Fun Supreme Court Arguments

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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby knaughty » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:13 am

Fivelives wrote:How are you enjoying Dead Rising 2 down there in Australia? Oh, I know - let's get together and play a game of Left 4 D-... Oh, wait. Nevermind.(1)

There's a lot of things fucked up about the US, but one of the things that isn't fucked up (yet) is that we all have the right to make our own decisions without the government stepping in and saying "No. That's bad for you."(2)

Instead, they step in AFTER we do stupid shit and punish us for it. Eminently fair - it's called the rule of law and is necessary in any civilized society.(3)

You started it :twisted:

(1) I don't play either game, personally, but both are fully legal and available in retail stores.
Dead Rising
Left 4 Dead

By the way, your own Supreme Court is in the process of saying that working out that "working out you've made a mistake with classification via a trial" (your implied example) re the video game ratings is a stupid idea. Either rate them with a ratings board and define who can buy what, and define several age categories (the Australian system), allow industry self-regulation, or butt out. Using "punish people when they stuff up via jury trial" (next point) is a failure in this instance. BTW: In Australia you can't end up in court because some fundies took offence at your porn, thus causing you to fail the Miller test.

(2) Prohibition - have you heard of it? How about Slavery? Never had either on in Australia. How's that war on drugs going for you? Proposition 8. Claiming that all have the right to make our own decisions without the government stepping in and saying "No. That's bad for you." is utterly farcical. I mean seriously - how about drinking age in the US? "You can vote and get killed in a war, but you can't have a beer - alcohol is bad for you! Teenage girl send a nude pic to her teenage boyfriend? WOOT! You're both arrested for child porn offences!

According to the goddamn Wall Street Journal, Australia has better economic freedom than the USA. By the way, you're getting worse. We're one of seven countries that rank as "free", and you're not one of them. We're also ahead of you on corruption - we're 8th, you're 22nd.

By the way, strong regulation isn't necessarily a bad thing. At the peak of the banking crisis there were eight banks left in the world with AA credit ratings. There are four large Australian banks. Guess which country had 50% of all AA rated banks in the world? Australia was the only major developed country not to have a recession during the GFC. We didn't even have a significant banking crisis, and Basel 3 is basically going to skip regulating Australian banks because it would be redundant. We've had zero government bailouts. How's that "free market" thing going for you? Oh wait, never mind, you don't have one, the guvmint bought everyone out.

(3) The rule of law? Are you claiming that the US has it and Australia doesn't?

  • The PATRIOT act.
  • The TSA - pick one: nude scan using potentially dangerous radiation or be sexually assaulted (if you're lucky).
  • The Department of Homeland Security.
  • Warrantless wiretapping.
  • NSA call database
  • Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, "Black Sites", Extraordinary rendition & government sanctioned torture.
  • The "No Fly List".
  • Intelligent design and creationism being taught as "Science"
  • Government sanctioned assassination.
  • Terrorism performed by the USA
  • The Death Penalty - including execution for crimes committed by minors until 2005! Too young to vote, but not too young to be killed by the state!



I mean really, get a grip. According to the rest of the world, the best place in the world to live is Australia and we have the best cities to live in. This one is particularly amusing - there are only five major cities in Australia - four of them are in the top 10 best places to live, worldwide. Zero US cities make it (Canada scores three).

The US scores reasonably well - you're roughly 20th for most things (well done!) but the only thing you're actually good at is having a really big economy, and even there, you're no longer ahead of the EU, and per-person you're 6th and falling. With the Australian dollar currently at parity with the US dollar, I believe you're behind us on that one as well. The rest of the world no longer believes you have strong economic growth prospects - go look at USD exchange rates for the last six months. Your currency is in free-fall, despite the fact it's the global reserve currency. How's printing money going for you?

Despite your (historical?) better GDP per person, Australia has a better standard of living. Then again, at current exchange rates, I think Australia has the highest GPD per person in the G20, so yeah, you're not even winning at being rich anymore.

Do I really need to quote crime, imprisonment, medicine, life expectancy, education (!!) stats at you as well? We beat you at everything.

BTW, Canada outscores the US on pretty much everything Australia does.

If you're going to criticise a country, go pick one who's actually worse than you at something by some objective metric. Of course, if you limit yourself to the developed world, you may have some trouble finding one.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Fridmarr » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:06 am

knaughty wrote:
rodos wrote:
Fridmarr wrote:Even if they did refuse to stock them, that is not censorship.

