Sunday, February 22, 2009

Britain's heavy-handed "welfare" State again

'My baby was put in care after I was wrongly accused of abuse': Mother's nightmare after a foreign doctor misdiagnosed a medical condition. There should surely always be an immediate second opinion from a top expert in such grave matters. All it needed in this case was an internet search to reveal that the foreign doctor had got it wrong!

A young mother was arrested and her ten-day-old baby taken into care after doctors misdiagnosed a bump on his head as a sign of abuse. Dee Crawford, 19, contacted her health visitor and midwife for advice after her son, Michael, suffered a fall at home. She was told to take the baby - who was otherwise healthy after being born by caesarean section - to hospital to be examined. The lump was later found to be a cephalohematoma - a common condition which often results from a problematic labour.

However, the foreign doctor who examined Michael at the University Hospital of North Durham believed it was a `new' injury and called in police and social services to investigate. The first-time mother then had her baby taken away before being arrested on suspicion of assault. Police later allowed her to read the doctor's report about her son's injury, which claimed that cephalohematoma could not occur with c-section births. Back home in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, Miss Crawford researched the condition on the internet and discovered that the doctor had got his facts wrong. She pressed for an expert's second opinion - even offering to pay the four-figure fee herself

Eventually - after two-and-a-half weeks separated from her baby - a paediatrician at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary concluded that the swelling was `without a doubt' the result of a difficult labour and not suspicious. Mother and baby were then reunited. Durham Police have now formally dropped the inquiry.

Miss Crawford said midwives had pointed out that Michael - who was born on January 19 weighing 9lbs 8oz - had a bruise on his head shortly after the birth but said it was nothing to worry about. `What happened to me I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy,' she added. `I have lost so much time with my baby when I should have been bonding with him. `The experience of being torn apart so soon after the birth was so traumatic it was as if he had died. I couldn't eat or sleep until my name was cleared.

`I'm furious with social services and the police for putting me through this unnecessarily. If they spent more time on cases like Baby P and less on things like this then more babies would be alive.' She added that Michael had been on the Child Protection Register because she had suffered from depression, but claimed her mental health has been made worse by her treatment.

A Durham Police spokesman said: `We can confirm that a 19- year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of assault but no further action has since been taken.' A spokesman for Durham County Council said: `We would never remove a child in the context of a suspected injury without first taking expert medical advice.'


Australia: Children in foster care of prostitute

What has happened in this particular case would seem to be in part the fault of government racism: The policy that black babies must not be given to white carers. They would rather that the kids be badly treated than abandon racial segregation. The standard mantra of child welfare agencies is that "We put the interests of the child first". What crap! They put their Leftist ideology first

Child protection authorities in Western Australia were warned last May that a foster carer of four children was working as a prostitute, gambling heavily and using her taxpayer-supplied vehicle to drive to work at a suburban brothel. But nine months later, the Department for Child Protection has not removed the four children, who still live in the woman's house with a male lodger, who sleeps in a queen-size bed in the living room. The woman's brother, who has convictions for serious criminal offences, also stayed at her house until a departmental officer told the woman he had to leave, The Weekend Australian has confirmed.

The case has emerged as a glaring example of flaws in Western Australia's Aboriginal child placement principle, which gives priority to placing indigenous children in state care with family or people from within the child's indigenous community. The policy has been adopted in all states and territories, but the Barnett Liberal Government has vowed to review the policy.

Last December, an Aboriginal corporation in NSW was stripped of federal and state funding after foster children in its care were deemed to be at serious risk. A review of the Redfern-based Aboriginal Children's Service found that many children were living in overcrowded homes across NSW, with foster parents neither registered nor trained.

The four Aboriginal children in Perth -- three girls aged nine, 11 and 13 and a boy of 2 1/2 -- cannot be identified because they are state wards. They were removed by DCP from their mother in October 2006, after a long series of domestic disputes involving the children's father. The department placed the children in the care of their maternal grandmother, but after a few months she could not cope. She drove the children to their natural mother's house and left them alone in the backyard while the mother was at work. A second placement was formalised early last year with the children's paternal ex-step-grandmother. The department provided her with a $34,000 eight-seater van to transport the children, plus her own two youngest sons. It also promised an upgrade to a five-bedroom state rental house, but the woman, six children and a male lodger still live in her three-bedroom house in an outer Perth suburb.

