Tag: social services

The Baby Thieves

I’m sure the only reason this hasn’t happened more often is because no one had ever thought of it:

Last summer a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week Ryanair training course at Stansted. Staying at an airport hotel, she had something of a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy. She called the police, who arrived at her room when she was on the phone to her mother. The police asked to speak to the grandmother, who explained that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication to calm her down.

The police told the mother that they were taking her to hospital to “make sure that the baby was OK”. On arrival, she was startled to see that it was a psychiatric hospital, and said she wanted to go back to her hotel. She was restrained by orderlies, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and told that she must stay in the hospital.

By now Essex social services were involved, and five weeks later she was told she could not have breakfast that day. When no explanation was forthcoming, she volubly protested. She was strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken into care by social workers. She was not allowed to see her baby daughter, and later learnt that a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, had given the social workers permission to arrange for the child to be delivered. In October, at a hearing before another judge, she was represented by lawyers assigned to her by the local authority and told she would be escorted back to Italy without her baby.

The mother is back on her medication now (she was likely off due to the pregnancy). But the authorities refuse to give her daughter back. The Chelmsford court says they can’t risk her going off the meds, since, apparently, in the UK, no parent is ever off their meds. The Italian authorities concluded that they can’t do anything because she didn’t protest her treatment at the time — you know, that time when she was confused and disoriented in a foreign country and was sectioned anyway. Her ex-husband has tried to adopt, but the courts say he has no blood tie. Unless someone steps in, she will never get her child back. Even is she does, she has already missed the first year and a half of her child’s life.

Now this is an extremely rare event so we shouldn’t read too much into it, right? Wrong. In this country, we’ve had children yanked out of parents arms for being obese. We’ve had children put into foster care because their parents had some pot. We’ve had babies ripped from their mothers’ arms because they ate a poppy seed bagel. And custody battles are often decided in favor of whoever is the worst helicopter parent.

One of the running themes of the Nanny State is that you are not a good enough parent. Your child has too high a BMI! And what’s that scrape on their knee? Do I smell booze on your breath? Are those cigarette butts? Who did you vote for? For God’s sake, are you using formula to feed your newborn?! What kind of monster are you? And the Nannies see Britain — with its sectioning and ASBO’s — as a shadowy model for what they want to build here.

But surely even the Nannies would draw the line at an invasive medical procedure, right? Wrong. Just a few weeks ago, we found out about David Eckert. He was pulled over for a routine traffic stop but officers thought, based on a drug dog alert and him seeming to clinch his butt cheeks, that he had drugs in his rectum. Then this happened:

Mr. Eckert released medical records to local reporters, who reviewed them and noted that the following things were done to him by doctors and staff at Gila Regional Medical Center:

1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

Allow me to repeat: no narcotics were ever found during Mr. Eckert’s encounter with police and doctors.

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures.

This is coming, folks. One day, we will read that some American woman has had her baby literally ripped from her belly, most likely in the name of the War on Drugs. Let’s not say we didn’t see it coming.

The Happiest Place On Earth

I think we all had a good giggle at this:

North Korea’s Central TV recently invented its own politically expedient global happiness index, claiming China is the world’s happiest country, followed by North Korea, NBC reported Tuesday.

China topped the list as the happiest country on earth with 100 points out of 100, trailed by North Korea with 98. Other thorns in the U.S.’ side were next, with Cuba scoring 93 points, Iran 88 points and Venezuela 85 points.

South Korea came 152nd with 18 points and the U.S. finished 203rd with a mere 2 points.

Haha! What kind of idiots do they take use for?! What idiot would pay attention to a “happiness” index that strangely rates is country of origin and its friends as the happiest places on Earth? Why, you’d have to be … I’m sorry?

24/7 Wall St. analyzed the new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Better Life Index to objectively determine the happiest countries in the world. The Index is based on 11 measurements of quality of life including housing, income, jobs, community, education, the environment, health, work-life balance, and life satisfaction. We made “life satisfaction” the cornerstone of our index because it is as good a proxy for “happiness” as the survey provides. We then compared “life satisfaction” scores to the other measurements to find those economic and socio-political realities that had the highest and lowest correlation to happiness.

Old, stable nations of northern Europe took five of the top 10 spots on our list. These include Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark. Switzerland is also on the list and has many characteristics in common with the Scandinavian countries. The resource-rich, English-speaking countries of Australia and Canada made the cut as well.

The US didn’t make the cut. There is some rather disturbing verbiage about culturally homogenous countries being happier. For those of you who don’t speak sociology and don’t realize that most of the countries in the sample are European, that means “white”. But their big conclusion is that having lots of social services and not having to work hard are the key to a happy populace.

As you can imagine, the Left Wing is touting this story. But while PMSNBC’s analysis is better bullshit that the NK study, it’s still bullshit. The OECD’s Better Life index is highly subjective to say the least. You can play with it here. The life satisfaction rating is here. Stunningly, an organization in which half of the member countries are in northern Europe find that northern European countries are the happiest.

There are other reasons besides self-worship that this measurement is useless. Here’s one:

The OECD study no doubt would have had different results had it included politically unstable countries in the Middle East or large emerging economies where political unrest threatens to bubble over such as China.

That is, the OECD restricted itself to stable countries. The US not being the happiest country in that group (we’re 13th) is like being the most flat-chested Page 3 model. You have to consider the peer group, especially when, of all the nations in he list, the US is by far the least culturally and racially homogenous and also, by far, the largest.

To be fair, I think it’s likely that people in Scandinavian countries are happier with their lives. But I think this is more of a cultural thing. Milton Friedman, when it was pointed out that Swedes had miniscule levels of unemployment, famously replied that Swedish-Americans did as well. Attitudes toward the world are informed by conditions, but they are based on culture. To assume a causative relation — that the superior happiness of Scandinavians is caused by their socialized systems (which are far less socialized than they used to be) — is to believe that human beings are empty vessels whose every attitude and emotion is informed by the quality of their government.

Americans tend to be a grouchy bunch, in case you haven’t noticed. This is especially true when we have a political and media class that are constantly running the nation down and telling us we need to be … more like northern European countries. To be completely fair, I think there is something to MSNBC’s analysis: there are parts of this country with entrenched poverty and misery. But they’ve drawn the wrong conclusions from this. We’ve already invested trillions trying to fix that problem through northern European style social services. The result has been to only make the problem worse.

(Side note: Speaking of stupid comparisons, I tweeted about it this weekend, but Nicholas Kristof wrote a truly moronic column this weekend arguing that the Republicans’ ideal country is seen in either Pakistan or the Congo. Don Boudreaux tears him up as does Balko. I simply get tired of saying this: wanting less government is not the same as wanting no government. Wanting less government is not the same as wanting no government. Wanting less government is not the same as wanting no government. Do you guys get it now?)