhetoric com­ing from this admin­is­tra­tion, but hav­ing Jon Feere, who came from CIS, in a lead­er­ship posi­tion at ICE and now these anti-immi­grant groups show­ing up at stake­hold­er meet­ings for the first time in 14 years, it has also cre­at­ed this real­ly deep-seat­ed fear in the advo­ca­cy com­mu­ni­ty,” said an immi­grants’ rights activist who teared up recall­ing how one advo­cate felt she could no longer par­tic­i­pate for fear of expos­ing her­self to ICE.

“Many immi­grants’ rights advo­cates are immi­grants them­selves, some are DACA recip­i­ents, and they are now afraid to even show up at the stake­hold­er meet­ings because they may be tak­en into cus­tody while at ICE head­quar­ters. These are smart, pro­fes­sion­al, well-edu­cat­ed advo­cates that are now scared to do their jobs,” said the activist.

As a result, immi­grants’ rights orga­ni­za­tions have since noti­fied ICE that they have dis­solved the ICE-NGO Work­ing Group and will no longer par­tic­i­pate in the quar­ter­ly gath­er­ings.

ICE will keep meet­ings going

In a state­ment ICE said the meet­ings will con­tin­ue:

“ICE is com­mit­ted to trans­paren­cy with all inter­est­ed stake­hold­ers — not just those of one opin­ion on immi­gra­tion enforce­ment issues and poli­cies. ICE appre­ci­ates con­struc­tive and diverse view­points from a wide spec­trum of orga­ni­za­tions inter­est­ed in immi­gra­tion enforce­ment. The agency con­tin­ues to expand engage­ment with stake­hold­ers and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. Our goal is to make sure all mem­bers of the pub­lic ful­ly under­stand what we do and what we don’t do.”

Peter Rob­bio a spokesman for Num­ber­sUSA, a group that also scored its first invi­ta­tion to the stake­hold­er meet­ing, described this as the best rela­tion­ship the orga­ni­za­tion has had with any admin­is­tra­tion in 21 years.

Said FAIR’s Stein: “Pres­i­dent Trump under­stands the immi­gra­tion issue from the larg­er view of the nation­al inter­est and has tapped a strong bench of peo­ple who bring exper­tise on the issue — some who are in the admin­is­tra­tion, some who are not.”

If pro-immi­grant groups are unhap­py about that, said Tom Fit­ton, pres­i­dent of Judi­cial Watch, they bet­ter get used to the new real­i­ty.

“I’m sure these left-wing groups are used to being able to con­trol the debate and con­trol the room, and I’m sure they would love to be able to con­tin­ue to do that, even dur­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion,” Fit­ton said.

The pro-enforce­ment groups are enjoy­ing the unprece­dent­ed input to shape immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy and hope to con­tin­ue attend­ing the stake­hold­er meet­ings with ICE.

“We should be encour­ag­ing more of these meet­ings,” Fit­ton said. “I know the lib­er­al left is afraid to con­front the argu­ments of their oppo­nents and want to be able to talk to the gov­ern­ment with­out any­one hold­ing them to account, but we are not opposed to par­tic­i­pat­ing in them with the oth­er groups.”

Not quite, says the oth­er side.

“This isn’t exact­ly the same sit­u­a­tion as hav­ing Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans, con­ser­v­a­tives and lib­er­als, both in the same room,” coun­tered one pro-immi­grant advo­cate. “The fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence is that their agen­da is dri­ven by a nativist white suprema­cist approach to pol­i­cy. So, to sit togeth­er in a room, not only does it have a chill­ing effect, but I think that many of the advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing ours, fear that we would be nor­mal­iz­ing the nativist agen­da as it gets into the halls of our gov­ern­ment.”

6. An arti­cle cit­ed, but not excerpt­ed, in the audio por­tion of the pro­gram notes the role of the scape­goat­ing of immi­gra­tion in the rise of neo­fas­cist par­ties. The dev­as­ta­tion from the mid­dle East wars–Syria in particular–has dri­ven large num­bers of des­per­ate refugees to Europe. This plays beau­ti­ful­ly into the polit­i­cal agen­da of so-called “pop­ulists” who cite them as the rea­son for the imple­men­ta­tion of what is essen­tial­ly a xeno­pho­bic plat­form.

What this arti­cle does NOT men­tion is that one of the Swe­den Democ­rats’ most promi­nent finan­cial backer is Carl Lund­strom, who was also the main finan­cial backer of the Pirate Bay web­site that host­ed Wik­ileaks.

“How the Far Right Con­quered Swe­den” by Jochen Bit­tner; The New York Times; 9/6/2018.

To under­stand why Swe­den, a bas­tion of social democ­ra­cy, might end up with a far-right par­ty in gov­ern­ment after nation­al elec­tions on Sun­day, you need to take a walk with Ahmed Abdi­rah­man.

An Amer­i­can-edu­cat­ed Soma­li immi­grant who works as a pol­i­cy ana­lyst at the Stock­holm Cham­ber of Com­merce, Mr. Abdi­rah­man grew up and now lives in the sub­urb of Rinke­by-Ten­s­ta, where some 90 per­cent of res­i­dents have a for­eign back­ground, rough­ly 80 per­cent live on wel­fare or earn low incomes and 42 per­cent are under age 25. It is a vio­lent place: Six­teen peo­ple were killed there in 2016, most­ly in drug-relat­ed con­flicts, an unheard-of num­ber in this typ­i­cal­ly peace­ful coun­try. As we walk along one of its main streets at 7 p.m., shop­keep­ers pull down the met­al shut­ters in front of their win­dows, while young masked men on scoot­ers start speed­ing through the streets. A police heli­copter hov­ers over­head.

The seg­re­ga­tion and vio­lence of Rinke­by-Ten­s­ta, and the like­li­hood that the far-right, anti-immi­grant Swe­den Democ­rats par­ty will win the most votes in this weekend’s nation­al elec­tions, are both the result of the country’s long-run­ning unwill­ing­ness to deal with the real­i­ties of its immi­gra­tion cri­sis.

For decades, Swe­den, once a racial­ly and cul­tur­al­ly homo­ge­neous coun­try with an expan­sive social wel­fare sys­tem, insist­ed that it could absorb large num­bers of non-Euro­pean migrants with­out con­sid­er­ing how those migrants should be inte­grat­ed into Swedish soci­ety.

As they did in cities across West­ern Europe, migrants tend­ed to clus­ter in low-income neigh­bor­hoods; fac­ing poor job prospects and ram­pant employ­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion, they nat­u­ral­ly turned inward. More young women have start­ed wear­ing the hijab recent­ly, Mr. Abdi­rah­man tells me, and more young men “inter­nal­ize the oth­er­ness” — reject­ed by their new soci­ety, they embrace the stereo­types imposed upon them. This can lead to a point where they reject gay rights or lib­er­al­ism as “white, West­ern ideas,” and even attack fire­fight­ers because they rep­re­sent the state.

As we walk around, Mr. Abdi­rah­man, who is sin­gle and child­less, con­fess­es: “When I came here in 1998, to me this place was par­adise. Today, I wouldn’t want my chil­dren to grow up here.”

Mr. Abdi­rah­man says he was lucky: His moth­er encour­aged him to con­tribute to soci­ety and get a good edu­ca­tion. He earned a degree in inter­na­tion­al stud­ies in New York, then worked in Gene­va and with the Unit­ed States Embassy here before going to work with the cham­ber of com­merce. Not all immi­grants get the same push at home, he says; some par­ents dis­cour­aged their young­sters from going to the city cen­ter to mix. Swe­den, he is afraid, has entered a vicious cir­cle of immi­gra­tion, seg­re­ga­tion and grow­ing mutu­al hos­til­i­ty.

The sit­u­a­tion grew worse with the lat­est mass influx of refugees, in 2015, after which a num­ber of sub­urbs became almost exclu­sive­ly migrant. Con­sid­ered “no go” areas by some Swedes, these neigh­bor­hoods are known to out­siders only from hor­rif­ic head­lines. What peo­ple don’t get to see, Mr. Abdi­rah­man wor­ries, is the bus dri­ver or the clean­ing lady work­ing them­selves ragged to get their chil­dren into a uni­ver­si­ty.

None of this is new, and yet the gov­ern­ment, dom­i­nat­ed by the tra­di­tion­al­ly strong Social Democ­rats and the cen­trist Mod­er­ate Par­ty, did far too lit­tle. That left an open­ing for the Swe­den Democ­rats, until recent­ly a group rel­e­gat­ed to the racist fringe of Swedish pol­i­tics. In the past few years, the par­ty has recast itself; just like the pop­ulist Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land par­ty in Ger­many and the Five Star Move­ment in Italy, it has repo­si­tioned itself as anti-estab­lish­ment and anti-immi­grant. The Swe­den Democ­rats accus­es all oth­er polit­i­cal actors and the media of “destroy­ing” Swe­den, calls for a sus­pen­sion of the right to asy­lum and pro­motes an exit of Swe­den from the Euro­pean Union.

The par­ty has clocked up to 20 per­cent in the lat­est polls, enough to make a coali­tion gov­ern­ment between the Social Democ­rats and the Mod­er­ate Par­ty unlike­ly — and rais­ing the chances that one of those par­ties will have to enter into a gov­ern­ment with the Swe­den Democ­rats. “If the major par­ties had been able to read the majority’s con­cerns, things would have been dif­fer­ent,” Mr. Abdi­rah­man says.

Sim­i­lar sto­ries have played out across West­ern Europe, from the Nether­lands to Aus­tria. But Swe­den always imag­ined itself as some­thing dif­fer­ent, a soci­ety bound by its unique brand of togeth­er­ness. But that self-sat­is­fac­tion jus­ti­fied a myopic approach to the very com­plex prob­lem of how to inte­grate vast num­bers of for­eign­ers. If you believe in giv­ing every­one a state-of-the-art apart­ment, social wel­fare and child ben­e­fits, then it’s unlike­ly you will tack­le the hur­dles of the high­ly reg­u­lat­ed Swedish labor mar­ket.

The anti-estab­lish­ment Swe­den Democ­rats prof­it from the fact that they were often the first to point to the down­sides of immi­gra­tion. Yet as much as they despise wish­ful think­ing, they replace it with sim­plis­tic think­ing. No mat­ter what prob­lems there might be in Swe­den — hous­ing short­ages, school clos­ings, an over­bur­dened health care sys­tem — in the view of the Swe­den Democ­rats, it is always one group’s fault: migrants.

Andreas Johans­son Heinö, an ana­lyst with the think tank Tim­bro, believes that many Swedes will vote for the Swe­den Democ­rats on Sept. 9 even though they see through the party’s crude think­ing. He sees sim­i­lar­i­ties to the Unit­ed States, where a con­sid­er­able num­ber of peo­ple say they vot­ed for Don­ald Trump not because they liked him but because they liked the idea of change.

Even if the Swe­den Democ­rats win big on Sun­day, the elec­tion might be a force for good. The Mod­er­ate Par­ty, which is like­ly to take sec­ond place, might split over the ques­tion of whether to rule with them. And the Social Democ­rats, already under pres­sure to move to the left, might like­wise fall apart. Sweden’s par­ty land­scape, in oth­er words, might be blown to pieces.

If the coun­try is lucky, some parts from this explo­sion will bind togeth­er as a new force — one that takes seri­ous­ly the need for real­ism on immi­gra­tion and inte­gra­tion, with­out falling for the siren song of right-wing pop­ulism.

7. On CNN for­mer Repub­li­can sen­a­tor Rick San­to­rum thought the big sto­ry of the day on which Man­afort was con­vict­ed and Michael Cohen plead guilty was the first degree mur­der charge laid against an “ille­gal” Mex­i­can migrant work­er fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of a deceased white Iowa col­lege girl Mol­lie Tib­betts. Can this become a ral­ly­ing cry for Trump and his anti-immi­grant and racist sup­port­ers?

We note in this con­text that:

  1. The announce­ment of River­a’s arrest for the Tib­betts mur­der hap­pened on the same day that Paul Man­afort’s con­vic­tion was announced and Michael Cohen plead­ed guilty. Might we be look­ing at an “op,” intend­ed to eclipse the neg­a­tive pub­lic­i­ty from the the Manafort/Cohen judi­cial events?
  2. Rivera exhib­it­ed pos­si­ble symp­toms of being sub­ject­ed to mind con­trol, not unlike Sirhan Sirhan. ” . . . . Inves­ti­ga­tors say Rivera fol­lowed Mol­lie in his dark Chevy Mal­ibu as she went for a run around 7.30pm on July 18. He ‘blacked out’ and attacked her after she threat­ened to call the police unless he left her alone, offi­cers said. . . . It is not yet clear how Mol­lie died. . . . Rivera told police that after see­ing her, he pulled over and parked his car to get out and run with her. . . . Mol­lie grabbed her phone and threat­ened to call the police before run­ning off ahead. The sus­pect said that made him ‘pan­ic’ and he chased after her. That’s when he ‘blacked out.’ He claims he remem­bers noth­ing from then until he was back in his car, dri­ving. He then noticed one of her ear­phones sit­ting on his lap and blood in the car then remem­bered he’d stuffed her in the truck. . . . ‘He fol­lowed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that par­tic­u­lar day. For what­ev­er rea­son he chose to abduct her,’ Iowa Depart­ment of Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion spe­cial agent Rick Ryan said on Tues­day after­noon. . . . ‘Rivera stat­ed that she grabbed her phone and said: ‘I’m gonna call the police.’ . . . . ‘Rivera said he then pan­icked and he got mad and that he ‘blocked’ his mem­o­ry which is what he does when he gets very upset and does­n’t remem­ber any­thing after that until he came to at an inter­sec­tion.’ . . .”
  3. Just as Sirhan had been in a right-wing milieu pri­or to the Robert Kennedy assas­si­na­tion, so, too, was Rivera: ” . . . . The promi­nent Repub­li­can fam­i­ly which owns the farm where Mol­lie Tib­betts’ alleged killer worked have insist­ed that he passed back­ground checks for migrant work­ers. Christhi­an Rivera, 24, who is from Mex­i­co, was charged with first degree mur­der on Tues­day after lead­ing police to a corn field where Mol­lie’s body was dumped. Dane Lang, co-own­er of Yarrabee Farms along with Eric Lang, con­firmed that Rivera had worked there for four years and was an employ­ee ‘of good stand­ing.’ Dane’s broth­er is Craig Lang, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Iowa Farm Bureau Fed­er­a­tion and the Iowa Board of Regents, and a 2018 Repub­li­can can­di­date for state sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture. . . .”
  4. Trump cit­ed the Tib­betts mur­der in a Charleston, West Vir­ginia, ral­ly that day: ” . . . . Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump chirped in dur­ing his Tues­day address at a ral­ly in Charleston, West Vir­ginia, blam­ing immi­gra­tion laws for Mol­lie’s death. ‘You heard about today with the ille­gal alien com­ing in very sad­ly from Mex­i­co,’ he said. ‘And you saw what hap­pened to that incred­i­ble beau­ti­ful young woman. ‘Should’ve nev­er hap­pened, ille­gal­ly in our coun­try. We’ve had a huge impact but the laws are so bad. The immi­gra­tion laws are such a dis­grace. ‘We are get­ting them changed but we have to get more Repub­li­cans.’ Gov. Kim Reynolds com­plained about the ‘bro­ken’ immi­gra­tion sys­tem that allowed a ‘preda­tor’ to live in her state. . . .”
  5. As dis­cussed in FTR #1002, dur­ing tri­al of a mem­ber of The Order (to which David Lane belonged), it emerged that Nazi ele­ments were seek­ing to per­fect mind con­trol tech­niques. It is also a mat­ter of pub­lic record that ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence are active on behalf of the GOP, and have been for many decades. The assas­si­na­tions of JFK, his broth­er and Mar­tin Luther King are but exam­ples of this.

