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Topics - Phil Rumpole

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Futurology / You see
« on: January 26, 2021, 01:43:05 AM »
 This is what happens when social distancing and lockdown stop people accessing their legal weed and prostitution

Doomsteading / Car Corner: Rustoration
« on: January 20, 2021, 12:32:49 AM »
* kdog pls transfer or duplicate the previous posts in interesting videos here.

In the last post I talked about fixing rusty underbody and mentioned using rust converter. For parts like under the car and inside panels like your trunk or inside doors, you need simple tannic acid rust converter. It's clear like water and cheap. The foto below shows 2 other types that cost more.

The one on the left is a 1 step converter and sealer 500ml  Do not buy this, it neither converts rust to inert, or seals for painting as a primer well.

The product on the right is for outer body panels. 250ml. It is darker in colour, not clear. I don't know what's added to change the colour, but it's lot safer to use where you are going to paint nicer and the paint needs to last long with no bubbling. Of course you still need to clean it really well before painting on.

Both of those cost 15-20$. You can buy 1 L of straight rust converter for that.

Notice the second product is in a squirt bottle. When you buy the straight rust converter you need to also put it in a spray bottle to get to places a brush can't reach. That is often the A and B pillars. Once the hood lining is out, you can squirt it in from the top or through the top seat belt bolt holes. Sill panels from inside and wheelarches and inside chassis rails also.

Economics / Depressingly good rant
« on: January 05, 2021, 10:22:49 PM »
Tabbycat firing on all 8

2021 Has to Be Better Edition
2020 was an assault on optimism. Will this year be better?
Matt Taibbi
Jan 4   

A year ago this week, I sat in a left corner seat in a school auditorium, watching as presidential candidate Andrew Yang yukked it up with teens at Concord High in New Hampshire.

Yang was a hit. He said he wanted to give sixteen-year-olds a thousand bucks a month, the vote, and legalized weed. He also told them a generation of political leaders had left a sociopolitical “disaster” they would imminently be forced to address. “You could even call it a shit show,” he said (I noted a ripple of teacher applause).

Afterward, I asked about what at the time seemed like a small controversy. The Democratic Party was scheduled to hold a primary debate in Des Moines a few weeks later — on January 14th, 2020, to be exact — and it was beginning to look like Yang, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, and a host of other viable-ish candidates would be excluded.

The Democratic National Committee had been regularly changing qualification procedures for TV debates. At one point they allowed candidates polling as low as 1%. Now they were insisting on four “qualifying” polls showing 5% support or higher, or two polls showing 7% or more in the early battleground states of Iowa or New Hampshire. Which was fair enough, except there hadn’t been a “qualifying” poll in over a month, since November 17, 2019, in fact.

Yang’s campaign had been a success. His innovative P.R. strategy, led by a core of online #YangGang volunteers, caused the heretofore little-known business figure to become the fifth-largest fundraiser in the fourth quarter of 2019, pulling in $16.5 million. For context, this was just $6.2 million less than eventual nominee Joe Biden ($22.7 million). The late surge prompted Buzzfeed to write, “Andrew Yang Could Win This Thing.”

The Party didn’t agree. When Yang joined Booker and billionaire Tom Steyer in offering to fund new polls, they told him to suck it. It wasn’t the DNC’s problem. It was, they said, just bad luck that the 16 “qualified” polling organizations, like the New York Times, hadn’t done a survey in a while. “They should do more independent polling,” the Party suggested, in amusing deadpan.

When I asked Yang if he was disappointed, he laughed. “We’re operating on the assumption the debate doesn’t exist… Besides, all of this stuff ahead of time historically hasn’t made the determination,” he said. “You know what has? Voters.”

I liked Yang personally — he’s a rare genuinely funny politician — but was mostly agnostic about his campaign, ironically apart from his attitude about things like this. Unlike many politicians, whose aides constantly whisper off the record about the various wrongs done to their candidate, Yang embraced the long odds of his campaign, seeming to take it for granted that the institutional deck would be stacked against him.

He figured just having a fair shot with voters was reason enough to be optimistic, and why not? At that moment in time a year ago, the persuasive authority of institutional America seemed at its nadir.

An impeachment drama cooked up by the Party and relentlessly propagandized by mainstream news would prove a massive dud, both politically and from a ratings perspective. Legacy press outlets resorted to writing explainer pieces about why the public wasn’t as mesmerized as it should be, with the L.A. Times noting that “sobriety and clarity” were “a hard sell in an ecosystem where escapism and mirrored reality are the currency.” New York explained that Nielsen ratings didn’t account for people “checking in periodically on a C-SPAN stream.” There were many similar stories written to explain the impeachment drama’s lack of impact on Donald Trump’s poll numbers.

