Society's ChildS


Texas AG sues to halt a guaranteed income program, calling it a 'socialist experiment'

Ken Paxton
© KENT NISHIMURA/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGESTexas attorney general Ken Paxton sued to stop an assistance program.
Texas' attorney general filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to stop a guaranteed income program set to start this month for Houston-area residents.

The program by Harris County, where Houston is located, is set to provide "no-strings-attached" $500 monthly cash payments to 1,928 county residents for 18 months. Those who qualified for the program must have a household income below 200% of the federal poverty line and need to live in one of the identified high-poverty zip codes.

The program is funded by $20.5 million from the American Rescue Plan, the pandemic relief law signed by President Joe Biden in 2021.

Federal pandemic funding has prompted dozens of cities and counties across the country to implement guaranteed income programs as ways to reduce poverty, lessen inequality and get people working.

In his lawsuit filed in civil court in Houston, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton dubbed the program the "Harris Handout" and described it as a "socialist experiment" by county officials that violates the Texas Constitution and is "an illegal and illegitimate government overreach."

"This scheme is plainly unconstitutional," Paxton said in a statement. "Taxpayer money must be spent lawfully and used to advance the public interest, not merely redistributed with no accountability or reasonable expectation of a general benefit."

Comment: A sometimes well-intended but nevertheless stupid idea:

No Entry

Ukraine to ban Olympic athletes from talking to Russians

Eiffel Tower
© Ludovic Marin/AFPEiffel Tower โ€ข Olympic Symbol
The competitors will also be discouraged from taking photos with them, giving joint interviews, shaking hands, and more...

Ukraine's National Olympics Committee (NOC) is set to roll out conduct guidelines for the country's athletes, explicitly warning them against making any contact with Russians during the upcoming Paris Games.

The governing sporting body has prepared a new protocol of conduct for the country's athletes, NOC boss Vadim Gutzeit revealed on Monday, while speaking live on Ukrainian TV. The official stated:
"These recommendations are already there, yet they have not been approved, because we need to discuss these recommendations with the NOC Athletes Commission. We're ironing out the last few issues, and it will be approved."
The conduct guidelines effectively boil down to discouraging athletes from any contact with Russians during the Games, Gutzeit explained:
"Do not congratulate each other, of course, do not stand up for any mass photos, do not give joint interviews, of course, do not shake hands."

Comment: Ukraine brings the war to the games.


Kiev's troops feel betrayed by new conscription rules - media

Ukrainian soldier
© Scott Peterson / Getty ImagesFILE PHOTO: A Ukrainian soldier.
Ukrainian troops hoping to be demobilized after three years are reportedly dismayed after a provision granting them leave was left out of a newly adopted mobilization bill, multiple Western outlets claimed on Friday.

The parliament in Kiev approved the long-debated law on Thursday but without the demobilization clause, reportedly at the urging of General Aleksandr Syrsky, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces. This means that everyone drafted into the armed forces will have to serve until the conflict is over.

"It's a disaster," AFP quoted a 46-year-old artilleryman on the Donetsk front, identified only as Alexander.

"When a person knows when he is going to be demobilized he will have a different attitude. If he is like a slave then it will not lead to anything good," he added.

Soldier Yegor Firsov posted a rant about the new law on Facebook, arguing that the troops already in service have been "demotivated" by the last-minute change and feel "fooled and used."

"It says our efforts are not appreciated," Firsov wrote, according to Politico's EU edition, which noted the discontent among "war-weary troops."

Comment: Demobilization might be dangled in front of soldiers but it will never be given. The Ukrainians simply can't afford to lose the men.


Mayo Clinic argues it has legal right to punish professors for voicing unpopular opinions

mayo clinic michael joyner
The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine is asking a judge to dismiss three of five claims lodged by a professor suing the school, arguing it has no legal and contractual obligation to protect its faculty's academic freedom and freedom of speech.

The clinic argues in court documents its academic freedom policy is not a binding contract with Dr. Michael Joyner, the plaintiff and longtime professor of anesthesiology. The clinic states the policy "expressly reserves to Mayo the right to regulate employees' speech and conduct."

On Monday, Third District Court Judge Kathy Wallace heard oral arguments from attorneys representing the clinic and Joyner, who sued the institution last November after the college punished him for sharing his contrarian views with the media on controversial topics such as COVID-19 treatments and testosterone's effects on athletic performance.

Comment: The Mayo Clinic is one of the biggest purveyors of mainstream medical (mis)info. They really have no interest in freedom of speech. Toe the party line or you're out.

