Herding Cats: Chapter ?

I’ve lost track of the number of times I have used the term found in the title of today’s blog, but there it is again.  The term typically refers to the issues confronting both parties in both houses, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  With the Republicans in control, theoretically, of both the House and the Senate, we watch today and in the days to come (and maybe beyond) as politicians jockey for position and for press coverage that is more flattering than damning concerning the Republicans’ proposed ‘replacement’ for ObamaCare.

The issue, so far, centers on the Republican effort to repeal and/or replace ObamaCare.  Too many people, in my opinion, see this as a very simple up or down vote when it appears to touch a lot of different things that we need be careful to avoid damaging or destroying.  ObamaCare was written, in many respects, in that manner to ‘protect’ it from ravaging Republicans.

Adding to the furor is this vote touted to end ObamaCare when it will only begin the process of ending that law.  The fight is made more difficult since it lends itself to the screams from the left that the Republicans want to kill the program and that this will ultimately bring misery and suffering to the American citizens.  This is, unfortunately, the ‘perfect storm’ from the Dems’ perspective.  And, the Republicans have essentially placed themselves in this ‘damned if we do and damned if we don’t’ position.

It is unfortunate, but the Republicans have set themselves up for the drubbing they’re going to be taking from the Dems and the press.  I do not understand, I’m sure, all the various pressures that exist in that world, but it seems that some careful tilling of the ground might’ve helped ward off this situation…which will get uglier every day.

I fear that this may further degenerate as the days pass and the press has its ‘fun’ at the expense of conservatives.  I listened as Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) tried to explain his position that more time is required.  He is very likely correct that more time is required to get this right, but that should’ve been seen by the Committee chairs and the Republican whips.

As it stands this morning, there has been an expectation set up that by the end of this week ObamaCare will be gone and something else will be in its place.  That, obviously, could not be further from the truth, but the Dems have been eager little beavers behind the scenes setting this all up…with the support of that part of the press which is liberal…and that is a lot of the press…to be certain this plays to the advantage of the Dems as part of the price to be paid for ridding us of ObamaCare.

As to ObamaCare, it continues on its road to oblivion with catastrophic financial losses all the way.  There are states without any ObamaCare plans available.  There are states with only some counties’ residents covered.  Major insurance organizations have bailed since they lost tens of millions and were not made whole as they had been promised.  ObamaCare was a grand Ponzi scheme…whether anyone will admit to that or not.  This Democrat “legislation” in the dark of night has shown exactly what it was all along.  It was meant to destroy the health insurance marketplace only to be ultimately salvageable by federal/national health care.  If there would be those decrying the intent, I’d pose the question:  How did you think this would work?

As is usual in these kinds of situations, Republicans (usually the adults, but not always) are left to clean up the mess as the Dems, and the press, lay traps for them every step of the way.  That having been said, I object to the Republicans setting themselves up with some partially-baked plan needing to be passed in a week or a little more.  I object to the internal battles among various kinds of Republicans that make Republicans look the fool.

That the Republicans could not see this coming, or did but chose to ignore it, thanks for squandering part of your strength.  We know, or should know by now, that everything undertaken by Republicans has to be done flawlessly to be even remotely acceptable to the press.  Even then, we know we’ll take some hits from the liberals; that is simply the way of politics.

It appears that too little time was allocated by the Republican leaders to get the cats aligned for a passing vote.  And, to have laid plans for the follow-on to this successful vote.  Expectations, once set, are virtually impossible to re-set.

And, all due apologies to the felines reading this or using it as the paper on which to relieve themselves.  Maybe my side, the conservative side, will ultimately get its act together, but the time that takes and the price it extracts is painful.

Sanctuary Cities…

The Sanctuary City ‘movement’ is a subject that draws a lot of comment, both pro, and con.  This seems to me to be among those defining ideas that separate conservatives from liberals.  No matter whether a village or city or county or state, the unit of government declaring itself a sanctuary for those who for reasons of law are not permitted in the United States of America.

The idea that a smaller unit of government can simply decide for itself that it will refuse to follow those laws made by our nation’s lawmakers flies in the face of what made this country a viable country in the first place.  When people come together there is a need for rules, regulations and formal laws in order to maintain the peace and orderliness we all expect.

