Japan seeks to confirm no additional tariffs on auto exports to U.S.: Motegi

Japan plans to reconfirm in the final stage of trade talks with the United States that Washington will not impose additional tariffs on Japanese vehicles and auto parts, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday.
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6 reasons smaller companies want to break up Big Tech
Increasingly, the four Big Tech companies have come under antitrust scrutiny in the US. | DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images As antitrust investigations into Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook ramp up, execs from Sonos, PopSockets, and Tile testified before Congress. Big Tech has a target on its back. Right now in the US, there are multiple, simultaneous government investigations focused on the business practices of each of the four Big Tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook — that could someday lead to the breakup of these companies or major changes in how they operate. It’s easy to get lost in all the antitrust talk because of the complexity of antitrust laws in this country and the fact that most specific complaints about Big Tech companies happen behind closed doors. But last week, top executives from four smaller, competing companies — the wireless speaker company Sonos, the cellphone grip maker PopSockets, the gadget startup Tile, and the business software company Basecamp — laid out their complaints at a public hearing before the House of Representatives Antitrust Subcommittee. These testimonies could provide guideposts for the ongoing investigations into the Big Four as regulators and lawmakers consider whether the tech giants have broken current laws or if the US’s antitrust laws need a modern makeover. 1) Tech giants use their power in one market to crush competitors in another Sonos CEO Patrick Spence accused companies like Google and Amazon of using their success in one industry (for Google, internet search; for Amazon, online commerce) to dominate another: namely voice-controlled speakers. The CEO’s accusation is that Google and Amazon are able to sell their Home and Echo speakers at artificially low prices — he used the term “predatory pricing” — because they make money in other ways, and so their goal isn’t to profit from the speakers. Instead, it’s to use their speakers to collect consumer data that they make money off of through their other business lines. And once these tech giants drive competitors who can’t match their prices out of business, “prices are sure to go up,” he claimed. Sonos recently filed a lawsuit against Google for allegedly infringing on five of its patents, but its complaints obviously go beyond stealing technology. A Google spokesperson said in a statement, “Sonos has made misleading statements about our history of working together. Our technology and devices were designed independently. We deny their claims vigorously, and will be defending against them.” An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately reply to Sonos’s claim about Amazon’s pricing strategy for its smart speakers. 2) Tech giants have so much power that fair business negotiations are impossible Spence described negotiations with tech giants as increasingly “take it or leave it” interactions. In one case, he referenced Google’s unwillingness to allow Sonos speakers to let customers toggle between voice assistants — whether Google Assistant or Alexa — on a given Sonos speaker even though Sonos had built technology that supported the capability. More than half of all online product searches in the US now happen on Amazon, so Google could be incentivized not to allow the same thing to happen when it comes to out-loud searches. Spence claims that Google said it would cut off Google Assistant integrations with Sonos if Sonos allowed customers to toggle between different assistants. And speaker makers increasingly need to support the voice assistant technologies from Amazon and Google to keep up with consumer expectations. “We can’t offer that, which is, in my opinion, really reducing freedom of choice,” he said. A Google spokesperson referred Recode to its previous statement above about Sonos. Likewise, PopSockets CEO David Barnett cited the “power asymmetry” that allows Amazon to still be successful while allegedly taking part in what he calls corporate “bullying.” He accused the giant of levying threats against his phone accessory company when making business demands that went above and beyond written contracts between the two companies. Recode covered the standoff between the two companies a year ago. An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement, “PopSockets has been a valued retail vendor at Amazon and also supplies its products directly to other major retailers. We sought to continue working with PopSockets as a vendor to ensure that we could provide competitive prices, availability, broad selection and fast delivery for those products to our customers. Like any brand, however, PopSockets is free to choose which retailers it supplies and chose to stop selling directly through Amazon.” 3) Big Tech companies infringe on small competitors’ patents today because they’ll control the market by the time they have to pay up tomorrow Sonos recently sued Google for allegedly violating five Sonos patents, and said it would have sued Amazon over similar issues but could not afford the risk of taking on both companies at once. Spence accused the companies of knowingly violating patents — they do a “cost benefit analysis,” he claimed — because they expect to capture such a large part of the market before they might have to pay up in a lawsuit, that whatever costs they’ll have to pay will be worth it. Google denied the accusations and referred Recode to its statement above. In a statement, Amazon said, “The Echo family of devices and our multi-room music technology were developed independently by Amazon.” 