Technically it's not, because it isn't the government doing it, but it amounts to the same thing. If an industry association, or major retailers, choose to restrict the distribution of material, the publishers will stop making it. The net result is that the choice to view or not view that material is taken away from you, the end user, and given to someone else.

I guess it's a more important distinction in the USA, since you have this tricky thing called the First Amendment which restricts the government from doing such things, but not non-government organisations (no matter how powerful). In Australia we are unencumbered by such things as constitutional rights.

And because we don't have a special chunk of "Holy Writ" enumerating our rights, written by some very well educated people who nonetheless were educated before the existence of the entire sciences of chemistry(1), geology(2) and electricity(3) our rights are interpreted with much greater relevance to the current era.

(1) 1789 – Antoine Lavoisier: law of conservation of mass, basis for chemistry, and the beginning of modern chemistry.
(2) 1799 – William Smith: Publishes geologic map of England, first geologic map ever, first application of stratigraphy
(3) 1827 – Georg Ohm: Ohm's law (Electricity)

The US Constitution pre-dates:
  1. mass transport (rail)
  2. printing techniques more advanced than the Gutenberg press (hand-powered, ~240 pages per hour)
  3. long distance communication faster that the "Pony Express" - the telegraph hadn't been invented
  4. steam engines small enough to be moved - still no steam ships, sea travel is by sail.
  5. automatic firearms, smokeless powder - in fact, any gun more advanced than a flintlock musket.
  6. The abolition of slavery (All men are created equal except slaves). It was almost 100 years after the bill of rights that blacks were granted citizenship. Indians and children of Chinese immigrants had to wait a few more decades.
  7. laws restricting child labour to no more than 12 hours per day
  8. trade unions (illegal until the 19th century)
  9. anything even vaguely resembling modern medicine. No anaesthesia, germ theory.
  10. Due process, equal protection

I could continue, but hopefully you get the point.

Would the first amendment be worded differently given the existence of mass-media and long-distance communications? I find it inconceivable that the second amendment would not have been made a hell of a lot clearer if it had been written after the invention of the gatling gun. The third is a complete anachronism. The fourth and "unreasonable searches and seizure" is a constant and serious issue for the US supreme court. The fifth through tenth have help up fairly well.

Common Law rights are a lot easier to update, and rarely degenerate into arguments about semi-colons. :roll:

Australian courts have the power to overturn the executive being stupid without having to find some clause that they can bend to their special interpretation. There's a fantastic pair of cases at the moment where the courts have rejected legislation written by the executive:
(1) Immigration detention and the excision of Christmas Island (the US equivalent issue is illegal immigrants)
(2) anti-terror legislation publicised as "anti-bikie laws" - unconstitutional!
Technically, it's a holy writ enumerating restrictions on the government at a federal level. The problem isn't with the constitution but with the federal government which has long since expanded it's scope well beyond the intent of the document.

Of course those amendments would have been worded differently after 200 years of experience, but their core would probably remain identical. The document itself is quite obviously amendable anyhow, so the age isn't really much of a hindrance.

As for your vomit inducing Australian Kumbayah post, there's some pretty misleading and debatable issues there. Some of it is operating at the margins citing examples of exceptions that get dealt with (much like your Australian examples above) rather than the norm, and completely ignoring any concept of scale. We have nearly the entire population of Australia living in the NYC metro area (21m vs 19m).

That said, the US quite obviously isn't in a good place right now (though if you look at trends on those indexes (for what they are worth) you'll see a lot of negative numbers, so those positions do fluctuate). I think America's "Greatest Generation" ironically gave birth to its most selfish, and the rooster is coming home to roost. It's going to get worse, a lot worse, before it gets better.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Fivelives » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:52 am

Like I said, there's a lot wrong with the US. I never tried to deny that, Knaughty - just said that video games aren't one of those things. There's even an entire branch of the Australian government entirely devoted to censorship of media.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banned_video_games

Oh, and the online sales are allowed by a legal loophole: http://www.smh.com.au/news/games/game-s ... e=fullpage

Sydney Morning Herald wrote:A legal loophole has enabled a major local computer software distributor to sell downloads of a game that was banned in Australia last year because it promoted vandalism.

And Australian authorities might be powerless to prevent the ban from being circumvented.


