Society's ChildS


Elon Musk sues OpenAI and Sam Altman over 'betrayal' of nonprofit AI mission

elon vanity fair summit
© Michael Kovac / Vanity Fair / Getty Images
Elon Musk has sued OpenAI, its co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, and its affiliated entities, alleging the ChatGPT makers have breached their original contractual agreements by pursuing profits instead of the nonprofit's founding mission to develop AI that benefits humanity.

Musk, a co-founder and early backer of OpenAI, claims Altman and Brockman convinced him to help found and bankroll the startup in 2015 with promises it would be a nonprofit focused on countering the competitive threat from Google. The founding agreement required OpenAI to make its technology "freely available" to the public, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in a court in San Francisco late Thursday, says that OpenAI, the world's most valuable AI startup, has shifted to a for-profit model focused on commercializing its AGI research after partnering with Microsoft, the world's most valuable company, which has invested about $13 billion into the startup.

Comment: While it seems doubtful that AI will ultimately benefit humanity, you can't really fault Musk for trying to steer it in that direction.

See also:

Brick Wall

Dr. Phil exposes 'The View' and other media responsible for lockdown harms to our kids

dr phil on the view
© The View/ABCDr. Phil discussed on "The View" how the COVID-19 school closures hurt the mental health of children.
America experimented with the lives of millions of children during the pandemic and sacrificed their mental health to satiate adults' fears.

The media's loudest voices pushed the silent torture of the most innocent population with constant isolation.

Dr. Phil hammered home how our COVID-19 response created more harm for American children than the virus we were attempting to protect them from on ABC's "The View" Monday.

Comment: Changing the minds of propagandists and narrative enforcers like the hosts of The View is not really a win (and it's probably impossible). But getting the audience reaction is a true win. Keep going, Dr. Phil!

See also:

Russian Flag

Russia to restrict gasoline exports - RBK

Fueling car
© Sputnik/Vitaly Timkiv
Cross-border sales of the fuel will be halted for six months, the outlet has said

Comment: The outlet referred to, RBK, is a media company. The Wiki writes:
"The paper is part of RosBusinessConsulting and is published by the company in cooperation with the German publishing group Handelsblatt.[2][3]"

Russia will suspend gasoline exports for six months starting in March to ensure sufficient supply for the domestic market during high demand season, the RBK daily reported on Tuesday.

According to a government source familiar with the matter, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has approved the measure, which will come into force on March 1.

The RBK article stated that earlier this month Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak wrote a letter to the government calling for a temporary suspension of gasoline exports as the domestic market enters peak season for fuel demand.

He attributed the growing demand to increased usage in the agricultural sector and upcoming seasonal maintenance at refineries. These factors will tighten domestic supply, Novak reportedly said in his letter.

Comment: It is reasonable to prioritize the domestic market. Several western governments have as if forgotten their citizens as if they matter less than their support for military aid to Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and preparation for war.

Star of David

Israeli tourism hits rock bottom as travelers refuse to pay for Gaza genocide

israel economy damage hamas Oct. 7
© PressTVTourism official Yossi Fattal complained the staggering fall of Israel’s tourism sector is a “victory for Hamas over Israel.”
Airlines are reluctant to resume flights, tourist sites wear a deserted look and hotels are empty, bringing the once-flourishing tourism industry of the Israeli regime to a standstill.

Monthly figures announced by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) revealed that last month only 500 single-day visits to the occupied territories were registered, compared to 14,000 in January 2023, indicating a drastic decrease of 96 percent.

Israel's genocidal war on Gaza, now nearing its fifth month, has taken a heavy toll on its economy. The war, according to the regime's finance ministry, will likely cost it approximately $13.8 billion.

In November, the Bank of Israel pared back its estimates for annual economic growth to 2 percent for 2023 and 2024, down from 2.3 percent and 2.8 percent.

Comment: Israel's 'booming economy' was always a mirage, propped up by massive cash infusions from the U.S. government, U.S., and other private charities.


Judge holds veteran journalist Catherine Herridge in civil contempt for refusing to divulge source

Catherine Herridge
© X/@FaceTheNation - ScreenshotVeteran national security reporter Catherine Herridge
A federal judge held veteran investigative reporter Catherine Herridge in civil contempt on Thursday for refusing to divulge her source for a series of Fox News stories about a Chinese American scientist who was investigated by the FBI but never charged.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington imposed a fine of $800 per day until Herridge reveals her source, but the fine will not go into effect immediately to give her time to appeal.

Cooper wrote that he "recognizes the paramount importance of a free press in our society" and the critical role of confidential sources in investigative journalism. But the judge said the court "also has its own role to play in upholding the law and safeguarding judicial authority."


Not just Herridge:

The First Amendment right of freedom of speech and of the press is being incrementally eroded.


Newsom exempts Panera Bread from California's new $20 minimum wage law - CEO donates to his political campaigns

© unknownCalifornia Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom
Just brazen corruption.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) carved out an exemption for Panera Bread from the state's new insane $20 minimum wage law because its billionaire CEO Greg Flynn donates to his political campaigns.

