Category Archives: Politics

Hot topic: WikiLeak

The hottest topic right now is WikiLeaks and the consequences of their recent publication of thousand of highly classified US diplomat documents. And according to the founder of WikiLeaks, its only the beginning. The next batch of document releases will be about big bank corporations, and it will apparently hurt. Well, its already started to take effect (If you look at the Stock prices for some of the mentioned companies).  No denying this have made an impact and hot topic on the news all around the world. While at the same time the founder is accused for raping a girl here in Sweden. He is hiding and only make statement over the web.

All over the world politicians and high position people is making statements, condemning WikiLeaks revelations and what is to come. Calling it illegal and

What WikiLeaks have done is to get their hands on classified documents and publishing them. The result will be improvement how similar documents and information will be handled after this. But will it be enough? It similar to the piracy dilemma. You have to balance protecting your product (information), and not making it to hard for your customers to consume their latest purchase. And not risking becoming the society from George Orwells 1984. A government that spies on other countries or its own people, would need an additional internal layer spying (supervising) the external spying department.

They have become an extension of journalism, taking it to a new level. I don’t say its right or wrong, simply observing and finding it fascinating how the whole situation is developing. Its good for the public to get the knowledge of our chosen representative are acting. But on some level there’s a risk of jeopardise the life of many people if to much or the wrong information is leaked. People who didn’t deserve to be exposed. A continuing balance between how much information should be shared or not. Where should we set the limit?

I think its good that we get to know if companies and governments are acting unethically or immoral. As long as they are given a chance to make amends. It’s not okey however, if the only result is hurting or damaging innocent ordinary people. Then you can ask the question if damaging relations between countries to the extent that there is a risk of war is ethical or moral?

What WikiLeak did wasn’t new, they only did it in a bigger more sceptical way. And it seems to have worked, reading and hearing about it everywhere.  It would be interesting to hear what the founder of Wikipedia things of the parallel using Wiki- at the beginning.  I think its very exciting to see what will come next, and how long the hype will last.

Jillette vs Borg. Lookalike?

It hit me the other week when I saw a “documentary” about our Swedish Finance minister Anders Borg, how he resembles the American Bullshit hunter and Magician Penn Jillette. What do you think? Anders Borg really have stood out amongst the Swedish politicians, especially within the Finance area, with ponytail and ear-piercing. The documentary portrayed him as a person with strong opinions and somewhat of a “free thinker“. This too seems to remind me of Penn, the little I’ve seen of him through his program Bullshit! Penn his a famous successful entertainer, who doesn’t dare to share his views on things. Maybe Borg wanted to ride in the wave after Penn?

Penn Jillette Anders Borg

Penn Jillette - Anders Borg

Daylight Robbery documentary

Last night a British documentary played on Swedish television and I missed it. Praise the internet!

The documentary is original showed on BBC and research were a hell lot of money when that were supposed restore and rebuild Iraq, but ended up in … American private and corporate pockets. A perfect timing. I’m about to finish the Shock Doctrine and this very subject is discussed right now, how greedy American companies stole money instead of rebuilding a whole country. A important subject! To enlighten people about this so more people and governments actively oppose this unethical and immoral behaviour and abuse on the smaller people and country’s. Its never okey to cleanse or destroy a whole society for profit!

I’ve never been specially found of political questions, but its been growing in the last weeks.

You can watch the documentary here.

“Winners” and “Losers”

At the moment the financial world is in a bit of Shock. Much thanks to the problems to US banks, Wall Street and the American housing market. We see how it affect all parts of the world, much here in Sweden too. I’ve never been much interested in the financial market or the economical world, but the Shock Doctrine have made me more perceptive to this complex net. And while this crisis affect many people in negative ways, there will always be “winners”. Every match have winners and losers. If we ignore the moral or ethical aspect, dispite how big the crisis become, some people or companies can use it to their to their advantage. Its horrible to see it that way, but its the sad truth.

A small personal example:

The company I soon will work for focus most on the American market, therby is dependent by the US curency. The higher value on dollar the bigger profit we will make, and this is true for all Swedish companies who export gods and services to the US.