For any governmental body under such law to make its own decision as to enforcement or intentional ignorance of a particular law is simply unacceptable.  And yet, we reportedly have hundreds of sanctuary thises and thats in the country and that number likely grows steadily.  Estimates today indicate 500 or more such declarations have been issued by lower governments in violation of the law of the land.

We find ourselves in the familiar world of liberal judges deciding what they think and probably patting themselves on their own backs because they’ve found something else about which they can disagree with elected governing officials in higher levels of government.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said, according to a Washington Post story, that Sanctuary cities are those that violate a federal law requiring local and state governments to share information with Federal officials about immigrants’ citizenship or legal status.  He has indicated that any city or town that violates the Federal statute could lose some Justice funding this year as long as Congress has spelled out those conditions before government awarded the grants.  He has already taken steps to revoke Federal funding from nine jurisdictions, each of which insists that it has complied with the law.

We recognize there will be, likely, years of court cases before this is resolved.  And this will ultimately rise to the U.S. Supreme Court since there are sufficient liberal-minded judges in the system to keep this alive until appeals reach that level.

We have such laws since we, as a country, need to be able to control whom we permit and whom we deny more or less permanent access.

This brings me around to the U.S. Supreme Court and its ultimate responsibility to make the final decision on any number of disputed things that work their way through our systems of courts.  We appear destined to have a conservative U.S. Supreme Court based upon the choices it appears President Trump will make as he appoints Justices to fill empty seats on the Court.  There are rumored to be two such openings in the very near future.

Elections have consequences that affect even the seemingly untouchable liberal judges we find throughout the system in America.  This is among the very most important things President Trump will do while in office.  We, of course, need to assure that Congress is decidedly conservative, as well.  These are decisions that will guide our country for decades.  It is impossible to be too bold in such statements.

Sanctuary cities are only part of the larger problem, of course, but they are emblematic of how these things work their ways through the liberal cities and liberal states.  There are Federal judges who are very much opposed to the defunding of so-called Sanctuary cities.  If that were to be permitted to exist, how long would it be before there was a Sanctuary state?

Hundreds of U.S. cities are reportedly now involved in the business of offering sanctuary, as mentioned above, to non-citizens in direct opposition to our laws.  Some are releasing such non-citizens from jails, when arrested, as soon as is possible so they’re back on the street.  Are all non-citizens bad people?  Certainly not, but there are some, just how many are currently unknown, who would not pass ‘muster’ if they were to be confronted in a court of law.  Simply disobeying laws with which we disagree is not the way things are done in this country, not for you or me at least, but there are some who seem to think that is precisely what they can do.  After all, they must reason, who is going to stop me?

Our immediate past President and his appointees seemed to not see much wrong with the Sanctuary city approach, but there is, fortunately, a new group in town.  We face an uphill battle, but we will persist and we will get on top of this growing problem.  Does this make conservatives hard-hearted stubborn people who hate others?  No.  It does show that conservatives believe in the rule of law, and follow those laws, even if flawed from our perspectives until they can be legally changed.  If the proper laws are not yet enacted, we will see to getting that job done in short order or at least short order from a national governance perspective.

CyberSecurity: Fact or Fiction?

Seemingly almost every month we are made aware of some kind of cybersecurity intrusion.  There are bad actors worldwide whose sole purpose is the interruption and/or destruction of computer networks and systems.   The U.S. might be included in that group since we, along with Israel, did the dirty deed to an Iranian nuclear enrichment operation using something code-named Stuxnet to destroy Iranian centrifuges to retard their development of nuclear capabilities.

The recent ‘Wanna Cry’ disruption has been credited to North Korea, for example, and that was so-called ‘ransomware’ which locks up systems unless and until some payment is received in return for the release of the system that has been locked up.

A week before Christmas, hackers blacked out a portion of the city of Kiev by shutting down the electrical grid system.  We’re told that this new malware has been designed with swappable, plug-in components that can be used to adapt to different power systems, different electric utilities and that they can be easily reused or even launched simultaneously at multiple electric system targets.  This malware has been given the name Crash Override.

The big buzz in our country recently has been the question of election tampering since virtually everything we do today is computer dependent.  There are claims that some attempts at incursion have been found but there is no evidence that the perpetrators did any damage in terms of changing vote counts.  It would seem, though, that with malware such as we see involved here, we need to do some real solid re-engineering of the way we conduct elections as dependent as we are on the behind-the-scenes systems that are critical to us today.

