Tag Archives: US Supreme Court

What is the law? 

That is the question I got myself wondering about. Now consider the law, the US and Commonwealth nations have common law, other nations like most in the EU have civil law, all nations that embrace the rule of law. I myself am largely in favour of the law (alas it does not suit me all the time, but the is life). So when I saw Reuters give me this morning ‘Democrats hammer Trump’s Supreme Court pick, say she could jeopardise Obamacare’. Yes, I get it, democrats are not in favour of conservative judges, the setting is however that the elected president gets to nominate whomever they want, yet it is the Senate that elects them by majority vote. In all this we see “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and others in his party on Saturday blasted President Donald Trump’s choice of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, focusing in particular on the threat they said she would pose to healthcare for millions of Americans” (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-barrett-healthcare/democrats-hammer-trumps-supreme-court-pick-say-she-could-jeopardize-obamacare-idUSKBN26I00H). Yet here is the kicker, it seems that there is too large and too polarised a view in America for the situation to continue. Now, I have nothing against judge Barrett, I do not know her, and I don’t know any of the supremes, actually I knew one when she was a supreme (Diana Ross) and there is the case where I optionally know two judges, both named Dredd (Sylvester Stallone and Karl Urban). I will admit that I am making light of the situation (apart from the fact that I can), but consider the setting here. The nominated judge (at https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/barrett-amy-coney) gives us:

  • Law clerk, Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1997-1998
  • Law clerk, Hon. Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court of the United States, 1998-1999
  • Private practice, Washington, D.C., 1999-2001
  • George Washington University Law School, 2001-2002; adjunct faculty member, 2001; John M. Olin Fellow in Law, 2001-2002
  • Professor of law, Notre Dame Law School, 2002-2017
  • Visiting associate professor of law, University of Virginia Law School, 2007

This youthful youngling of 48 summers has experience, as such she is eligible. And this is where we get to Jo Jo Biden. This is important as they claim “the threat they said she would pose to healthcare for millions of Americans”. Now, I am not stating that she is not, I merely wonder how a judge with so much years of experience might optionally invalidate a setting unless it is an illegal one. Let’s not forget the this is a supreme court judge, not the election of Judge Fish (again the Dredd connection). 

It leaves me with questions, one of them is what would be illegal about Obamacare? If the second president keeps on unravelling on what the previous president put in motion, how useless has the American legal system become? That is a valid question, is it not?

All this whilst the vote of confirmation has not passed yet and this is where the Democrats panel members get to ask all the questions that could interfere with the nominee being confirmed. The Sydney Morning Herald gives us (at https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/the-trap-democrats-must-avoid-in-the-supreme-court-nomination-battle-20200927-p55zm0.html) “Republicans want to turn the confirmation process into a grievance-fuelled culture war by portraying Barrett – a devout Catholic conservative – as a victim of left-wing bigotry. Democrats want to use the Supreme Court showdown to highlight the precarious status of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and elevate it as an election issue”, I believe that this is right on point. Yet when we look at this, would either ever elect the best nomination? Lets not forget, the even as we accept “There is no precedent for a US Supreme Court vacancy to be filled so close to election day”, the reality is “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law”, this is what Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 states. There is nothing about how close to election it is. It is about the elected president of the United States, the constitution is actually that simple (no fish required). And none of it can happen without the consent of the Senate, and they are elected by who? Yup, you guessed it they are directly chosen by the people of the State, in this those 55% (the part that actually showed to the election) made their decision known and these senators, elected by the people will confirm (or reject) the nomination to the supreme court, but those parts are not really that highlighted by the papers are they?

