Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baby taken from parents who wanted 2nd doctor’s opinion

A Sacramento family was torn apart after a 5-month-old baby boy was taken from his parents following a visit to the doctor.

The young couple thought their problems were behind them after their son had a scare at the hospital, but once they got home their problems got even worse.

It all began nearly two weeks ago, when Anna Nikolayev and her husband Alex took their 5-month-old boy Sammy to Sutter Memorial Hospital to be treated for flu symptoms, but they didn’t like the care Sammy was getting.

For example, one day Anna asked why a nurse was giving her son antibiotics.

“I asked her, for what is that? And she’s like, ‘I don’t know.’ I’m like, ‘you’re working as a nurse, and you don’t even know what to give to my baby for what,’” Anna explained.

According to Anna, a doctor later said Sammy shouldn’t have been on the antibiotics.

Anna said Sammy suffers from a heart murmur and had been seeing a doctor at Sutter for regular treatment since he was born. After Sammy was treated for flu symptoms last week, doctors at Sutter admitted him to the pediatric ICU to monitor his condition. After a few days, Anna said doctors began talking about heart surgery.

“If we got the one mistake after another, I don’t want to have my baby have surgery in the hospital where I don’t feel safe,” Anna said.

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Internet sales tax bill divides Republicans, vote looms in Senate

After holding firm against virtually any kind of tax increase, some congressional Republicans have found one that doesn’t make them cringe.

A contentious bill which could come for a final vote in the Senate as early as Thursday would empower states to make online retailers collect sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. Though it would likely face more resistance in the House, where the anti-tax creed is more pronounced, a number of Senate Republicans — and Republican governors — are supporting the bill.

The legislation passed a test vote in the Senate Wednesday, 74 to 23, with 27 Republicans voting in favor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowed to pass the bill this week, before senators leave for a scheduled vacation.

Some of the most powerful anti-tax advocacy groups in Washington are still fighting to block the bill. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, warns the bill would set a “precedent for further expansions of state-level tax collection authority.”

He said the bill is about “money-hungry state legislators.”

The Heritage Foundation says that “real conservatives” oppose the bill and that it would hurt online commerce and force small businesses to jump through new bureaucratic hoops.

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Ron Paul: Police manhunt for Boston Marathon bombing suspect scarier than attack

Former Rep. Ron Paul said the law enforcement that swarmed around Boston in the days following the marathon bombings was scarier than the actual terrorist attack.

“The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city,” he said on the Lew Rockwell website, Politico reported. “This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself.”

Mr. Paul, a former libertarian political candidate who served in Congress as a member of the Republican Party, said the door-to-door searches police conducted in Watertown for the bombing suspects were particularly alarming.

They reminded of a “military coup in a far off banana republic,” he said, Politico reported. “Force lockdown of a city. Militarized police riding tanks in the streets. Door-to-door armed searches without warrant. Families thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable cause. Businesses forced to close. Transport shut down.”

Mr. Paul reminded the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was ultimately discovered by a civilian, and not due to police crackdown,

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Democrat Admits Background Checks Won’t Work — Wants to Pass It Anyway

Though she still supports stricter gun control measures, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), in a rare moment of honesty from the anti-gun crowd, admitted to the The New York Times that the Manchin-Toomey amendment, which would expand background checks to gun shows and online gun sales, wouldn’t stop criminals from obtaining a firearm for nefarious purposes.

[A] separate gun measure, an anti-trafficking bill, is the subject of talks between Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and two Republican senators who voted no on the background check bill. The Republicans, Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, are discussing ways they might support the bill, which would criminalize the shipping or transfer of guns to someone who is barred from possessing a firearm.
[…]
“I think trafficking can be the base of the bill, the rock on which everything else stands,” Ms. Gillibrand said. “I also think it’s complementary to background checks because, let’s be honest, criminals aren’t going to buy a gun and go through a background check. So if you really want to go after criminals, you have to have to do both.”

Criminals don’t obey laws — that’s why they’re criminals. Over at Reason, Jacob Sullum points out that the push for new gun control laws, though they won’t really reduce instances of gun violence, is basically a publicity stunt; what he calls the “appearance of doing something.”

Sullum writes that the trafficking proposal is just an example of overcriminalization. “That seems a bit redundant, since transferring a gun to someone you know or have reasonable cause to believe falls into a prohibited category is already a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison,” wrote Sullum. “Apparently Gillibrand wants to make it even more illegal, which she says is ‘complementary to background checks.’ There you have the theory underlying the gun controls favored by President Obama in a nutshell: None of these measures on its own will do anything to reduce crime, but if we pass them all together…well, they still won’t do anything, but they will create the appearance of doing something.”

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Politics: Everything is Rigged: The Biggest Financial Scandal Yet

Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.

You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.”

That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.

Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It’s about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.

[Read More…]