The last 2 times I've updated Flash Player I've ended up with malware. The first time I was able to dump it in the trash but this time I'm stuck with "Searchmine.net" somehow corrupting my browser. WTF!?
Unfortunately, it sounds like you were tricked into downloading a malicious Flash Player installer from a site other than adobe.com.
Official Flash Player installers are only available from adobe.com, not any other site, and do not contain any malware, and do not modify any browser settings. Official installers posted to adobe.com are rigurously tested, including for viruses, etc before posting to the CDN for download by our users.
At this time, you'll want to run a complete scan of your system for viruses, malware, adware, etc. and uninstall the malicious Flash Player installer.