Our infrastructure is essentially driven by computers today.  Our banking system is driven by computers.  The stock market systems, if penetrated, would be terribly disruptive to our entire economy.   Power and water utilities are controlled by computer systems.  Everything we depend upon today involves computer systems to one degree or another.

Crash Override is said to be programmed to interact directly with grid equipment sending it signals to switch the flow of power on and off, for example.  Those in the know say that what would’ve required 20 or more people in the attack on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 would equate today to those same twenty people simultaneously targeting ten or fifteen different regional power companies instead of the three that were hit in Ukraine.

The capability exists today for the programming to make possible the attacks even on a network that is disconnected from the Internet.  It is equated by Dragos’ Rob Lee to a ‘logic bomb’ that can be planted and programmed to automatically detonate at a preset time.  Dragos is one of the two security companies cited in the information.  The other is a firm named ESET.  Targeted phishing e-mails were involved in the 2015 attack, but the ‘logic bomb’ could lay dormant for some time and then be triggered.

“Crash Override” is reportedly significantly more capable of inflicting outages that would be far more widespread than the 2015 attack on Kiev and to do so on preset command.  It could lay dormant and be triggered at will or be pre-programmed to trigger itself at a certain date/time.

Now, step back and think about everything we rely upon that is systems driven.  Think about the enormity of an intentional crashing of our stock market, the disruption of national banking capabilities, the shutdown of power systems in communities and potentially even states.  Think about the magnitude of disruption and destruction that could be triggered.

Computer systems are integral to virtually everything we touch and that touches us.  Those are networked in most cases so they would be susceptible, at least theoretically, to attacks such as these.  One rogue individual could, with the proper tools such as an even more sophisticated “Crash Override” for example, literally bring our country to its knees.

This gives us a new lens through which to view the world’s nutcases.  Quickly, North Korea becomes a more viable threat.  We know that North Korea has a quite sophisticated cyber warfare operation already.   We know the Russians and the Chinese are very likely to be at least that sophisticated and probably exponentially more sophisticated.

The possibility of election-rigging is important, but that pales by magnitudes given the threats which exist today that could literally shut our country down.  Food wouldn’t get delivered to stores.  Money would no longer be available at the local bank kiosk.  Health care would be shut down since it is virtually all systems driven.  Community water and sewerage systems would be off.  Gas stations would have no gas and couldn’t pump if they did.  Our defense capabilities would be severely eroded.  Our world as we know it would disappear almost literally overnight.

This is a frightening specter and nothing to just pooh-pooh as we continue to go about our daily business.  We need be aware and we need to impress on our elected officials that we want them aware and working in tandem with us to be certain we are safe from such incursions.  We could be back to the equivalent of the 1850s in the blink of an eye.  Even worse because we no longer know how to do the things that we’d need to do in order to simply exist.

Unfortunately, this stuff is real and it is critically important and there are some untrustworthy trigger fingers in our world today.

 

A Healthy Reminder…

We, the voting public, seem at times to have short memories.  Lest we forget during this time of Republicans working to refine and replace ObamaCare, the Democrats broke American healthcare in the dark of night.  That is when American healthcare was changed in terms of delivery and financing.  That was the beginning of the current situation where health insurers are simply bailing from the system.  They have taken so many losses and such large losses that they simply cannot afford to be players in this national nightmare.  The promises of government funding excess losses if they were too big has obviously been forgotten.  Where are those Dems who made that promise now?

The Republicans are working diligently to revise ObamaCare to at least slow the hemorrhaging the insurers have been witnessing as their losses exceed the premiums being collected.  They will be unable to pass what might be seen as a full and complete overhaul without every Republican signing on to make it happen.  In the meantime, we find that some states will have no insurer, none, to pick while other states are significantly limited in the insurers from which they can choose.

The healthcare systems have enjoyed a significant increase in usage and an increase in funds received, but those benefits are tinged with troubling things.  They need to know there is going to be a level of sustainability in order to justify the increased building and the purchase of more and better equipment and the addition of staff to provide the services.  That is not at all a comforting situation given the overall instability of the healthcare world in the U.S.

Some states are down to zero health plans from which to choose!  Others are down to one or two or three and those are often smaller health care organizations that came to be in the initial Obamacare whose networks are not as all-encompassing as the larger systems that have abandoned ObamaCare.

