Thursday, September 21, 2017

After Sheryl Sandberg’s husband died, strangers on the internet helped her cope

After Sheryl Sandberg’s husband died, strangers on the internet helped her cope

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The sudden death of a loved one can be devastating for anyone. But in 2015, when Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband — entrepreneur and the widely loved “soul” of Silicon Valley, Dave Goldberg — she also had to grapple with the public nature of her grief.
Two years later, Sandberg has co-written a book about that process, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy,” with her friend, psychologist Adam Grant. On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, she talked about the mistakes we often make when people we know are in mourning — mistakes that Sandberg herself was guilty of in the past.
“Before I lost Dave, if someone was going through something hard, I would say, ‘How much time off do you want? Do you want those projects taken off you?’” Sandberg recalled. “But that's it. I wouldn't say anything else because I thought I was putting pressure on them.”
When co-workers said things like that to Sandberg, she said it “trashed my self-confidence” because it reinforced a feeling of impotence. She credited CEO Mark Zuckerberg with finding the right things to say instead.
“What Mark did was, he said, ‘Do you want time off?’” Sandberg said. “But then he said, ‘I thought you made a good point in that meeting,’ or when I fell asleep in a meeting, ‘Oh, everyone does that.’ Everyone doesn't do that. I made a mistake, he’s like, ‘Oh, you would have made that mistake before.’ That was really reassuring. He kept telling me I was adding value.”
You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicSpotify (mobile only), TuneInStitcher and SoundCloud.
In the immediate aftermath of Goldberg’s death, Sandberg said she also got help from Facebook users, whom she didn’t know. As an act of therapeutic writing, she typed up a journal entry as a “Fakebook” post, which she never intended to share.
“I woke up the next morning,” she said. “There are so many bad moments in this. That was one of the bad ones, really terrible. I felt so awful. I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to post this because things aren’t going to get worse. They might get better.’”
“It actually helped so much,” she added. “It did not take away the grief, but it took away a bunch of the isolation. A friend from work said she had been driving by my house almost every day and had never come in. She was scared to. She started coming in, and I needed her. Strangers posted, ‘I’ve lost this person. I’ve lost a twin. I lost a baby. I lost a husband.’ Rather than feel so isolated, I felt connected to all of these people who were experiencing loss, and breaking the isolation really helped.”
The journal entries that poured out of Sandberg as she continued to grieve formed the foundation of her half of “Option B.” She acknowledged that, even though social media is not perfect, it has created a forum for emotional honesty around a large number of topics, which may feel taboo in face-to-face relationships.
“We share in some ways, but we don’t share in others,” Sandberg said. “It's not just death that ushers in this huge elephant that’s following behind us, trampling over our relationships. You want to silence a room? Tell someone you have cancer. Your father just went to prison. Your mother just lost her job. You just lost your job. You were raped.”
“These things happen to people every day,” she added. “It's not that everyone wants to share everything at all times, but we really leave people alone when we need them the most.”
If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:
If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.
Read the whole story
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Donald Trump's bodyguard tied to figure in Russia probe

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Another connection has emerged between Donald Trump and Felix Sater, the Russian emigre and ex-con who's become a key figure in widening investigations into ties between Trump associates and Russian figures.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Trump for President" as business product - drafted on 10.31.16

Image result for Big Brother Trump

"Trump for President" as a business product and the new "Psychographic Weapon"

Big Brother Trump 

Psychographics vs Demographics in analysis of voting behavior 

"Trump for President" as business product 

"...a company being paid millions of dollars [! - M.N.] by Donald Trump's presidential campaign says it has developed a political weapon powerful enough to help the Republican nominee overcome his troubles and win the White House.
The key is a psychological model for identifying voters that can "determine the personality of every single adult in the United States of America," said Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica... 

The psychological tests are combined with the collection of data, such as a person's taste in movies, music, books and restaurants and the "likes" or "hearts" on social-media sites. All of that information is added to a spreadsheet that contains the name of every voter. Thus, the company's files reveal a person's gender, race, location, car type, club memberships, and reading and viewing habits, along with potentially thousands of other pieces of information. Such data is compiled by many companies and used by most campaigns. In its marketing materials, Cambridge Analytica says that "we collect up to 5,000 data points on over 220 million Americans," enabling it to target groups "and predict the behavior of like-minded people." The company says it has not only the usual stable of data experts but also psychologists who analyze the data and assemble pools of like-minded people

Nix dismissed critics who questioned the company's claims of predicting voter behavior. It is "intuitive" that the more such data is collected, the better his company can be in predicting how people will vote, Nix said.
"If I was to tell you that an individual had voted for a particular party over the last 40 years the same way, you would conclude that is a fairly good indicator," Nix said. "Now imagine if we could overlay thousands of data points that are predictable about behavior. Of course it works. A much better observation is, how well does it work?""