The Weekend Australian has obtained an affidavit, signed on Tuesday, by a family friend who said she became concerned about the children's welfare after the foster carer admitted to her that she was still working as a prostitute, despite receiving around $700 per week in foster care allowance. The friend, a former youth worker who is training to be a prison officer, said she told the children's case worker last May that the carer was regularly working in a brothel and leaving the children with other people. She was also concerned welfare payments for the four children were being used for gambling. Departmental officers visited the carer's house a week later.

Yesterday, DCP director-general Terry Murphy confirmed that a complaint last May was investigated. "It was found (the carer) had worked as a cleaner in a brothel before the children came into her care. She has not worked in that capacity since caring for the children." [In other words, the chump believes what he has been told by his officials -- and they wouldn't have a clue] He said a vehicle had been provided by the department, and it was in the process of screening the woman's male paying boarder. He dismissed the allegations, saying: "This appears to be a successful example of placing Aboriginal children with an Aboriginal relative carer."

The DCP relies heavily on relatives to act as foster, or kinship, carers of indigenous children taken into care. Of 1250 kinship carers in Western Australia caring for relatives' children, about 460 or 37 per cent are indigenous households. The state Government's review into indigenous child placement is due to report at the end of next month.

Mr Murphy said last week that the policy raised concerns as it encouraged workers to place Aboriginal children with immediate or extended family "even when that family itself may be struggling". He said case workers too often misunderstood the principles and attempted to place Aboriginal children with their immediate or extended family "when in fact the children would be better placed elsewhere".


Rudd's attack on the market: A failed pretence at being an intellectual

The Australian Prime Minister's only expertise is in Mandarin Chinese -- and it shows

By Michael Duffy

Being a successful prime minister is tough. Not only do you have to put in the hard work of running the joint, you need to write the self-justifying book afterwards, to counter the onslaught on your reputation from the ungrateful knaves and fools who replace you. This is the position in which John Howard now finds himself. His speech at the Menzies Research Centre on Thursday was the first salvo in a battle whose main advance will be the book he is writing.

It was, of course, done in response to Kevin Rudd's assault on capitalism, which has been bubbling for a few years but burst out recently in a baroque essay in The Monthly magazine. Anyone who's tried to read this will have been struck not just by its hubris and confusion, but by its hypocrisy. The Rudd family is the wealthiest to have occupied the Lodge, thanks to the success with which the Prime Minister's wife embraced the very values he is now denigrating. People notice these things. They're going to start asking what, if anything, Kevin Rudd really stands for.

One of his motives in the essay seems clear. He wants to create a story in which the Coalition badly damages the economy through excessive market freedom, and Labor saves it with government intervention. There's nothing wrong with telling stories: Howard used to do it all the time with references to the high interest rates that Australia suffered under Paul Keating.

Mind you, now that Howard is engaged in writing history rather than the grubby business of political survival, he'd probably rather forget this. On Thursday night he said: "I have always given the previous Labor government credit for implementing changes to our financial system and also tariff reform." Well, only if you were listening carefully. He did acknowledge it from time to time, but the great rhetorical battering ram he swung for many years was the image of Labor's unique incompetence where interest rates were concerned.

That image was false but effective, thanks to the repetition with which it was swung, and possibly it's this example that has emboldened Rudd to embark on his crusade against free markets. The problem is that, with all his references to Hayek and Keynes, he's talking to a much smaller and better educated audience than Howard was with his rubbish about interest rates. And that audience can tell that Rudd's arguments are embarrassingly incoherent.

It's no exaggeration to say The Monthly essay would not have received a pass mark in most undergraduate courses. Its fundamental problem is that the PM's portrayal of recent history, in particular the claim that markets were pretty much unfettered, is largely imaginary. It is completely imaginary when it comes to Australia, which under the Howard government experienced unprecedented levels of regulation and government spending.