In September California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed a law raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 per hour. During the signing Newsom said:
"Eighty percent of the workforce, these fast food places - 80 percent of people of color, two thirds...are women, the majority are breadwinners and we have the opportunity to reward that contribution, reward that sacrifice and stabilize an industry in turn. What a remarkable moment."
According to Bloomberg, Newsom pushed for Panera Bread to be exempt from the new minimum wage law. Flynn, a billionaire restaurant franchisee, is a Newsom donor and was involved in business dealings with the California Governor.

Newsom told reporters of the exemption that it's "part of the sausage-making" of politics.

Greg Flynn previously criticized the minimum wage bill dubbed the FAST Act. He said it would destroy the franchising in California - and next thing you know his restaurants are exempt.

How did Panera escape the Democrats' new minimum wage bill?

Comment: Newsom's mandatory wage increase for CA employees signals future cuts in staff. Newsom does Panera no favors - nor the wallets of customers as prices rise.
In 2014, Flynn, who is the largest franchisee in the US with thousands of brands including Applebee's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Wendy's, acquired a Napa Valley resort that was managed by Newsom's hospitality firm, according to disclosure forms.

Flynn has a net worth valued at $1.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has donated at least $164,800 to Newsom's campaigns.

Michelle Korsmo, head of the National Restaurant Association, told an industry conference last year that "everyone's scratching their head" about the bread exemption. "You may be celebrating or you may be lamenting the bakery exemption," Korsmo was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. "But remember, all of that comes through relationships."

Flynn quietly lobbied Newsom's aides to reconsider whether Panera Bread can be considered fast food, according to Bloomberg News.

The exemption for bread sellers was inserted into the legislation after the union that was pushing for the hike in minimum wage accepted it as a concession aimed at getting the governor's support, the report stated.

Earlier this month, Chipotle executives warned that consumers in California should expect to see "significant" price hikes due to the minimum wage hike.

Jack Hartung, Chipotle's chief financial and administrative officer, told investors on an earnings call that the price hikes are necessary to keep up with increasing labor costs.

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski warned in October that the Big Mac maker would also need to hike the price of its menu items in California. The chain has increased prices nationwide amid rampant inflation, including charging $18 for a Big Mac meal.

Earlier on Wednesday, Panera Bread agreed to pay $2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the chain of misleading customers about fees and menu prices for delivery orders.


Citing 'black eye' on justice, DeSantis signs bill to unseal secret Jeffrey Epstein files

© UMA SANGHVI/Palm Beach Post/USA TODAY NETWORKJeffrey Epstein in custody in West Palm Beach in 2008.
More than two decades after Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused dozens of girls in Palm Beach, his victims may finally learn how and why the state prosecutor's handling of the case allowed Epstein to escape a prison term more in line with the serious crimes he committed.

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that permits the unsealing of the long-secret evidence and testimony presented to a 2006 Palm Beach grand jury, leading the panel to return an indictment against Epstein on only minor prostitution charges.

At the time, Palm Beach police had interviewed at least six girls who claimed Epstein had sexually assaulted them as part of a massive scheme in which they were also pressured to recruit more girls for him to abuse over many years.

The signing of the bill could pave the way for the public to evaluate whether former Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer conducted a thorough prosecution of Epstein.

Cowboy Hat

The European Union against farmers

European farmers
Three weeks ago, according to the police, farmers with at least 1,000 tractors demonstrated against EU policy in Brussels.
Across the European Union, farmers are rising up against the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which subsidizes them. Governments are responding with adjustment measures, bureaucratic simplifications and a few words of comfort. In reality, they are powerless in the face of a structure designed to apply an ideology that is proving to be insane.

The despair and anger of Europe's farmers

Across Western and Central Europe, farmers are demonstrating. First in the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Romania, now in Spain, France, Germany and Poland. This continent-wide uprising is against the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

When the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community was signed in 1957, the six founding member states (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany) accepted the principle of the free movement of goods. They thus prohibited any national agricultural policy.

To guarantee farmers' incomes, they set up a common agricultural policy. Depending on the Member State, EU aid is paid to the regions, which then distribute it to farmers or directly to farmers (as in France). This is known as the "First Pillar". In addition, the European Commission sets production standards to improve the quality of life of rural populations and their products. This is the "Second Pillar".

Comment: Thierry Meyssan spends a lot of necessary time in this article looking at the history of the European Union to understand the present, just as Putin spent a lot of time on history in his meeting with Tucker Carlson. The current problems have not arisen out of nowhere but can only be understood by looking at history from where we can learn.

See also:

Bad Guys

Japan plans to build more bomb shelters on remote islands amid concerns of 'growing tensions'

© Reuters/KyodoYonaguni island in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture is only 111km from Taiwan.
NHK has learned that the Japanese government is making arrangements to build new evacuation shelters on remote islands and elsewhere in the event of emergencies, including a contingency in Taiwan.

Government officials have been discussing how to protect residents in Okinawa Prefecture and elsewhere situated close to Taiwan.

Their plans include building new shelters positioned as special emergency evacuation facilities for those who cannot evacuate quickly.