See also:


Flashback Don't Depict Putin, Kim, Assad And Others As Cartoon Villains

Collage with N. Korean leader
Despite knowing better, people's conception of a government or even an entire country often rests on the image of its leader. People thinking of the Canadian government, for example, now fixate on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Americans fixate on leaders as well, often using terms like "Trump's America" to tie the climate of social relations to their president. The head of state becomes the state itself.

But it goes even further with countries that the governments of the United States and Canada are unfriendly with. In these cases, mainstream media, pop culture and politicians speak of their leaders not only like they are the country, but as though they're cartoon villains.

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, famously called the "mad dog of the Middle East" by then U.S. President Ronald Reagan, had a documentary released about him post-mortem by the same name. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a "butcher" gone wild who supposedly unleashed chemical weapons on an area his government had nearly retaken just because he's full of bloodlust. Magazines are riddled with covers depicting leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, as people that simply want to watch the world burn.

Comment: It is an article which hasn't aged as the cartoon depiction of adversary leaders continue unabated in the world media. A media which is fully subservient to the elite interests. Granting that such leaders are rational, intelligent people who care for their countries the best they see fit, would destroy the support which the Western populations tacitly gives to their leaders even if such support rarely is warranted. It is also the reason which media from such countries often are sanctioned, like the Russian media or severely restricted.

Owning the narrative is of key importance to the rulers. This is so important that even the speeches of foreign adversary leaders are not given for people to listen to but instead presented or interpreted in a pre-digested way, which totally distorts the content. One example is the recent Tucker Carlson interview with President Putin, where all the pundits were out in force to dissuade people from watching it or telling them what to think of it.


Ukrainian women should prepare for conscription - top Kiev official

FILE PHOTO: A woman demonstrate body armor during a presentation in Kiev
© Oleksii Chumachenko / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty ImagesFILE PHOTO: A woman demonstrate body armor during a presentation in Kiev, September 14, 2023
Kiev has been struggling to mobilize enough men to send to the frontline

The Ukrainian government should leave its "old-school mentality" behind and implement true equality in its armed forces, Kiev's chief military adviser for gender issues, Oksana Grigorieva, has argued.

Kiev is currently overhauling its military conscription system, with lawmakers debating amendments to lower the mobilization age and penalize draft-dodgers. There are currently no plans to conscript women, but the idea has previously been raised.

Comment: From the same source:
10 Apr, 2024 16:46
Ukraine moves closer to drafting convicts
Lawmakers have been eager to allow inmates to serve on the frontline of Kiev's armed conflict with Russia

The Ukrainian parliament on Wednesday advanced the proposal to enable the mobilization of certain categories of convicted criminals. Those who join up may see their sentences reduced or commuted.

With no votes against and 281 in favor, proposal 11079-1 sailed through the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading, lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak wrote on his Telegram channel.

As written, the bill allows courts to grant conditional parole to inmates serving sentences at correctional facilities, so they can enlist in the military.

Persons convicted of rape, sexual assault, murder of two or more persons, crimes against the national security of Ukraine, drunk driving that resulted in death of at least one person, corruption, terrorism or financing of terrorism would not be eligible.

However, Zheleznyak said he expected the second version of the bill would expand eligibility to those convicted of corruption and more "serious" crimes.

The bill would also add a provision to the criminal code that evasion of military service by those paroled would be punishable by 5-10 years in prison.

Ukraine has had to rely on forced conscription to replenish its frontline units, due to a shortage of volunteers and a high number of battlefield casualties. In early February, prior to losing the Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka, several commanders told reporters that their units were already operating at 35% strength or less.

Denmark becomes latest European country to conscript women into military (Mar 2024)
Denmark will call up women as well as men as it expands conscription to respond to Europe's changing security climate.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the revised policy was designed to increase the number of young people doing military service.

Conscripts will also be expected to serve more time in the military - 11 months, compared with four months at the moment.

"We are not rearming because we want war, destruction, or suffering. We are rearming right now to avoid war and in a world where the international order is being challenged," Frederiksen told reporters on Wednesday, indirectly referring to Russia's military moves in recent years and months.
Ukraine dramatically expands military conscription to women under 60 (Dec 2021)
Norway Armed Forces Colonel says women in army result in decreased combat effectiveness (Dec 2017)
Russian ombudsman says excluding women from military conscription is a violation of their rights (Jul 2017)
The Defense Ministry commented on the ombudsman's words on Thursday, telling Zvezda TV channel that the manning of forces is currently accomplished with conscripted recruits and contract servicemen, and that women's rights were not being infringed upon.