Worse, it was looking like the nominees for the general election would be two oft-denounced op-ed targets in Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. A string of efforts by a panicking political elite to restore order failed, from the silly debate scam, to scare tales about Vladimir Putin scheming for Bernie (as well as Trump), to a half-baked smear campaign about Sanders allegedly telling Elizabeth Warren “a woman can’t win” — a story reported as fact by all the usual media suspects that the public roundly disbelieved — to a far more serious effort to buy the Democratic nomination outright through the bluntly obnoxious campaign of Mike Bloomberg.

The year 2020, in other words, looked destined to be the climax of a long-developing story about the collapse of public faith in the pronouncements of America’s most powerful institutions: the news media, the two political parties, the medical and pharmaceutical establishments, the intelligence services, Wall Street, etc.

I was skeptical that anything would change much, but it did seem the public’s snowballing alienation was moving to a new phase. Genuinely interesting ways to re-think society might now be embraced. Yang was symbolic of this. Though I didn’t necessarily buy his guaranteed income scheme, it was fascinating to hear how many people in places like New Hampshire were open to the concept. As was made clear in 2016, huge numbers of people were and are increasingly open to anything. Like Ice Cube, a lot of Americans were broke, their feet hurt, and they were “Down For Whatever”:

The clear subtext of the last half-decade of political upheaval has been rising impatience with how difficult it has become to enjoy things once considered the basics of life. Young people leave school saddled in debt, consider themselves lucky if they get health insurance, and are usually so far from being able to imagine owning their own homes or having real professional security that marriage or children seem like absurd, unattainable luxuries.

For older people further along in life, the logistical challenges of mere living have become so outrageous that many have committed to Dickensian work regimes, only to discover that in America, even working overtime costs money. You take a second job to pay for the child care necessitated by the first, and the little ancillary costs that seemed not so serious once — from DMV fees to getting a stove repaired to parking — now trigger a pucker factor just to consider. That’s without even taking into account all the various near-automatically bankrupting endgames built into the American experience that most people try as much as possible not to think about: serious illness, an elderly relative forced into care, divorce, surprise legal problems, etc.

The fact that a year ago, anyone thought it made sense to tell the millions of people forced daily to navigate all this stupidity that they needed to focus on a labyrinthine political controversy in Ukraine — and to blast them for deficits of “sobriety and clarity” when they didn’t — told you everything you needed to know about the cluelessness of the people who run this country.

Then the pandemic happened.

No conspiracy theories are necessary to point out that all of the institutions Americans were in the process of rejecting just a year ago have since increased their power and influence. Be it opportunism or coincidence, the international emergency has written a dramatic heel turn into our history.

A sweeping Fed-based rescue program resulted in enormous booms in asset values, allowing America’s wealthiest to increase their net worth by nearly a trillion dollars since the start of the pandemic (in mid-summer, American billionaires were collectively earning $42 billion per week). The disease pummeled people who actually had to travel to work, while empowering conglomerates like Amazon, which tripled its profits in the third quarter alone. Most of our lives are online now, an ironic reward to intelligence services that went unpunished after illegal surveillance programs were disclosed in the Obama years.

After all that upheaval, the White House is about to be re-occupied by a political fossil from the eighties, surrounded by a zombie cabinet of Iraq War supporters, drone assassination proponents, corporate lawyers, lobbyists, and neoliberal economists, coming from places like Amazon, DuPont, and Raytheon (the Pentagon appointment of the current Henry Kissinger Chair from the Center from Strategic and International Studies was a nice homage to the unchangingly vile character of America’s royal court). How bad any of this is in comparison with the chaotic presidency of Donald Trump is arguable, but it surely represents the triumph of Sameness, a powerful reminder that in America, you ultimately can’t beat City Hall. Or can you?

The news in recent years often reads like accounts of America before the Sixties upheavals. That was also a time when long-held myths were rapidly losing force and people were beginning to question the palate of life choices celebrated in places like the Book of the Month Club and Life magazine. Men wondered why they were being sent around the world to kill poor people, only to come home to what Paul Goodman described as a “style of life dictated by Personnel… to work to pay installments on a useless refrigerator.”

Women had it worse, consigned to tend house and give themselves nightly as a reward for men who’d completed their “covenant of murder” in places like Vietnam. Spirituality in much of Jim Crow America was a superficial weekly injunction to conformity at archaic churches and temples, while our real religion, consumerism, became a constant devotional exercise, bolstered by a thousand dazzling commercials for products that people began to realize fulfilled every conceivable need, but the most important.