Comment: Indeed, not only is the US (predictably) escalating the situation in the pacific region, but Japan is doing its bit, too:

Bizarro Earth

Deadly apartment building fires in 1 week in England, Spain, China; man set himself on fire last night in London

london fire
© X/@emergencytimesFifteen fire engines were called and 100 firefighters were deployed to douse the fire at London’s South Kensington.
Around 100 firefighters and 15 fire engines were called to a blaze at a terraced house in Kensington, west London on Friday morning.

Five people were rescued from the first, second, and fourth floors of the building, with 11 people taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

Half of the ground floor of the five-storey building, which has been converted into flats, was still alight at around 2.20am on Friday - almost two hours after fire brigades were called.

Comment: Also yesterday in London, the Daily Mail reports:
Shocking moment man ON FIRE runs down London street

This is the shocking moment a man on fire runs down a street in London before bystanders help put the flames out.

Footage which has emerged online shows the man shouting as he runs down a street in Edgware Road with bright orange flames on his chest area.
man fire london
This is the shocking moment a man on fire runs down a street in London
He then drops to the floor and witnesses help pat him down with jackets, managing to put the fire out.

Ambulance crews said they rushed to the scene last night before taking the man to a major trauma centre.

Police have confirmed the incident is not being treated as suspicious.
Meanwhile in the last 2 days over in Germany and Poland: Regarding the apartment block fires elsewhere, whilst they may not all be connected, it seems worth documenting given their proximity in terms of timing, and because they were particularly deadly:

On the 24th of February, The Guardian reported:
Apartment block fire in China's Nanjing city kills at least 15

The blaze started on the first floor where electric bikes had been placed, according to officials, but the cause is still unknown

At least 15 people were killed and 44 injured in a fire at a residential building in eastern China's Nanjing city, local authorities said.
china fire
© Costfoto/NurPhoto/REX/ShutterstockThe scene after a fire was extinguished in a residential area in Nanjing, in eastern China’s Jiangsu province.
The building is located in the Yuhuatai district of Nanjing, a city of more than 8 million about 260km north-west of Shanghai.

By 6am (2200 GMT) the fire had been extinguished, and a search-and-rescue operation ended about 2pm Friday, authorities said.

The 44 injured people were sent to hospital for treatment, they added.

China has seen a spate of deadly fires in recent months, prompting calls from President Xi Jinping last month for "deep reflection" and greater efforts to "curb the frequent occurrence of safety accidents".

In January dozens died after a fire broke out at a store in the central city of Xinyu, with state news agency Xinhua reporting the blaze had been caused by the use of fire by workers in the store's basement.

That fire came just days after a late-evening blaze at a school in central China's Henan province killed 13 schoolchildren as they slept in a dormitory.

A teacher at the school told the state-run Hebei Daily that all the victims were from the same third-grade class of nine- and 10-year-olds.

Domestic media reports suggested the fire was caused by an electric heating device.

In November, 26 people were killed and dozens sent to hospital after a fire at a coal company office in northern China's Shanxi province.

The month before, an explosion at a barbecue restaurant in the north-west of the country left 31 dead and prompted official pledges of a nationwide campaign to promote workplace safety.

In April, a hospital fire in Beijing killed 29 people and forced desperate survivors to jump out of windows to escape.
A day prior, on the 23rd of February, Mainichi reported:
Fire engulfs 2 buildings in Spain, killing at least 4 people. Nearly 20 missing

A fire engulfed two residential buildings in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia on Thursday, killing four people and leaving 19 others missing hours after the blaze started, authorities said.

The fire sent fleeing residents onto balconies where some were rescued by firefighters, officials said.
spain fire
© AP Photo/Alberto SaizA housing block burns in Valencia, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024.
Firefighters rushed to the scene on the outskirts of the city center as flames burst from windows of the 14-story residential building where the blaze apparently started. Residents could be seen waiting for rescue on balconies, and firefighters used a crane to lift two residents from one of the balconies.

Valencia's assisetant emergency services director, Jorge Suarez told reporters that four people were confirmed dead and that some six hours hours after the blaze started firefighters were trying to cool down the outside of the building before attempting to go inside.

Soldiers from Spain's Military Emergency Unit also were deployed and medics set up a large tent to tend to the injured on the scene.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but news reports said it might have spread rapidly owing to materials used in the building's structure.

The fire sent clouds of black smoke billowing skyward that could be seen from afar. Spain's weather agency, Aemet, reported winds of up to 60 kph (40 mph) at the time.

The fire began in the early evening and spread to an adjacent building, state news agency Efe reported. Emergency service reports said that besides the four people killed, at least 13 were injured, most with fractures, burns and smoke inhalation. The 13 included six firefighters.

It was not immediately clear how many people were in the buildings or how many were rescued.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez posted a tweet on the X platform saying he was "shocked by the terrible fire in a building in Valencia," adding that he had offered the city "all the help that is necessary."

"I want to convey my solidarity to all the people affected and recognition to all the emergency personnel already deployed at the scene," Sanchez said.
It seems that scarcely a week goes by at the moment without a building, but, more often, a factory, exploding or bursting into flames: