HOW MUCH HAS MITCH McCONNELL BEEN PAID TO ALLOW THE CHINESE COMMUNISTS TO DUMP THEIR POISONOUS PRODUCTS ON AMERICA?
Things have quieted down a bit since Bush Regime incompetence-- now apparently accepted by most Americans as an immutable fact of Nature-- contributed to the deaths of thousands of pets. As one federal agency after another has been politicized, ideologicized and made incapable of carrying out basic functions, disasters they were designed to prevent have multiplied. Why should Bush's FDA be expected to do a better job than Bush's FEMA?
Today's Washington Post asks a crucial question every American should ask next time they go into a voting booth and consider voting for a Republican-- or for a Democrat who acts like one: Why doesn't the U.S. stop the importation of tainted food from China? It's a page 1 story so, presumably, some of our elected officials might notice it.
Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical.
Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics.
Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria.
Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.
These were among the 107 food imports from China that the Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.
For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught-- many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.
Now the confluence of two events-- the highly publicized contamination of U.S. chicken, pork and fish with tainted Chinese pet food ingredients and this week's resumption of high-level economic and trade talks with China-- has activists and members of Congress demanding that the United States tell China it is fed up.
Dozens of people in Panama have died from using toothpaste made in China. Like today's Post report, yesterday's NY Times carried a report that should make every American who doesn't grow his own food and medicine to wake up and take note. "Diethylene glycol, a poisonous ingredient in some antifreeze, has been found in 6,000 tubes of toothpaste in Panama, and customs officials there said yesterday that the product appeared to have originated in China... Diethylene glycol is the same poison that the Panamanian government inadvertently mixed into cold medicine last year, killing at least 100 people. Records show that in that episode the poison, falsely labeled as glycerin, a harmless syrup, also originated in China. There is no evidence that the tainted toothpaste is in the United States, according to American government officials."
There may be no evidence that there is but if that is the case, it's because we've been lucky-- so far. It certainly isn't because we've been protected by our government, not from an incompetent executive branch hell-bent on proving that "big government" is incompetent-- one of the Bush Regime's only accomplishments-- and not from the legislative branch controlled by pocket-lining crooks like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Yesterday during a live blog session with Kentucky activists about Tuesday's gubernatorial primary, there was a brief conversation about how the Bush Regime's chief Senate obstructionist Mitch McConnell is a closet queen. Cliff Schecter pointed out, perhaps facetiously, that McConnell sometimes emerges from the closet to do business with his Chinese communist partners. "A review of financial assets held over the past six years by Elaine L. Chao and her husband, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, reveals that the labor secretary-designate serves as director of an insurance company that jointly owns a Lippo Group subsidiary with the Chinese government... McConnell, has received steady campaign contributions during his years in the Senate from Lippo partner American International Group Inc., and its chairman, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg."
McConnell "is China's biggest Republican booster in the Senate, fighting to liberalize trade with Beijing."
The Post story claims that "dead pets and melamine-tainted food notwithstanding, change will prove difficult, policy experts say, in large part because U.S. companies have become so dependent on the Chinese economy that tighter rules on imports stand to harm the U.S. economy, too." There is no mention of Mitch McConnell and the agenda he and his "wife," U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, have pushed, quite relentlessly, an agenda that has helped to make them enormously wealthy and powerful... at the expense of some dead dogs and cats and some people getting sick. The Post claims that so many U.S. companies are involved with China now that there is little that can be done about it. That's how McConnell and Chao planned it.
Trading with the largely unregulated Chinese marketplace has its risks, of course, as evidenced by the many lawsuits that U.S. pet food companies now face from angry consumers who say their pets were poisoned by tainted Chinese ingredients. Until recently, however, many companies and even the federal government reckoned that, on average, those risks were worth taking. And for some products they have had little choice, as China has driven competitors out of business with its rock-bottom prices.
China's less-than-stellar behavior as a food exporter is revealed in stomach-turning detail in FDA "refusal reports" filed by U.S. inspectors: Juices and fruits rejected as "filthy." Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption. Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer. Swordfish rejected as "poisonous."
The always cynical and self-serving McConnell was key in rejecting a bill that would have allowed senior citizens to purchase inexpensive Canadian drugs because, he claimed, the U.S. couldn't guarantee their safety. When someone brings up the safety of Chinese products to McConnell he turns into a veritable dragon lady, screaming and hissing and cursing about "Free Trade."