Now, I will happily agree that I am not the greatest expert on the matter (apart from a master degree in law), but there is a lot we need to consider. How can the USA move forward when the setting is created that optionally the next term undoes the actions of the previous term? Is anyone considering that non-productive stage? Apart from the stage where we see the confirmation that the Affordable Care Act is in a precarious situation, implying that it was never properly set into law, and if that is so, whose fault was that? If we focus on the law, let’s make it about the law and there, the current president has been fortunate enough to elect 3 supreme court judges. The last one to do this was former President Reagan and he got to nominate 4 of them, just like former President Nixon, only President Eisenhower nominated 5. And so far, do the people of the USA have anything to complain about? Reagan nominated Judge Scalia, where some state that he was he was one of the most influential jurists of the twentieth century. Nixon elected Judge Blackmun, who was seen as became one of the most liberal justices on the Court. He is best known as the author of the Court’s opinion in Roe v. Wade, which prohibits many state and federal restrictions on abortion. Then there was President Eisenhower who nominated Justice Brennan, and ended up being known for being a leader of the Court’s liberal wing. So when I see all the tears on a lack of liberal judges, I wonder how valid it is. OK, I have an actual life, so I did not dig into EVERY nominated and elected justice, yet I hope that I am raising enough questions for you all to wonder and lets face it, unless you went in and actually voted, you have no real right (unless you were younger than 18 during the last election). 

In the end, we have to wait and see, mostly if the confirmation succeeds or not, because that is the next step. Let’s wait and see, the next step starts on October 12th.

 

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Choices

We all see them, we all have them and we often have a feeling of polarisation when we are hit by them. It all starts with a tweet by George Takei. I greatly admire the guy, not in the least as Lt. Sulu on the Enterprise. The man is intelligent, direct and has (as I personally see it) ownership of the statement ‘Oh my!’ George has an impressive history as an actor and as a humanitarian. He is also an activist and all that does not break down in any way of the person he is. I have no problem s towards him as a person or as a republican, he is the kind of person that actually makes America great and we have to accept that. I have no issues with him and I have no issues with his stance against President Trump, even as I agree with him on this matter, no matter how republican I am, we need to be held to account for what we say and what we do and I believe the fits with the republican point of view.

So when I saw the tweet, I was a little miffed. You see, in the directness of the setting Senator Gardner is actually correct. When we look at the constitution we see “When a vacancy occurs, the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints a new justice”, it is however a little more complex. The president can choose whomever he wants, yet it must be settled through a majority in the US Senate. As such 51 senators need to confirm the appointment and that is where it gets to be complex. 

Candidates are nominated by the President of the United States and must face a series of hearings in which both the nominee and other witnesses make statements and answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which can vote to send the nomination to the full United States Senate. Confirmation by the Senate allows the President to formally appoint the candidate to the court. The Constitution does not set any qualifications for service as a Justice, thus the President may nominate any individual to serve on the Court”, yet feel free to read up (at https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Nominations.htm). 

It is the series of hearings the are the big issue in most cases, yet here to President Trump has an advantage, or does he? To see this, we need to voice the opinion of an individual. This was done with “RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws”, the issue is not one I agree with, but that visibility will aid us. Some republicans and especially the pro-life people will want a different type of judge, they will have a polarising look at the entire situation, yet when we examine congress we get a grasp of PEW research (at https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/06/18/three-in-ten-or-more-democrats-and-republicans-dont-agree-with-their-party-on-abortion/).

No matter how we want to see the data, we need to see the top-line net numbers. In this only 64% of the Republicans agree with this stance. Moreover, the 7% of the democrats agreeing with the Republicans will not be enough to carry the call of a majority, the hearing will be on many issues, but as you can see depending on the hearing, there will be any number of issues that the senate will be dissenting on and the hearings will be a task on a few items and even as there is a Republican senate, it might not be enough for a few reasons. 

As a law graduate I have to believe in the process and the US has a larger process, as I see it the constitution sets a large protective fence around the nation of law setting and that is good, so as such the selection of any Supreme Court judge is a big thing, it will be a big thing for either side of the isle and it is the right for the Republicans to select one (for now) and if the US senate confirms the choice, it will be a one deal.

When we see “When a vacancy occurs, the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints a new justice”, why does anyone assume that the presently elected president would not try to select a Supreme? It is one of the greatest things any president gets to do. So for the Democrats it kind of sicks that the timing is off, but that does not matter, there is a vacancy, and this president gets to nominate the next one.