4) Big Tech companies prioritize “monopoly rent” over the best interest of business partners and consumers Monopoly rent, in this instance, is the idea that a company without competition can charge higher-than-market-rate prices or can charge extra fees simply because of its unmatched position. For David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founder and chief technology officer at the small business software company Basecamp, one complaint is the fact that Google allows Basecamp competitors to pay Google to appear as the first listing in search results when someone searches for “Basecamp.” Google has “replaced that search engine with an ad engine instead,” he said, and consumers “are not being presented with what they’re actually looking for.” “It’s a complete shakedown,” he added. A Google spokesperson provided Recode a statement that read: “For trademarked terms like the name of a business, our policy balances the interest of both users and advertisers. Like other platforms, we allow competitors to bid on trademarked terms because it offers users more choice when they are searching. However, if a trademark owner files a complaint, we will block competitors from using their business name in the actual ad text.” In an episode of Vox Media’s Land of the Giants podcast titled “Is Amazon Too Big? We Ask Its Sellers,” a top executive from the luggage maker Samsonite articulated a similar complaint about Amazon, which allows advertisers to buy top placement in query results on its site when a shopper searches for a competitor’s product. That means if you search “Samsonite luggage” on Amazon, the first results you see could be for another brand’s luggage for sale on the site. Hansson also criticized Apple for the 30 percent cut it levies on app makers who want to charge their customers through the app. “They have a 30 percent market advantage right from the get-go,” he said, insinuating that Apple should charge app makers closer to the 2 percent to 3 percent fees that payment processors do. “It’s completely outrageous.” An Apple spokesperson sent Recode a statement, which read in part, “[W]e created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. We continually work with developers and take their feedback on how to help protect user privacy while also providing the tools developers need to make the best app experiences.” 5) Tech giants are both participants in and owners of their platforms, and so they tilt the playing field in their direction Tile is a startup that makes small Bluetooth trackers that can help users find things like a lost wallet, keys, or phone. To work, the trackers need to be paired with an app on a smartphone or tablet. But Tile’s general counsel, Kirsten Daru, argued at the hearing that Tile’s business has been hurt by Apple giving special treatment to its own “Find My” tracking app. Apple’s app comes preloaded on its gadgets, can’t be deleted, and asks for location-tracking permission during operating system setup, Daru said. On the other hand, Tile customers who use Apple’s latest iOS version have to go into the settings on their phone to grant “always on” location tracking permission to the app. “Apple is acting as a gatekeeper ... in ways that favor its own interests,” Daru alleged. Daru compared Apple to a sports team that owns the ball, field, stadium, and league, and can change the rules at any point. A statement from an Apple spokesperson read, in part: “When setting up a new device users can choose to turn on Location Services to help find a lost or misplaced device with Find My iPhone, an app that users have come to rely on since 2010. Customers have control over their location data, including the location of their device. If a user doesn’t want to enable these features, there’s a clear, easy to understand setting where they can choose exactly which location services they want enabled or disabled. ... We’re currently working with developers interested in enabling the ‘Always Allow’ functionality to enable that feature at the time of set up in a future software update.” Amazon has also come under fire for both being a gatekeeper that makes the rules and that also operates the Amazon Marketplace, where it competes with other merchants selling their products on Amazon competes in two ways: as a traditional retailer, by buying name-brand products wholesale and reselling them alongside those items from these third-party merchants; and, in some cases, Amazon makes and sells its own products under its own brand names, and competes with other brands and sellers. Barnett, of PopSockets, claimed to Congress members at the hearing that Amazon itself has been the seller of counterfeit PopSocket products. He alleged that the problem went away only after PopSockets began spending more money on marketing on Amazon. An Amazon spokesperson said that Amazon “strictly prohibits” the sale of counterfeit goods and denied that Amazon bases IP enforcement on payments of any kind, including spending on marketing. 6) The online dossiers that Facebook and Google have amassed on their users give them too much power According to a 2019 eMarketer report, Facebook and Google account for a combined 60 percent of the US online advertising market, thanks in large part to all the data they collect about how their users browse and search online. Heinemeier Hansson, of Basecamp, argued that “you cannot opt out of this data collection” if you want to use large swaths of the internet today. His big proposal for balancing the playing field and restoring more consumer privacy online: He wants to ban advertising that is targeted to online users based on the dossiers that Facebook and Google build for marketers, which could simultaneously lower the tech giants’ appetite for data collection while potentially improving competition in the advertising industry. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment. An extraordinary turn of events On one hand, it’s worth keeping in mind that all of the above accusations are still just that — accusations — and ones made from business leaders whose businesses might prosper more easily in a world where these giants were less powerful. On the other hand, these allegations, made under oath and in front of members of Congress, mark an extraordinary turn of events for the tech giants who just a few years ago seemed invincible and unstoppable. And perhaps most importantly, it appears that Congress will continue to take the claims seriously as they decide what recommendations to make to antitrust regulators and whether to attempt to remake antitrust law.