On the other hand… If the dollar is low, I can save much money if I would like to buy or import products from say Amazon (which I do sometimes).

I want the dollar to be high so my new employer earn good money, at the same time I personally want it to be low if I import stuff. This is nothing new, but in the current darkness we must not forget that for some this open up great possiblities. In every situation, someone will always get a opportunity. I don’t believe in the old saying: “Everybody loses”. There is always two sides of a coin.

Christianity vs Spore

Now, religion is a very tricky subject, due to the fact that some people take it way to seriously. They often view themselves to highly and right in every question. Christianity as the biggest religion in the west is a great example of this. Way to often I hear about Christians (Also include people of other faiths) that doesn’t respect people for believing in other gods, religions or simply not believing at all. I have a simple rule: if religions people respect my atheism, i will respect their choice to have faith in something.

In recent years a “war” have bloomed in the US between Evolution theory and Creationism. And on this one I stand on the Evolutions side. Creationism, just a word to  make religion sound more like a science and less like the bullshit it really is. Especially when there are Christian fundamentalists in the White House, controlling the most corrupt country in the world.

Anyway… now Christians have a new nominee for the “Satan of the year” award, Will Wright and his new game Spore. A new site, dedicated to raise the question and point out all the “evil” Spore stands for, AntiSpore.com have been launched by a anonymous Christian American woman as a part of her crusade against Will Wright, Electronic Arts and Spore. I read all her posts and wasn’t surprised really, only still fascinated by her ignorance and disrespect for freedom of expression, Evolution and peoples right to have different opinions. I get really mad by such idiots justification of their own believes. Her complaint and main issue seems to be that this game will teach kids a non-religious way of viewing the world and its birth, aka Evolution! Christians have protested that schools teach Evolution to kids, and claimed that the Bible should be the only source to explain our origin, which is very very wrong! Its important to learn kids to hear many versions and then let them decide which they want to believe. And learn kids to be more natural critical.

Whats even more interesting is to see all the comments she received for each of her few posts. Many not so good comments, but it sure show how engaged people are in this question. Like I said, religion is a secure way to stir up some provocation and reactions. And I think this is just the beginning for the Cristianity against Spore.

[Update] Games that legitimately have to be baned or criticized are those who intentionally want to provoke people with faith. Like Muslim Massacre. I think it would have been more appropriate if they had called the game Taliban Massacre.

Comic Spore Will

Just a personal note; I’m furious that our Norse mythology have such a bad reputation in Sweden. Here we have a problem that many Nazi and new-Nazi are being associated with Norse mythology, since those people often wear cloth and jewelry linked to our Viking gods and heritage. I’m very angry for this, cause its our heritage and we should be proud of it!

Corporate Whistle Blowing – Youtube style

I would take a eternity to count all the great stuff internet have contributed to and eased peoples lives. Both personally and business wise. Whistle blowing have always been associated with big risks, for all parts. The companies doesn’t want their personnel to leak things that could harm the company and create bad PR. The person blowing the whistle is pretty much guaranteed to lose his job and get a bad reputation for future jobs. But with internet at almost everyones disposal this have become much easier, “secure” and fun! At least this video (which is very very very inspired after the weekly Zero Punctuation game review, be sure not to miss it!).

It will be interesting to see if Game Stop will some how respond to those accusations.

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Swedish government begins the creation of Big Brother

A recipe on how governments can get new legislations through:

  • Present proposed law a few days before voting
  • Ignore protests from the people, both in real life and Blogosphere
  • if by some chance you actually listen to the people, change the legislation so it means the same thing, but just look different
  • Hope people forget…

Avlyssning

One of Sweden’s most debated news the last week have been a legislation which allows FRA(Försvarets radioanstalt), a Swedish administrative authority to track and store ALL of the digital communication. That includes every SMS, Mail, Web traffic and more, for every one in the whole country. People have protested, and many big IT companies are now avoiding to invest in Sweden.