And before we give rise to the ones making noise on the fairness of it. Consider the this president got elected by the 55% the voted, if Demo(c)rats are so about the issue, remember, 45% could not be bothered getting out of bed to vote. That sucks doesn’t it?

So as we are confronted with the choices of people, we need to accept the we might not agree with all, but we accept the they have a right to chose. I might not agree with George Takei all the time, but his choices tend to be intelligent, as such I will take notice. So whilst we see all kinds of flames are started on Twitter and Facebook, we have to consider to reset a lot of them (99%) from the get go and learn what is involved with certain choices and nominations. Who of you knew of the hearings? Who knew that a nomination requires a majority approval? Who knew that the last one elected (also by President Trump) got there after a grilling that took 48 hours and well over 1250 questions. As such there is a stage we need to consider, if the last two were not bad choices (Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh), why is there so much opposition? We all accept that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an amazing judge and filling those shoes will be a hard task, but the rules of the game (the constitution) are clear, There is a vacancy and a nomination can be put forward, the vacancy happened in the age of President Trump and unless there is actual evidence that the previous two were wrong choices, we get to blame the US senate, I merely wonder who dug through those 1250 questions and came optionally to the conclusion of wrongful election?  

I made a choice, George Takei made a choice, Senator Gardner made a choice, the US Senate made its choice and President Trump made a choice. I am not wise enough to proclaim who was wrong, optionally none were. Could you be wrong?

This is the beauty of subjectivity, it is our right, it is the right of most people living in a free democratic world.

 

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Losing business in America

The Washington Post had an interesting article during the weekend. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/supreme-court-case-centers-on-law-enforcement-access-to-data-held-overseas/2018/02/25/756f7ce8-1a2f-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html) gives us ‘Supreme Court to hear Microsoft case: A question of law and borders‘ where the issue debated is: “At issue is whether a U.S. company must comply with a court order to turn over emails, even if they are held abroad — in this case in a Dublin server. The litigation turns on a 1986 law, the Stored Communications Act, passed long before email became a ubiquitous way to communicate and before American firms began storing massive amounts of data outside U.S. borders“, in this case it goes even further then the lawmakers or lawyers have considered. Apart from the fact that the server is physically in Dublin and a case would be required to be made in Strasbourg, there is one additional need (beyond the stringent privacy laws in Europe). Microsoft is phrasing it that in opposition, “an adverse ruling would leave the government “no basis to object” when other countries demand Americans’ emails stored inside the United States, that it would “trammel” other nations’ sovereignty and erode trust in a way that poses “an existential threat” to the $250 billion cloud-computing industry“, this leads us to the Cloud Act, as we get the quote (in this case from WCCFTech) “Congress is currently considering to make it easier for the law enforcement to access international data – one of the major headaches that the prosecutors currently face. Microsoft, Google and other tech companies who have had their fair share of issues with the government have long asked for a revamp of the legislation that demands companies to hand over data stored on a foreign land“, the question is not why it is needed, but on how the changing rule of privacy is impacting those outside of the US, more important, how it could turn against the US in the long term.

The danger is seen, not in Europe, but in Saudi Arabia where banking laws are actually extremely protective of the customers. Let me explain with the following information.

There are certain secular regulations passed by government, which although not dedicated as a whole to data privacy/protection, contain specific provisions governing the right to privacy and data protection in certain contexts. Examples of such regulations include:

  • the Basic Law of Governance (no: A/90 dated 27th Sha’ban 1412 H (corresponding to 1 March 1992)), which provides that telegraphic, postal, telephone and other means of communications shall be safeguarded. They cannot be confiscated, delayed, read or breached.
  • The Anti-Cyber Crime Law (8 Rabi 1, 1428 (corresponding to 26 March 2007)) (as amended), which generally prohibits, amongst other things, the interception of data transmitted through an information network, the invasion of privacy through the misuse of camera-equipped mobile phones and the like, illegally accessing bank or credit data of another, unlawful access to computers for the purpose of deleting, destroying, altering or redistributing private data, or the production, preparation, transmission or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through an information network or computers;
  • The Telecoms Act (approved pursuant to the Royal Decree No. (M/12) dated 12/03/1422H (corresponding to 3 June 2001), which states that the privacy and confidentiality of telephone calls and information transmitted or received through public telecommunications networks shall be maintained, and disclosure, listening or recording the same is generally prohibited