“Promi­nent Iowa Repub­li­can Fam­i­ly which Owns Farm where Mol­lie Tib­betts’ Alleged Killer Worked say he PASSED Gov­ern­men­t’s Migrant Back­ground Check as the 24-year-old Is Charged with Her Mur­der after Admit­ting to ‘Chas­ing Her Down while Jog­ging’” by Ben Ash­ford, Chris Pleas­ance, Jen­nifer Smith and Han­nah Par­ry; Dai­ly Mail [UK]; 8/21/2018.

The promi­nent Repub­li­can fam­i­ly which owns the farm where Mol­lie Tib­betts’ alleged killer worked have insist­ed that he passed back­ground checks for migrant work­ers.

Christhi­an Rivera, 24, who is from Mex­i­co, was charged with first degree mur­der on Tues­day after lead­ing police to a corn field where Mol­lie’s body was dumped.

Dane Lang, co-own­er of Yarrabee Farms along with Eric Lang, con­firmed that Rivera had worked there for four years and was an employ­ee ‘of good stand­ing.’

Dane’s broth­er is Craig Lang, for­mer pres­i­dent of the Iowa Farm Bureau Fed­er­a­tion and the Iowa Board of Regents, and a 2018 Repub­li­can can­di­date for state sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture.

Dane’s state­ment said: ‘First and fore­most, our thoughts and prayers are with the fam­i­ly and friends of Mol­lie Tib­betts.

‘This is a pro­found­ly sad day for our com­mu­ni­ty. All of us at Yarrabee Farms are shocked to hear that one of our employ­ees was involved and is charged in this case.

‘This indi­vid­ual has worked at our farms for four years, was vet­ted through the gov­ern­men­t’s E‑Verify sys­tem, and was an employ­ee in good stand­ing.

‘On Mon­day, the author­i­ties vis­it­ed our farm and talked to our employ­ees. We have coop­er­at­ed ful­ly with their inves­ti­ga­tion.’

The E‑Verify site allows employ­ers to estab­lish the eli­gi­bil­i­ty of employ­ees, both US or for­eign, by com­par­ing a work­er’s Employ­ment Eli­gi­bil­i­ty Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Form I‑9 with data held by the gov­ern­ment.

The employ­ee is eli­gi­ble to work in the US if the data match­es. If it does­n’t, the work­er has only eight fed­er­al gov­ern­ment work days to resolve the issue.

Despite the Lang fam­i­ly using the sys­tem, police say Rivera had been in the US ille­gal­ly for between four and sev­en years.

Inves­ti­ga­tors say Rivera fol­lowed Mol­lie in his dark Chevy Mal­ibu as she went for a run around 7.30pm on July 18.

He ‘blacked out’ and attacked her after she threat­ened to call the police unless he left her alone, offi­cers said. 

Rivera was iden­ti­fied by sur­veil­lance footage obtained in the last cou­ple of weeks from some­one’s home.

It showed him fol­low­ing the stu­dent in his car and Mol­lie run­ning ahead of him.  It is not yet clear how Mol­lie died. 

Ear­li­er Mon­day a mem­ber of the Lang fam­i­ly which runs Yarrabee Farms told DailyMail.com he was a per­son­al friend of Mol­lie and her broth­ers and was ‘dev­as­tat­ed’ by the news of her death.

It’s under­stood the com­pa­ny hires around 15 migrant work­ers, most of whom are believed to be Mex­i­can.

Rivera is believed to have lived with a num­ber of oth­er migrant work­ers on a seclud­ed farm­house in Brook­lyn owned by their employ­er.

Work­ers asso­ci­at­ed with the farm told DailyMail.com that they bare­ly knew Rivera but con­firmed that he lived there with a girl­friend named Iris Monar­rez and their baby.

They said Iris had gone to stay with her moth­er after Rivera was arrest­ed in Mol­lie’s mur­der.

Neigh­bors told DailyMail.com they had seen a black Chevy Mal­ibu just like the one Rivera was dri­ving when he abduct­ed Mol­lie reg­u­lar­ly dri­ving to and from the prop­er­ty for the past cou­ple of years. 

Mol­lie’s autop­sy is planned for Wednes­day but the results may not be released for weeks.

Rivera told police that after see­ing her, he pulled over and parked his car to get out and run with her. 

Mol­lie grabbed her phone and threat­ened to call the police before run­ning off ahead. The sus­pect said that made him ‘pan­ic’ and he chased after her.

That’s when he ‘blacked out.’  

He claims he remem­bers noth­ing from then until he was back in his car, dri­ving. 

He then noticed one of her ear­phones sit­ting on his lap and blood in the car then remem­bered he’d stuffed her in the truck. 

Rivera drove her then to a corn field where he hauled her body out of the truck and hid her beneath corn stalks.

He was arrest­ed on Fri­day after police honed in on his vehi­cle by view­ing sur­veil­lance footage obtained from a pri­vate res­i­den­t’s home sur­veil­lance cam­eras.

‘He fol­lowed her and seemed to be drawn to her on that par­tic­u­lar day. For what­ev­er rea­son he chose to abduct her,’ Iowa Depart­ment of Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion spe­cial agent Rick Ryan said on Tues­day after­noon. 

But it’s still unclear what the motive behind the killing was, Rahn said.

Rivera told police he had seen her in the area before. She is friends on Face­book with the moth­er of his daugh­ter but it is not clear if he and Mol­lie knew each oth­er.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump chirped in dur­ing his Tues­day address at a ral­ly in Charleston, West Vir­ginia, blam­ing immi­gra­tion laws for Mol­lie’s death.

‘You heard about today with the ille­gal alien com­ing in very sad­ly from Mex­i­co,’ he said. ‘And you saw what hap­pened to that incred­i­ble beau­ti­ful young woman.

‘Should’ve nev­er hap­pened, ille­gal­ly in our coun­try. We’ve had a huge impact but the laws are so bad. The immi­gra­tion laws are such a dis­grace. 

‘We are get­ting them changed but we have to get more Repub­li­cans.’

Gov. Kim Reynolds com­plained about the ‘bro­ken’ immi­gra­tion sys­tem that allowed a ‘preda­tor’ to live in her state.

‘I spoke with Mol­lie’s fam­i­ly and passed on the heart­felt con­do­lences of a griev­ing state,’ Reynolds said. ‘I shared with them my hope that they can find com­fort know­ing that God does not leave us to suf­fer alone. Even in our dark­est moments, He will com­fort and heal our bro­ken hearts.’

At 3pm on Mon­day, law enforce­ment arrived at the farm­house where Rivera worked, accord­ing to a neigh­bor.

FBI agents were still search­ing the house and a num­ber of near­by trail­ers on Tues­day after­noon.

Neigh­bors said the build­ing housed a ‘revolv­ing door’ of hired migrant work­ers but that they had nev­er caused any prob­lems.

FBI agents attend­ed anoth­er near­by prop­er­ty belong­ing to the farm overnight Mon­day to quiz River­a’s co-work­ers, most of whom claim only to under­stand Span­ish.

‘There was a pan­ic when they arrived because they thought at first that it was ICE launch­ing a raid,’ a local source told DailyMail.com.

‘A lot of these peo­ple arrive with forged doc­u­ments. But it turned it was the FBI and it was about Mol­lie.’

Accord­ing to pub­lic records the prop­er­ty being searched is owned by Mary and Craig Lang, whose fam­i­ly own the near­by Yarrabee Farms.

Mol­lie was stay­ing alone overnight in her boyfriend’s home the night she went miss­ing and was last seen going for a jog in the neigh­bor­hood at around 8pm but what hap­pened after­wards has remained a com­plete mys­tery for weeks. 

Her boyfriend opened a Snapchat pho­to­graph from her at 10pm which appeared to sug­gest that she was indoors but it is not known what time Mol­lie sent it.

In his arrest war­rant, police describe River­a’s chill­ing con­fes­sion.

‘Rivera admit­ted to mak­ing con­tact with the female run­ning in Brook­lyn and that he pur­sued her in his vehi­cle in an area east of Brook­lyn. Defen­dant Rivera stat­ed he parked the vehi­cle, got out and was run­ning behind her and along­side of her.

‘Rivera stat­ed that she grabbed her phone and said: ‘I’m gonna call the police.’

‘Rivera said he then pan­icked and he got mad and that he ‘blocked’ his mem­o­ry which is what he does when he gets very upset and does­n’t remem­ber any­thing after that until he came to at an inter­sec­tion.

‘Rivera stat­ed he then made a u‑turn, drove back to an entrance to a field and then drove into a dri­ve­way to a corn­field.

‘He noticed there was an ear piece from head­phones in his lap and that this is how he real­ized he put her in the trunk.

‘He went to get her out of the trunk and he noticed blood on the side of her head.

‘He described the female’s cloth­ing, what she was wear­ing includ­ing an ear phone or head phone set.

‘He described that he dragged Tib­betts on foot from his vehi­cle to a seclud­ed loca­tion in a corn­field.

‘He put her over his shoul­der and took her about 20 meters into the corn­field and he left her cov­ered in some corn leaves and that he left her there, face up.

‘The Defen­dant was able to use his phone to deter­mine the route he trav­eled from Brook­lyn.

‘Rivera then lat­er guid­ed law enforce­ment to her loca­tion from mem­o­ry,’ the affi­davit con­tin­ues.

River­a’s arrest and the dis­cov­ery of the stu­den­t’s body brings an end to five weeks of tire­less inves­ti­ga­tion by the FBI, the Iowa Divi­sion of Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion and local sher­iffs.

River­a’s ini­tial court appear­ance is sched­uled for 1pm Wednes­day in Mon­tezu­ma.

If con­vict­ed of first-degree mur­der he faces a manda­to­ry sen­tence of life in prison with­out parole.

Last week, the FBI said it believed she had been abduct­ed by some­one she knew.

They warned that the per­son was ‘hid­ing in plain sight’ and had even attend­ed vig­ils held in her hon­or but no arrests were made.

A $400,000 fund for her safe return was estab­lished but it did not pro­duce any leads either.

Greg Wil­ley of Crime Stop­pers of Cen­tral Iowa said her fam­i­ly and inves­ti­ga­tors would ded­i­cate their resources to catch­ing her killer ‘once they catch their breath’.

The Iowa Depart­ment of Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion refused to share details of the dis­cov­ery on Tues­day when con­tact­ed by DailyMail.com.

The only per­son who had been vis­i­bly scru­ti­nized by police after she went miss­ing was pig farmer Wayne Cheney.

He was grilled by offi­cers more than once and had his prop­er­ty searched twice after search crews found a red t‑shirt that was sim­i­lar to one owned by the stu­dent near his land.

It was nev­er estab­lished if the t‑shirt did in fact belong to Mol­lie.

Mol­lie’s father Rob went back to Cal­i­for­nia, where he lives, last week for what he called a much need­ed ‘break’ from the inves­ti­ga­tion

He said he had been urged by author­i­ties to do so and that it was a ‘half way’ point in the inves­ti­ga­tion.

Rob was not in the state when his daugh­ter dis­ap­peared.

Her boyfriend, Dal­ton Jack, was away for work when she dis­ap­peared as was his old­er broth­er Blake.

The young­sters lived togeth­er in a home in Brook­lyn with Blake’s fiancee who was also cleared.

As the hunt for her inten­si­fied,  author­i­ties set up a web­site that was ded­i­cate to find­ing her.

It pro­vid­ed a map detail­ing five loca­tions police con­sid­ered to be sig­nif­i­cant. The web­site also offered a tips page which gen­er­at­ed hun­dreds of clues about what may have hap­pened to her.

The news of her death shook the small town of Brook­lyn where most res­i­dents are known to each oth­er.

The Rev. Joyce Proc­tor at Grace Unit­ed Methodist Church said she’d been pray­ing for Tib­betts’ ene­mies ‘to do the right thing... and release her.’

Sad­ly that nev­er hap­pened.

Proc­tor, who said she heard Tib­betts ‘was a won­der­ful young lady’, said peo­ple were in shock their lit­tle town isn’t as safe as they first believed it was, the Des Moines Reg­is­ter report­ed.

‘I told the ladies at our prayer group this morn­ing that if it’s not safe in Brook­lyn it’s not safe any­where,’ she said. ‘And I think that’s been a hard thing to real­ize for a lot of peo­ple here.’

7. Under hyp­no­sis, Sirhan Sirhan was able to recall a con­sid­er­able amount of infor­ma­tion about “the girl in the pol­ka-dot dress”–a fig­ure report­ed by many eye­wit­ness­es to have cel­e­brat­ed the assas­si­na­tion of Robert Kennedy and appeared to have impli­cat­ed her­self and oth­ers in the crime.

The attrac­tion described by Sirhan to “the pol­ka-dot-dress” girl sounds sim­i­lar to River­a’s being “drawn” to Mol­lie Tib­betts.  ” . . . . Con­vict­ed assas­sin Sirhan Sirhan was manip­u­lated by a seduc­tive girl in a mind con­trol plot to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his bul­lets did not kill the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, lawyers for Sirhan said in new legal papers. . . . Wit­nesses talked of see­ing such a female run­ning from the hotel shout­ing, ‘We shot Kennedy.’ But she was nev­er iden­ti­fied, and amid the chaos of the scene, descrip­tions were con­flict­ing. . . . Under hyp­no­sis, he remem­bered meet­ing the girl that night and becom­ing smit­ten with her. He said she led him to the pantry. ‘I am try­ing to fig­ure out how to hit on her.... That’s all that I can think about,’ he says in one inter­view cit­ed in the doc­u­ments. ‘I was fas­ci­nated with her looks .... She nev­er said much. It was very erot­ic. I was con­sumed by her. She was a seduc­tress with an unspo­ken unavail­abil­i­ty.’ . . . Sirhan main­tained in the hyp­notic inter­views that the mys­tery girl touched him or ‘pinched’ him on the shoul­der just before he fired then spun him around to see peo­ple com­ing through the pantry door. . . .”

“Con­victed RFK Assas­sin Says Girl Manip­u­lated Him” by Lin­da Deutsch [AP]; yahoo.news; 4/28/2011.

Con­vict­ed assas­sin Sirhan Sirhan was manip­u­lated by a seduc­tive girl in a mind con­trol plot to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his bul­lets did not kill the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, lawyers for Sirhan said in new legal papers.

The doc­u­ments filed this week in fed­eral court and obtained by The Asso­ci­ated Press detail exten­sive inter­views with Sirhan dur­ing the past three years, some done while he was under hyp­no­sis.

The papers point to a mys­te­ri­ous girl in a pol­ka-dot dress as the con­troller who led Sirhan to fire a gun in the pantry of the Ambas­sador Hotel. But the doc­u­ments sug­gest a sec­ond per­son shot and killed Kennedy while using Sirhan as a diver­sion.

For the first time, Sirhan said under hyp­no­sis that on a cue from the girl he went into “range mode” believ­ing he was at a fir­ing range and see­ing cir­cles with tar­gets in front of his eyes.

“I thought that I was at the range more than I was actu­ally shoot­ing at any per­son, let alone Bob­by Kennedy,” Sirhan was quot­ed as say­ing dur­ing inter­views with Daniel Brown, a Har­vard Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor and expert in trau­ma mem­ory and hyp­no­sis. He inter­viewed Sirhan for 60 hours with and with­out hyp­no­sis, accord­ing to the legal brief.

San­di Gib­bons, a spokes­woman for the Los Ange­les Coun­ty dis­trict attor­ney, said pros­e­cu­tors were unaware of the legal fil­ing and could not com­ment.

The sto­ry of the girl has been a lin­ger­ing theme in accounts of the events just after mid­night on June 5, 1968, when Kennedy was gunned down in the hotel pantry after claim­ing vic­tory in the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry.

Wit­nesses talked of see­ing such a female run­ning from the hotel shout­ing, “We shot Kennedy.” But she was nev­er iden­ti­fied, and amid the chaos of the scene, descrip­tions were con­flict­ing.

Through the years, Sirhan has claimed no mem­ory of shoot­ing Kennedy and said in the recent inter­views that his pres­ence at the hotel was an acci­dent, not a planned des­ti­na­tion.

Under hyp­no­sis, he remem­bered meet­ing the girl that night and becom­ing smit­ten with her. He said she led him to the pantry.