The Democrats need to be held to account for what they did and for what that is bringing as the new reality.  The Republicans need to be held to account for finding a solution to what the Dems have wrought.  It is now time for a unified Republican response, and that means taking a stand and supporting what the majority of Republicans are favoring.  The internecine squabbling in Congress has to come to an end in order to bring relief to the healthcare debacle that the Democrats started.

There are many competing ideas being bandied about but the time for taking action is upon us.  Get together and get it done. Period!  This may not be fair since the Dems sit on the sidelines or do their best to be disruptive when it was they who created this mess.  They are hoping that you and I will forget it was them who took the first step that is what brought us to the situation we’re in today.

Some Republicans would like to dance around the edges in order to avoid having to take a position on the bill(s) on, or soon to be on the floor.  That time has long since passed.  We need this issue resolved and very, very soon.  You political leaders have promised us that you will fix this mess.  It needs to be the Republicans who act as the adults in Congress since it is quite obvious that the Dems will continue to obstruct in the hopes that we voters will have forgotten it was them who did this to us.

There are tough votes and those come with the office.  We expect you to be the adults in the room and do what we want you to do.  Personally, I am happy to be reminded of the Dems being totally responsible and I’ll do what I can do to help others remember that fact.  BUT, I also expect that Republicans will soon all become the adults who do what is required even though there will be the typical disinformation from the Dems and also from some in the world of reporting.

Finally, I would like to see President Trump become the leader of the band in this situation lending his daily voice to the Republicans while reminding all of us that the Dems did this to us rather than for us.

This needs to get done.  It needs to get done now, not during the next Congress.  The various factions within the Republicans in both the House and the Senate need to consolidate behind one approach to resolution and stay there day after day and interview after interview.  The time has come and this opportunity will greatly damage the Republican brand if you do not consolidate and get it done.  You know you’ll not get the support of the media and we all know that, too.  But you will continue to have our support through whatever fallout period there may be.

Our support is, however, conditioned on you getting the job done and soon!  That is why we sent you there.

Speaking of Special Counsels…

Does it strike you as a bit odd that with all the discussions about Special Counsels and the supposed issues that Republicans have had involvement in, that we still do not have a Special Council investigating Loretta Lynch and her tarmac visit with Bill Clinton?  Especially since Hillary was supposedly being investigated by the FBI, part of Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department, about the so-called e-mail “matter” (rather than “investigation”) as she wished that to be labeled?   Something about ‘falling off the turnip truck’ seems to come to mind.

That certainly smacks of political favor-granting by neglecting to appoint a Special Counsel to look into the whole matter.

There must be some need to at least look into this through the designation of yet another Special Counsel if everything is to be seen as being on the up and up.  Of course, if there is no Special Counsel appointed for this purpose the press will certainly do its duty and investigate that decision, or lack of decision…or will it?  There are times such as this when it seems, even to us hicks in Nowhereville, that ‘the fix is in’.

Obviously, the meeting on the tarmac in Phoenix, AZ was no accidental encounter.  That is too much to swallow given the position she held at the time and the reputation that Bill Clinton has managed to acquire over his adult lifetime.  Yet, there was not even the slightest outcry by the media.  They weren’t looking or they didn’t want to risk learning something that would be more damning than the meeting “just happening” out of the blue.  We know the press was aware of this happening since we have not just fallen off the melon truck.

So the ‘fix’ was in just as it usually is for things involving Democrats in situations that appear untoward…and this situation was very much in that world.  A Special Counsel would’ve likely been appointed within weeks if this were a situation involving President Trump.

It seems that there might just be some rumblings, finally, in that several Republicans in Congress are making noises about just that.  Time will tell if there will be an appointment or if this will be another matter for stonewalling by the Dems for so long as is possible.  Or for the creation of another attention-getter driven by the Dems, that would serve to take the focus off the Special Counsel talk.

There are days when it seems that the Republicans are neophytes in the world of politics.  They are just too gentile, too nice to utter words that we hear almost every day from the Dems.

If the Republicans are incapable of fighting fire with fire, there is not much hope for anything resembling a level playing field; the Dems have a downhill run and we have an uphill run.  Unless and until we learn to take the gloves off when necessary and take our lumps from the press while getting our job done, we will always come out on the short end of the proverbial stick.