Not the least strange thing about all this is that Rudd himself has often acknowledged the strength of the economy he inherited from Howard. And despite what Rudd would have us believe, it was comprehensively regulated. Take the banks, which sit at the heart of current events. Howard correctly noted on Thursday that his government "resisted pressure to relax the so-called four pillars policy whereby the four major trading banks were not allowed to merge with each other. Ironically, the argument used by many in the financial sector, wanting this policy changed, was that a change was needed to strengthen the relative position of Australian banks against banks in other parts of the world.

"Yet as everyone now knows, because our banks were stronger, better supervised and better managed than others, their relative position compared to other banks has improved significantly as a consequence of the financial events of recent months. There are only 15 banks in the world which now have a AAA credit rating. The four major Australian banks are among them. Given the size of our economy this is a remarkable tribute to Australia and her banking system. The four did not need to become two in order to survive in a hostile world."

What lies at the heart of Rudd's ramblings? One can't be sure, but The Monthly essay suggests he's mistaken the market truth that what goes up must come down with the Apocalypse. This is a serious case of category confusion. It's difficult to know whether it would be worse if he believes this or is just pretending. Is it panic or pretence?

Writing in The Australian Financial Review yesterday, Mark Latham called Rudd a practitioner of "zigzag economics" who tailors his rhetoric according to his audience. Referring to a speech in which Rudd previewed the ideas in The Monthly essay, Latham wrote: "It is rare for an Australian prime minister to talk this way about capitalism. Rudd's speech was perhaps the strongest attack on the ideals and purpose of private enterprise by a national leader since Ben Chifley's attempt to nationalise the banks in 1947."

If Kevin Rudd does believe what he's been saying, and it influences his policies even more, the future looks gloomy. We face the melancholy prospect that Australia's most recent three governments will come to resemble in their effects on the economy the pattern of rise and fall seen in some wealthy families. The first generation (Hawke-Keating) establishes the fortune. The second (Howard) consolidates it. And the third pisses it up against the wall.


Brazilian Government Says 99% of Citizens Are "Homophobic" and Must Be Reeducated

The Brazilian government has determined that 99% of its citizens are "homophobic," and therefore must be reeducated, according to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The results are taken from a study that tested for "homophobia" by asking people to comment on such statements as "God made men and women with different sexes so that they could fulfill their role and have children." The 92% of Brazilians who agreed partially or completely with the statement were labeled "homophobic."

Another test question for "homophobia" was, "Homosexuality is a sin against the laws of God." Fifty-eight percent of Brazilians agreed.

Those who agreed partially or completely that "Homosexuality is an illness that should be treated" (41%) were also labeled "homophobic," as were those who objected to homosexuals kissing and hugging in public (64%).

According to O Globo, Brazil's federal government will use the data "to plan new policies, and warns that it has now detected a dark consequence of so much prejudice: intolerance." The study was performed by an organization linked to the socialist Labor Party, which currently occupies the nation's executive branch and predominates in the legislature. "There's no way [for the government] not to involve itself, because intolerance must manifest itself in crimes, including crimes committed by agents of the government," said Paulo Biagi, coordinator of the government's official "Brazil Without Homophobia" campaign.

Biagi says that the government will now begin to "rearticulate" the case for its proposed "anti-homophobia" law, which would make it illegal to criticize homosexual behavior in Brazil. In addition, the government will be launching the National Plan for the Promotion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Citizens in May. It will also soon initiate a television campaign to combat "homophobia" in conjunction with ten other Latin American countries.

"What is surprising is how a population that is 99% against homosexuality is accepting passively that its 100% pro-homosexuality government is lifting homosexual acts to the level of inviolable sacredness," wrote Brazilian pro-family activist Julio Severo on his blog, Last Days Watchman, "and at the same time it is lowering 99% of Brazilians to the class of 'ignorant mob' that should be forcefully condemned to state policies of reeducation,"



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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