“I am try­ing to fig­ure out how to hit on her.... That’s all that I can think about,” he says in one inter­view cit­ed in the doc­u­ments. “I was fas­ci­nated with her looks .... She nev­er said much. It was very erot­ic. I was con­sumed by her. She was a seduc­tress with an unspo­ken unavail­abil­i­ty.” . . .

. . . Sirhan main­tained in the hyp­notic inter­views that the mys­tery girl touched him or “pinched” him on the shoul­der just before he fired then spun him around to see peo­ple com­ing through the pantry door.

“Then I was on the tar­get range ... a flash­back to the shoot­ing range ... I didn’t know that I had a gun,” Sirhan said.

Under what Brown called the con­di­tion of hyp­notic free recall, he said Sirhan remem­bered see­ing the flash of a sec­ond gun at the time of the assas­si­na­tion. With­out hyp­no­sis, he said, Sirhan could not remem­ber that shot.

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #1029 “The Will to Create Man Anew”: Eugenics, Past, Present and Future”

  1. When you see Pres­i­dent Trump open­ly plot­ting Machi­avel­lian schemes like send­ing ille­gal immi­grants to ‘sanc­tu­ary cities’ to pun­ish Democ­rats it’s worth keep­ing in mind that we’re still just see­ing a glimpse of the immense polit­i­cal poten­tial mas­sive human­i­tar­i­an crises present to politi­cians like Trump. Just imag­ine what the Trumps of the future will do when trop­i­cal coun­tries like Hon­duras are fac­ing col­laps­ing ecosys­tems as their ecosys­tems and economies col­lapse and whith­er from the impact of cli­mate change and the waves of refugees with noth­ing to return to are sent flee­ing for their lives. It will be a Trumpian bonan­za. At least, it will be a Trumpian polit­i­cal bonan­za if soci­eties are large­ly oper­at­ing from a ‘I got mine, F*ck you. Your prob­lems are not my prob­lems. You can all die for all I care’ world­view. It’s a world­view that com­bines fear, anger, stoked griev­ances, and an almost preda­to­ry mind­set with a polit­i­cal appeal because it’s basi­cal­ly tap­ping into those pri­mal ‘fight or flight’ and ter­ri­to­r­i­al instincts that fun­da­men­tal­ly dri­ve so much of human behav­ior. It’s among the red­dest of ‘red meat’ polit­i­cal threats that Trump could throw to his vot­ing base.

    But as the fol­low­ing arti­cles should warn us, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that when politi­cians like Trump throw ‘F*ck off and die all you poor peo­ple’ red meat to their polit­i­cal bases, the polit­i­cal bases that Trump is indi­rect­ly pan­der­ing to when he evokes these sen­ti­ments include mis­an­throp­ic bil­lion­aires. Specif­i­cal­ly, mis­an­throp­ic bil­lion­aires who have con­clud­ed that the world is going to hell in a hand­bas­ket, there’s noth­ing they can do about it, and their only moral oblig­a­tion is to ensure their own sur­vival once the shi#t hits the fan. Because if there’s one under­ly­ing theme that unites the con­tem­po­rary right-wing, it’s a comitt­ment to doing noth­ing to solve col­lec­tive prob­lems while we col­lec­tive­ly exac­er­bate them and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly dis­man­tle our col­lec­tive safe­ty-nets.

    First, here’s a piece writ­ten by futur­ist Dou­glas Rushkoff last year about a chill­ing expe­ri­ence he had when he was invit­ed to give a pri­vate talk about “the future of tech­nol­o­gy”. He showed up to the talk expect­ing to address an audi­ence ask­ing ques­tion about tech­nolo­gies like blockchain or 3D print­ing. Instead, the audi­ence con­sist­ed of five real­ly rich guys from the hedge fund world. Keep in mind that Peter Thiel could be described as a super-wealthy guy from the hedge fund world so it would be inter­est­ing to know if he was one of the five. Rushkoff does­n’t give their iden­ti­ties. But the way he describes them it cer­tain­ly sounds exact­ly like Thiel, who has already made invest­ments in New Zealand real estate so he could obtain New Zealand cit­i­zen­ship and build a dooms­day bunker there. For instance, pret­ty much the only thing these hedge fun­ders were inter­est­ed in was Rushkof­f’s ideas on how they per­son­al­ly could sur­vive glob­al col­lapse. Their ques­tions involved top­ics like how they could keep their per­son­al secu­ri­ty guards loy­al (should they use shock col­lars?) or whether or not robot­ic secu­ri­ty guards would be avail­able in time. And they seemed utter­ly con­vinced that absolute­ly noth­ing could stop even­tu­al glob­al chaos and had no inter­est in using their immense per­son­al wealth in try­ing to work towards pre­vent­ing that col­lapse. In oth­er words, this mys­tery group of bil­lion­aires are sim­ply embrac­ing the same under­ly­ing sen­ti­ments that Trump is whip­ping up with his end­less fear mon­ger­ing about ‘the oth­er’: a deep pri­mal instinct to fear oth­er peo­ple and view their prob­lems as sep­a­rate from our own and some­thing that can be avoid­ed, walled off, and if all else fails, and escaped:

    Medi­um

    Sur­vival of the Rich­est
    The wealthy are plot­ting to leave us behind

    Dou­glas Rushkoff
    Jul 5, 2018

    Last year, I got invit­ed to a super-deluxe pri­vate resort to deliv­er a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hun­dred or so invest­ment bankers. It was by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk?—?about half my annu­al professor’s salary—all to deliv­er some insight on the sub­ject of “the future of tech­nol­o­gy.”

    I’ve nev­er liked talk­ing about the future. The Q&A ses­sions always end up more like par­lor games, where I’m asked to opine on the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy buzz­words as if they were tick­er sym­bols for poten­tial invest­ments: blockchain, 3D print­ing, CRISPR. The audi­ences are rarely inter­est­ed in learn­ing about these tech­nolo­gies or their poten­tial impacts beyond the bina­ry choice of whether or not to invest in them. But mon­ey talks, so I took the gig.

    After I arrived, I was ush­ered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a micro­phone or tak­en to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audi­ence was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys—yes, all men—from the upper ech­e­lon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I real­ized they had no inter­est in the infor­ma­tion I had pre­pared about the future of tech­nol­o­gy. They had come with ques­tions of their own.

    They start­ed out innocu­ous­ly enough. Ethereum or bit­coin? Is quan­tum com­put­ing a real thing? Slow­ly but sure­ly, how­ev­er, they edged into their real top­ics of con­cern.

    Which region will be less impact­ed by the com­ing cli­mate cri­sis: New Zealand or Alas­ka? Is Google real­ly build­ing Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his con­scious­ness live through the tran­si­tion, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Final­ly, the CEO of a bro­ker­age house explained that he had near­ly com­plet­ed build­ing his own under­ground bunker sys­tem and asked, “How do I main­tain author­i­ty over my secu­ri­ty force after the event?”

    The Event. That was their euphemism for the envi­ron­men­tal col­lapse, social unrest, nuclear explo­sion, unstop­pable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes every­thing down.

    This sin­gle ques­tion occu­pied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to pro­tect their com­pounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once mon­ey was worth­less? What would stop the guards from choos­ing their own leader? The bil­lion­aires con­sid­ered using spe­cial com­bi­na­tion locks on the food sup­ply that only they knew. Or mak­ing guards wear dis­ci­pli­nary col­lars of some kind in return for their sur­vival. Or maybe build­ing robots to serve as guards and workers?—?if that tech­nol­o­gy could be devel­oped in time.

    That’s when it hit me: At least as far as these gen­tle­men were con­cerned, this was a talk about the future of tech­nol­o­gy. Tak­ing their cue from Elon Musk col­o­niz­ing Mars, Peter Thiel revers­ing the aging process, or Sam Alt­man and Ray Kurzweil upload­ing their minds into super­com­put­ers, they were prepar­ing for a dig­i­tal future that had a whole lot less to do with mak­ing the world a bet­ter place than it did with tran­scend­ing the human con­di­tion alto­geth­er and insu­lat­ing them­selves from a very real and present dan­ger of cli­mate change, ris­ing sea lev­els, mass migra­tions, glob­al pan­demics, nativist pan­ic, and resource deple­tion. For them, the future of tech­nol­o­gy is real­ly about just one thing: escape.

    ***

    There’s noth­ing wrong with mad­ly opti­mistic appraisals of how tech­nol­o­gy might ben­e­fit human soci­ety. But the cur­rent dri­ve for a post-human utopia is some­thing else. It’s less a vision for the whole­sale migra­tion of human­i­ty to a new a state of being than a quest to tran­scend all that is human: the body, inter­de­pen­dence, com­pas­sion, vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, and com­plex­i­ty. As tech­nol­o­gy philoso­phers have been point­ing out for years, now, the tran­shu­man­ist vision too eas­i­ly reduces all of real­i­ty to data, con­clud­ing that “humans are noth­ing but infor­ma­tion-pro­cess­ing objects.”

    It’s a reduc­tion of human evo­lu­tion to a video game that some­one wins by find­ing the escape hatch and then let­ting a few of his BFFs come along for the ride. Will it be Musk, Bezos, Thiel…Zuckerberg? These bil­lion­aires are the pre­sump­tive win­ners of the dig­i­tal economy—the same sur­vival-of-the-fittest busi­ness land­scape that’s fuel­ing most of this spec­u­la­tion to begin with.

    Of course, it wasn’t always this way. There was a brief moment, in the ear­ly 1990s, when the dig­i­tal future felt open-end­ed and up for our inven­tion. Tech­nol­o­gy was becom­ing a play­ground for the coun­ter­cul­ture, who saw in it the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate a more inclu­sive, dis­trib­uted, and pro-human future. But estab­lished busi­ness inter­ests only saw new poten­tials for the same old extrac­tion, and too many tech­nol­o­gists were seduced by uni­corn IPOs. Dig­i­tal futures became under­stood more like stock futures or cot­ton futures—something to pre­dict and make bets on. So near­ly every speech, arti­cle, study, doc­u­men­tary, or white paper was seen as rel­e­vant only inso­far as it point­ed to a tick­er sym­bol. The future became less a thing we cre­ate through our present-day choic­es or hopes for humankind than a pre­des­tined sce­nario we bet on with our ven­ture cap­i­tal but arrive at pas­sive­ly.

    This freed every­one from the moral impli­ca­tions of their activ­i­ties. Tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ment became less a sto­ry of col­lec­tive flour­ish­ing than per­son­al sur­vival. Worse, as I learned, to call atten­tion to any of this was to unin­ten­tion­al­ly cast one­self as an ene­my of the mar­ket or an anti-tech­nol­o­gy cur­mud­geon.

    So instead of con­sid­er­ing the prac­ti­cal ethics of impov­er­ish­ing and exploit­ing the many in the name of the few, most aca­d­e­mics, jour­nal­ists, and sci­ence-fic­tion writ­ers instead con­sid­ered much more abstract and fan­ci­ful conun­drums: Is it fair for a stock trad­er to use smart drugs? Should chil­dren get implants for for­eign lan­guages? Do we want autonomous vehi­cles to pri­or­i­tize the lives of pedes­tri­ans over those of its pas­sen­gers? Should the first Mars colonies be run as democ­ra­cies? Does chang­ing my DNA under­mine my iden­ti­ty? Should robots have rights?

    Ask­ing these sorts of ques­tions, while philo­soph­i­cal­ly enter­tain­ing, is a poor sub­sti­tute for wrestling with the real moral quan­daries asso­ci­at­ed with unbri­dled tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment in the name of cor­po­rate cap­i­tal­ism. Dig­i­tal plat­forms have turned an already exploita­tive and extrac­tive mar­ket­place (think Wal­mart) into an even more dehu­man­iz­ing suc­ces­sor (think Ama­zon). Most of us became aware of these down­sides in the form of auto­mat­ed jobs, the gig econ­o­my, and the demise of local retail.

    But the more dev­as­tat­ing impacts of ped­al-to-the-met­al dig­i­tal cap­i­tal­ism fall on the envi­ron­ment and glob­al poor. The man­u­fac­ture of some of our com­put­ers and smart­phones still uses net­works of slave labor. These prac­tices are so deeply entrenched that a com­pa­ny called Fair­phone, found­ed from the ground up to make and mar­ket eth­i­cal phones, learned it was impos­si­ble. (The company’s founder now sad­ly refers to their prod­ucts as “fair­er” phones.)

    Mean­while, the min­ing of rare earth met­als and dis­pos­al of our high­ly dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies destroys human habi­tats, replac­ing them with tox­ic waste dumps, which are then picked over by peas­ant chil­dren and their fam­i­lies, who sell usable mate­ri­als back to the man­u­fac­tur­ers.

    This “out of sight, out of mind” exter­nal­iza­tion of pover­ty and poi­son doesn’t go away just because we’ve cov­ered our eyes with VR gog­gles and immersed our­selves in an alter­nate real­i­ty. If any­thing, the longer we ignore the social, eco­nom­ic, and envi­ron­men­tal reper­cus­sions, the more of a prob­lem they become. This, in turn, moti­vates even more with­draw­al, more iso­la­tion­ism and apoc­a­lyp­tic fantasy—and more des­per­ate­ly con­coct­ed tech­nolo­gies and busi­ness plans. The cycle feeds itself.

    The more com­mit­ted we are to this view of the world, the more we come to see human beings as the prob­lem and tech­nol­o­gy as the solu­tion. The very essence of what it means to be human is treat­ed less as a fea­ture than bug. No mat­ter their embed­ded bias­es, tech­nolo­gies are declared neu­tral. Any bad behav­iors they induce in us are just a reflec­tion of our own cor­rupt­ed core. It’s as if some innate human sav­agery is to blame for our trou­bles. Just as the inef­fi­cien­cy of a local taxi mar­ket can be “solved” with an app that bank­rupts human dri­vers, the vex­ing incon­sis­ten­cies of the human psy­che can be cor­rect­ed with a dig­i­tal or genet­ic upgrade.

    Ulti­mate­ly, accord­ing to the tech­noso­lu­tion­ist ortho­doxy, the human future cli­max­es by upload­ing our con­scious­ness to a com­put­er or, per­haps bet­ter, accept­ing that tech­nol­o­gy itself is our evo­lu­tion­ary suc­ces­sor. Like mem­bers of a gnos­tic cult, we long to enter the next tran­scen­dent phase of our devel­op­ment, shed­ding our bod­ies and leav­ing them behind, along with our sins and trou­bles.

    ...

    The men­tal gym­nas­tics required for such a pro­found role rever­sal between humans and machines all depend on the under­ly­ing assump­tion that humans suck. Let’s either change them or get away from them, for­ev­er.

    Thus, we get tech bil­lion­aires launch­ing elec­tric cars into space—as if this sym­bol­izes some­thing more than one billionaire’s capac­i­ty for cor­po­rate pro­mo­tion. And if a few peo­ple do reach escape veloc­i­ty and some­how sur­vive in a bub­ble on Mars—despite our inabil­i­ty to main­tain such a bub­ble even here on Earth in either of two multi­bil­lion-dol­lar Bios­phere trials—the result will be less a con­tin­u­a­tion of the human dias­po­ra than a lifeboat for the elite.

    ***

    When the hedge fun­ders asked me the best way to main­tain author­i­ty over their secu­ri­ty forces after “the event,” I sug­gest­ed that their best bet would be to treat those peo­ple real­ly well, right now. They should be engag­ing with their secu­ri­ty staffs as if they were mem­bers of their own fam­i­ly. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclu­siv­i­ty to the rest of their busi­ness prac­tices, sup­ply chain man­age­ment, sus­tain­abil­i­ty efforts, and wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion, the less chance there will be of an “event” in the first place. All this tech­no­log­i­cal wiz­ardry could be applied toward less roman­tic but entire­ly more col­lec­tive inter­ests right now.

    They were amused by my opti­mism, but they didn’t real­ly buy it. They were not inter­est­ed in how to avoid a calami­ty; they’re con­vinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and pow­er, they don’t believe they can affect the future. They are sim­ply accept­ing the dark­est of all sce­nar­ios and then bring­ing what­ev­er mon­ey and tech­nol­o­gy they can employ to insu­late themselves—especially if they can’t get a seat on the rock­et to Mars.