Yesterday the Swedish parliament voted for the legislation to come into effect 2009. I have been in chock this whole day… this just feels like the beginning. Funny enough it seems the initiator of the legislation been playing to muchMetal Gear Solid 2 – Sons of Liberty and got influenced by Arsenal Gear and thought it would be a great idea to copy the concept! So the government can gather and “control” information for their own benefit. Not that they would talk about it, but they certainly create the possibilities from them to strengthen their own power. At the same time as they establish a system to scan and store all digital traffic, they could institute who will or will not be scanned. Theoretically they can chose and control so the people behind the system and the people with authority over it, isn’t bugged.

I can somewhat understand how the authorities want to protect (its their job) the country and its citizen, but to what price? Who have most to loose, regular people or people with power and fortunes? I would speculate those with power, still regular people have much to loose to, but don’t have to be afraid in the same way. Those with power only worry about themselves, to not loose that power and all the richness they bring. I don’t think they actually care about regular people and their safety. Like Michel Moores movie Bowling for Columbine:
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The basic for terrorism:

In one modern definition of terrorism, it is violence against civilians to achieve political or ideological objectives by creating fear.

If a government need to bug the whole country, the terrorist and badguys (including regular criminals as well as financial criminality) have succeeded. And little tiny Sweden! I don’t see any need for such a drastically measure. Yes, security is important, but not to the cost of personal integrity! The same way as profit must never precede human value or ethicist. It wouldn’t surprise me if this decision have made the Swedish underground hacking movement (if it exist?) angry, and they already working on ways to crack this system or find ways around it. The news are already reporting of ways to bypass this new system through encrypted software.

I could (probably not) accept the new legislation, if it weren’t by the way they handled the whole situation…

Bimbo game, a problematic fictional media vision

Okey, I’ve shared my view on big game controversy like raised fears of kids playing violent games. I do agree to some extent, but these games aren’t meant for kids, but adults. Here come the latest controversial, from the U.K. The online game called Miss Bimbo, a game directed towards young girls between 9 and 16.

So what’s the point…? Basically create a bimbo avatar (your own virtual Barbie), dress, feed and care for her. Now you think that’s it? Oh no! Here’s the gory part, you do all these thing mention above through dating rich guys, diet pills, throwing up food and medical beauty surgeon. Simply copying the life’s of the big stars and how they live and act. A lifestyle or a view on life created by the media I strongly oppose.

From a market aspect I don’t see anything strange. Many people in France and UK have signed up and play, which indicate a demand. But I feel like the creator has left his moral and ethics in a closet at home. If you dissect the game design, one could argue that another approach could have been an option regarding the reward system. The possibilities to use diet pills and surgeon could still exist, but you would get better results by doing it the natural way. We don’t want to rewards people who take a cheap shortcut like this.

Overall I’m worried about the society we’re heading towards, how media create a false image of life and how people just swallow it. A classical marketing theory, create a vision in peoples head how they should feel, a false image. The sad fact that more attractive people are more successful (if money is a measurement on success that is), but what can we do about it?

Last night I saw a debate show, were one of the topic was medical surgery in order to look more beautiful and younger. Also here they discussed what messages this send out to people. Sure, people’s bodies are theirs to do as they please with. And in some case it legitimate and maybe a matter of life and death. The bigger question here is why people operate and transform them self. A co-worker stated that in reality its no different from me, now that I’m getting a new tattoo. Yes, many people who choose to get on the operational table may do it for them self. But were they get their inner image what they want to achieve has it’s base in the overall fictional, fantasy, social media image, which have become the norm. If people truly would do it for their own cause, fine, but I doubt everyone think that way.

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EA, Rock Star and Jack Thompson, what a mess

Anyone remotely interested in the game industry most have heard the words Grand Theft Auto, Electronic Arts and Jack Thompson, mostly the first and last in the same senesce or context. Altou not always (never?) in a positive context, and the story’s usually revolves around the same subject, the violence in video games.