We’re in such a similar place, and though America’s political leaders learned a great deal from those times — the list of absurd Woke Headlines run here a few days ago chronicles the extremely clever effort to commoditize and sell the desire for political action that had no permissible outlet in the sixties — the reality is, if you keep giving people nothing but crappy choices, they’ll eventually write their own story, even if they can’t do it through voting.

Americans are tired. The rancorous politics they’ve been sold as bread-and-circus diversions are tiring, not laughing is tiring, having too much work and too little money is tiring, being stuck inside now is tiring, even being sexually frustrated is tiring (look at the stats on that one sometime, if you want insight into why so many Americans seemed a tad touchy in recent years). The most exhausting part is the mandate to take it all seriously. Unfortunately for America’s leaders, that’s the easiest part to change, which is why 2021 feels like such a good candidate to be the year things finally begin turning in a happier direction.

Distortions on CNN or in the New York Times drive people crazy, but that’s only because they remember trusting those sources. They’ll forget soon and learn to walk right past mass media blather as if it were just amusingly terrible wallpaper, the way Soviets eventually did with Pravda and Izvestia. Student debt is crushing and college is an overpriced scam, but a reckoning of sorts is coming when people stop being ashamed of vocational school. Facebook and Instagram turbocharged the impact of fear-based “ring around the collar”-style marketing, but what happens when the pandemic recedes and going offline is possible again? Throwing off worries about likes and rediscovering real-life interaction feels destined to become a fashionable dissident statement, in the same way tuning in, turning on, and “dropping out” was an obvious response to the stultifying conformity of the fifties.

Watching billionaires get richer and all the discredited vultures of the War on Terror and financial crisis eras sweep back into power is a bummer, but the tighter those people grip the reins, the more inevitable a counterculture feels. Who knows what that will look like, but it’ll probably be based on friends, family, and other things you can’t buy, and surely kinder and less maddening than the stress-packed world we’ve been asked to live in. My New Year’s resolution is to start living that other life sooner rather than later, after I check Twitter one last time, of course…

Doomsteading / Why not?
« on: December 22, 2020, 04:53:04 PM »
That's thinking outside the box

The Kitchen Sink / Perfidious business
« on: September 12, 2020, 09:05:16 AM »
Love me my Matt Tabbycat

Cut paste, no link coz it's subscriber:

Tape shows: ethically, CNN chief a little shaky
A conversation between Jeff Zucker and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen removes all doubt: our hated president is a beloved commodity to network executives
Matt Taibbi

America this week is obsessing about conversations between Donald Trump and Washington Post legend Bob Woodward. It’s a scoop, but a crazier story is being buried.

Beginning on September 1, tapes were released of conversations between former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and top CNN figures, including Chris Cuomo and president Jeff Zucker. The conversations between Zucker and Cohen especially go a long way toward explaining how Donald Trump became president. We see clearly how Zucker, famed now as a supposed stalwart force of anti-Trumpism, actually encouraged him during the 2016 campaign, to the point where he offered Trump help on how to succeed in a CNN-sponsored debate.

The tapes are devastating enough to the media’s pretensions of non-responsibility for the Trump phenomenon that they’ve gone mostly uncovered, outside of Fox. The few outlets that have tackled the tapes focus on the fact that they were released by Tucker Carlson, for example the Washington Post’s “What’s up with Tucker Carlson’s leaked tapes of Michael Cohen’s secret CNN conversations?”

Conventional wisdom about the media role in electing Trump in 2016 focuses most on the quantity of free coverage he received. “Trump rode $5 billion to the White House,” was a typical treatment by The Street in November, 2016, noting that Trump’s best month of “earned media,” May, 2016, was driven by his “infamous Cinco de Mayo message.” That was the one in which he said “I love Hispanics!” over a Trump Tower taco bowl:

The implication with these stories was that Trump was so good at driving social media interest with “controversial” gambits like these, he pushed news outlets to match audience demand. While this is true to an extent, it doesn’t really get at what happened.

Other areas of media behavior in 2016 that have been investigated include the amount of negative versus positive coverage devoted to Hillary Clinton, as well as the greed of network executives like Les Moonves of CBS, who infamously said of the Trump campaign, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

Among reporters, the story of the media’s evolving attitude toward Trump went like this: they thought he was amusing initially, gave him too much coverage in a lust for ratings, then got religion and began “calling him out” once he sewed up the Republican nomination. It is said we adopted a new, more responsible approach to Trump as time went on, featuring “copious coverage and aggressive coverage” in an effort to be “true to history’s judgment,” i.e. to do everything to stop a unique threat from becoming president.