    Luck­i­ly, those of us with­out the fund­ing to con­sid­er dis­own­ing our own human­i­ty have much bet­ter options avail­able to us. We don’t have to use tech­nol­o­gy in such anti­so­cial, atom­iz­ing ways. We can become the indi­vid­ual con­sumers and pro­files that our devices and plat­forms want us to be, or we can remem­ber that the tru­ly evolved human doesn’t go it alone.

    Being human is not about indi­vid­ual sur­vival or escape. It’s a team sport. What­ev­er future humans have, it will be togeth­er.

    ———–

    “Sur­vival of the Rich­est” by Dou­glas Rushkoff; Medi­um; 07/05/2018

    “After I arrived, I was ush­ered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a micro­phone or tak­en to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audi­ence was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys—yes, all men—from the upper ech­e­lon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I real­ized they had no inter­est in the infor­ma­tion I had pre­pared about the future of tech­nol­o­gy. They had come with ques­tions of their own.

    Five super-wealthy guys from hedge fund world. Was Peter Thiel there? We don’t know, but it sure sounds like it. Either way, Thiel isn’t the only bil­lion­aire plan­ning on an apoc­a­lypse:

    ...
    They start­ed out innocu­ous­ly enough. Ethereum or bit­coin? Is quan­tum com­put­ing a real thing? Slow­ly but sure­ly, how­ev­er, they edged into their real top­ics of con­cern.

    Which region will be less impact­ed by the com­ing cli­mate cri­sis: New Zealand or Alas­ka? Is Google real­ly build­ing Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his con­scious­ness live through the tran­si­tion, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Final­ly, the CEO of a bro­ker­age house explained that he had near­ly com­plet­ed build­ing his own under­ground bunker sys­tem and asked, “How do I main­tain author­i­ty over my secu­ri­ty force after the event?”

    The Event. That was their euphemism for the envi­ron­men­tal col­lapse, social unrest, nuclear explo­sion, unstop­pable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes every­thing down.

    This sin­gle ques­tion occu­pied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to pro­tect their com­pounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once mon­ey was worth­less? What would stop the guards from choos­ing their own leader? The bil­lion­aires con­sid­ered using spe­cial com­bi­na­tion locks on the food sup­ply that only they knew. Or mak­ing guards wear dis­ci­pli­nary col­lars of some kind in return for their sur­vival. Or maybe build­ing robots to serve as guards and workers?—?if that tech­nol­o­gy could be devel­oped in time.

    That’s when it hit me: At least as far as these gen­tle­men were con­cerned, this was a talk about the future of tech­nol­o­gy. Tak­ing their cue from Elon Musk col­o­niz­ing Mars, Peter Thiel revers­ing the aging process, or Sam Alt­man and Ray Kurzweil upload­ing their minds into super­com­put­ers, they were prepar­ing for a dig­i­tal future that had a whole lot less to do with mak­ing the world a bet­ter place than it did with tran­scend­ing the human con­di­tion alto­geth­er and insu­lat­ing them­selves from a very real and present dan­ger of cli­mate change, ris­ing sea lev­els, mass migra­tions, glob­al pan­demics, nativist pan­ic, and resource deple­tion. For them, the future of tech­nol­o­gy is real­ly about just one thing: escape.
    ...

    “The Event”. We don’t know what it will be. But these bil­lion­aires are con­vinced that some­thing is going to bring about glob­al chaos in their life­times. And they have zero inter­est in using their immense wealth to help human­i­ty in address it. Because help­ing human­i­ty is not some­thing these hedge fund man­ag­er are inter­est­ed in. Instead, it’s an embrace of a kind of futur­ism where tech­nol­o­gy because the tool for per­son­al escape from human­i­ty and all of its prob­lems:

    ...
    There’s noth­ing wrong with mad­ly opti­mistic appraisals of how tech­nol­o­gy might ben­e­fit human soci­ety. But the cur­rent dri­ve for a post-human utopia is some­thing else. It’s less a vision for the whole­sale migra­tion of human­i­ty to a new a state of being than a quest to tran­scend all that is human: the body, inter­de­pen­dence, com­pas­sion, vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, and com­plex­i­ty. As tech­nol­o­gy philoso­phers have been point­ing out for years, now, the tran­shu­man­ist vision too eas­i­ly reduces all of real­i­ty to data, con­clud­ing that “humans are noth­ing but infor­ma­tion-pro­cess­ing objects.”

    It’s a reduc­tion of human evo­lu­tion to a video game that some­one wins by find­ing the escape hatch and then let­ting a few of his BFFs come along for the ride. Will it be Musk, Bezos, Thiel…Zuckerberg? These bil­lion­aires are the pre­sump­tive win­ners of the dig­i­tal economy—the same sur­vival-of-the-fittest busi­ness land­scape that’s fuel­ing most of this spec­u­la­tion to begin with.

    Of course, it wasn’t always this way. There was a brief moment, in the ear­ly 1990s, when the dig­i­tal future felt open-end­ed and up for our inven­tion. Tech­nol­o­gy was becom­ing a play­ground for the coun­ter­cul­ture, who saw in it the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate a more inclu­sive, dis­trib­uted, and pro-human future. But estab­lished busi­ness inter­ests only saw new poten­tials for the same old extrac­tion, and too many tech­nol­o­gists were seduced by uni­corn IPOs. Dig­i­tal futures became under­stood more like stock futures or cot­ton futures—something to pre­dict and make bets on. So near­ly every speech, arti­cle, study, doc­u­men­tary, or white paper was seen as rel­e­vant only inso­far as it point­ed to a tick­er sym­bol. The future became less a thing we cre­ate through our present-day choic­es or hopes for humankind than a pre­des­tined sce­nario we bet on with our ven­ture cap­i­tal but arrive at pas­sive­ly.

    This freed every­one from the moral impli­ca­tions of their activ­i­ties. Tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ment became less a sto­ry of col­lec­tive flour­ish­ing than per­son­al sur­vival. Worse, as I learned, to call atten­tion to any of this was to unin­ten­tion­al­ly cast one­self as an ene­my of the mar­ket or an anti-tech­nol­o­gy cur­mud­geon.
    ...

    And as Rushkoff notes, it’s par­tic­u­lar­ly grim to see those mak­ing for­tunes off of tech­nol­o­gy adopt these kinds of atti­tude when you fac­tor in that the neg­a­tive exter­nal­i­ties of our tech­no­log­i­cal progress, like pol­lu­tion from min­ing rare earth met­als or exploita­tive labor prac­tices in the pro­duc­tion of elec­tron­ics, pri­mar­i­ly falls on the envi­ron­ment and the glob­al poor. In oth­er words, the super-rich who hired Rushkoff to give this pri­vate talk are exhibit­ing the same spir­it of “I got mine, F*ck You, our lives are not con­nect­ed” that Trump is cham­pi­oning with his demo­niza­tion of refugees and asy­lum seek­ers, but tak­ing that spir­it to the next lev­el because they are lit­er­al­ly the biggest ben­e­fi­cia­ries of a glob­al eco­nom­ic sys­tem that is cre­at­ing and fuel­ing many of the prob­lems that are going to fuel­ing future refugee crises and cli­mate cat­a­stro­phes. The prob­lems are the glob­al poor aren’t seen as prob­lems we need to col­lec­tive­ly address. They’re seen as prob­lems to be tran­scend­ed by tran­shu­man­ist super-rich who sur­vive a com­ing glob­al col­lapse by embrac­ing high-tech escape plans and tran­shu­man­ist tech­nolo­gies:

    ...
    Ask­ing these sorts of ques­tions, while philo­soph­i­cal­ly enter­tain­ing, is a poor sub­sti­tute for wrestling with the real moral quan­daries asso­ci­at­ed with unbri­dled tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment in the name of cor­po­rate cap­i­tal­ism. Dig­i­tal plat­forms have turned an already exploita­tive and extrac­tive mar­ket­place (think Wal­mart) into an even more dehu­man­iz­ing suc­ces­sor (think Ama­zon). Most of us became aware of these down­sides in the form of auto­mat­ed jobs, the gig econ­o­my, and the demise of local retail.

    But the more dev­as­tat­ing impacts of ped­al-to-the-met­al dig­i­tal cap­i­tal­ism fall on the envi­ron­ment and glob­al poor. The man­u­fac­ture of some of our com­put­ers and smart­phones still uses net­works of slave labor. These prac­tices are so deeply entrenched that a com­pa­ny called Fair­phone, found­ed from the ground up to make and mar­ket eth­i­cal phones, learned it was impos­si­ble. (The company’s founder now sad­ly refers to their prod­ucts as “fair­er” phones.)

    Mean­while, the min­ing of rare earth met­als and dis­pos­al of our high­ly dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies destroys human habi­tats, replac­ing them with tox­ic waste dumps, which are then picked over by peas­ant chil­dren and their fam­i­lies, who sell usable mate­ri­als back to the man­u­fac­tur­ers.

    This “out of sight, out of mind” exter­nal­iza­tion of pover­ty and poi­son doesn’t go away just because we’ve cov­ered our eyes with VR gog­gles and immersed our­selves in an alter­nate real­i­ty. If any­thing, the longer we ignore the social, eco­nom­ic, and envi­ron­men­tal reper­cus­sions, the more of a prob­lem they become. This, in turn, moti­vates even more with­draw­al, more iso­la­tion­ism and apoc­a­lyp­tic fantasy—and more des­per­ate­ly con­coct­ed tech­nolo­gies and busi­ness plans. The cycle feeds itself.

    The more com­mit­ted we are to this view of the world, the more we come to see human beings as the prob­lem and tech­nol­o­gy as the solu­tion. The very essence of what it means to be human is treat­ed less as a fea­ture than bug. No mat­ter their embed­ded bias­es, tech­nolo­gies are declared neu­tral. Any bad behav­iors they induce in us are just a reflec­tion of our own cor­rupt­ed core. It’s as if some innate human sav­agery is to blame for our trou­bles. Just as the inef­fi­cien­cy of a local taxi mar­ket can be “solved” with an app that bank­rupts human dri­vers, the vex­ing incon­sis­ten­cies of the human psy­che can be cor­rect­ed with a dig­i­tal or genet­ic upgrade.

    Ulti­mate­ly, accord­ing to the tech­noso­lu­tion­ist ortho­doxy, the human future cli­max­es by upload­ing our con­scious­ness to a com­put­er or, per­haps bet­ter, accept­ing that tech­nol­o­gy itself is our evo­lu­tion­ary suc­ces­sor. Like mem­bers of a gnos­tic cult, we long to enter the next tran­scen­dent phase of our devel­op­ment, shed­ding our bod­ies and leav­ing them behind, along with our sins and trou­bles.

    ...

    The men­tal gym­nas­tics required for such a pro­found role rever­sal between humans and machines all depend on the under­ly­ing assump­tion that humans suck. Let’s either change them or get away from them, for­ev­er.

    Thus, we get tech bil­lion­aires launch­ing elec­tric cars into space—as if this sym­bol­izes some­thing more than one billionaire’s capac­i­ty for cor­po­rate pro­mo­tion. And if a few peo­ple do reach escape veloc­i­ty and some­how sur­vive in a bub­ble on Mars—despite our inabil­i­ty to main­tain such a bub­ble even here on Earth in either of two multi­bil­lion-dol­lar Bios­phere trials—the result will be less a con­tin­u­a­tion of the human dias­po­ra than a lifeboat for the elite.
    ...

    And per­haps the most dis­turb­ing part of Rushkof­f’s recount­ing of his expe­ri­ence is their response to Rushkof­f’s advice for how to keep their per­son­al secu­ri­ty guards loy­al after ‘the Event’ forces them into their dooms­day bunkers: Rushkof­f’s advice was to treat their secu­ri­ty teams as fam­i­ly and build real human bonds with them before every­thing col­laps­es and allow that social cohe­sion to cre­ate the loy­al­ty they desire. Rushkoff then expand­ed on this point to sug­gest that they might be able to reduce the chances of hav­ing to flee to their bunkers in the first place by doing things like improv­ing the inclu­siv­i­ty and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of their actu­al busi­ness­es and address­ing the glob­al wealth inequal­i­ty. And the hedge fun­ders did­n’t buy it. They were con­vinced that all was lost and there was noth­ing they could do to avoid this fate:

    ...
    When the hedge fun­ders asked me the best way to main­tain author­i­ty over their secu­ri­ty forces after “the event,” I sug­gest­ed that their best bet would be to treat those peo­ple real­ly well, right now. They should be engag­ing with their secu­ri­ty staffs as if they were mem­bers of their own fam­i­ly. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclu­siv­i­ty to the rest of their busi­ness prac­tices, sup­ply chain man­age­ment, sus­tain­abil­i­ty efforts, and wealth dis­tri­b­u­tion, the less chance there will be of an “event” in the first place. All this tech­no­log­i­cal wiz­ardry could be applied toward less roman­tic but entire­ly more col­lec­tive inter­ests right now.

    They were amused by my opti­mism, but they didn’t real­ly buy it. They were not inter­est­ed in how to avoid a calami­ty; they’re con­vinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and pow­er, they don’t believe they can affect the future. They are sim­ply accept­ing the dark­est of all sce­nar­ios and then bring­ing what­ev­er mon­ey and tech­nol­o­gy they can employ to insu­late themselves—especially if they can’t get a seat on the rock­et to Mars.

    Luck­i­ly, those of us with­out the fund­ing to con­sid­er dis­own­ing our own human­i­ty have much bet­ter options avail­able to us. We don’t have to use tech­nol­o­gy in such anti­so­cial, atom­iz­ing ways. We can become the indi­vid­ual con­sumers and pro­files that our devices and plat­forms want us to be, or we can remem­ber that the tru­ly evolved human doesn’t go it alone.

    Being human is not about indi­vid­ual sur­vival or escape. It’s a team sport. What­ev­er future humans have, it will be togeth­er.
    ...

    So as we can see, a para­dox­i­cal phi­los­o­phy of opti­mistic despair has been secret­ly embraced by some of the wealth­i­est and most pow­er­ful peo­ple on the plan­et. Despair over any pos­si­bil­i­ty of pre­vent­ing glob­al col­lapse cou­pled with an insane opti­mism that they per­son­al­ly will be able to not just escape for also cap­i­tal­ize on this col­lapse and emerge as the tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced tran­shu­man­ist sur­vivors to cre­ate a post-human future.

    And giv­en that Trump’s true polit­i­cal base, the peo­ple he’s actu­al­ly work­ing for, large­ly con­sists of mis­an­throp­ic right-wing bil­lion­aires, that rais­es the ques­tion of just how wide­spread these fatal­is­tic dooms­day sen­ti­ments are with­in Trump’s bil­lion­aire base. Which, in turn, rais­es ques­tions about the extent to which Trump’s base is active­ly plan­ning on cap­i­tal­iz­ing on these chaot­ic sce­nar­ios. Chaot­ic sce­nar­ios that will invari­ably include large num­ber of refugees and asy­lum seek­ers. In oth­er words, the sto­ry of Dou­glas Rushkof­f’s bizarre tech­nol­o­gy talk should real­ly be seen as part of the same over­all sto­ry as the sto­ry of Trump’s demo­niza­tion of immi­grants: an elite embrace of the the idea that we are not all in this togeth­er. There’s no point in work­ing togeth­er for a bet­ter tomor­row, there’s no point in try­ing to col­lec­tive­ly address col­lec­tive prob­lems because there are no col­lec­tive prob­lems. It’s every man for him­self.