McConnell, Chao and the Bush Regime are literally allowing their partners in Communist China to poison the American public. "So pervasive is the U.S. hunger for cheap imports, experts said, that the executive branch itself has repeatedly rebuffed proposals by agency scientists to impose even modest new safety rules for foreign foods. 'Sometimes guidances can get through, but not regulations,' said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group. Guidances, which the FDA defines as 'current thinking on a particular subject,' are not binding. Under the Bush administration in particular, DeWaal said, if a proposed regulation does get past agency or department heads, it hits the wall at the White House Office of Management and Budget."
UPDATE: WHAT ABOUT DEMOCRATS WHO VOTE FOR THESE BAD TRADE POLICIES?
I'm glad you asked. There are Democrats, more than a few, in league with corrupt Republicans like McConnell and Bush and out to screw the American people in return for cold hard cash, sometimes directly into their pockets and sometimes in the form of "legal" bribes (campaign contributions). Today, David Sirota has a brilliant piece up at Working Assets that explains Triangulation and how unscrupulous Democratic pols sometimes act just like... Republicans.
The term "triangulation" in politics means a set of leaders trying joining with their opponents to pass measures that run counter to those leaders' own supporters. Typically, triangulation is practiced by presidents against their own parties in Congress, with the master of triangulation being President Bill Clinton who, among other things, rammed welfare reform and NAFTA "over the dead bodies" of rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers and the progressive movement. Can congressional leaders can pull the same move? Unfortunately, we're going to find out very soon, as congressional Democratic leaders are very clearly attempting to triangulate against their own party on the three issues the party ran on to win Election 2006.
Although David convincingly discusses some Democrats' faithlessness on lobbying reform and on Iraq-- and I suggest everyone read the entire story (linked above)-- I want to focus on how Democratic politicians, in conjunction with the worst Republican bribe-takers like McConnell-- are selling out voters in the trade policies they are working on with the 100% corporately-oriented Bush Regime.
On trade, Public Citizen has shown that the Democratic Party relied on candidates who ran against lobbyist-written trade deals in order to win many of the crucial conservative-leaning districts that were necessary to win the congressional majority. Yet, as we've seen over the last week, a handful of senior Democratic leaders are joining with the Bush White House in an attempt to ram an ultra-secret free trade deal through Congress, acknowledging that in order to be successful, they will rely on all Republicans and just 25 percent of Democratic lawmakers. As rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers and organizations representing millions of workers, farmers and small businesses have raised objections to the deal, Reuters reports today that Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is digging in, saying that if he knew what he knew now about how serious rank-and-file Democratic opposition to lobbyist-written trade policy was, he would have tried to negotiate the deal in even more secrecy than it was negotiated in in the first place.
On Bill Moyers' terrific PBS report on Friday about the secret deal, author John R. MacArthur says the motivations for the triangulation on trade are obvious. "This is like the NAFTA campaign of the '90s, an attempt by the Democratic leadership-- in those days it was the Clintons-- to raise money from Wall Street."
This drive to triangulate on trade has now reached a point where the handful of Democrats who made the deal are publicly attacking those rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers, labor, environmental, health, human rights, religious, consumer protection and agricultural groups raising questions about the deal. On Friday, Reuters reported that Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) "offered no apology" for negotiating the deal in secret or for continuing to conceal the legislative text of the deal. Instead, he went on the attack, saying the only thing he would do differently would be to "ignore a lot of people that really were just wasting my time." He claimed innocently that "I cannot see how anybody would be upset" by the deal, even though as Public Citizen shows today, the list of reforms to current trade policies that fair trade groups forwarded to Democratic leaders many months ago was almost entirely brushed aside by Rangel, as were proposals for a whole new framework for global trade deals.
TRIANGULATION STRATEGY: The dynamics set up a situation whereby the Democratic congressional leadership and less than half of all Democratic lawmakers (as during NAFTA) join with all Republicans to ram a free trade package through Congress over the objections of the progressive movement and rank-and-file Democrats who ran against lobbyist-written trade policies in 2006.
The major culprits? Rahm Emanuel, of course, as well as Rangel and Hoyer. We'll have the list of Democrats who decide to behave like Mitch McConnell-- as soon as the votes are cast.