TikTok never wanted to be political. Too late.
Sarah Lawrence for Vox As the world burns — impeachment! natural disaster! World War III? — teens turn to TikTok. As 24 million acres of Australia burned in record bushfires between September and January, Australian teens turned to TikTok. Chloé Hayden, a 22-year-old motivational speaker and YouTuber based in Victoria, had barely used the video-sharing app, but her peers were flooding it with their frustration with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s mishandling of the crisis and footage of the dense smoke as a way of raising awareness among a largely ignorant public. Chloé’s video was a perfect encapsulation of the TikTok sensibility: She used a popular meme format to show the hypocrisy of the lack of media attention by comparing it to the immediate outpouring of financial support after the Notre Dame fire. It was equal parts funny and incisive, and ended up being viewed nearly 300,000 times. “I love that through the use of short comedy sketches, teens are getting a bigger point across than most lengthy, informative articles posted by some old bloke who we can’t relate to in the slightest,” she explains. “It’s both parts a coping mechanism and an incredible way to speak our minds where we’re all equal, and I genuinely don’t think there’s any other platform that you can do that in a similar way.” TikTok has, in its barely year and a half of existing, become the most effective way for a random person to spread a message to the widest possible audience in the shortest amount of time. It takes the best of Twitter (brevity, as videos can be a maximum of 60 seconds but most are much shorter) and YouTube (the ability to see someone’s face as they’re speaking to you) and adds the ability to go viral with virtually zero followers. That the app is populated largely by teens also means that so much of what happens on it participates in a brand of ironic internet comedy that complicates the idea of serious news-sharing. TikTok videos on geopolitical events, from the Australian fires to the vague threat of World War III, can be viewed variously as awareness-spreading of underreported stories, coping mechanisms, exercises in nihilism, or goofy videos that no one should spend too much time analyzing. Though it’s always tried to position itself as a joyful space for creating and viewing silly and inspiring content, TikTok has unintentionally become one of the best means of disseminating ideas on the internet. It’s a power that’s being used for better or for worse, and largely by minors. TikTok was never supposed to be political. The app was expressly designed to discourage news-sharing — its home feed is non-chronological, and there are no visible timestamps for when a video is posted, making it nearly impossible to understand what happened when. Political advertisements are not allowed, and until recently, TikTok had vague content guidelines that reportedly encouraged moderators to censor content sensitive to local governments. Its slogan is “Make your day,” presumably by distracting you from *gestures widely at everything*. TikTok was never supposed to be political, but of course it was always going to be. During 2019’s widespread climate strikes, TikTokers used jokes about e-girls to spread awareness about e-missions. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was revealed to have worn brownface, TikTok had fun brutally roasting him. In November, a New Jersey teen posted a viral TikTok discussing the Chinese mass internment of Muslims (and was subsequently locked out of her account). Another teen used the app to organize a strike in solidarity with her school district’s teachers. When adults on TikTok mocked teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, there was a flood of comments with just one phrase, sparking one of the year’s biggest memes: “ok boomer.” US Democratic presidential candidates are on TikTok. Police officers, soldiers, and the Israel Defense Forces are on TikTok. Nazis and terrorists are, too. Most importantly, millions of regular people are on TikTok, all of whom have at least some awareness of what happens in the world and who probably have opinions about it. In the first week of 2020, just a few days after memes about “new year new me” and leaving negativity in 2019 proliferated on the internet, the world seemed to explode: President Trump ordered the assassination of Quassem Soleimani, pushing the US and Iran to the brink of war. Puerto Rico was hit by a series of massive earthquakes, cutting off power for nearly a million people and access to clean water for hundreds of thousands. Bushfires, worsened by climate change, continued to rage across Australia, killing at least 28 people and an estimated 1 billion animals and destroying 2,000 homes. The most powerful man in the world faced an impeachment trial. World War III seemed imminent, but on TikTok it was already raging. “Me in the trenches doing my 10-step Korean skincare routine,” read the caption on one video by 19-year-old Australian student Isaac Tuazon. “Gays when we get drafted into WW3,” read another