The Regulations for the Protection of Confidential Commercial Information (issued by Minister of Commerce and Industry Decision No. (3218) dated 25/03/1426H (corresponding to 4 May 2005), and as amended), which governs the protection of data considered to be “commercial secrets” under these regulations.
(Source: DLA Piper, at https://www.dlapiperdataprotection.com/index.html?t=law&c=SA)

So if we see Saudi Arabia push for equally protection in regards to digital privacy and digital personal data, there would soon be a jump by many people to get a futuristic @gmail.sa account.

So now we see the US pushing and they could lose out twice, first the fact that others will demand US data in the same trend for their own criminal legislation reasons (which should make the Wall Street boys nice and nervous. the second is that those who they are trying to prosecute will take their business to Saudi Arabia and protective minded nations. With Saudi Arabia looking at billions of investments coming from the Tech sector, giving in to big business like Apple, Google and Microsoft would be a small step to get the infusion of massive cash drops, infrastructure and evolution of their technological infrastructure. That alone could push the ‘Vision 2030’ plan that has been the shiny jewel for Saudi Arabia as envisioned by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud ahead by several years.

Yet when we see the WCCFTech, we also see the dangerous finale. With “Tech companies have continued to hint for a legislative reform that could help them deliver data on criminals when a warrant is served but the data is stored outside of the country. What these companies feel about the Cloud Act, however, remains unclear“, we see the crucible. This test is not set in law, but in interpretation. With ‘deliver data on criminals when a warrant is served‘, you see, a person is innocent until proven guilty, so as such the warrant becomes useless if there is no conviction. Now, I feel certain that the Cloud Act will take such matters into account, but in the clarity of the Act, it is an American Act and as such, even when we get “Thomas Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and Paddy McGuinness, deputy national security adviser for Britain wrote. “The first one would be with Britain, which already has the authority to enter into such a pact.”” I am personally not convinced of that. The entire mess of the Safe Harbour or Safe Harbour 2.0 and/or the EU-US Privacy Shield, when we see privacy, yet in some places we see “for commercial purposes”, which is causing more confusion than give clarity, the fact that a lot is not done in the open and merely between the US and big business is making plenty of people worried. So when we see “2,400 companies – including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Alphabet Inc.” whilst we see “Facebook’s default privacy settings and use of personal data are against German consumer law, according to a judgement handed down by a Berlin regional court”, whilst at the same time we see that Facebook list a case in the Belgian courts too. So the entire setting as we are given the view by Reuters “EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova, who presented the first annual report on the agreement, the Shield is “working well”“, whilst at the same time we see that one of the three largest players in the data industry is handed their marching papers all over Europe is a much larger cause for concern and Saudi Arabia is gaining an unique position to cash in on that setting, and they are not alone, in that same view China could make equal protective leaps, enticing business and data away from the US.

In this regard, when we look back at the Washington Post where we see: “With congressional action unclear, the stakes are high for U.S. v. Microsoft, such that more than 30 friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed by the European Union, members of Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, tech firms, privacy advocates, and former law enforcement and national security officials, among others”, the issue is not merely what is in play, but with the changes towards G5 all bets are off because it is not merely more data and faster data, there will be a new dimension of machine learning and automation within the apps themselves and as such the issue on legislation on personal data and application data becomes a new and different fields of consideration. Now, this has no bearing on national borders yet, but when the value of application data grows (and it will soon enough on a near exponential scale), we will see these fields come into the view of consideration and debate.

