Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Front page story in today's LA Times, common news everywhere: "Google may leave China in wake of hacker attacks."

With only slightly bolder headline to the right: "Haiti in chaos after 7.0 quake."

And the Los Angeles Times is going to save itself by moving as much of their operation as they can to the web. Where it can run more entertainment stories as ledes.

But DD digresses.

Over the past two years, DD blog has posted a great number of comments on China and its many shoddy goods.

From worthless stub wrenches to worm-eaten toilet seats and trinket blues harmonicas to melamine-poisoned pet food and milk to lethal counterfeit drugs to cadmium-containing jewelry fit for the landfill, China has the market cornered when it comes to manufactured crap.

Still, when you go into any store in Pasadena everything that's not nailed down is made in China.

So bagging on China isn't fair.

Because also at the root of this problem are the American businessmen who dismantled their manufacturing and production, discarded their quality control, let go of their supply chains and fired their American workers and steadily squeezed the wages of everyone left over -- all so they could have their consumables, drugs, toys, dry goods, tools -- you name it, made in China.

And every damn one of them, and everyone in regulatory affairs in the US government, knew going in they were going to have a big problem in this area. And they all made conscious decisions to abandon their scruples, decency and moral high ground to the pure pursuit of profit at the expense of everything else.

Years later, in the US -- for example -- you'd still be hard-pressed to glimpse any punishment for Baxter, the company that distributed lethal made-in-China counterfeit heparin.

Rely on the US government for regulation during the last decade? Haw.

Now you can rely on civil class action suits only.

"Baxter International, Inc., which recalled its blood thinner heparin amid reports of allergic reactions and deaths in 2008, faces at least 30 lawsuits in Chicago by injured people or their estates," reported Bloomberg recently.

"As many as 300 product-liability complaints may be filed in the Illinois state court, plaintiffs’ attorney Allen Schwartz of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz said today in a phone interview. His law firm and two others are working to comply with a judge’s order last year to convert an aggregate lawsuit to individual claims against the Deerfield, Illinois-based company.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested new manufacturing standards for the blood thinner in 2008 after the problems were linked to tainted ingredients from China ... Baxter, which at the time supplied about 50 percent of the blood thinner and anticoagulant used in the U.S., began a voluntary recall after its monitors noticed an increase in reports of allergic reactions to injections of the drug, said Erin Gardiner, a company spokeswoman, in a phone interview today.

"We deeply regret any impact the 2008 heparin contamination situation may have had on patients and family members," a Baxter p.r. person informed Bloomberg in an e-mail.

The company deeply regrets the 2008 heparin contamination situation. How could anyone doubt such sincere sentiment? Why, that and 75 cents will get you a copy of the Los Angeles Times at the newspaper kiosk up the street.

So when one reads about Google telling China its hack attacks are the last affront, one eyes quickly glaze over until they hit the stories about contaminated Chinese drywall, installed in thousands and thousand of US homes in the southeast during the housing bubble. And how the American home-owners are deeply upset because the American companies that built their houses, or the importers of drywall, can't be turned to and now their investments are deteriorated and/or unlivable.

"Chinese drywall has been implicated in widespread problems for thousands of homeowners in Florida and other southeastern states, where the wallboard was used when domestic supplies were short during the construction boom from 2004 to 2007," reads one news story. "Complaints about Chinese drywall include metal corrosion of air conditioners and other household items, and complaints about medical problems like headaches and nosebleeds."

"Bill Morgan bought what he thought would be his dream home in James City in 2006," reports a newspaper in Newport News, Virginia. "But this summer he had to move out, afraid of the fire and health risks since he discovered it was made with fume-emitting drywall imported from China."

"On Tuesday, he was part of a crowd of nearly 150 people who attended a town hall meeting in James City put on by Richard J. Serpe, an attorney representing about 70 families whose homes contain Chinese drywall ... They're among about 2,775 reports of the defective building material that have surfaced in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of the homes were built in 2006 and 2007. More than 90 percent of the reports are from Florida, Louisiana and Virginia."

So don't blame China for [fill in the blank]. It's our country that's busted, run aground on stupidity and avarice.

Of course, we still make land mines and the the most advanced cluster bomb in the world, the great sensor-fuzed weapon.

Which would be just the thing in case China attacks Taiwan, as envisioned in this news story:

"US military officials said today they would provide Taiwan with weapons to protect itself from a possible Chinese attack, despite Beijing's warning that such sales could lead to conflict.

"The officials told a congressional hearing that China was preparing for a fight against the island."

Don't believe me? See here.

"I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee," wrote Kurt Vonnegut once.

What did he know about the US of A in 2010?

Country's top product safety regulator (which is like saying the country's top scarecrow) says to take that cancer-causing cadmium cheap-ass jewelry from China off your kids.


Because it took Associated Press to hire a real scientist to do the work, not a US-government consumer protection agency.

"Writing in a blog posted Wednesday evening, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that children who chew, suck on or swallow a bracelet charm or necklace may be endangering their health," reported AP.

" 'I have a message for parents, grandparents and caregivers: Do not allow young children to be given or to play with cheap metal jewelry, especially when they are unsupervised,' wrote Inez Tenenbaum, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission."

Rather, some staffer posted it. No one rational would believe a government official 'posted to a blog' any more than they'd believe a claim that human beings can jump to the moon.

Tenenbaum's 'biographical' page at the McNair law firm, where she worked prior to being tapped by the Obama administration reveals she has no experience in consumer protection.

In fact, Tenenbaum has little notable experience in anything unless one considers the vain hoovering up of a stack of honorary degrees from really small, undistinguished and loser-ish colleges hot stuff rather than charity-case apple-polishing.

"2003 Distinguished Service Award, Greater Columbia Community Relations Council; Distinguished Alumni Award, Center for Creative Leadership, 2001; Compleat Lawyer Award, University of South Carolina School of Law, 2000," are some of Tenenbaum's many things. Awesome. Consumers would feel so much safer if they knew of this stuff.

But we can also add a new accomplishment: Officially Read The Associated Press On Cadmium Junk Jewelry and Instructed Staffer to Post to Blog Award, 2010.


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