Anyone who wants to understand what the change in editorial attitude toward Trump in 2016 was really about need only listen to these tapes.

The public legend about Zucker, furthered by Donald Trump himself and buttressed by reports in conservative media like Project Veritas, is that he despises Trump. We’ve heard reports in recent years of Zucker ordering staff to be “fully committed” to Trump’s impeachment, for instance.

What these new tapes make plain is that this is likely neither a personal nor political issue with Zucker, who had a relationship with Trump dating back years. Zucker, after all, had made Trump a media star back when he was running NBC. He’d green-lit The Apprentice, which a pair of Washington Post writers would later describe as a “virtually nonstop advertisement for the Trump empire and lifestyle.”

Zucker also had a relationship with Cohen, who served on the board of a Manhattan nonprofit school called Columbia Prep with Zucker’s wife, Caryn. It’s not clear how the tapes got out, but we do know one conversation between Zucker and Cohen took place just hours before the last Republican primary debate, on March 10, 2016.

In that recording, Zucker reassured Cohen that “the boss,” i.e. Trump, was going to do great at the debate, because he always did:

I think the other guys are going to gang up on him tremendously, and I think he’s going to hold his own, as he does every time. He’s never lost a debate. And do you know what? He’s good at this… he’s going to do great.

The 2016 campaign was marked by scores of stories about how terrible a debater and campaigner Trump was. Headline after headline speculated that a trembling Trump might skip debates with Hillary Clinton, despite trailing in polls.

“Will Donald Trump skip the debate with Hillary Clinton?” wondered New York that summer. “Is Donald Trump planning on skipping the presidential debates?” asked the Atlantic. Why might someone so far behind skip debates? Because “he’s not very good at them,” the Washington Post explained, adding Trump won the Republican primary “in spite of his lackluster debate performances.”

Reviews aside, the camera didn’t lie: Trump onstage so bullied GOP rivals that he commanded the most debate airtime by far, in one early case more than doubling the amount of time taken by Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker. No matter the morality of what Trump said — and there were repulsive moments, like the Megyn Kelly episode — voters came away with the impression that he’d been the center of gravity in each debate.

It would have been a journalistic service to explain how this worked. Instead, a legend was created that Trump was inept and his wins were losses. The biggest head-scratcher was the New York Times describing the debate that was clearly fatal to Jeb Bush — when he said his mother was the “strongest woman I know,” and Trump retorted, “She should be running” — as a “slashing attack” by Bush, whose “most forceful performance” left Trump “roundly pummeled.”

Zucker’s private assessment of Trump’s debating was noteworthy for that reason. Cohen went on to joke about what would likely happen in the debate, wondering how many times “Cruz” would call Trump a con man. Zucker corrected him, noting it would be Marco Rubio making such attacks, and offered advice:

You know what you should do? Whoever's around him today should just be calling him a conman all day so he's used to it, so that when he hears it from [Marco] Rubio, it doesn't matter… “Hey conman, hey conman, hey conman, hey conman, hey conman.” So he thinks that's his name, you know?   

Remember, this was a CNN-hosted debate, with Jake Tapper emceeing the festivities:

Typically, any suggestion that a candidate has been prepped in advance about debate questions, or given other aid, is considered a scandal. It was a big deal when two Fox sources told the New Yorker that Trump might have been given questions in advance of the infamous Megyn Kelly debate. Similarly, it was a mini-scandal when Donna Brazile was forced by Wikileaks disclosures to admit she shared topics with Hillary Clinton ahead of a CNN town hall.

In this case, we have the president of the network set to host a debate giving a candidate advice on how to handle a Republican challenger, and the response has mostly been to wonder if Carlson released this story as part of a “long-running… war with the network that once employed him.”

It got worse. Zucker promised Cohen, “I’m going to give him a call right now and I’m going to wish him luck in the debate tonight.”

Why Zucker said he would call, and not email, was the real punchline.

“I’m very conscious of not putting too much on email, as you’re a lawyer, as you understand,” Zucker said, adding:

And, you know, as fond as I am of the boss, he also has a tendency, like, you know, if I call him or I email him, he then is capable of going out at his next rally and saying that we just talked and I can't have that, if you know what I'm saying.

It’s not that I don’t want to talk to him every day. I’ve just got to be careful.