The Saudi opportunity is seen in a much better light when we consider “E. Joshua Rosenkranz, who will argue Microsoft’s case, called the government’s position “a recipe for global chaos.” He added: “If ever there were a step that is sure to stoke international tension, it is sidestepping the treaties that were negotiated by countries precisely to protect their sovereignty, and instead unilaterally obtaining reams of personal letters”, so as we see that side in regards to the ‘sovereignty’ of accounts, we also see that if Mossack Fonseca pushes their boundaries and if they get their infrastructure and security up to scrap, they could open up new doors to alternative and additional revenues, because those who have the cash to secure their privacy will pay through the nose for it. So it will no longer merely be about tax avoidance, it will become about identity avoidance, repudiation avoidance and their cyber persona, all up for Encrypted Cyber Outsourcing. If your value in cyberspace is set to a value, being the one surfing with an economic value of $0 will be the most anonymous one and there are plenty of people who prefer to be that, out of sight of the Skip Tracers, the investigators and the media at large, in the cyber age, anonymity is becoming more and more important, especially to those who embrace anonymity.

The Washington Post gives a few alternative views and all very valid, yet in all this there is not merely the ‘criminal’ data as it is seen, it is the setting of data privacy within the persons national sovereignty set against the US, or any other nation that requests your data for whatever reason they give. We see this in the US case Blackwell, 2004, where we get “Illegally obtained evidence applies to criminal cases only and is typically “evidence acquired by violating a person’s constitutional protection against illegal searches and seizures; evidence obtained without a warrant or probable cause”“, that setting could stretch, especially when data obtained from another country is set against additional privacy laws and in addition, the proof required to set ‘or probable cause’ which might be another bump in the setting of borderlines, whether they are merely digital or physical. The law was never ready for Clouds and Cyberspace. This is seen in the unjust setting of ‘the law does not apply in Cyberspace‘, which is not true (proven on several settings), as the “conflicting laws from different jurisdictions would apply, and even as that happens for any person simultaneously, to some extent, to the same event. The Internet might not make geographical and jurisdictional boundaries clear, but Internet users remain in physical jurisdictions“. There is an agreement there, but as most systems as well as the lack of non-repudiation has been in play from even before I got my University IT degree, and since then too little changed, the failure to prove that the ‘internet user‘ is THAT ‘internet user‘ the law keeps on falling over and as that is paramount in setting the need of the warrant, the warrant should in the end go nowhere, which is exactly what the alleged criminal hopes for and legislation has remained behind the curve by a lot, optionally helping them out evading conviction.

So as we see these settings, we see that the U.S. v. Microsoft could in the end cost the US a lot more than they themselves bargained for, because that is in the end the nature of the beast of commerce, it goes where business and profit resides.

 

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The Silvery Goon

To give a little form to this exercise I will alas need to mangle the lyrics that gave additional visibility to Doris Day, a song going back to 1910 when it was initially released.

 

By the light of the Silver Grey Goon

I shall thee groom, to be the sultriest slut I hump

Honey-pot keep your legs far apart

Your silly sight, not very bright, we’ll be laughing loud soon

That game is not really real.

 

So here is the start, direct and as I might add, intentionally offensive!

All this got started by he who did not get elected, it is NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione that takes a front seat today. Not the events in France or Turkey. You see, here on our home front we have an old enemy that is rearing its ugly head and the people who seem to casually start to take the front row as the facilitators here are part of a much larger problem.

First in all this, there is the small issue that it was repetitive. You see, something similar was addressed on August 6th 2012 (at http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/violent-video-games-incite-kids-to-crime-says-scipione/story-fn7y9brv-1226443402160). So as the headline read at that point ‘Violent video games incite kids to crime, says Scipione‘, we see a repetition from the people who should be doing the actual work, not the speculation on matters they do not even seem to comprehend.

