October (Non)Surprise

fox with dead hen Guess what? That’s right. The Federal Communications Commission, after striking the pose that it would respect the results of a period of public comment, is going to preserve net non-neutrality! Internet access, one of our epoch’s most basic and simple services, will continue to be given over to the corporate profit ranchers who understand and use the gift of such blatant mis-regulation as licenses to steal.

Here is the scheme, as described by The Wall Street Journal:

Advocates of net neutrality say that the only way to achieve it is to classify the Internet as common carrier, or a public utility.

The broadband providers would like the FCC to keep them classified as information services, which makes the industry subject to far less regulation.

Caught in the middle, Mr. Wheeler is close to settling on a hybrid approach, people close to the chairman say. The emerging proposal is a departure from an FCC plan put forth last spring, which kept broadband classified as an information service, though Mr. Wheeler at the time made clear that he welcomed input on whether to go the common-carrier route.

The plan now under consideration would separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content. The FCC would then classify the back-end service as a common carrier, giving the agency the ability to police any deals between content companies and broadband providers.

This of course, means that “consumers” will not be able to avail themselves of common carrier rights vis-a-vis the internet overlords. Only the FCC will have that privilege, and only as relates to backroom dealings. Anybody want to guess what that will mean? Take heart, o yearners for democracy and real economy: The fox is going to be watching (part of) the henhouse even more closely!

And, meanwhile, what a phrase, this “caught in the middle.”

On one side stand the overclass Robber Barons, with their sponsorship of the entire political show.

What’s on the other side, you might wonder?

Well, according to the Sunshine Foundation’s analysis of it, in the record-smashing public commentary to the FCC, “less than 1 percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality.” Moreover, the Sunshine Foundation found it “actually surprising how many of the submitted comments seemed not to have been driven by form letter writing campaigns.”

Of course, this is “caught in the middle” quote, is quite accurate politically, despite the numbers of human noses on each side. Our mighty regulators are indeed stuck play-jousting in the spaces between the investing class and the 99 percent. At the ready they stand, on their golden leashes, armed with quivers of wet noodles!

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Eye in the Sky Making You Buy

mind reading image Big business marketing grows faster than the corporate capitalist economy from which it logically and necessarily emerges.

Here at TCT, we keep track of the resulting Orwellian news from the general human, rather than MSM/capitalist, perspective.

The latest is more effort in the direction of getting computers to be able to read images on the internet. Currently, those remain mostly grayed-out spots to the data harvesters.

But, because of the special richness and emotionality of images, this will very likely change sometime soon. Per Ad Age:

When then-Google exec Vic Gundotra took the stage at the company’s annual developer conference, he showed a photo of the Eiffel Tower. Many in attendance automatically recognized the landmark — and so did Google’s computers.

Since that milestone in May 2013, Google, along with Yahoo, Facebook and other companies, has been struggling to get at a gold mine of potential data: the millions of images flitting about the web. Image-recognition technology is the next frontier for companies that have built multibillion dollar businesses on their ability to convert data into more personalized content for audiences and better targeting for advertisers.

“There’s this treasure trove of data these companies are sitting on in the form of the visual web. That data for the most part is uncategorized. It’s a black box,” said Justin Fuisz, CEO of Fuisz Media, a company that uses image recognition to attach branded calls to action to objects in videos.

The steps are slow, due to the genuinely deep problems involved in trying to mechanically extract human meanings from images. But some problems (not climate change, war, or poverty, mind you) simply must be solved! Hence, the state-of-affairs in late 2014:

“Our clients have never given it much thought. But as soon as it’s available at scale, it’s going to be huge,” said Doug Kofoid, president-global solutions at Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi.

“When we are talking in theoretical terms about [Horizon Media client] Weight Watchers for instance, we can identify who is pinning Weight Watchers specific materials — food, recipes — but also any type of food content that we think would be a qualifier for a potential Weight Watcher prospect. So it becomes very clearly about the actual content that’s pinned,” said Horizon Media Chief Digital Officer Donald Williams.

“The biggest surprise I had was the richness of those images and how much personal information is coming across in the richness of those images,” said Starcom MediaVest Group’s global research lead Kate Sirkin. “It really does start to give you a good flavor of interests and lifestyle and passions of the consumer.”

Big Brother would be sick with jealousy.

