Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, July 9, 2018

Facebook has been censoring many good things. Their procedures or automatic algorithms or whatever mechanism was designed to snag speech that just so happened to be from the Declaration of Independence was no isolated incident. Especially when a long train of abuses and usurpations evince a design, it's not coincidence, it's telling.

Facebook has had its hand caught in the cookie jar many times as of late. The social media giant doesn't seem interested in cultivating good will, but keeps working for excuses to drive away people who want to freely submit facts to a candid world via any platform but their own. Putting the post from The Vindicator newspaper back up won't prove to be enough. With trends and polls being what they are, the only way to prevent Facebook from taking a nosedive is for Zuckerberg to apologize for not endorsing Trump and write bots to flag posts praising Obama. That won't be fair, but it would be the only way to court favor lost among  the bulk of its home-market customers who are subtly shopping elsewhere.

But, the biggest wire tripped by Facebook censoring the Declaration of Independence wasn't the people's irritation with Facebook, but the resulting alertness about the Declaration of Independence. Facebook unwittingly helped make that document famous again. It seemed that America had forgotten all about it. Now, everyone is going to search and read what words created the safest nation in the world to hold such hot debates as the last two years, without fear of execution. For reclaiming attention to American history, Facebook has earned the first annual Pacific Daily Times Liberty of the Year award.

Thank you, Facebook, for reminding us of our heritage of freedom well fought for.

continue reading

Standard
Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, December 7, 2015

A day which shall live in infamy.

While the world pauses to remember the day the US was provoked into entering WWII, the headlines paused over China the week before. All eyes, including Thailand’s, are on violence from the Mid East.

China and Taiwan swap spies. US and China swap hackers. China and Russia swap satellites. Reporters swap sympathies and memos. And everyone is supposed to think that there will be peace that lives alongside infamy. But that’s only for those who forget.

Though quietly at times, the Cadence marches on toward Pacific conflict.

continue reading

Standard
Faux Report

New Chinese Government VPN Allows Users to Access Censored Internet Anywhere

BEIJING — This morning, the Chinese government released for personal use ChinaVPN, its in-house Virtual Private Network service which, according to promotional material, “offers Chinese nationals a familiar, comfortable, authentically Chinese Internet experience—anywhere in the world.”

Minister of Culture Luo Shugang told assembled reporters that the new, free-to-download VPN would help prevent Chinese nationals living and working overseas from being inconvenienced when attempting to use uncensored Internet resources.

“The global Web is a tangle of sloppily managed and poorly edited resources still tolerated by foreign governments.”

“While China’s domestic Internet is expertly tailored to the specific needs of Chinese netizens, the global Web is a tangle of sloppily managed and poorly edited resources still tolerated by foreign governments. Thus, when our nationals go abroad they are often confused and overwhelmed,” said Luo.

“ChinaVPN will change this, allowing our citizens to continue to use the same sanitized, Party-approved, featherweight facsimile of the World Wide Web they have come to know and love.”

Programmers told reporters that when downloaded to any operating system, ChinaVPN would effectively allow users to surf the Internet as if they were on the Chinese mainland.

“Not only will this software replicate the same Internet management protocols on the Chinese mainland, it will also sporadically drop the user’s Internet connection, inexplicably fail to locate popular Chinese websites and relay real-time updates of all user activity directly to the Public Security Bureau,” said Luo. “It will also blanket users with pop-up ads for The Voice of China, just for good measure.”

Many overseas Chinese netizens have welcomed the move.

“This morning, I attempted to log on to an international academic archive to find peer-reviewed articles relating to my thesis, only to see an error message informing me that the server could not be contacted,” said Oxford University PhD candidate Wei Tingting. “It was just like being at home.”

“It will also blanket users with pop-up ads for The Voice of China, just for good measure.”

New York-based heart surgeon Liu Wangjun said the VPN had blocked access to his Gmail account so he forced all his colleagues to download WeChat.

“Yesterday, three patients almost died because my assistant got locked out of her account,” said Liu. “You only used to get that kind of service in Beijing. Amazing!”

Programmers also told reporters that the software comes with an opt-in service called KeepChinaPure, which allows users to block any website not under the direct control of the Chinese government, giving netizens a “glimpse into the Party’s future vision for China’s Internet.”

When activated, users attempting to log on to foreign-owned or non-approved websites are greeted by a GIF of President Xi Jinping advising them: “Next time, think carefully before you type.”

At press time, a Ministry of Culture press release stated that as of next year, all PCs, laptops and mobile devices sold in China would come bundled with a permanently-activated version of ChinaVPN.

Standard
Faux Report

China Removes Female Form from TV Drama

BEIJING — Just days after censors removed all cleavage from the Tang-era drama The Empress of China, another Chinese TV show has come under the close scrutiny of the censors.

Set in contemporary China, Women Going About Their Business follows four young women as they try to navigate the complexities of work and family in fast-paced Beijing.

However, the much-anticipated series ran afoul of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), which pulled the show just days before its premiere.

“To promote a harmonious domestic media, all depictions of the female form must be removed.”

In an official statement, SAPPRFT said the show’s release was delayed because the “female body parts depicted on the show—including but not limited to legs, hips and sometimes eyes—could send male viewers into throes of wild, uncontrollable passion which inevitably lead to public licentiousness.”

“To promote a harmonious domestic media, all depictions of the female form must be removed,” the organization said.

SAPPRFT said that it would allow the show back on the air if the series were edited so that “all female characters were removed” or if all the women were “replaced by black silhouettes which cover the female form entirely.”

At the moment, it is unclear if the same restrictions will apply to all shows, as many of them contain females or depictions of the female anatomy.

At press time, the producers of Women Going About Their Business have agreed to make the necessary cuts and retool the story to make it about men instead.

Standard