Zucker added:

I have all these proposals for him, like… I want to do a weekly show with him and all this stuff… is he back in New York tomorrow, do you know?

What these recordings reveal is that CNN’s cartoonish role as a determined and vituperative “fake news media” foil to Trump — while perhaps real for some of the reporters and broadcasters involved — is at least to some degree kabuki theater for executives. Even as president, Trump to network leaders is first and foremost a commodity, and an extraordinarily valuable one at that. Were he not president, Zucker might very well be offering him that weekly show.

As the creator of The Apprentice, Zucker surely understands both the nature of Trump’s ratings appeal, and the Reality TV value of having CNN reporters play gesticulating heckler to Trump’s Bill Hicks act:

In late 2015 and early 2016 especially, journalists and network executives began to discuss how to deal with the “threat” of Trump. Columns like Nicholas Kristof’s “My Shared Shame: The Media Helped Make Trump” led to awesome amounts of public navel-gazing, at the end of which the coverage strategy really did shift.

The Columbia Journalism Review did a study after the election confirming what most of us could feel on the ground: that coverage of Trump increased as the campaign went on, and became more negative as time went on, with particular attention paid to his personal failings. As the CJR explained:

While early in the race Trump won some favorable descriptions as a straight-shooter, depictions of him as a truth-bender became increasingly frequent as Election Day neared, and negative descriptions of his personal character outnumbered positive ones by about six to one overall.

In Hate Inc. I described the formula as shifting from One Million Hours of Trump! to One Million Hours of Trump (is bad)! It was laughable, the way some outlets went from giving Trump regular foot massages, to adopting the furious public posture of democracy’s last defender against the Evil One. Who could forget Mika Brzezinski gushing off air to Trump about what a “real wow moment” his South Carolina rally had been, then just months later denouncing the “Trump train” that would “drive America into the ground”?

When Zucker tells Cohen he’d love to talk to Trump “every day” but can’t, because “I just can’t have that,” he’s explaining exactly what the coverage “change” was about. Going more negative while increasing the raw amount of attention — “copious coverage and aggressive coverage” — allowed networks to retain or even increase the monster ratings Trump offered, without earning the social opprobrium that came with giving him softball coverage.

Zucker loved Trump for the same reason baseball owners once loved the juiced-up homers hit by Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire: he put butts in seats. He just can’t afford to be seen loving Trump.

In another part of the tape, Zucker tried to explain to Cohen the facts of life. One can almost see him wrapping a fatherly arm around Cohen’s shoulder:

Here’s the thing… you cannot be elected president of the United States without CNN. Fox and MSNBC are irrelevant — irrelevant — in electing a general election candidate.

You guys have had great instincts, great guts and great understanding of everything... But you're missing the boat on how it works going forward.

Zucker here was trying to play kingmaker, and doing it for real, not as an act of sabotage.

When it came out in 2016 via the infamous “Pied Piper” memo that Clinton campaign advisers schemed to elevate the “more extreme candidates,” there was outrage that Democrats early on had helped Trump. But the Democrats at least wanted to “cudgel” the Republican field further to the right because they thought it would increase their chances of winning.

Zucker, by contrast, was offering what he thought at the time was sincere advice. Remember this conversation took place on March, 2016. He was telling Cohen, “You’ve done well enough to win the nomination. In order to win the whole election, you need to play things differently.”

Zucker thought Trump needed to win over the CNN audience — as opposed to the “irrelevant” audiences of MSNBC to the left and Fox to the right — in order to win in November. This was pure transactional politics: Zucker was essentially offering a road to the promised land, i.e. positive coverage, if only Trump would sit up, beg, and accept Zucker’s counsel.

Zucker was probably pulling this same media version of a J. Edgar Hoover routine with the Clinton campaign and with every other politician he came into contact with, but that doesn’t change what makes this tape so shaky, ethically speaking.

Zucker was offering Trump better results with his network during general election season, and giving out a free sample in the form of advice for that night’s debate. Why? Because at that level of the game, what isn’t about money is about power. If Trump was headed for the presidency, Zucker wanted Trump to owe him when he got there.

The irony is Trump won in spite of CNN, and it was CNN that ended up changing its tune, not Trump. There may be some genuine political belief behind CNN’s drift in the direction of “irrelevant” MSNBC, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the whole story.

CNN these days plays face to Trump’s heel, and vice versa, because that’s where the money is, in this era of WWE politics and hate-for-profit media. Does CNN feel guilty about the record ratings and billions in revenue the Trump era’s earned them? Just listen to the tape. As a business, they’re more than fond of “the boss.” They just can’t have us knowing it.

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