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Marketing to Babies

Chobani Packaging Image Non-Greek “Greek yogurt” peddler Chobani is, according to Advertising Age, gearing up to push their hyper-packaged melted ice cream-ish goop onto babies and toddlers.

The cause is the usual one — the system, a.k.a. corporate capitalist normalcy.

The beginning point is the refusal to countenance price-cutting:

Greek has enjoyed a price premium over regular yogurt, but that has started to erode as competition increases. Mr. McGuinness [Chobani's chief marketing and brand officer] pledged that Chobani would not go below a dollar per cup, saying Chobani is an “aspirational” brand.

Quite so. Despite the absolute centrality of “natural prices” in Adam Smith’s classic (though not uncritical) attempt to justify capitalism, actual capitalists, as Smith knew but failed to think through, despise price competition:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

If you know your history, you know that, as soon as they were big and strong enough, major investors convinced legislatures to allow them to grow their firms to sizes and scopes that made co-respective pricing (a.k.a. inflation) the new norm. Why would Chobani give up that privilege at this late, market-totalitarian date?

From there, it’s a matter of solving and re-solving the usual business problem, competition via mushrooming, metastasizing marketing efforts within stagnant, mature markets:

The launch [of Chobani Tots] comes as the once-skyrocketing Greek yogurt category begins to show signs of maturity. Slowing growth rates have sparked a market share battle among Chobani, Yoplait, Dannon and other brands. As a result, market leader Chobani can no longer rely on overall category growth to fuel sales and must fight harder to win customers.

“It’s harder in the Greek yogurt category to lead than it used to be,” Mr. McGuinness said during his presentation. Still, the marketer sees opportunity because Greek yogurt’s U.S. household penetration is still just 37%.

The human effects include the usual expansion of marketing efforts to condition humans who cannot yet talk or think:

Chobani wants babies to go Greek. The yogurt maker, which helped pioneer Greek yogurt in the U.S., will target tykes with a new product called Chobani Tots. It’s slated to hit stores in January.

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The Face of Metastasis

Shane Snow Meet Shane Snow, the founder of Contently, which pimps writers out to corporate capitalists like American Express, Coke, GE, Google, Walmart, and General Motors. The service sold is “content marketing,” meaning fake journalism designed to sell more corporate products and otherwise advance the aims of big business marketing campaigns.

Ad Age reports that such efforts are a major boom industry. The various overclass flagships “are expected to spend nearly $2 billion on sponsored content in 2014.”

Mr. Snow does his pimping by “licensing software to brands to help them manage content-marketing projects and connecting these companies with freelance writers, for which it takes a 15% fee.”

As actual journalism dies via strangulation and systemic neglect, here’s how the action looks at Contently:

There is a range of writers and prices from which brands can choose. There are, for instance, best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize nominees, youngsters fresh out of journalism school and a number of others who work for major publications but freelance on the side. Contently’s stable includes about 50,000 writers, according to Mr. Snow.

“It’s like a supermarket for writers,” said Tomas Kellner, managing editor at GE Reports, GE’s content-marketing site. “People like me, who need to scale up their operations, can get access to writers for a specific project.”

Market totalitarianism.

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A Worthy Read

richtel-book-imageTCTers may recall the actual journalism of Matt Richtel. Turns out, he has now shaped his work on the politics of distracted driving into a pretty fascinating book, A Deadly Wandering.

It reveals not only the forces promoting the form of mass murder known as “the connected car,” but reviews some pretty important research into the interface between technology and brain science. Both these topics speak volumes about the ruinous direction of human culture under corporate capitalism.

To that point, Richtel quotes David Strayer, the ex-GTE engineer turned safety crusader. While still employed by GTE (now Verizon), Strayer discovered proof that cell phone usage by automobile drivers was wildly and obviously dangerous. The reply of his bosses was, Strayer recalls, this:

Why would we want to know this? That will not help us sell anything.

marx This is not only Fred Taylor-level system voicing, but also a pretty direct confirmation of Karl Marx’s analysis of Mr. Moneybags’ core worldview and ethical status:


Après moi le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Hence, Capital is heedless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.

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PBS Retaliates

blackmail-note The threat of losing sponsors is one of the major factors that make the corporate capitalist media system so effective at its core task of molding behavior on behalf of the overclass.

PBS, in its continuing journey toward complete irrelevance, is apparently now deploying this weapon against its own critics, despite the timidity of the latter.

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