    Well, not quite every man for him­self. Because as the fol­low­ing arti­cle about the explo­sion in demand for New Zealand dooms­day bunkers points out, some of these bil­lion­aires are more than hap­py to work with oth­ers. Specif­i­cal­ly, they’re hap­py to work with each oth­er on their dooms­day plan. One of the bil­lion­aires described in the arti­cle report­ed­ly gave a pri­vate din­ner par­ty where he talked about how he has an escape plan in place that will take him to a jet in Neva­da that exists for the sole pur­pose of fly­ing him and four oth­er bil­lion­aires to their bunkers in New Zealand. Are these the same five super rich guys who invit­ed Rushkoff to give that talk? Who knows. It could eas­i­ly be a dif­fer­ent group of five super wealthy peo­ple. Because, trag­i­cal­ly, there does­n’t appear to be a short­age of bil­lion­aires plan­ning on dooms­day:

    Bloomberg

    The Super Rich of Sil­i­con Val­ley Have a Dooms­day Escape Plan
    Wealthy Amer­i­cans have stepped up invest­ment in New Zealand. Par­lia­ment votes to ban for­eign­ers from buy­ing bolt-hole homes.

    By Olivia Carville
    Sep­tem­ber 5 2018

    Years of dooms­day talk at Sil­i­con Val­ley din­ner par­ties has turned to action.

    In recent months, two 150-ton sur­vival bunkers jour­neyed by land and sea from a Texas ware­house to the shores of New Zealand, where they’re buried 11 feet under­ground.

    Sev­en Sil­i­con Val­ley entre­pre­neurs have pur­chased bunkers from Ris­ing S Co. and plant­ed them in New Zealand in the past two years, said Gary Lynch, the manufacturer’s gen­er­al man­ag­er. At the first sign of an apoc­a­lypse — nuclear war, a killer germ, a French Rev­o­lu­tion-style upris­ing tar­get­ing the 1 per­cent — the Cal­i­for­ni­ans plan to hop on a pri­vate jet and hun­ker down, he said.

    “New Zealand is an ene­my of no one,” Lynch said in an inter­view from his office in Murchi­son, Texas, south­east of Dal­las. “It’s not a nuclear tar­get. It’s not a tar­get for war. It’s a place where peo­ple seek refuge.”

    The remote island nation, cling­ing to the south­ern part of the globe 2,500 miles off Australia’s coast, has 4.8 mil­lion peo­ple and six times as many sheep. It has a rep­u­ta­tion for nat­ur­al beau­ty, easy net­work­ing, low-key politi­cians who bike to work, and rental prices half those of the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area. That makes it an increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion not only for those fret­ting about impend­ing dystopia, but for tech entre­pre­neurs seek­ing incu­ba­tors for nur­tur­ing star­tups.

    “It’s become one of the places for peo­ple in Sil­i­con Val­ley, most­ly because it’s not like Sil­i­con Val­ley at all,” said Reg­gie Luedtke, an Amer­i­can bio­med­ical engi­neer who’s mov­ing to New Zealand in Octo­ber for the Sir Edmund Hillary Fel­low­ship, a pro­gram cre­at­ed to lure tech inno­va­tors.

    Luedtke, 37, said peo­ple in Cal­i­for­nia have asked him if he’s relo­cat­ing as part of a dooms­day con­tin­gency plan, because “that’s what the coun­try is known for.”

    Such noto­ri­ety has made New Zealand’s iso­la­tion, once deemed an eco­nom­ic hand­i­cap, one of its biggest assets. The nation allows emi­gres to essen­tial­ly buy res­i­den­cy through investor visas, and rich Amer­i­cans have poured a for­tune into the coun­try, often by acquir­ing pala­tial estates.

    Bil­lion­aire hedge-fund hon­cho Julian Robert­son owns a lodge over­look­ing Lake Wakatipu in Queen­stown, the South Island’s lux­u­ry resort des­ti­na­tion. Fideli­ty Nation­al Finan­cial Inc. Chair­man Bill Foley has a home­stead in the Wairara­pa region, north of Welling­ton, and Titan­ic direc­tor James Cameron bought a man­sion near­by at Lake Pounui.

    The Investor Plus Visa, which requires a min­i­mum invest­ment of NZD$10 mil­lion ($6.7 mil­lion) over three years, attract­ed 17 U.S. appli­cants in fis­cal 2017, after Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion. Pre­vi­ous­ly, it aver­aged six appli­cants a year.

    More than 10 Amer­i­cans from the West Coast have bought mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar prop­er­ties in the Queen­stown region in the past two years, said Mark Har­ris, man­ag­ing direc­tor of the local Sotheby’s real estate office.

    In August, part­ly in response to Amer­i­cans gob­bling up swaths of prime real estate, New Zealand’s gov­ern­ment banned for­eign­ers from buy­ing homes, with the restric­tions set to take effect in com­ing months.

    Peter Thiel, the bil­lion­aire co-founder of Pay­Pal, ignit­ed an uproar when he was grant­ed cit­i­zen­ship after spend­ing just 12 days in the coun­try, prompt­ing alle­ga­tions that New Zealand’s pass­port was for sale. Thiel, 50, owns a $13.8 mil­lion home on 477 acres (193 hectares) in the lake­side town of Wana­ka, with views of snow-capped moun­tains, and pur­chased anoth­er prop­er­ty in Queen­stown, out­fit­ted with a safe room.

    “If you’re the sort of per­son that says ‘I’m going to have an alter­na­tive plan when Armaged­don strikes,’ then you would pick the far­thest loca­tion and the safest envi­ron­ment — and that equals New Zealand if you Google it,” for­mer Prime Min­is­ter John Key said in a phone inter­view.

    “It’s known as the last bus stop on the plan­et before you hit Antarc­ti­ca,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of peo­ple say to me that they would like to own a prop­er­ty in New Zealand if the world goes to hell in a hand­bas­ket.”

    Kiwis would find this both crazy and amus­ing, Key said, but it makes sense for some of the wealth­i­est peo­ple on the plan­et.

    “We live in a world where some peo­ple have extra­or­di­nary amounts of wealth and there comes a point at which, when you have so much mon­ey, allo­cat­ing a very tiny amount of that for ‘Plan B’ is not as crazy as it sounds.”

    At three recent Sil­i­con Val­ley din­ner par­ties, guests dis­cussed bug­ging out to New Zealand if there’s trou­ble, accord­ing to atten­dees who asked not to be iden­ti­fied because the events were pri­vate.

    At one, a promi­nent ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist was said to have told fel­low din­ers of his escape plans. In the garage of his San Fran­cis­co home, he told guests, is a bag of guns hang­ing from the han­dle­bars of a motor­cy­cle. The bike will allow him to weave through traf­fic on the way to his pri­vate plane, and the guns are for defense against encroach­ing zom­bies that may threat­en his get­away.

    He intends to fly to a land­ing strip in Neva­da where a jet sits in a hangar, its sole pur­pose to whisk him and four bil­lion­aire co-own­ers to safe­ty. Their des­ti­na­tion: New Zealand — or Aotearoa, which means “Land of the Long White Cloud” in Maori.

    In the event of a pan­dem­ic, Sam Alt­man, pres­i­dent of Sil­i­con Val­ley start­up incu­ba­tor Y Com­bi­na­tor, plans to escape to New Zealand with Thiel, the New York­er report­ed in 2016. Now he says he was just jok­ing.

    “The world is so inter­con­nect­ed now that if any­thing was to hap­pen, we would all be in pret­ty bad shape, unfor­tu­nate­ly,” Alt­man, 33, said in a phone inter­view. “I don’t think you can just run away and try to hide in a cor­ner of the Earth.”

    Still, Alt­man said bio­log­i­cal war­fare is the biggest threat to civ­i­liza­tion and that peo­ple aren’t “as scared enough about that as they should be.”

    He has a go bag stuffed with a gun, antibi­otics, bat­ter­ies, water, blan­kets, a tent and gas masks.

    ...

    Robert Vici­no, founder of the Vivos Project, a builder of mas­sive under­ground bunkers, said Sil­i­con Val­ley elites dis­cussed detailed plans to flee to New Zealand last year at the World Eco­nom­ic Forum in Davos, Switzer­land. He said they fore­saw “a rev­o­lu­tion or a change where soci­ety is going to go after the 1 per­centers.” In oth­er words, them.

    New Zealand isn’t the best solu­tion, he said, because a tsuna­mi caused by an aster­oid strike in the Pacif­ic could sub­merge the island’s high­est point.

    But Vici­no is a busi­ness­man, and demand dic­tates he get to work on a bunker on the north­ern tip of the South Island that would accom­mo­date about 300 peo­ple. The price: $35,000 a head.

    That’s a bar­gain com­pared with the most expen­sive bunker Lynch’s Ris­ing S has shipped to New Zealand — $8 mil­lion.

    The two 1,000-square-foot bunkers sent ear­li­er this year had to be divid­ed into sec­tions and loaded onto 19 trac­tor-trail­ers to start the trek from Texas, he said.

    One land­ed in Pic­ton, across the Cook Strait from Welling­ton, to be trans­port­ed to a sleepy town on the West Coast. The oth­er arrived at Auckland’s Wait­em­a­ta Har­bor and set­tled into the dirt some­where in North­land, a rugged region fringed by wild beach­es.

    A spokes­woman for the New Zealand Cus­toms Ser­vice declined to con­firm that the bunkers had arrived in the coun­try, cit­ing pri­va­cy rea­sons.

    It takes about two weeks to exca­vate the land and bury the aver­age bunker, Lynch said. It’s all done secret­ly so local res­i­dents aren’t aware. Once installed, passers­by would have no way of know­ing it’s there.

    “There’s no clue left behind, not even a door,” Lynch said.

    ...

    ———-

    “The Super Rich of Sil­i­con Val­ley Have a Dooms­day Escape Plan” by Olivia Carville; Bloomberg; 09/05/2018

    ““It’s become one of the places for peo­ple in Sil­i­con Val­ley, most­ly because it’s not like Sil­i­con Val­ley at all,” said Reg­gie Luedtke, an Amer­i­can bio­med­ical engi­neer who’s mov­ing to New Zealand in Octo­ber for the Sir Edmund Hillary Fel­low­ship, a pro­gram cre­at­ed to lure tech inno­va­tors.”

    New Zealand is one of the places for Sil­i­con Val­ley. That might be con­sid­ered good news for New Zealand’s tech sec­tor but it’s more than a lit­tle omi­nous for every­one else. And notice how Trump’s pres­i­den­cy appears to have actu­al­ly increased the num­ber of bil­lion­aires decid­ing to set up an estate there:

    ...
    Such noto­ri­ety has made New Zealand’s iso­la­tion, once deemed an eco­nom­ic hand­i­cap, one of its biggest assets. The nation allows emi­gres to essen­tial­ly buy res­i­den­cy through investor visas, and rich Amer­i­cans have poured a for­tune into the coun­try, often by acquir­ing pala­tial estates.

    Bil­lion­aire hedge-fund hon­cho Julian Robert­son owns a lodge over­look­ing Lake Wakatipu in Queen­stown, the South Island’s lux­u­ry resort des­ti­na­tion. Fideli­ty Nation­al Finan­cial Inc. Chair­man Bill Foley has a home­stead in the Wairara­pa region, north of Welling­ton, and Titan­ic direc­tor James Cameron bought a man­sion near­by at Lake Pounui.

    The Investor Plus Visa, which requires a min­i­mum invest­ment of NZD$10 mil­lion ($6.7 mil­lion) over three years, attract­ed 17 U.S. appli­cants in fis­cal 2017, after Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion. Pre­vi­ous­ly, it aver­aged six appli­cants a year.

    More than 10 Amer­i­cans from the West Coast have bought mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar prop­er­ties in the Queen­stown region in the past two years, said Mark Har­ris, man­ag­ing direc­tor of the local Sotheby’s real estate office.

    In August, part­ly in response to Amer­i­cans gob­bling up swaths of prime real estate, New Zealand’s gov­ern­ment banned for­eign­ers from buy­ing homes, with the restric­tions set to take effect in com­ing months.

    Peter Thiel, the bil­lion­aire co-founder of Pay­Pal, ignit­ed an uproar when he was grant­ed cit­i­zen­ship after spend­ing just 12 days in the coun­try, prompt­ing alle­ga­tions that New Zealand’s pass­port was for sale. Thiel, 50, owns a $13.8 mil­lion home on 477 acres (193 hectares) in the lake­side town of Wana­ka, with views of snow-capped moun­tains, and pur­chased anoth­er prop­er­ty in Queen­stown, out­fit­ted with a safe room.
    ...

    So you have won­der if fears of Trump-induced back­lash and glob­al chaos are part of what’s fuel­ing the surge in inter­est in New Zealand estates or if the giant GOP tax cut that hand­ed bil­lions to the bil­lion­aires sim­ply increased their wealth so much that they are so wealthy at this point that they see no rea­son not to set up a ‘Plan B’:

    ...
    “If you’re the sort of per­son that says ‘I’m going to have an alter­na­tive plan when Armaged­don strikes,’ then you would pick the far­thest loca­tion and the safest envi­ron­ment — and that equals New Zealand if you Google it,” for­mer Prime Min­is­ter John Key said in a phone inter­view.

    “It’s known as the last bus stop on the plan­et before you hit Antarc­ti­ca,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of peo­ple say to me that they would like to own a prop­er­ty in New Zealand if the world goes to hell in a hand­bas­ket.”

    Kiwis would find this both crazy and amus­ing, Key said, but it makes sense for some of the wealth­i­est peo­ple on the plan­et.

    “We live in a world where some peo­ple have extra­or­di­nary amounts of wealth and there comes a point at which, when you have so much mon­ey, allo­cat­ing a very tiny amount of that for ‘Plan B’ is not as crazy as it sounds.”
    ...

    But don’t for­get what Rushkoff told us: for the peo­ple he met, dooms­day was­n’t ‘Plan B’. It was ‘Plan A’ and what they were absolute­ly expect­ing. So when we hear about the promi­nent ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist who spoke of his escape plans involv­ing a jet that is co-owned by four oth­er bil­lion­aire co-own­ers and exists sole­ly to whisk them away to New Zealand, you have to won­der if this is the same group that hired Rushkoff:

    ...

    At three recent Sil­i­con Val­ley din­ner par­ties, guests dis­cussed bug­ging out to New Zealand if there’s trou­ble, accord­ing to atten­dees who asked not to be iden­ti­fied because the events were pri­vate.

    At one, a promi­nent ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist was said to have told fel­low din­ers of his escape plans. In the garage of his San Fran­cis­co home, he told guests, is a bag of guns hang­ing from the han­dle­bars of a motor­cy­cle. The bike will allow him to weave through traf­fic on the way to his pri­vate plane, and the guns are for defense against encroach­ing zom­bies that may threat­en his get­away.

    He intends to fly to a land­ing strip in Neva­da where a jet sits in a hangar, its sole pur­pose to whisk him and four bil­lion­aire co-own­ers to safe­ty. Their des­ti­na­tion: New Zealand — or Aotearoa, which means “Land of the Long White Cloud” in Maori.
    ...

    Maybe it’s the same group of bil­lion­aires or maybe it’s a dif­fer­ent one. Again, there’s trag­i­cal­ly no short­age of bil­lion­aires who have embraced a world­view of doom. Doom that can’t be pre­vent­ed and only they can afford to escape.

    So as Pres­i­dent Trump inevitably makes the demo­niza­tion of des­per­ate poor peo­ple as an unbear­able bur­den that must be walled off a cen­tral theme of his 2020 reelec­tion cam­paign, it’s going to be worth keep­ing in mind that the lack of any attempt come up with real solu­tions to the prob­lems under­ly­ing and fuel­ing the refugee/asylum cri­sis is very much in keep­ing with the broad­er theme of a glob­al class of right-wing elites who com­prise Trump’s real base and have embraced doom as an escape from the need to even try to actu­al­ly address the prob­lems fac­ing the world.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 13, 2019, 3:58 pm
  2. One of the still open ques­tions regard­ing Jef­frey Epstein is the ques­tion of his polit­i­cal or ide­o­log­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion. We know he donat­ed to politi­cians through­out the 90’s up through 2003, at which point his polit­i­cal dona­tions abrupt­ly stopped. Most of those went to Democ­rats but Repub­li­cans were also recip­i­ents. But we still don’t real­ly have a sense of his per­son­al pol­i­tics.

    The New York Times recent­ly had a sto­ry on one of the major areas of Epstein’s phil­an­thropic activ­i­ties that def­i­nite­ly gives us a hint as to the guy’s pol­i­tics: he sounds like a far right eugeni­cist nutjob.