A Special Counsel looking into Loretta Lynch and her actions/inactions would likely be assailed by the press but that is simply the way this has to be.  If there is nothing to be found, which I doubt, then the Dems will simply have a good laugh at our expense.  But, the unseemly meeting at the airport seems to me to be evidence of an impropriety of some magnitude and we simply need to begin unraveling the weakest of alibis and getting to the heart of this matter.  Public testimony under oath would be an interesting turnabout for the Dems; that shoe is usually on the other foot.  There is no telling where this inquiry might lead since we know Special Prosecutors have enormous authority vested in them through their appointment.  Any testimony implicating others simply serves to increase the list of targets available for the Special Prosecutor.

Republicans need to demonstrate that they, too, can play tough.  If they do not, the Dems will eat their lunch and ‘we the people’ will have taken another punch to the tummy.  There comes a time for people to stand up for principle and that time is today.  Forget the press’ likely antics.

Does anyone, even Democrats, believe this ‘tarmac get together’ was not a planned occurrence, but was simply fate?  Does anyone really think Bill Clinton was not intending to have this ‘chance’ meeting?  And how would the ‘chance meeting’ have been made to occur?

There are way too many moving parts to this to try to foist it off as a chance meeting.  I think a Special Prosecutor would have a field day…and the ripple effect would keep the Dems off balance for the rest of President Trump’s initial four-year term.

Amazon This, Amazon That…

It seems that Amazon has yet to find a market that it cannot disrupt.  The Whole Foods acquisition is nearly as surprising to me as many of the other moves made by this growing giant.  How do you ‘Amazonize’ retail food distribution?

I have grown up in a world where retail was retail and where one walked into a physical store, made a selection, paid and walked out of the store.  If we didn’t do that, we probably looked at a printed catalog and ordered what we wanted.  Then we found ‘The Internet’ and did our shopping in that manner.  Amazon has been in, and still is in, the process of turning virtually everything retail on its head.  Wal-Mart used to be the monster of retailing.  That position is slowly altering given the impact that Amazon has had on the entire retailing industry.  Alex Shephard has a piece in the New Republic that mentions Amazon’s impact on bookstores.  It built a bookstore in 2015, will have seven brick and mortar bookstores by the end of this year, and will be ranked as the fifth largest chain bookstore in the nation.

Amazon is a classic disrupter and it has really only just begun based on how it is growing itself.  Generations after mine are each less dependent on brick and mortar stores and more and more dependent on The Internet.  I still think of something I need as being available at this store or that store…physical places I can drive to and walk into once parked.  I am part of a dying breed; it is almost a dead breed, in fact.

I mentioned buying a book yesterday and mentioned that I purchased it from Amazon.  Maybe I am still salvageable and can get used to using the web for my needs even though I admit that is still mostly a second-thought approach.  And, I am from a much older generation having been born in the midst of World War II.  If I can accommodate this new way of buying things, virtually anyone can.

It seems that nearly everyone is using this mode of acquiring ‘things’ more and more.  Amazon is the perfect example of what is happening, actually what has happened while I was still doing things the way I’d always done them.  Need this?  Get in the car and go get it.  While I was driving to a place to find something, Amazon was taking that necessity off the table…or soon will have in many areas.  Specialty retailers will survive, at least for now, but that is already being turned on its head, as well.

The retail world is being transformed rapidly.  Amazon and its ilk are far more disrupting to good old Mainstreet retail than was Wal-Mart…and Wal-Mart was certainly more than sufficiently disruptive.  There seems to be a race underway.  On the one hand, we see new shopping districts going up while we’re also seeing empty storefronts as we stroll through the older malls that were the leading edge seemingly just a short time ago.

This is almost a Rip VanWinkle experience.  The speed of this movement has done nothing but accelerate.  It will continue to accelerate since it usually, almost always, costs less if we can simply wait for gratification for a couple of days at most.  And, the wait times will be changing rapidly as ‘drone delivery’ comes of age which it nearly is today.  Literally same day delivery is right around the corner.

It will take maybe two generations, at most, for this ‘instant gratification’ world of retail to make huge gains in terms of market share.  If we think we’re seeing a lot of empty space in our shopping centers of today, can we even imagine what the empty store fronts will number in a decade?  Sears, K-Mart, etc., etc.