Understanding psychographics trumps demographics.

...Voters can be classified into three broad psychographic categories: High anxiety, low information and moderate expectations. 

Low information voters are of two types. On the one hand, they are many of the high anxiety voters who only consume intake from a single source — think Fox or MSNBC depending on one’s political predisposition.

M.N.: The old and not very well tested adage: "People choose to hear what they want to hear."

On the other hand, they are more disinterested voters who use a party label, a candidate’s race, religion or some other characteristic, or a wedge issue(s) to make their voting decision.

M.N.: Voters make their decisions on the basis of identification with the parties, cause or leaders.

Voters of moderate expectations... [M.N.: are not the emotional, like the above group, but rational choosers. They "shop" for their parties and candidates]: 
They do their homework, put things to the reasonableness test, and decide who will get their votes.

Trump supporters are of two principal types: right wing populists and Republican diehards. 
The right wing populist types can be characterized as low information voters

M.N.: In other words, it is their (political) ignorance that is been exploited. 

Trump’s appeal for them has been driven largely by his “outsider” status, railing at the Republican political elite and party leadership that has not treated its “working class” members properly; and, speaking out loudly on wedge or hot button issues of importance to them such as illegal immigration or terrorism.
Trump channeled their anger and gave it his voice. He was thinking thoughts and saying things that they wanted to say in the way that they wanted them said.
M.N.: In other words, they are a flock of sheep, who are not able to, but want to be the rebels -wolves, they identify with the aggressive leader as their ideal, embodying the traits that they lack. It reminds the histories of the fanatical adoration of "fuhrer" or Stalin's "personality cult".

Voters who still score high on authority/loyalty/sanctity and low on care... are significantly more likely to vote for Donald Trump. These are the true authoritarians...”

  • The 2015 American Values Survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that “Roughly three quarters (74 percent) of Trump supporters — compared to 57 percent of supporters of all other Republican candidates agree that today, discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.”
  • Michael Tesler, an associate professor of political science at the University of California in Irvine, after analyzing data from different sources, concludes, “Republicans who scored highest on racial resentment were about 30 percentage points more likely to support Trump than their more moderate counterparts.”
  • According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll of 16,000 Americans conducted between March and June 2016, “Supporters of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump are more likely to describe African Americans as ‘criminal,’ ‘unintelligent,’ ‘lazy,’ and ‘violent’ than voters who backed some Republican rivals in the primaries or who support Democratic contender Hillary Clinton...” 
M.N.: To summarize and put these statistics in a simple form: Trump supporters are more of the racists. 

These supporters whom we have labeled Republican diehards fall into the High Anxiety category. When asked how they can do a complete turnabout and support Donald Trump rather than their earlier and much more preferred choices, their usual retort is, “Anyone but Hillary.” 

M.N.: Because they view her as a part and extension of the Obama administration, which they blame for all their (personal and other) problems and troubles, fairly and justifiably, or, much more likely - not. This is the psychosocial mechanism of "scapegoating". 

M.N.: Apparently, political psychographics were adopted from the economic ones - from the market research. This circumstance might be an illustration of how Trump views his voters and his electorate: simply as the political market which has to be penetrated and conquered. This is a business approach to politics: the voters are simply the consumers who have to be persuaded and manipulated into buying his product, which is "Trump for President". 

Trump wants to sell this product the same way he sells his real estate and his own (TV) personality. He wants to learn about the ways to market these products the same way any other market is researched and studied. He views himself as a business product. The flip side of this coin is that he views other people in his personal and political life as the products too: they can be bought and manipulated. His is a cold and lonely world, indeed. 

Trumpism is the apex of the business mentality and business power in America. He views America as his next business venture and intends to manage it accordingly: as the USA, Inc. 
The soul is gone. The truth is gone. The humanity is gone. The essence of our nature is gone. The economic "consumer society" will accomplish its historical "merger and acquisition", conquer everything and everyone else and will be transformed into the totalitarian political "consumer society". 