in a video of TikToker Sir Carter voguing with Nerf guns. “Me after getting my first kill in WW3,” wrote one TikToker while doing a Fortnite dance. “I just thought the idea of bringing my entire skin care routine with me to the battlefield would be a little extra and would earn a few laughs,” Tuazon tells me about his K-beauty WW3 TikTok. He likes the app because it gives him a chance to see average kids, no matter their country of origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, having fun and laughing together. It’s the same for Juana Isabelle Sarenas, an 18-year-old student in Hong Kong who recently posted a video about “Cabin 6,” “the theoretical cabin where all the cool TikTok kids will end up when Trump is impeached and President Mike Pence sends queer teens to conversion-therapy summer camp.” “The LGBT community there is huge,” Sarenas says of TikTok. The jokes “don’t erase the tragic events — if anything, they use the memes to bring light to them in a humorous way. I learned more about concentration camps and other horrifying current events from TikTok than I had any other platform.” Cabin 6 memes, in general, are a pretty joyous way to react to the reality that the US vice president once advocated for allocating federal dollars to conversion therapy groups instead of HIV/AIDS patients. As many of the memes reference, conservative boomers sending a bunch of queer kids to a summer camp together seems like a great way to encourage the very sexuality those people find so repugnant. “We all know that if [Pence] tried to force people to go to camps, it would never be passed as a law,” one 16-year-old told Mel Magazine. “I just find it funny to joke about that — like summer camp with the fellow gays.” Like the rest of the internet, as much as TikTok is a place for blasé nihilism — kids self-deprecating about how ugly they are, or begging for Harry Styles to run them over — it’s also proved to be a great way of getting other people to listen. On TikTok, users don’t have to follow anyone to see videos the app thinks they might like. As on Reddit, information can come from anywhere, as long as enough people favorite it. That’s how Gem Nwanne, a 24-year-old grad student, data analyst, and activist in New York, went viral after posting a video about the city’s crackdown on subway fare evasion using the same meme format as Chloé’s. Nwanne was used to the kind of discourse that takes place in activist and academic circles on Twitter and Instagram, with long threads and jargon-y paragraphs. “It’s a little difficult to engage on Twitter because if you ask the wrong question to the wrong person ... there will be a pile-on. You’ll get kicked the shit kicked out of you,” Nwanne says with a laugh. “But with a platform like TikTok, it’s way more accessible. I’m dancing. It’s a joke. It’s a lot easier to teach or to spread an idea when people are laughing.” The subway fare video helped Nwanne gain 10,000 followers in a month on TikTok, where they continue to post videos about race, queer identity, capitalism, and leftist politics. “I think TikTok as a tool for education can be so revolutionary, and I would really love to see more people on my side of the political spectrum using it, moving away from these academic Twitter threads. Let’s meet the people where they are.” It’s much easier to see the humanity of someone whose ideas you’re hearing when you can actually see them. The dominant TikTok aesthetic is a person in their own home, alone, speaking to the camera without knowing who will end up seeing their face on their screen. It’s like YouTube — one of the most effective platforms for sharing ideas, for better or for worse — but TikToks take even less effort to produce. TikTok is “younger, and so they don’t know to be pretentious douchebags yet” “Conversations are difficult to have on Twitter or Instagram because of how reactive everybody is on those apps,” Nwanne says. “Comments on a video about the Australian fires were like, folks asking questions and people answering them. On Twitter or Instagram they’d be like, ‘How dare you ask the question?’ The community’s a lot chiller, and I do think it’s because they’re younger, and so they don’t know to be pretentious douchebags yet.” “I always compare TikTok to all of the rhymes and hand games that we played in middle school,” says Sophie Dickinson, an associate editor at Know Your Meme who covers TikTok. “The bushfires, other things that are happening now, it’s all the same jokes over and over and over again. It has to do with whatever the popular opinion is. It could be dangerous, but it’s also nice for kids to be coming together over something that might be very difficult and challenging to wrap their heads around.” It would be easy to make TikTok out to be a utopian Gen Z playground, where authenticity sells and love wins and the rest is mostly just dancing, but that’s not the whole story. Nwanne, for instance, doesn’t read their comments because they say the platform is often quite conservative — “like Facebook-lite.” The #impeachment hashtag on TikTok seems to have nearly as many earnest Trump supporters