    Specif­i­cal­ly, Epstein want­ed to arrange for mass impreg­na­tions of women with his sperm at his New Mex­i­co ranch to seed the human race with his DNA. He was appar­ent­ly inspired by a sperm bank of Nobel Prize win­ning sperm donors. His inter­est in genet­ics went beyond spon­sor­ing research and appar­ent­ly includ­ed some sort of work one of his busi­ness­es did. Epstein’s Vir­gin Island-incor­po­rat­ed busi­ness, South­ern Trust Com­pa­ny, dis­closed in a local fil­ing that it was engaged in DNA analy­sis. Alan Der­showitz recounts a lunch host­ed by Epstein at Cam­bridge, MA, where Epstein was steer­ing the con­ver­sa­tion towards improv­ing the human race genet­i­cal­ly. These lunch­es with sci­en­tists host­ed by Epstein were appar­ent­ly a reg­u­lar thing. Epstein also host­ed sci­ence con­fer­ences. At one con­fer­ence in 2006 in the Vir­gin Islands that was osten­si­bly about grav­i­ty, Epstein appar­ent­ly kept want­i­ng to talk about per­fect­ing the human genome.

    At the same time, he appar­ent­ly opposed efforts to reduce star­va­tion and pro­vide health care to the poor because doing so increased the risk of over­pop­u­la­tion. Tak­en togeth­er, it’s the kind of psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­file one fre­quent­ly finds with the far right: a hyper-ego-dri­ven qua­si-socio­path­ic world­view almost com­plete­ly lack­ing in empa­thy for oth­ers that places val­ue on peo­ple accord­ing to their wealth and pow­er. A phi­los­o­phy eeri­ly sim­i­lar to the social Dar­win­ism extolled in the far right book Might is Right that was pro­mot­ed by the neo-Nazi shoot­er who just attacked the Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val.

    Epstein’s desire to seed the human race with his DNA was just one part of a much larg­er fas­ci­nat­ing with tran­shu­man­ism. A fas­ci­na­tion that man­i­fest­ed with a large amount of phil­an­thropic activ­i­ty involv­ing the sci­ences and exten­sive net­work­ing with a num­ber of promi­nent sci­en­tists. He would host din­ner par­ties at his Man­hat­tan man­sion and host­ed buf­fet lunch­es at Harvard’s Pro­gram for Evo­lu­tion­ary Dynam­ics, which he had helped start with a $6.5 mil­lion dona­tion.

    This phil­an­thropic activ­i­ty con­tin­ued after his 2008 sweet­heart plea deal over under­age sex traf­fick­ing. For exam­ple, in 2011, one of Epstein’s char­i­ties gave $20,000 to the World­wide Tran­shu­man­ist Asso­ci­a­tion, now called Human­i­ty Plus. Epstein’s foun­da­tion also donat­ed $100,000 to pay the salary of the vice chair­man of Human­i­ty Plus, Ben Goertzel. Goertzel is a key fig­ure in the ‘Sin­gu­lar­i­ty’ move­ment, includ­ing being the for­mer direc­tor of the Machine Intel­li­gence Research Insti­tute, for­mer­ly known as the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty Insti­tute for Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence. The insti­tute is ded­i­cat­ed to accel­er­at­ing the devel­op­ment of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence.

    Epstein was also very inter­est­ed in cry­on­ics. He once told a fel­low tran­shu­man­ist he want­ed to have his head and penis frozen. He was also inter­est­ed in even more ‘out there’ areas of research like try­ing to find the par­ti­cle that might trig­ger the feel­ing some­one is watch­ing you, which sounds like a form of psy­chic research.

    Epstein’s main con­tact with the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty appears to be John Brock­man. Brock­man is a lit­er­ary agent who, for two decades, led a series of salons that matched sci­en­tist-authors with poten­tial bene­fac­tors. As an exam­ple of the types of peo­ple involved with Brock­man’s match-mak­ing, in 2004, Brock­man host­ed a din­ner were Epstein was intro­duced to var­i­ous sci­en­tists. Also at the din­ner were Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, and Lar­ry Page.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, there’s no men­tion of Peter Thiel mov­ing in Epstein’s orbit which is sur­pris­ing giv­en Thiel’s intense inter­est in tran­shu­man­ism. But we are told that “at least one promi­nent mem­ber of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty” was also inter­est­ed in a mass insem­i­na­tion plan to seed the future of human­i­ty with their DNA. So there’s at least one yet-to-be iden­ti­fied promi­nent busi­ness­man who was very inter­est­ed in this mass insem­i­na­tion plan. You have to won­der if Thiel is one of those uniden­ti­fied busi­ness­men.

    So that’s what we learned in the fol­low­ing New York Times piece. Intrigu­ing­ly, as we’re going to see in the sec­ond arti­cle below, there was one area of Epstein’s sci­en­tif­ic phil­an­thropy that is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing in the con­tem­po­rary con­text of the AI-dri­ven net­works of auto­mat­ed social media bots that pre­tend to be real play and play an increas­ing­ly impor­tant role in mod­ern day pro­pa­gan­da tech­niques. One of the projects the Epstein Foun­da­tion donat­ed to that involved Human­i­ty Plus vice chair­man Ben Goertzel was the devel­op­ment of OpenCog, a soft­ware devel­op­ment kit that allows for the build­ing of ‘smart’ AI char­ac­ters. OpenCog is based a mod­el of how the mind works and while it’s a for-prof­it group, the state goal of OpenCog was to cre­ate a plat­form for test­ing their hypoth­e­sis about how the mind works.

    OpenCog describes appli­ca­tions for their tools that include pow­er­ing video games, toys, and even robots. And as we’re going to see in the third arti­cle excerpt below, it was OpenCog that pow­ered the eeri­ly life-like robot, Sophia, that was unveiled in Han­son Robot­ics. Here’s an inter­view of Sophia on CNBC. So OpenCog has already demon­strat­ed the abil­i­ty pow­er auto­mat­ed human-like inter­ac­tions. And it’s open source which means any­one can use its tools. And that rais­es an inter­est­ing ques­tion: is OpenCog pow­er­ing mod­ern day pro­pa­gan­da social media bot net­works that are so suc­cess­ful at pro­mot­ing far right garbage memes and ide­olo­gies? If so, that would be quite a twist for the Epstein sto­ry.

    Ok, here’s the New York Times piece describ­ing Epstein’s his­to­ry of sci­en­tif­ic phil­an­thropy that appeared to be dri­ven by a eugen­ics phi­los­o­phy and a scheme to mass impreg­nate women to seed the future of human­i­ty. A plan he shared with at least one still unknown promi­nent busi­ness­man:

    The New York Times

    Jef­frey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA

    By James B. Stew­art, Matthew Gold­stein and Jes­si­ca Sil­ver-Green­berg

    July 31, 2019

    Jef­frey E. Epstein, the wealthy financier who is accused of sex traf­fick­ing, had an unusu­al dream: He hoped to seed the human race with his DNA by impreg­nat­ing women at his vast New Mex­i­co ranch.

    Mr. Epstein over the years con­fid­ed to sci­en­tists and oth­ers about his scheme, accord­ing to four peo­ple famil­iar with his think­ing, although there is no evi­dence that it ever came to fruition.

    Mr. Epstein’s vision reflect­ed his long­stand­ing fas­ci­na­tion with what has become known as tran­shu­man­ism: the sci­ence of improv­ing the human pop­u­la­tion through tech­nolo­gies like genet­ic engi­neer­ing and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. Crit­ics have likened tran­shu­man­ism to a mod­ern-day ver­sion of eugen­ics, the dis­cred­it­ed field of improv­ing the human race through con­trolled breed­ing.

    Mr. Epstein, who was charged in July with the sex­u­al traf­fick­ing of girls as young as 14, was a ser­i­al illu­sion­ist: He lied about the iden­ti­ties of his clients, his wealth, his finan­cial prowess, his per­son­al achieve­ments. But he man­aged to use con­nec­tions and charis­ma to cul­ti­vate valu­able rela­tion­ships with busi­ness and polit­i­cal lead­ers.

    Inter­views with more than a dozen of his acquain­tances, as well as pub­lic doc­u­ments, show that he used the same tac­tics to insin­u­ate him­self into an elite sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty, thus allow­ing him to pur­sue his inter­ests in eugen­ics and oth­er fringe fields like cry­on­ics.

    ...

    Mr. Epstein attract­ed a glit­ter­ing array of promi­nent sci­en­tists. They includ­ed the Nobel Prize-win­ning physi­cist Mur­ray Gell-Mann, who dis­cov­ered the quark; the the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist and best-sell­ing author Stephen Hawk­ing; the pale­on­tol­o­gist and evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gist Stephen Jay Gould; Oliv­er Sacks, the neu­rol­o­gist and best-sell­ing author; George M. Church, a mol­e­c­u­lar engi­neer who has worked to iden­ti­fy genes that could be altered to cre­ate supe­ri­or humans; and the M.I.T. the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist Frank Wilczek, a Nobel lau­re­ate.

    The lure for some of the sci­en­tists was Mr. Epstein’s mon­ey. He dan­gled financ­ing for their pet projects. Some of the sci­en­tists said that the prospect of financ­ing blind­ed them to the seri­ous­ness of his sex­u­al trans­gres­sions, and even led them to give cre­dence to some of Mr. Epstein’s half-baked sci­en­tif­ic mus­ings.

    Sci­en­tists gath­ered at din­ner par­ties at Mr. Epstein’s Man­hat­tan man­sion, where Dom Pérignon and expen­sive wines flowed freely, even though Mr. Epstein did not drink. He host­ed buf­fet lunch­es at Harvard’s Pro­gram for Evo­lu­tion­ary Dynam­ics, which he had helped start with a $6.5 mil­lion dona­tion.

    Oth­ers flew to con­fer­ences spon­sored by Mr. Epstein in the Unit­ed States Vir­gin Islands and were fet­ed on his pri­vate island there. Once, the sci­en­tists — includ­ing Mr. Hawk­ing — crowd­ed on board a sub­ma­rine that Mr. Epstein had char­tered.

    The Har­vard cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gist Steven Pinker said he was invit­ed by col­leagues — includ­ing Mar­tin Nowak, a Har­vard pro­fes­sor of math­e­mat­ics and biol­o­gy, and the the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist Lawrence Krauss — to “salons and cof­fee klatsches” at which Mr. Epstein would hold court.

    While some of Mr. Pinker’s peers hailed Mr. Epstein as bril­liant, Mr. Pinker described him as an “intel­lec­tu­al impos­tor.”

    “He would abrupt­ly change the sub­ject, A.D.D.-style, dis­miss an obser­va­tion with an ado­les­cent wise­crack,” Mr. Pinker said.

    Anoth­er sci­en­tist cul­ti­vat­ed by Mr. Epstein, Jaron Lanier, a pro­lif­ic author who is a founder of vir­tu­al real­i­ty, said that Mr. Epstein’s ideas did not amount to sci­ence, in that they did not lend them­selves to rig­or­ous proof. Mr. Lanier said Mr. Epstein had once hypoth­e­sized that atoms behaved like investors in a mar­ket­place.

    Mr. Lanier said he had declined any fund­ing from Mr. Epstein and that he had met with him only once after Mr. Epstein in 2008 plead­ed guilty to charges of solic­it­ing pros­ti­tu­tion from a minor.

    Mr. Epstein was will­ing to finance research that oth­ers viewed as bizarre. He told one sci­en­tist that he was bankrolling efforts to iden­ti­fy a mys­te­ri­ous par­ti­cle that might trig­ger the feel­ing that some­one is watch­ing you.

    At one ses­sion at Har­vard, Mr. Epstein crit­i­cized efforts to reduce star­va­tion and pro­vide health care to the poor because doing so increased the risk of over­pop­u­la­tion, said Mr. Pinker, who was there. Mr. Pinker said he had rebutted the argu­ment, cit­ing research show­ing that high rates of infant mor­tal­i­ty sim­ply caused peo­ple to have more chil­dren. Mr. Epstein seemed annoyed, and a Har­vard col­league lat­er told Mr. Pinker that he had been “vot­ed off the island” and was no longer wel­come at Mr. Epstein’s gath­er­ings.

    Then there was Mr. Epstein’s inter­est in eugen­ics.

    On mul­ti­ple occa­sions start­ing in the ear­ly 2000s, Mr. Epstein told sci­en­tists and busi­ness­men about his ambi­tions to use his New Mex­i­co ranch as a base where women would be insem­i­nat­ed with his sperm and would give birth to his babies, accord­ing to two award-win­ning sci­en­tists and an advis­er to large com­pa­nies and wealthy indi­vid­u­als, all of whom Mr. Epstein told about it.

    It was not a secret. The advis­er, for exam­ple, said he was told about the plans not only by Mr. Epstein, at a gath­er­ing at his Man­hat­tan town­house, but also by at least one promi­nent mem­ber of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty. One of the sci­en­tists said Mr. Epstein divulged his idea in 2001 at a din­ner at the same town­house; the oth­er recalled Mr. Epstein dis­cussing it with him at a 2006 con­fer­ence that he host­ed in St. Thomas in the Vir­gin Islands.

    The idea struck all three as far-fetched and dis­turb­ing. There is no indi­ca­tion that it would have been against the law.

    Once, at a din­ner at Mr. Epstein’s man­sion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mr. Lanier said he talked to a sci­en­tist who told him that Mr. Epstein’s goal was to have 20 women at a time impreg­nat­ed at his 33,000-square-foot Zor­ro Ranch in a tiny town out­side San­ta Fe. Mr. Lanier said the sci­en­tist iden­ti­fied her­self as work­ing at NASA, but he did not remem­ber her name.

    Accord­ing to Mr. Lanier, the NASA sci­en­tist said Mr. Epstein had based his idea for a baby ranch on accounts of the Repos­i­to­ry for Ger­mi­nal Choice, which was to be stocked with the sperm of Nobel lau­re­ates who want­ed to strength­en the human gene pool. (Only one Nobel Prize win­ner has acknowl­edged con­tribut­ing sperm to it. The repos­i­to­ry dis­con­tin­ued oper­a­tions in 1999.)

    Mr. Lanier, the vir­tu­al-real­i­ty cre­ator and author, said he had the impres­sion that Mr. Epstein was using the din­ner par­ties — where some guests were attrac­tive women with impres­sive aca­d­e­m­ic cre­den­tials — to screen can­di­dates to bear Mr. Epstein’s chil­dren.

    Mr. Epstein did not hide his inter­est in tin­ker­ing with genes — and in per­pet­u­at­ing his own DNA.

    One adher­ent of tran­shu­man­ism said that he and Mr. Epstein dis­cussed the financier’s inter­est in cry­on­ics, an unproven sci­ence in which people’s bod­ies are frozen to be brought back to life in the future. Mr. Epstein told this per­son that he want­ed his head and penis to be frozen.

    South­ern Trust Com­pa­ny, Mr. Epstein’s Vir­gin Island-incor­po­rat­ed busi­ness, dis­closed in a local fil­ing that it was engaged in DNA analy­sis. Calls to South­ern Trust, which spon­sored a sci­ence and math fair for school chil­dren in the Vir­gin Islands in 2014, were not returned.

    In 2011, a char­i­ty estab­lished by Mr. Epstein gave $20,000 to the World­wide Tran­shu­man­ist Asso­ci­a­tion, which now oper­ates under the name Human­i­ty Plus. The group’s web­site says that its goal is “to deeply influ­ence a new gen­er­a­tion of thinkers who dare to envi­sion humanity’s next steps.”

    Mr. Epstein’s foun­da­tion, which is now defunct, also gave $100,000 to pay the salary of Ben Goertzel, vice chair­man of Human­i­ty Plus, accord­ing to Mr. Goertzel’s résumé.

    “I have no desire to talk about Epstein right now,” Mr. Goertzel said in an email to The New York Times. “The stuff I’m read­ing about him in the papers is pret­ty dis­turb­ing and goes way beyond what I thought his mis­do­ings and kinks were. Yecch.”