Grand Theft Auto, developed by Rock Star, a developer studio under the Take-Two publisher. A franchise which more than often get blamed and pointed at for its violence and sexual content. I’m not a particular fan of the series, mainly cause I don’t find it appealing, that not to say I don’t recognise its importance and success. But it’s sad that everytime a school shooting take place I automatically wait for media to blame video games for it, and I’m usually right, unfortunately…

Another Thompson Comic

Now, the last week’s rumours have stated that EA (Electronic Arts) want to buy Take-Two, to further spread its empire and take over the world! (The last I made up ) Many sites and gamers have speculated what’s the biggest reason, to get a hold of the GTA franchise or maybe to be the dominant one in the sports games category. If the deal becomes reality EA probably will get their hands on the GTA franchise. I’ve heard rumours that Rock Star have a special deal with Take-Two switch make them kind of independent, but I don’t know the whole story.

And now to the “fun” part of this story… all gamers no. 1 “friend” and saviour from all evil, Jack fucking Thompson. The Christian conservative who is apparently a stockholder in Take Two have joined the debate, again. He has now offered EA to help with the take over of Take Two, probably to squeeze Rock Star. He seems to have made it a kind of personal vendetta to take down Rock Star. I can’t recall were, but I’ve heard him say that his objective is to take down Rock Star, and building a picture that they are out to harm people with their games, like their spawns of the devil. Well their not, they are creators, artist that create games which people happened to like, and as any other business if you have a success you’ll continue. Other industry’s and companies work this way, why can’t Rock Star. One of the most interesting things about his war against violent videogames is how he tries to rely on study’s (some which don’t exists, if any?) and only play Rock Star games. So he only get one view of the whole game industry and miss all the good aspects and qualities playing games give.

I think Jack Thompons is a complete idiot, mostly cause his so ignorant that he won’t even put any time to really research what he fight against. His arguments are bullshit. How honourables it may seem to work towards keeping violent games from kids, his focus is all wrong. Does he have a wish to be hated by our generation. I would accept his “mission”, and I thing many others as well, if he hadn’t fought the whole industry and told that the game developers weren’t sociopaths.

Heres a qoute from the mail Thompson sent to EA:

Zelnick in fact is an ideologue whose weird views, wedded to a rapacious corporate raider greed, ill-serve us Take-Two shareholders. When Zelnick told the BBC that Manhunt 2 is “fine art” we all knew that we were dealing with an oddball.

I am delighted to work with Electronic Arts to evict the Zelnick Trojan Horse from within Take-Two’s corporate walls. In doing so, I can get the new Take-Two into the clear as to the trouble I and others can send its way.

The best part is the answer he got from EA:

Mr. Thompson,

We have received your letter to EA’s shareholder site. In response to your offer to assist in the proposed acquisition of Take-Two, we would strongly prefer that you not get involved in this matter. EA is a strong supporter of creative freedom for game developers. We feel that your past statements – including false claims about content in our games – make any collaboration with you impossible.

How in hells name does Thompson plan to accomplish anything then he point fingers at the whole industry, blaming them and black painting it for the rest of the world. Maybe it could be more okey what he does, if he just had to be a little smarter and smoother in his fight. If he knew anything about videogame and the industry he could have a better approach, but now its to late. I remember a comment I heard recently which was something like “if a person becomes crazy then he or she plays a violent videogame, it probably was something wrong before the game came in to the picture”. And what does he want, to ban the production of violent videogames? These games aren’t meant for kids!

Especially this quote angered me:

I proposed to Zelnick a simple, elegant means by which Take-Two can avoid all legal consequences for what has been its illegal marketing and sale of adult games like Manhunt 2 and GTA: IV to minors

Market and sell adult games to kids? Well I don’t have full incite into Take-Twos marketing plan. But Thompson, you conservative Christian! So Christianity havn’t marketed, or should I say forced your believes and mostly shit to kids, form the first second they are borned!? And in my opinion religion is the most dangerous thing in the world! I wonder how many people Christianity have killed vs videogames in history? Are you really that afraid of the world, and you think your gonna save it by fighting the one of the biggest medium with some of the worlds smartest and brightest people in it?

As long as people (idiots) like Thompsons trying to fight the game industry in such a stupid and ignorant way, the industry and its followers will strike back twice as hard! And never forget the parents responsibility.

Just view the scared Thompson in this clip:

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