as it does people poking fun at the president using a popular Camila Cabello song. TikTok has some of the same political pitfalls as YouTube — ironic memes and jokes can seduce people into believing harmful ideologies — and its mysterious algorithm makes it such that the TikTok I see, the one with hilarious and well-meaning teens goofing off in their bedrooms, is not the same one that someone else sees. That certain songs and sounds, dances, and memes go hugely viral, and fast, also ends up with many people using those memes to spread false or extremist information. Nurse Holly, a nurse on TikTok with nearly 2 million followers, recently received major backlash when she used a popular song and video format to post a video that said the best way to prevent STDs was by waiting for sex until marriage. Even mostly harmless jokes about getting drafted for WW3 led at least some college kids to briefly panic over the idea of being forced to join the Army, even though the US hasn’t had a draft since 1973. Bad stuff has been happening in the world forever, and the internet has always been full of very funny and very sad people to make jokes out of it. TikTok is now a crucial part of that machine, one that can set the discourse in practically zero time. Whatever comes of it, Nwanne knows one thing is certain: “We’re gonna set some shit on fire on TikTok.” Sign up for The Goods’ newsletter. Twice a week, we’ll send you the best Goods stories exploring what we buy, why we buy it, and why it matters.
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Why Has-Beens Love Trump
Mark Wilson / GettyTrace the careers of Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr, both of whom joined Donald Trump’s impeachment team last week, and you notice a similar arc. As young men, each rapidly ascended to the upper echelons of the legal profession. At age 28, Dershowitz became the youngest tenured professor in the history of Harvard Law School. At age 37, Starr was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, often called the second most powerful court in America. In middle age, each reached the pinnacle of his fame. When Dershowitz was 52, Hollywood turned his most famous case—the acquittal of socialite Claus Von Bulow—into a blockbuster movie. Five years later he helped to defend O. J. Simpson. Starr, at age 51, wrote the report that congressional Republicans used to impeach Bill Clinton. In 1998, Time Magazine gave Starr equal billing with the president in anointing the two as Men of the Year.Then, as often happens with advanced age, each man’s public profile began to recede. After retiring from Harvard in 2013, noted Connie Bruck in a recent New Yorker profile, Dershowitz began “finding media invitations elusive.” Starr left Washington for the low-key Pepperdine Law School, where he served as dean, and then Baylor University, where he served as president. Until recently, Americans too young to remember Clinton’s impeachment would likely not have known who he was.But now, at ages 81 and 73, Dershowitz and Starr are back at center stage. They are the latest faded luminaries seeking to revive their fame—and blemish their reputations—by shilling for Donald Trump. Call it the revenge of the has-beens.There’s nothing new about aging celebrities craving a return to the limelight. Many of America’s most famous athletes—Michael Jordan, Mario Lemieux, Reggie White, Ryne Sandberg—came out of retirement, usually with unhappy results. Gary Hart—a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988—almost launched a long-shot bid two decades later, in 2004. George McGovern, the Democratic nominee in 1972, ran again quixotically in 1984. Mike Gravel, a former Alaska senator who achieved notoriety by entering the Pentagon Papers into the official Senate record in 1971, unsuccessfully sought the 2008 Democratic and Libertarian presidential nominations and entered—and soon dropped out of—the Democratic presidential race last year, at the age of 89.The impulse isn’t hard to understand. Dr. Donna Rockwell, co-author of one of the few academic studies on the psychology of celebrity, told me, “Fame is an addiction like any other addiction where one’s neurological set gets acclimated to a particular level of incoming stimuli. When that recedes, the neurology keeps grasping after that…people become addicted to being ‘in the show.’ And once you’ve been ‘in the show’ and you know the heady experience that that is, there is a clamoring forever more to be back in the show.” A former child actor told Rockwell, “I’ve been addicted to almost every substance known to man at one point or another, and the most addicting of them all is fame.”