Now, there are several studies that go back for at least a decade stating that ‘playing violent video games can lead to an increase in aggression‘. There is an issue with that part, you see, I think that a person who has an aggressive nature will choose a more aggressive game. Meaning that the aggression was already in that person, not given to the person by the game. In addition, this was happening in a time where professionals did not have a proper handle on issues like OCD or ADHD. This is important as this group of people is a lot larger than many are willing to admit to. When looking at American numbers we get the goods from the CDC and they tell us: “Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011“, I think that this group has been ignored for far too long and they took refuge (or shelter) within a mindset of video games. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5, the APA got creamed when NIMH withdrew support for DSM-5 in May 2013. NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), gives us the quote “Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure“, so this operation is looking into clinical evidence and even as they admit that there is a link between violent games and aggression, they state “Finds insufficient research to link violent video game play to criminal violence” (at http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/violent-video-games.aspx). So as we see the repetition by a Police Commissioner to rehash an old story, the fact that he is unaware on matters published 3 years after his initial ‘speech’ and the fact that these findings are a year old, in that light his speech does not seem that great or that qualified in a conference on violence in the media in Sydney.

This is however not all. The issue goes on, because he had more inaccuracies to state. We also see “When you see video games that reward behaviour, where somebody’s murdered, where somebody is abducted and raped and they get credits for that – what sort of messages are we sending our children“. You see, that part is another issue entirely. For this we need to take a look at 2014, where we see in ‘the Conversation‘ (at http://theconversation.com/virtual-rape-in-grand-theft-auto-5-learning-the-limits-of-the-game-30520) the following part: “After the release of GTA5 last September, there were discussions about whether players should be able to rape within the game. Wisely, Rockstar Games, the game’s developers, did not take this suggestion on board” in addition we see “But hackers did. They created a mod that allows a user to enter another player’s game, often as a naked or near-naked man, lock onto another player and then thrust persistently back and forth. All players can equally fall victim, regardless of character or player gender. And there is no way to prevent or stop an attack“.

So not only is the Commissioner misleading readers and listeners, but he is spinning another tale. As I see it, the game was never released that way, so the game was altered. We could go as far as to state that they are illegal versions of the game? In my view as I see it the question becomes why has Andrew Scipione not arrested those hackers and if they are not from his jurisdiction, why is he even talking about it? Is there not enough media circus issues in Sydney? In addition, there was a clear reason for 18+ games. When we see the quote “Given that children and young people are large consumers of this sort of content“, can we now be clear that children are not supposed to have those games and if they do, perhaps it is a clear parenting problem and those parents should be ‘losing’ their children? If the ‘child’ is over 18 that ‘child’ would be an adult and it is again a non-issue.

He sounds an awful lot like that confused and hypocritical person in South Australia. Michael Atkinson is his name, I believe. I regard him as hypocritical as he was awfully eager to leave the house he lost control of regarding Labor Premier Jay Weatherill. If Michael Atkinson was so about child safety, he should have intervened a lot sooner. So as we see the ABC quote “While he acknowledged there were fundamental issues within Families SA, he said a “whole community” approach was needed to protect children in the future“, we can draw a straight line to parent responsibility and proper games. So here is the third strike from Andrew Scipione. As I personally see it, this entire exercise is another step on the road to mere censoring.

So is this like Michael Atkinson another religious ‘enthusiast’ to spread the option of censoring?

Let’s be clear, both man can be as Baptist and as Anglican as they want to be. I have nothing against religion (being a Catholic and a partial Anglican). Yet it cannot influence the job that needs doing as long as no laws are being broken. The fact that we are introduced to a ‘presentation’ of inaccuracies is a large problem!

So as we realise that there is a clear 18+ category and as was said in 2012: “Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare says the new category will inform consumers, parents and retailers which games are not suitable for minors“, we wonder what the speech was all about.