    Alan M. Der­showitz, a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of law at Har­vard, recalled that at a lunch Mr. Epstein host­ed in Cam­bridge, Mass., he steered the con­ver­sa­tion toward the ques­tion of how humans could be improved genet­i­cal­ly. Mr. Der­showitz said he was appalled, giv­en the Nazis’ use of eugen­ics to jus­ti­fy their geno­ci­dal effort to puri­fy the Aryan race.

    Yet the lunch­es per­sist­ed.

    “Every­one spec­u­lat­ed about whether these sci­en­tists were more inter­est­ed in his views or more inter­est­ed in his mon­ey,” said Mr. Der­showitz, who was one of Mr. Epstein’s defense lawyers in the 2008 case.

    Lumi­nar­ies at Mr. Epstein’s St. Thomas con­fer­ence in 2006 includ­ed Mr. Hawk­ing and the Cal­tech the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist Kip S. Thorne. One par­tic­i­pant at that con­fer­ence, which was osten­si­bly on the sub­ject of grav­i­ty, recalled that Mr. Epstein want­ed to talk about per­fect­ing the human genome. Mr. Epstein said he was fas­ci­nat­ed with how cer­tain traits were passed on, and how that could result in supe­ri­or humans.

    Mr. Epstein appears to have gained entree into the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty through John Brock­man, a lit­er­ary agent whose best-sell­ing sci­ence writ­ers include Richard Dawkins, Daniel Gole­man and Jared Dia­mond. Mr. Brock­man did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    For two decades, Mr. Brock­man presided over a series of salons that matched his sci­en­tist-authors with poten­tial bene­fac­tors. (The so-called “bil­lion­aires’ din­ners” appar­ent­ly became a mod­el for the gath­er­ings at Mr. Epstein’s East 71st Street town­house, which includ­ed some of the same guests.)

    In 2004, Mr. Brock­man host­ed a din­ner at the Indi­an Sum­mer restau­rant in Mon­terey, Calif., where Mr. Epstein was intro­duced to sci­en­tists, includ­ing Seth Lloyd, the M.I.T. physi­cist. Mr. Lloyd said that he found Mr. Epstein to be “charm­ing” and to have “inter­est­ing ideas,” although they “turned out to be quite vague.”

    Also at the Indi­an Sum­mer din­ner, accord­ing to an account on the web­site of Mr. Brockman’s Edge Foun­da­tion, were the Google founders Sergey Brin and Lar­ry Page and Jeff Bezos, who was accom­pa­nied by his moth­er.

    “All the good-look­ing women were sit­ting with the physi­cists’ table,” Daniel Dub­no, who was a CBS pro­duc­er at the time and attend­ed the din­ner, was quot­ed as say­ing. Mr. Dub­no told The Times that he did not recall the din­ner or hav­ing said those words.

    Mr. Brock­man was Mr. Gell-Mann’s agent, and Mr. Gell-Mann, in the acknowl­edg­ments sec­tion of his 1995 book “The Quark and the Jaguar,” thanked Mr. Epstein for his finan­cial sup­port.

    How­ev­er impres­sive his ros­ter of sci­en­tif­ic con­tacts, Mr. Epstein could not resist embell­ish­ing it. He claimed on one of his web­sites to have had “the priv­i­lege of spon­sor­ing many promi­nent sci­en­tists,” includ­ing Mr. Pinker, Mr. Thorne and the M.I.T. math­e­mati­cian and geneti­cist Eric S. Lan­der.

    Mr. Pinker said he had nev­er tak­en any finan­cial or oth­er sup­port from Mr. Epstein. “Need­less to say, I find Epstein’s behav­ior rep­re­hen­si­ble,” he said.

    Mr. Thorne, who recent­ly won a Nobel Prize, said he attend­ed Mr. Epstein’s 2006 con­fer­ence, believ­ing it to be co-spon­sored by a rep­utable research cen­ter. Oth­er than that, “I have had no con­tact with, rela­tion­ship with, affil­i­a­tion with or fund­ing from Epstein,” he said. “I unequiv­o­cal­ly con­demn his abhor­rent actions involv­ing minors.”

    Lee McGuire, a spokesman for Mr. Lan­der, said he has had no rela­tion­ship with Mr. Epstein. “Mr. Epstein appears to have made up lots of things,” Mr. McGuire said, “and this seems to be among them.”

    ———-

    “Jef­frey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA” by James B. Stew­art, Matthew Gold­stein and Jes­si­ca Sil­ver-Green­berg; The New York Times; 07/31/2019

    “Inter­views with more than a dozen of his acquain­tances, as well as pub­lic doc­u­ments, show that he used the same tac­tics to insin­u­ate him­self into an elite sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty, thus allow­ing him to pur­sue his inter­ests in eugen­ics and oth­er fringe fields like cry­on­ics.”

    Insin­u­at­ing him­self into the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty so he could pur­sue an inter­est in eugen­ics. That cer­tain­ly gives us an idea of his per­son­al politics...typical bil­lion­aire tech­no-lib­er­tar­i­an­ism. And he appar­ent­ly was­n’t alone in his quest to mass impreg­nate women. At least one oth­er promi­nent busi­ness­man shared this mass impreg­na­tion goal. Per­haps most dis­turb­ing is that there’s no indi­ca­tion such a scheme would be against the law, so who knows how many ‘rich lunatic mass impreg­na­tion’ schemes like this have actu­al­ly tak­en place:

    ...
    Then there was Mr. Epstein’s inter­est in eugen­ics.

    On mul­ti­ple occa­sions start­ing in the ear­ly 2000s, Mr. Epstein told sci­en­tists and busi­ness­men about his ambi­tions to use his New Mex­i­co ranch as a base where women would be insem­i­nat­ed with his sperm and would give birth to his babies, accord­ing to two award-win­ning sci­en­tists and an advis­er to large com­pa­nies and wealthy indi­vid­u­als, all of whom Mr. Epstein told about it.

    It was not a secret. The advis­er, for exam­ple, said he was told about the plans not only by Mr. Epstein, at a gath­er­ing at his Man­hat­tan town­house, but also by at least one promi­nent mem­ber of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty. One of the sci­en­tists said Mr. Epstein divulged his idea in 2001 at a din­ner at the same town­house; the oth­er recalled Mr. Epstein dis­cussing it with him at a 2006 con­fer­ence that he host­ed in St. Thomas in the Vir­gin Islands.

    The idea struck all three as far-fetched and dis­turb­ing. There is no indi­ca­tion that it would have been against the law.

    Once, at a din­ner at Mr. Epstein’s man­sion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mr. Lanier said he talked to a sci­en­tist who told him that Mr. Epstein’s goal was to have 20 women at a time impreg­nat­ed at his 33,000-square-foot Zor­ro Ranch in a tiny town out­side San­ta Fe. Mr. Lanier said the sci­en­tist iden­ti­fied her­self as work­ing at NASA, but he did not remem­ber her name.

    Accord­ing to Mr. Lanier, the NASA sci­en­tist said Mr. Epstein had based his idea for a baby ranch on accounts of the Repos­i­to­ry for Ger­mi­nal Choice, which was to be stocked with the sperm of Nobel lau­re­ates who want­ed to strength­en the human gene pool. (Only one Nobel Prize win­ner has acknowl­edged con­tribut­ing sperm to it. The repos­i­to­ry dis­con­tin­ued oper­a­tions in 1999.)

    ...

    Alan M. Der­showitz, a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of law at Har­vard, recalled that at a lunch Mr. Epstein host­ed in Cam­bridge, Mass., he steered the con­ver­sa­tion toward the ques­tion of how humans could be improved genet­i­cal­ly. Mr. Der­showitz said he was appalled, giv­en the Nazis’ use of eugen­ics to jus­ti­fy their geno­ci­dal effort to puri­fy the Aryan race.

    ...

    Lumi­nar­ies at Mr. Epstein’s St. Thomas con­fer­ence in 2006 includ­ed Mr. Hawk­ing and the Cal­tech the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist Kip S. Thorne. One par­tic­i­pant at that con­fer­ence, which was osten­si­bly on the sub­ject of grav­i­ty, recalled that Mr. Epstein want­ed to talk about per­fect­ing the human genome. Mr. Epstein said he was fas­ci­nat­ed with how cer­tain traits were passed on, and how that could result in supe­ri­or humans.
    ...

    High­light­ing the social Dar­win­ism Epstein appeared to embrace, notice Steven Pinker’s anec­dote: After Pinker chal­lenged Epstein on his crit­i­cism of efforts to reduce star­va­tion and pro­vide health care to the poor, Epstein was “vot­ed off the island” and not invit­ed back to these gath­er­ings. That’s how seri­ous­ly Epstein took his visions of ‘seed­ing’ human­i­ty with his own DNA...he seri­ous­ly want­ed to see poli­cies designed to kill off the glob­al poor too:

    ...
    At one ses­sion at Har­vard, Mr. Epstein crit­i­cized efforts to reduce star­va­tion and pro­vide health care to the poor because doing so increased the risk of over­pop­u­la­tion, said Mr. Pinker, who was there. Mr. Pinker said he had rebutted the argu­ment, cit­ing research show­ing that high rates of infant mor­tal­i­ty sim­ply caused peo­ple to have more chil­dren. Mr. Epstein seemed annoyed, and a Har­vard col­league lat­er told Mr. Pinker that he had been “vot­ed off the island” and was no longer wel­come at Mr. Epstein’s gath­er­ings.
    ...

    Keep in mind that some­how bring­ing about the mass death of almost all non-wealthy (and typ­i­cal­ly non-white) peo­ple on the plan­et is a key goal of many far right move­ments and in keep­ing with the Nazis vision of cre­at­ing the next phase of mankind. So while Epstein was Jew­ish, he sure seems to have held a Nazi-like world­view in a lot of key ways.

    And this sci­en­tif­ic phil­an­thropy kept going years after the 2008 sweet­heart plea deal with US fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors over the under­age sex traf­fick­ing. For exam­ple, there’s the large dona­tions to “Human­i­ty Plus”, which includ­ed a $100,000 dona­tion to pay the salary of Human­i­ty Plus’s vice chair­man Ben Goertzel:

    ...
    In 2011, a char­i­ty estab­lished by Mr. Epstein gave $20,000 to the World­wide Tran­shu­man­ist Asso­ci­a­tion, which now oper­ates under the name Human­i­ty Plus. The group’s web­site says that its goal is “to deeply influ­ence a new gen­er­a­tion of thinkers who dare to envi­sion humanity’s next steps.”

    Mr. Epstein’s foun­da­tion, which is now defunct, also gave $100,000 to pay the salary of Ben Goertzel, vice chair­man of Human­i­ty Plus, accord­ing to Mr. Goertzel’s résumé.

    “I have no desire to talk about Epstein right now,” Mr. Goertzel said in an email to The New York Times. “The stuff I’m read­ing about him in the papers is pret­ty dis­turb­ing and goes way beyond what I thought his mis­do­ings and kinks were. Yecch.”
    ...

    Next, here’s a 2013 Forbes piece dis­cussing the Epstein Foun­da­tion’s dona­tion to fund a project co-found­ed by Goertzel: the OpenCog ini­tia­tive. Inter­est­ing, this Forbes piece was tak­en down by Forbes due to it not meet­ing its edi­to­r­i­al stan­dards. It’s not clear why based on the con­tents of the arti­cle, but it’s for­tu­nate­ly still avail­able on the Way­back Machine. And as the piece notes, while OpenCog hopes to make a prof­it, the soft­ware devel­op­ment tool kits its cre­at­ing are open source and intend­ed to be used by the AI com­mu­ni­ty for free. Instead of prof­it, they are pri­mar­i­ly inter­est­ed in using a vir­tu­al plat­form to test their hypoth­e­sis about the mind. So Epstein’s sci­en­tif­ic inter­ests in recent years involves try­ing to mod­el how peo­ple think and use those mod­els to build vir­tu­al enti­ties that can behave in a life-like man­ner:

    Forbes

    Sci­ence Fun­der Jef­frey Epstein Launch­es Rad­i­cal Emo­tion­al Soft­ware For The Gam­ing Indus­try

    Drew Hen­dricks
    10/02/2013 @ 6:20PM

    Vir­tu­al gam­ing is about to warp through a black hole, thanks to a band of sci­en­tists in Hong Kong and a hedge fun­der with a zeal­ous sci­ence back­ground, called Jef­frey Epstein. Indeed, game pro­gram­ming is mov­ing away from algo­rith­mic robots to a twi­light realm of emo­tion­al thinkers, tak­ing online, video and toy entre­pre­neurs, one step clos­er to Star Trek’s ‘Holodeck’.

    For years, in vir­tu­al gam­ing, the only intel­li­gent play­er was the per­son play­ing the game, respond­ing to non-reac­tive obsta­cles. At most, oppo­nents could blow up or morph into some­thing else. What­ev­er the reac­tion, it was a sim­ple lin­ear or algo­rith­mic response (if A, then B, if A+D, then C).

    ...

    Today’s gam­ing char­ac­ters from vir­tu­al sol­diers to Tin­ker­bell are also vast­ly more com­plex than their dash line ten­nis, Pac Man or Pong for­bear­ers. Like the chess pro­gram, vir­tu­al sol­diers can react to a wide vari­a­tion of land­scape sce­nar­ios and respond in a myr­i­ad of ways, based on each case.

    The Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI) group in Hong Kong behind this new emo­tive soft­ware is called Open Cog. As an open-source foun­da­tion, Open Cog (‘Cog­ni­tion for All’) lead by co-founder Ben Goertzel, devel­ops pro­gram­ming lan­guage for the AI com­mu­ni­ty to share, in what is still a very frag­ment­ed field. How­ev­er, in efforts to map the archi­tec­ture of the human mind, Open Cog also pro­gramed three game char­ac­ters, a ghost, a robot and a girl that push past tra­di­tion­al gam­ing algo­rithms:

    Each char­ac­ter has pro­grammed into them a data­base called an Atom­Space. Atom­Space con­sists of hun­dreds of ‘atoms’ which are knowl­edge con­cepts such as objects (chair, table, shelf), actions (sit­ting, run­ning, singing) and feel­ings (anger, joy, fear). Every time an algo­rithm, called MindA­gents, leads a char­ac­ter to more than one an atom, the asso­cia­tive link gets stronger, influ­enc­ing the char­ac­ters’ future path­way choic­es. In this sense, a char­ac­ter builds and incor­po­rates asso­cia­tive mem­o­ry. At the same time, links can decay over time if not used by algo­rithms, weak­en­ing a character’s mem­o­ry.

    Anoth­er unique fea­ture is the use of sev­er­al algo­rithms func­tion­ing at the same time, called, “cog­ni­tive syn­er­gy”. The the­o­ry behind this syn­er­gy is that humans have mul­ti­ple thought process­es going on simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, pri­or­i­tiz­ing one’s over oth­ers in order to func­tion.

    OpenPsi, inspired by AI sci­en­tist Joscha Bach in Berlin, is anoth­er pro­gram built into these nov­el char­ac­ters. OpenPsi gov­erns a character’s basic needs and thus which path­way to take. OpenPsi is based on Ger­man psy­chol­o­gist Diet­rich Dörner’s the­o­ry that ani­mal behav­ior is dri­ven by five basic needs: exis­tence preser­va­tion (food, water, body integrity—avoidance of pain), species preser­va­tion (sex­u­al­i­ty, repro­duc­tion), affil­i­a­tion (need to belong to a group, social inter­ac­tion), cer­tain­ty (need to pre­dict events and their con­se­quences), com­pe­tence (capac­i­ty to mas­ter prob­lems and taks). Each of these needs gets filled or deplet­ed based on time and inter­ac­tion with var­i­ous atoms. The sta­tus of a need has a sig­nif­i­cant impact on which path­ways a char­ac­ter choos­es to take. For exam­ple, if the need for water is extreme­ly high, a char­ac­ter will pri­or­i­tize a water atom in its path­way choice.