With all this, I do not intend to demonize Trump personally at all. He does have a considerable personal charm and even has what looks like sincerity, and even comes across as a rebellious and vulnerable child. In his seventies - analyze zis! But aren't we all, and at any age? Our "inner child" never disappears and never grows up, it is our ontogenetic core.

He is just a product of his (ruthless? soulless? mechanistic? primitively arithmetically calculating? and ?still ultimately enigmatic and psychologically and sociologically understudied), the so called "business world", which can be viewed as the childishly predatory by its very nature. 

What do I see as Donald's real and relevant problems? I call him "Donald" because I feel I can relate to him, despite the unbridgeable chasm of irreconcilable disagreements and "gut feeling" non-acceptance, strong rejection of his style, personality and the very idea of him as a potential President. 

It is interesting to observe how Hillary relates to him: like a strong, maybe even stern but understanding mother to a petulant misbehaving child, like a school principal to a very problematic pupil, whom she sees through quite nicely, interacts with him somewhat ironically but not condescendingly, directly and frankly, but not hurtfully or sadistically, in one word, maturely, almost "tough-lovingly" and humanely.

I'll say it very humbly, what I see as his main problems, from which many other, the secondary ones, stem out: his superficiality, his lack of intellect and intellectualism, lack of depth (although, he undoubtedly is a very intelligent and experienced man), lack of humanity, lack of political maturity, etc., etc. - the list might take three pages, and there is no need to mention all of this: the whole picture seems to be clear. The Democrats, in comparison, seem to have these and other relevant qualities almost in abundance. 

Both D. Brooks and E.J. Dionne, in the interview with the NPR on 10.28.16, said that the reopening of the FBI emails investigation is not going to hurt Mrs. Clinton. I think that many observers would agree with him: reviving the old non-issue will not make it less of a non-issue. If anything, it might contribute to the voters' feelings of puzzlement, disbelief, anger and protest and might mobilize them further. Hopefully. Will a shocking, jaw dropping "bombshell", implying the primitive, irrational, archaic, witch-hunting "guilt by association" prove to be an empty shell? "Thousands of classified emails" sent by Abedin to Weiner? What? For what? 
Another Russian set-up? Another same old, same old of the FBI's same old Clintons-haters? In this situation, the only appropriate way to deal with it is to do what Hillary requested: "Put it on a table!" 
Speaking of the racial and economic issues, which fuel the Trumpistas' resentments and rage: are they the signs of some historically inevitable (in a long run, despite the hypothetically possible but temporary deviations from this course) process of Transformation of America, not in a narrow Obama Presidency related definition (it is seen as the one which champions, promotes and hastens these changes), but in a much broader one? Do we really understand this process sufficiently? Do we understand how to deal with it efficiently? Where will it lead? The effects of changing demography are the very powerful determining factors, which will affect the social structure and order, the economics, and the all important culture, in a broad sense, as well as the country's standing in the world and its foreign relations. 
Maybe I did not search well enough, but so far I was not able to find any coherent and deep analysis of these issues and any credible and convincing predictions and prognostications. It looks that we are avoiding thinking about it, researching and studying these issues, and discussing them in academia and the media, because these issues might feel very uncomfortable and "divisive". There no reasons to keep avoiding thinking and talking about them, no reasons to hide our heads in the sand. "Political correctness" is a tool of conformity, which might be good as a "cohesion", but is not so good as an instrument of understanding and change. 
Healthy, inevitable, wise, fair, in the true American spirit, racial, economic, political, cultural Integration is the only solution, it became the ideological banner of the political class. The question is, are any adjustments and corrections needed in this course, not taking this process back, but enhancing and rationalizing it, making it more efficient, fair, viable and secure for the society as a whole, which will make it stronger domestically and abroad. 


That leaves voters of Moderate Expectations. Could there be likely Trump supporters among them? No doubt there will be a few but very few. Or, as the Donald might put it very, very, very few.

That’s because, given the operational definition of the folks in this category, they fall outside the zone of influence for Trump’s hyperbole and histrionics. They tend to be independent in orientation rather than tied to a party.
M.N.: The "rationalists", as should be expected, reject Trump: he does not appeal to logic and rational choice, he is not on their "best picks" rating list. 
The "undecided" or "floating voters" portion is about 5-13%, and "their minds and psychographic profile does not match that of the Trump supporter."


Saturday, September 9, 2017