[David Graham: Does anyone dare tell Trump the truth?]What’s new in the Trump era isn’t the yearning for political rehabilitation but the opportunity. Trump’s recklessness, cruelty and corruption have led many Republicans in the prime of their career to avoid working for, of publicly defending, him. “Help wanted,” read a 2017 Washington Post headline, “Why Republicans won’t work for the Trump administration.” In 2018, CNN reported that Trump was experiencing “An unheard-of problem: The President can’t find a lawyer.”This has provided the has-beens their opening. One early example was Paul Manafort, who in the Reagan era had helped run a lobbying firm that Newsweek once called “the hottest shop in town.” But by 2016, The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer has detailed, this once “indispensable man,” now in his late sixties, was no longer “missed in professional circles. He was without a big-paying client, and held heavy debts.” The Trump campaign, which Manafort briefly ran, offered a “return to relevance.”While Manafort was angling to be Trump’s campaign manager, Newt Gingrich was angling to be his running mate. Two decades earlier, Time had named Gingrich, then the 52- year-old Republican Speaker of the House, its Man of the Year. But after a failed 2012 presidential bid, Gingrich’s star had dimmed, an excruciating prospect for a man who once said, “If you’re not in The Washington Post every day, you might as well not exist.”Gingrich didn’t get the vice president’s job. But his incessant defenses of Trump—particularly on Fox News—have afforded the 76-year-old what Politico has called “a rare third political life.” He has already published three Trump hagiographies. He’s appeared on Fox News—or penned op-eds for its website—nine times so far in 2020 alone. All this apologizing for Trump, however, has its reputational costs. In 2017, Gingrich suggested that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich had been murdered as part of a political cover-up. A spokesman for the slain man’s survivors responded, “He can never know the deep pain he has caused the Rich family, and I hope he is held accountable either in this world or the next.”Rudy Giuliani once won Time’s marquee year-end honor, too. He was Person of the Year in 2001, after helping rally New York and the nation after 9/11. The following year he received an honorary knighthood from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.. At the time, the head of the Republican House Campaign Committee called him “the hottest political property in America.” But, like Gingrich, Giuliani could not parlay his fame into a successful presidential bid. And after he lost in 2008, “he seemed to fade from the headlines” and his “high appearance fees dropped like a stone.”But during the Trump campaign, Giuliani—whom The New York Times called “desperate to return to political relevance”— made it back into the limelight the hard way: By defending Trump’s least defensible actions. After the release of the Access Hollywood tape, which featured Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women, Giuliani went on all five Sunday-morning shows to defend Trump’s character. At another point in the campaign he accused Clinton of hiding secret medical ailments. After being hired in 2018 as Trump’s personal lawyer, he told Fox News, with a straight face, that “The president’s an honest man.”Since news broke last year that Giuliani—now 76 years old—was running a parallel foreign policy in Ukraine, his celebrity has only grown. And so has what The New Yorker calls his “casual recklessness.” On a Fox News appearance last September, he shouted, “Shut up, moron,” at a liberal guest. In October he butt-dialed an NBC reporter, who overheard the former mayor telling associates, “The problem is we need some money. We need a few hundred thousand.” In a December interview he told New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi, “I have no business interests in Ukraine”—before adding, “I’ve done two business deals in Ukraine. I’ve sought four or five others.” Giuliani’s television appearances have grown so erratic that journalists have begun openly speculating about whether he might be drunk. [Franklin Foer: Rudy Giuliani is living the dream]But this hasn’t dissuaded other has-beens. Last November The Washington Post reported that Mark Penn—the most influential pollster of the Clinton era, who became a pariah among Democrats after Hillary Clinton’s 2008 defeat—had visited the White House to give Trump political advice. Penn, 65—who now appears regularly on Fox News and depicts Trump as a victim of the “deep state”—is “finally being talked about again,” according to Politico.When I asked Dr. Rockwell what allows the once famous to reconcile themselves to comparative obscurity, she said the transition was hard. There’s a “lot more amygdala activation when you’re famous,” she said, adding, “it takes the neurology a really long time to work through that, to reframe it as a graceful end to a beautiful career.” The people who manage the process best, she has written, focus on “becoming part of something larger than oneself,” thus “countering fame’s natural tendency toward narcissism,” and “dedicating all one’s drives and ambitions into making a real difference, in a meaningful way, in the world.”It’s a lovely sentiment. But Giuliani’s approach—which he summed up in his December interview with Nuzzi as “my attitude about my legacy is Fuck it”—is much more likely to get you on Fox News.
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