    For entre­pre­neurs, Open Cog, togeth­er with M Lab from Hong Kong Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­si­ty, sup­plies a soft­ware toolk­it to incor­po­rate their char­ac­ters into what­ev­er appli­ca­tions the mar­ket is using: from vir­tu­al land­scapes to toys and even robots. As a show­case, Open Cog has also devel­oped its own 3D land­scape for its char­ac­ters to func­tion in, inspired large­ly by the pop­u­lar build­ing game called Mind­craft.

    Open Cog’s goals dif­fer from the gam­ing indus­try which is already lin­ing up to exploit the new soft­ware. While it intends to make a prof­it, they are pri­mar­i­ly inter­est­ed in using a vir­tu­al plat­form to test their hypoth­e­sis about the mind. “The dis­par­i­ty between these mod­els and our expe­ri­ence of the mind is an invalu­able guide to fol­low,” Jef­frey Epstein remarked, the finan­cial guru behind this effort, along with the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment and Hong Kong Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­si­ty. “It’s some­what like build­ing a car, with no instruc­tions, but our impres­sion of what a car can do.”

    Over the last ten years, Jef­frey Epstein has become one of the largest back­ers of cut­ting edge sci­ence around the world. Accord­ing to New York Mag­a­zine, Epstein has donat­ed up to $200 mil­lion a year to emi­nent sci­en­tists, includ­ing: Stephen Hawk­ing, Mar­vin Min­sky, Eric Lan­der, George Church, and Nobel lau­re­ate physi­cists Ger­ard ’t Hooft, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek. Like Open Cog, Epstein is moti­vat­ed by learn­ing more about the mind, ver­sus cre­at­ing a new start-up prod­uct. He cur­rent­ly sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behav­ior Com­mit­tee at Har­vard. In 2003, Epstein found­ed the Pro­gram for Evo­lu­tion­ary Dynam­ics at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty, with a $30 mil­lion dol­lar gift to the uni­ver­si­ty. The Pro­gram stud­ies the math­e­mat­i­cal evo­lu­tion of micro-biol­o­gy and has made key dis­cov­er­ies into the treat­ment of can­cer, HIV and oth­er infec­tious dis­eases.

    While Open Cog’s game soft­ware has not yet been com­mer­cial­ized, it is aimed for the mar­ket by the half of 2014. The soft­ware has already had an impact how­ev­er on the robot indus­try where com­pa­nies such as Han­son Robot­ics, devel­oped by David Han­son, are incor­po­rat­ing it to advance the way their human-like robots func­tion and inter­act with peo­ple.

    While far from being a repli­ca of the human mind, the result of Open Cog’s soft­ware are char­ac­ters that have needs, con­tin­u­ous­ly adjust­ing and even evolv­ing. And as sci­en­tists get clos­er to map­ping the mechan­ics of the human mind, it’s pos­si­ble that we’ll dis­cov­er that we are more pre-deter­mined than we think: that pain is just an elec­tri­cal impulse, and that free will, though weigh­ing a mil­lion dif­fer­ent neur­al fil­a­ments or ‘atoms’, is set in genet­ic stone—but it’s also known that the mind, as in the vir­tu­al world, changes its own archi­tec­ture, and thus will con­tin­ue to change our des­tiny.

    ———-

    “Sci­ence Fun­der Jef­frey Epstein Launch­es Rad­i­cal Emo­tion­al Soft­ware For The Gam­ing Indus­try” by Drew Hen­dricks; Forbes; 10/02/2013

    For entre­pre­neurs, Open Cog, togeth­er with M Lab from Hong Kong Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­si­ty, sup­plies a soft­ware toolk­it to incor­po­rate their char­ac­ters into what­ev­er appli­ca­tions the mar­ket is using: from vir­tu­al land­scapes to toys and even robots. As a show­case, Open Cog has also devel­oped its own 3D land­scape for its char­ac­ters to func­tion in, inspired large­ly by the pop­u­lar build­ing game called Mind­craft.”

    From vir­tu­al land­scapes to toys and even robots. That’s the range of envi­sioned appli­ca­tions for OpenCog. With the under­ly­ing goal of test­ing their hypoth­e­sis of how the mind works. And as of 2013, OpenCog was already far enough along in its devel­op­ment that Han­son Robot­ics was incor­po­rat­ing it into their human-like robots to inter­act with peo­ple:

    ...
    Open Cog’s goals dif­fer from the gam­ing indus­try which is already lin­ing up to exploit the new soft­ware. While it intends to make a prof­it, they are pri­mar­i­ly inter­est­ed in using a vir­tu­al plat­form to test their hypoth­e­sis about the mind. “The dis­par­i­ty between these mod­els and our expe­ri­ence of the mind is an invalu­able guide to fol­low,” Jef­frey Epstein remarked, the finan­cial guru behind this effort, along with the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment and Hong Kong Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­si­ty. “It’s some­what like build­ing a car, with no instruc­tions, but our impres­sion of what a car can do.”

    Over the last ten years, Jef­frey Epstein has become one of the largest back­ers of cut­ting edge sci­ence around the world. Accord­ing to New York Mag­a­zine, Epstein has donat­ed up to $200 mil­lion a year to emi­nent sci­en­tists, includ­ing: Stephen Hawk­ing, Mar­vin Min­sky, Eric Lan­der, George Church, and Nobel lau­re­ate physi­cists Ger­ard ’t Hooft, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek. Like Open Cog, Epstein is moti­vat­ed by learn­ing more about the mind, ver­sus cre­at­ing a new start-up prod­uct. He cur­rent­ly sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behav­ior Com­mit­tee at Har­vard. In 2003, Epstein found­ed the Pro­gram for Evo­lu­tion­ary Dynam­ics at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty, with a $30 mil­lion dol­lar gift to the uni­ver­si­ty. The Pro­gram stud­ies the math­e­mat­i­cal evo­lu­tion of micro-biol­o­gy and has made key dis­cov­er­ies into the treat­ment of can­cer, HIV and oth­er infec­tious dis­eases.

    While Open Cog’s game soft­ware has not yet been com­mer­cial­ized, it is aimed for the mar­ket by the half of 2014. The soft­ware has already had an impact how­ev­er on the robot indus­try where com­pa­nies such as Han­son Robot­ics, devel­oped by David Han­son, are incor­po­rat­ing it to advance the way their human-like robots func­tion and inter­act with peo­ple.
    ...

    So how good is OpenCog as mim­ic­k­ing human-like behav­ior? Well, here’s an arti­cle from last year about Han­son Robot­ics show­ing off Sophia, an eeri­ly life-like robot pow­ered by OpenCog. As the arti­cle notes, Ben Goertzel is chief sci­en­tist for Han­son Robot­ics. AS the arti­cle also notes, the high pro­file unveil­ing of Sophia gen­er­at­ed some con­tro­ver­sy with­in the AI com­mu­ni­ty over the debate of whether or not Sophi­a’s human-like behav­ior was tru­ly pow­ered an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence vs some sort of elab­o­rate pup­petry. David Han­son, the founder and CEO of Han­son Robot­ics, responds to the crit­i­cisms by mak­ing clear that he views OpenCog as AI in its infan­cy and a step­ping stone toward the AI dream of acheiv­ing arti­fi­cial gen­er­al intel­li­gence, or AGI. That’s a lev­el of AI that can learn any­thing a human can.

    Han­son goes on to describe how he views the devel­op­ment of AGI enti­ties as requir­ing a parental approach, where the AGI is hope­ful­ly raised as ‘good child’ instead of being put in chains. It’s an inter­est­ing jux­ta­po­si­tion to Elon Musk’s call for fus­ing human brains to AIs so peo­ple can watch over the AIs and avoid ‘sum­mon­ing the demon’.

    It’s also inter­est­ing to note that Face­book’s head of AI devel­op­ment trashed the Sophia demon­stra­tions and sug­gest­ed it was all a hoax and that Han­son Robot­ics employ­ees were secret­ly direct­ing Sophi­a’s behav­ior. If true, that would obvi­ous­ly raise a lot of ques­tions about whether or not OpenCog even approach­es what it claims to do. But if Face­book’s head of AI was wrong, and Sophia real­ly was being run by OpenCog, it would demon­strate how OpenCog is already pret­ty good at mim­ic­k­ing human-like behav­ior:

    CNBC

    The com­pli­cat­ed truth about Sophia the robot — an almost human robot or a PR stunt

    Jaden Urbi
    MacKen­zie Siga­los

    Pub­lished Tue, Jun 5 2018 11:15 AM EDT
    Updat­ed Tue, Jun 5 2018 2:43 PM EDT

    Sophia the robot has become a cul­tur­al icon.

    The ani­ma­tron­ic robot has made its way across late night stages, graced the cov­er of mag­a­zines, head­lined major tech con­fer­ences and even deliv­ered a speech to the Unit­ed Nations.

    Sophia been tout­ed as the future of AI, but it may be more of a social exper­i­ment mas­querad­ing as a PR stunt.

    The man behind the machine

    To under­stand Sophia, it’s impor­tant to under­stand its cre­ator, David Han­son. He’s the founder and CEO of Han­son Robot­ics, but he hasn’t always been a major fig­ure in the AI world.

    Han­son actu­al­ly got a BFA in film. He worked for Walt Dis­ney as an “Imag­i­neer,” cre­at­ing sculp­tures and robot­ic tech­nolo­gies for theme parks and then get­ting his Ph.D. in aes­thet­ic stud­ies. Back in 2005, he co-wrote a research paper that laid out his vision for the future of robot­ics.

    And the the­sis sounds a lot like what’s going on with Sophia the robot now.

    The eight-page report is called “Upend­ing the Uncan­ny Val­ley.” It’s Hanson’s rebuke of the Uncan­ny Val­ley the­o­ry that peo­ple won’t like robots if they look very close to, but not exact­ly like humans. In fact, the paper says “uncan­ny” robots can actu­al­ly help address the ques­tion of “what is human” and that there’s not much to lose by exper­i­ment­ing with humanoid robots.

    When we asked Han­son about it, he said his com­pa­ny is explor­ing the “uncan­ny per­cep­tion effects both sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly and artis­ti­cal­ly, using robots like Sophia.”

    Han­son is approach­ing Sophia with the mind­set that she is AI “in its infan­cy,” with the next stage being arti­fi­cial gen­er­al intel­li­gence, or AGI, some­thing human­i­ty hasn’t achieved yet.

    On the way there, Han­son says AI devel­op­ers have to think like par­ents. He wants to “raise AGI like a good child, not like a thing in chains.”

    “That’s the for­mu­la for safe super­in­tel­li­gence,” Han­son said.

    The quest for super­in­tel­li­gence

    But in terms of arti­fi­cial gen­er­al intel­li­gence, Sophia isn’t quite there yet.

    “From a soft­ware point of view you’d say Sophia is a plat­form, like a lap­top is a plat­form for some­thing,” said Ben Goertzel, chief sci­en­tist at Han­son Robot­ics. “You can run a lot of dif­fer­ent soft­ware pro­grams on that very same robot.”

    Sophia has three dif­fer­ent con­trol sys­tems, accord­ing to Goertzel: Time­line Edi­tor, Sophis­ti­cat­ed Chat Sys­tem and OpenCog. Time­line Edi­tor is basi­cal­ly a straight script­ing soft­ware. The Sophis­ti­cat­ed Chat Sys­tem allows Sophia to pick up on and respond to key words and phras­es. And OpenCog grounds Sophia’s answers in expe­ri­ence and rea­son­ing. This is the sys­tem they’re hop­ing to one day grow into AGI.

    But some peo­ple still aren’t buy­ing it.

    Facebook’s head of AI said Sophia is a “BS pup­pet.” In a Face­book post, Yann LeCun said Hanson’s staff mem­bers were human pup­peteers who are delib­er­ate­ly deceiv­ing the pub­lic.

    In the grand scheme of things, a sen­tient being, or AGI, is the goal of some devel­op­ers. But nobody is there yet. There’s a host of play­ers push­ing the lim­its of what robots are capa­ble of. From Hon­da to Boston Dynam­ics, com­pa­nies across the world are devel­op­ing AI-pow­ered humanoid machines. Now, it’s a race to see who will get there first.

    Robo-ethics and the race to be first

    The AI race seems to be unrav­el­ing along the lines of Sil­i­con Valley’s “move fast and break things” mantra. But after Facebook’s scan­dal with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, the pub­lic is more aware of the poten­tial reper­cus­sions of hasty tech devel­op­ment.

    “You know, there is this fan­ta­sy behind cre­ation that is embed­ding in the prac­tice of engi­neer­ing and robot­ics and AI,” said Kath­leen Richard­son, pro­fes­sor of ethics and cul­ture of robot­ics and AI at De Mont­fort Uni­ver­si­ty.

    “I don’t think these peo­ple go into the office or to their labs and think I’m car­ry­ing out work that’s going to be inter­est­ing to human­i­ty. I think many of them have a God com­plex in fact, and they actu­al­ly see them­selves as cre­ators.”

    ...

    ———-

    “The com­pli­cat­ed truth about Sophia the robot — an almost human robot or a PR stunt” by Jaden Urbi and MacKen­zie Siga­los; CNBC; 06/05/2018

    “Sophia has three dif­fer­ent con­trol sys­tems, accord­ing to Goertzel: Time­line Edi­tor, Sophis­ti­cat­ed Chat Sys­tem and OpenCog. Time­line Edi­tor is basi­cal­ly a straight script­ing soft­ware. The Sophis­ti­cat­ed Chat Sys­tem allows Sophia to pick up on and respond to key words and phras­es. And OpenCog grounds Sophia’s answers in expe­ri­ence and rea­son­ing. This is the sys­tem they’re hop­ing to one day grow into AGI.

    The seed for arti­fi­cial gen­er­al intel­li­gence (AGI), that yet-to-be achieved sta­tus of a vir­tu­al intel­li­gence that can learn any­thing a human can learn. That’s how OpenCog is being described and Sophia is an exam­ple of the progress OpenCog is mak­ing. Davis Han­son even describes even­tu­al­ly rais­ing AGIs like chil­dren:

    ...
    Han­son is approach­ing Sophia with the mind­set that she is AI “in its infan­cy,” with the next stage being arti­fi­cial gen­er­al intel­li­gence, or AGI, some­thing human­i­ty hasn’t achieved yet.

    On the way there, Han­son says AI devel­op­ers have to think like par­ents. He wants to “raise AGI like a good child, not like a thing in chains.”

    “That’s the for­mu­la for safe super­in­tel­li­gence,” Han­son said.
    ...

    But Face­book’s head of AI claims it’s all a hoax:

    ...
    But some peo­ple still aren’t buy­ing it.

    Facebook’s head of AI said Sophia is a “BS pup­pet.” In a Face­book post, Yann LeCun said Hanson’s staff mem­bers were human pup­peteers who are delib­er­ate­ly deceiv­ing the pub­lic.
    ...

    Is the OpenCog ini­tia­tive real­ly build­ing the kind of soft­ware that can can pow­er enti­ties with human-like behav­ior? Or is it pri­mar­i­ly hype? Giv­en that this is an open sourced tool kit that any­one can use, it seems like if it was a com­plete hoax we would know by now because any­one can try it out. But it’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble there’s still a lot of hype behind it. Either way, the fact that it’s open source means that as long as OpenCog is good enough to get the job done of cre­at­ing human-like inter­ac­tions for vir­tu­al agents, that makes it a poten­tial­ly very use­ful free tool for pow­er­ing exact­ly the kinds of social media bots that have become key pro­pa­gan­da tools in recent years. It’s a reminder that the advances in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence are going to coin­cide with advances in auto­mat­ed online pro­pa­gan­da, which is part of what makes this chap­ter of the Jef­frey Epstein sto­ry some­thing to watch going for­ward.

    As we can see, Epstein has been play­ing a sur­pris­ing­ly promi­nent role in financ­ing the tran­shu­man­ism and the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty move­ment. And he’s a eugeni­cist who appar­ent­ly want­ed to kill off most of human­i­ty and cre­ate genet­i­cal­ly-engi­neered super-humans. So when Skynet takes over and launch­es its killer robot attack to wipe out human­i­ty, you can prob­a­bly call that an Epstein-inspired event. It’s one of his more exot­ic crimes.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 3, 2019, 4:01 pm

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