Most of us recognize that change is inevitable.  Most of us older members of society have become accustomed to seeing/experiencing change in things we might’ve felt were absolute constants that would be the same throughout our lives.  The speed of change has accelerated, though, to an almost dizzying level.  My grandchildren have already succumbed to the reality of this new world and I am thankful for that.

What are the future Jeff Bezos of the world going to do to disrupt this latest thrust?  I can’t even begin to imagine that next generation and the generation after that.  And, I can still remember walking with my Mother holding my hand to the local grocery store where she used coupons for various things that were rationed due to World War II and our need to support the war effort.

I think I am happy that I cannot see into the future too far.

Does Everyone Know Everything?

I am regularly surprised, though I know I shouldn’t be, at the depth of the information trove that exists about each of us.  I just placed an Amazon order for a book, Deep State by the way, and was treated to offers of this, that and the other things that Amazon wanted me to consider before I said no and clicked to get my intentional order fulfilled.  Nearly all of those things Amazon suggested I consider were of potential interest to me, however.

That has been evolving over time and I have been aware but apparently only subliminally aware.  I know that there is probably little about my preferences that remain unknown.  I am a conservative, I blog thus giving away deeply held belief structures, and I have lived a long time in this age of super information.

It seems, occasionally, that even my account at my local library must be available to any and all comers.  The unsolicited reading material offers I receive are way too close to what I am thinking I might need/desire at any point in time.  Of course, my magazine subscriptions are no doubt known by many marketers.  There may soon be an intersection I’ll pass through following which my near-future thoughts will be expressed to me by external sources before or simultaneously with those thoughts…or so it sometimes seems.

That seems a bit of an extreme at the moment but given the progress (?) being made in artificial intelligence circles, one has to wonder if there will remain any recognizable barriers to artificial intelligence a generation or two from now?

My ordering of this book provides additional information, or at least confirmation, of my leanings.  I am suspicious of government, especially of the government at the federal level.  I am not a fanatic, but I reserve the right to question how certain things are made to happen.  I know that the Civil Service laws were originally intended to assure that government employees were hired on the basis of their skills and capabilities rather than on their connections, for example.  But has that eroded over time?

By ordering ‘Deep State’ I probably am showing that I have suspicions as to how well Civil Service has worked to avoid our having a second, and even more effective, source of governance.  If you’ve not thought about this gathering of personal data, and you are not some kind of crackpot if you have, that has been happening for some time.  Public data banks provide a wealth of information about each of us.  I receive e-mails almost daily about things that are personal favorites of mine.  That is easy for interested parties to find.  The extrapolation of that available data by super-computers can yield expectations of my future preferences based on my past progression into new and different things.  That is simply the art of marketing that exists today.

We are not the private people we thought we were.  We are each grouped into various classes of consumers by various organizations.  Our voting histories are well known to all parties having an interest.  Pollsters have a keen insight into how to frame the group of people from whom they desire opinions.  The Republicans are reported to have had the ‘data’ edge over the Dems in this past national election cycle, for example.

Take a look at the emails that hit your inbox in the course of a few days and I wouldn’t be surprised if you began to wonder as I have been wondering.  The Amazons of this world are ever-improving their data gathering techniques.  The Pea Pods of this world know more and more about their customers’ consuming drives.  The GMs of the world know more and more about our vehicle preferences.  Our banks know a lot about us.  Do they offer their bulk/non-personal data for sale I wonder?

The masters of algorithms can solve for various answers and are improving almost daily in their abilities.  One of our preferences might trigger others’ preferences for what we prefer, and we end up being seen through those searches.  If you do some simple ordering of product over the Internet, you find yourself receiving offers from entities you’ve never heard of before for things that intrigue you but for which you weren’t yet craving a solution.  Yet, those offerings usually trigger some impulse in you since they were designed to do that based on millions of other people’s reactions over time.

We need be mindful that our data is ‘out there’ either personalized or de-personalized.  We may not be seen as an individual, but we can easily be seen as a member of a group of like individuals for whom purchasing patterns have been learned.  We do not need to be known as Al or Pete or Gladys or Joan.  That we are members of a similar group is often sufficient for marketers.

This, of course, goes for physical products as well as for personal preferences across a wide range of subjects.  Prove it to yourself.  Perform a couple of ‘Google’ searches for products of one kind or another that you’ve never used before and then watch what you begin receiving over the next few weeks or months.

We are each known far better than we might like and there is scant little we can do to change that in this data-driven world.