And yeah, I agree with you re: drinking age vs "adult" age, and pretty much everything else you raised. Australia is a lot nicer than the states. Hell, most everywhere is lately - even Germany is more "free" (as long as you don't mention the nazi party or try to own a gun). But video games don't have anything to do with it, really. If this law passes, there won't even be games like Dead Rising, or Call of Duty, or Left 4 Dead, or Medal of Honor, or Mass Effect, or... well, yeah. It'll stop being profitable for developers to produce games that are "risque", so it just won't happen.

This is one of the few legal battles in the US that's set to affect the entire world. Japan isn't the major games maker for the world market anymore; the most wildly popular games in recent history have been made in the west - and by "west", I mean "America".
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Korola » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:27 pm

LOL Australia. You could govern a closet full of 3 people better than the USA - but who cares?

Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2009 estimated population approached 8.4 million,[2] and with a land area of 305 square miles (790 km2),[3][4][5] New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States.[6] The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 19.1 million people over 6,720 square miles (17,400 km2). Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.

Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and is a Commonwealth realm. The population is 22 million, with approximately 60% concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. The nation's capital city is Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory.

Your little country is very impressive.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Fivelives » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:35 pm

Let's try and keep this from devolving into an argument about who's country is better, shall we?
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Korola » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:49 pm

For Lightbeard.

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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Levantine » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:06 pm

ITT Korola being a doucebag. Again.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby knaughty » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:18 pm

Korola wrote:Your little low population density country is very impressive.

FIXT.

The population is 22 million vs three-hundred-ish million for the US. The area of the country is very close to the same as the contiguous 48 states. We have five cities with more than 1 million people, you have 50. Our top 5 cities contain about 60% of our population. Yours contain less than 20%. Those 5 cities aren't small - the two larger ones are about the size of an Francisco and would be in the US top 50, the three smaller ones would scrape into the US top 50.

In terms of economic size, we were on par with Texas in 2008, but given the currency movements and recent economic trends we've probably overtaken California to have an economy bigger than your largest state.

Geographically, we're enormously more isolated - we're a goddamn island. This is very negative from an economic perspective, but does make our illegal immigration issues a lot smaller.

All of the above does make certain things easier for us to deal with - we're about as large and complex to govern as say, California for issues other than transport, where things are a little worse than the US because we have the same land area but massively lower population density to support the infrastructure. Obviously, we're a sovereign country, so we have national interests to deal with which California doesn't.

From a political perspective, we're the same complexity as the US. Three levels of government, two houses of parliament. Our Executive is different (Westminster system). Our elections are substantially more complicated.

Overall, the US is more complicated to govern, but a fair chunk of that is your own doing, Mr World Police!

Fivelives wrote:Like I said, there's a lot wrong with the US. I never tried to deny that, Knaughty - just said that video games aren't one of those things. There's even an entire branch of the Australian government entirely devoted to censorship of media. (1)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banned_video_games (2)

Oh, and the online sales are allowed by a legal loophole: http://www.smh.com.au/news/games/game-s ... e=fullpage (3)

And yeah, I agree with you re: drinking age vs "adult" age, and pretty much everything else you raised. Australia is a lot nicer than the states. Hell, most everywhere is lately - even Germany is more "free" (as long as you don't mention the nazi party or try to own a gun). But video games don't have anything to do with it, really. If this law passes, there won't even be games like Dead Rising, or Call of Duty, or Left 4 Dead, or Medal of Honor, or Mass Effect, or... well, yeah. It'll stop being profitable for developers to produce games that are "risque", so it just won't happen. (4)


(1) This is incorrect both literally and in spirit. The classification board is independent of the government. The classification board is basically a national standard "Miller test" operated at minimal expense to the vendor (compared to a trial) that rates material as G, PG, M, MA15+, R, and X. The only things they rate are movies and video games. There is a current issue that the R and X ratings are not available for video games. Two dozen games are not for sale in Australia, every few years a film is banned. Hard-core porn is technically only available via mail-order, but in practice X-rated material is freely available in speciality stores in all major capital cities.

The ACMA is a government agency, but they hold basically the same role as the FCC - they're mostly about spectrum allocation and industry regulation, though they do rate broadcast television and radio and provide the frameworks for what can broadcast at what times.