The ministry added that conscription for men is a duty, not a right, and that women can join the forces voluntarily and reach any rank - from private soldier to general.

The ministry also stated that Russia currently has about 45,000 females in the military, most of whom serve in communications troops, logistics units, and in military schools. The total number of active military servicemen is currently about 830,000.
Ukraine women speaking out: Citizens resisting conscription (Feb 2015)
A line in the sand: When Ukrainians choose not to die in a war (Feb 2015)


OJ Simpson dead at 76 after cancer battle

OJ Simpson
© X / @TheRealOJ32OJ Simpson has died at age 76, his family confirmed.
OJ Simpson, the once-beloved NFL superstar and Hollywood actor who was acquitted in a 1995 murder trial that gripped the nation, died at his Las Vegas home Wednesday. He was 76.

Simpson โ€” whose fame, fortune and legacy were forever changed despite being cleared by a Los Angeles jury of killing his ex-wife and her male friend in what was dubbed the "trial of the century" โ€” had been battling prostate cancer.

"On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer," his family announced on social media Thursday. "He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren."

Comment: See also:


Why explore space when you can wage war there instead?

man in space
Elon Musk's space company SpaceX recently secured a classified contract to build an extensive network of "spy satellites" for an undisclosed U.S. intelligence agency, with one source telling Reuters that "no one can hide" under the prospective network's reach.

While the deal suggests the space company, which currently operates over half the active satellites orbiting Earth, has warmed to U.S. national security agencies, it's not the first Washington investment in conflict-forward space machinery. Rather, the U.S. is funding or otherwise supporting a range of defense contractors and startups working to create a new generation of space-bound weapons, surveillance systems, and adjacent technologies.

In other words, America is hell-bent on a new arms race โ€” in space.

Space arms, then and now

Attempts to regulate weapons' presence and use in space span decades. Responding to an intense, Cold War-era arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty established that space, while free for all countries to explore and use, was limited to peaceful endeavors. Almost 60 years later, the Outer Space Treaty's vague language regarding military limitations in space, as space policy experts Michelle L.D. Hanlon and Greg Autry highlight, "leave more than enough room for interpretation to result in conflict."

Grey Alien

Most Russians believe in aliens - poll

Alien, extraterrestrial, ET
© Getty Images / MediaProduction
Three-quarters of Russians believe the existence of sentient life forms on other planets is possible, a survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTSIOM) has revealed ahead of International Day of Human Space Flight on April 12.

The figure represents a 14% increase compared to a similar poll carried out by VTSIOM in 2008. Some 36% of respondents believed in the existence of intelligent life forms from outer space, while 39% said this was possible but unlikely.

Meanwhile, one in five people dismissed the prospect of aliens living on other planets as virtually impossible.

According to the poll, 66% believe that people will live on other planets in the future, which marks a sharp rise from the 51% that backed this prospect in 2008.

More than a third of respondents (35%) are certain that cosmic phenomena like solar flares and explosions, meteorite infalls, and the formation of black holes somehow affect people's lives.

Some 33% of those surveyed claimed that phenomena of this kind have a negative impact on people's general physical state, with 15% complaining about elevated blood pressure, headaches, or dizziness as a result.

Comment: One wonders, how many of those who think extraterrestrial life is virtually impossible would continue to believe so even if a ship landed on their front yard and asked to be taken to their leader?


Trump Organization's former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg sentenced to 5 months in jail

© Curtis Means/PoolDonald Trump's former XFO Allen Weisselberg appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court
The Trump Organization's former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail Wednesday after he admitted to lying during former President Donald Trump's New York civil fraud trial.

Weisselberg, 76, did not make a statement as he was sentenced by Judge Laurie Peterson during a two-minute hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court that sent him back to the slammer.

The ex-Trump money wizard, wearing a black jacket and blue sweatpants, was cuffed and led away from the hearing by court officers.

He spent about 100 days in lockup last year on a tax fraud conviction for accepting $1.7 million in company perks off the books, including free rent on a Manhattan pad and tuition payments for his grandkids.

Weisselberg, in another plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of perjury.

Prosecutors said the former Trump CFO admitted to prosecutors that he lied to New York Attorney General Letitia James and her investigators in a May 12, 2023, deposition and while on the stand during Trump's civil fraud case on Oct. 10.