You see, Andrew was not alone. So now we get Elizabeth Handsley, professor of law at Flinders University and the president of the Australian Council on Children and the Media. Now we see quotes that actually have a little value: “the number of people who become desensitised or oversensitive to other people’s aggression is going to be greater, and that will have that broader, society-wide effect that we won’t necessarily be able to identify“, she has a partial valid point. You see partial as it is her part that is also a problem. The part that both are skating away from. An act that is as I see it likely to be intentional is the accountability of the media in general. The ethical uncaring nature of the media that will trample basic rights of privacy to get the knickers of Kim Kardashian on any media at a moment’s notice, a media that after getting scared to death by the dangers the Leveson report brought, did fake gestures of sincerity and they were up to their old tricks before the ink on the Leveson report had dried. That side is not dealt with by either of them, because the fact that the Press gets away with murder (well almost) and that accountancy firms are suddenly not responsible for large corporations overstating value and losing billions in value. In all this the people linked do not end up in jail. I reckon that this side of reality is a lot more damning on those kids and their optional shift towards non-legal actions than a video game is. The fact that these sides of the media are not set forward is equally damning on Scipione as it is on Professor Handsley.

In addition there is what the conference called a certain ‘Distinguished Professor Craig Anderson‘, when we see the topic ‘Media violence science, video game industry lies, and responsible public policy‘ we need to also take heed of a part not shown here. The case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 564 U.S. 08–1448 (2011), a case that was struck down by the Supreme Court. A massive part in this is that the First amendment was seen as overstepped by stopping these video games. I am not completely in agreement here. You see, I am all for 18+ games. As an adult I want to play them, I want to play them completely and unfiltered by some half-baked censor. Yet, I am on the front lines to agree that Grand Theft Auto is not for children. We can argue how old a child should be, but the rating was clear, you need to be 18 to play it. I do not object. By the way, when was the last time you read the stories of Grimm? How docile are those stories?

I also support then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who stated in 2007 “a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions“, which is what age ratings are all about and any parent giving their child a mature game is a bad parent and should be held to account. Getting back to this ‘distinguished’ professor. When we see issues on methodology, the fact that the APA gives view that there is no evidence that violent games link to criminal acts (or more precise there was insufficient research), gives weight to the debatable part whether this conference is anything else than a tax write off for travelling academics remains. When we consider the opinion from the supreme court in the earlier case mentioned (at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf), where we see the mention of ‘admitted flaws in methodology‘ and the fact that I got all this in one hour, I get to wonder what on earth Andrew Scipione was thinking when he made his speech and I wonder in equal measure what Professor Handsley was thinking in her part. You see, the quote “potential harms of violent video games were often oversimplified” is not the issue. Proper investigation has been lacking, because (as I personally see it), political hatch jobs that cause the problem for whatever crusade they think that they are on. As Michael Atkinson blocked whatever he could under what I consider to be a false premise is the actual danger. In all the research I saw ZERO indication that properly investigated the opposite side. Not the violent games create aggression, but that people with aggressive tendencies go towards violent games. In case of OCD/ADHD people, there is a life of frustration and there is a chance that they are releasing steam by playing games. In this age, where the bulk of parents are getting less and less connected to their children, often because of the cost of living, long hours and exhaustion are also influences that create pressures and mental health dangers in every family affected here.

If there is one side in that conference I would have attended, then it is the part by Dr Wayne Warburton, where we see ‘Media violence and domestic violence: Subtle and not so subtle links’, you see there is one side that is open to debate on a near global level. You see, in June 2014, I stumbled upon an article (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/08/police-fear-rise-domestic-violence-world-cup). Here we see “domestic abuse rates has revealed that in one force area in England and Wales, violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won“, as well as “In Lancashire – where during the 2010 tournament domestic abuse rose by 25%“, so when they are talking about Media violence, will they raise the issue of soccer and domestic abuse? If not, how reliable was this conference? It seems to me that there is an awful lot of aggravated censoring of video games when there is enough evidence that the people involved have no comprehension of video games, or the people playing them, as well as their background and medical history of those involved.

Isn’t it weird how the same issue is raised again and again, especially against video games, which is still not proven,  whilst the evidence of domestic violence, which is a proven link to criminal behaviour in kids is interestingly negated, perhaps an actual fight for the safety of children is beyond them? Why bark up the wrong tree again and again? Was it not Einstein who stated: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results“, I reckon that I have shown that to be the case of more than one speaker.

So have a good night and remember to look up when you are trying to catch them all in Pokémon GO, especially when you aimlessly walk into the Pacific River!

 

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