That said, Nipplegate would not caused a furore here, it's unlikely the broadcaster would even be fined. From memory, the incident was shown on the TV news in Australia the next day, uncensored. General consensus here was "LOL Those puritan Americans! It's just some old chick's boob!"

The only media that are "censored" are film, broadcast radio/TV (news is completely exempt) and video games. Books, newspapers (and news in general) are not censored.

(2) Two dozen games have been refused a MA15+ or lower rating, there's a reasonable amount of activism around the creation of an "R" category which would apply to all of them and they'd be able to be sold here.

(3) The Internet is not censored in Australia. A few right-wing nutjobs would like to censor it (include our telecommunications minister :roll:) but every time he brings it up there's massive backlash from the general public and industry. If they did bring something in, there'd be significant public disobedience and it's pretty likely there'd be some judicial activism.

(4) This is supposition on your part, and I don't believe it is correct. Every single game you've mentioned is legally for sale, on the shelf, in Australia. They're probably all rated MA15+, which means you have to be 15 to buy them. Under a similar system in the US, they'd all still be for sale and there would probably be negligible change in sales. The US retail chains already operate an extremely similar system via the ESRB - all this would do is give it the force of law rather than industry practice.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby knaughty » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:23 pm

Fivelives wrote:Let's try and keep this from devolving into an argument about who's country is better, shall we?

As I said in my first response - you started it :P

Anyway, the point of my post above is that the creation of a classification board with legal force rather than industry self-regulation does equate to any significant limitations of expression. In practice it works fairly well.

The one obvious improvement to the Australian system would be to realise that most gamers are adults, and thus, you need an "adults only" rating. This rather simple thing seems to have escaped our politicians and they didn't bother to port over the R and X ratings from the film classification system to the game one. They simply assumed that all gamers are kids, and that MA15+ would be enough. :roll:

I expect the issue will be resolved in the next few years - some of our politicians are gamers now and we're in the process of replacing our pre-internet-age computer illiterate baby boomer pollies.

We also elected enough Greens (environmental/libertarian party) this last election to give them the balance of power.

Getting two dozen games legally for sale in Australia is on their "to do" list, but it's a justifiably low priority.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Sabindeus » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:42 pm

knaughty wrote:Every single game you've mentioned is legally for sale, on the shelf, in Australia.


Not that I want to get into this argument, but this jumped out at me as incorrect. The games he mentioned are definitely not for sale on shelves in Australia. Instead, you have similar games with the same names, which have been modified from their original design to make them fit the "MA-15" rating. Notably Left 4 Dead 2 and its blood splatter effect, which does not exist in the Australian/German/etc. release of the game. You can't claim that the game is the same when stuff like that has to be changed before they will sell it.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Korola » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:37 pm

Lev calling me a douchebag. Priceless. Next Gary Coleman will call me a midget, Mike Tyson will call me violent, and Larry King will call me annoying.

Your turn.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby cerwillis » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:41 pm

Fore the record, he called you a DOUCEbag.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Korola » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:57 pm

cerwillis wrote:Fore the record, he called you a DOUCEbag.


Yeah, that's VERY important to clarify.
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Fivelives » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:08 pm

My entire point is this:

If all of the major video game retailers refuse to stock the controversial games, which they will, then developers will stop making the games. Contrary to what we, as gamers, would like to believe, developers don't make games and publishers don't publish games because they're labors of love. They develop and publish games because they are profitable. Take away that profit and you take away their willingness to spend millions developing, marketing, and publishing games that aren't going to be stocked on any shelves.

DOUCEbag = DEUCEbag = bag 'o shit?
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Re: Fun Supreme Court Arguments

Postby Amirya » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:20 pm

Korola wrote:Lev calling me a douchebag. Priceless. Next Gary Coleman will call me a midget, Mike Tyson will call me violent, and Larry King will call me annoying.

Your turn.

You're a dirty Hordie. :D

And yeah, Fridmarr, I get that a lot too. But I don't know of any way to convey my utter disgust at the idea of some parasite growing inside me, just to pop out and make me take care of it for 18 years...not without getting the whole, "when you become a parent, you'll change your mind" schtick. I can't convey the thought, "WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO BE A PARENT?"

Should be in the Frustrations thread, but the goddamn condescending tone I get from most people who are parents themselves...pure hatred.

(Note: Not aimed at you directly, I just happened to get a dose of this crap this weekend :( )

Edit: /end derail
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