A “found” corruption

March 11, 2013

Have you ever heard of a “found” poem?

If not, this is what it means: “Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.” Source: Poets.org

Well, I found something about consumer related corruption, but it wasn’t linked to China. It took place in the United States, and I’m going to write a “found” post by piecing together a collage of corruption with one example from China compared to similar private sector corruption in the United States where greedy CEOs took short cuts to boost profits.

On “60 Minutes” Sunday night, March 10, 2013, I first heard about the NECC Drug Scandal: Fake names used to bypass regulations (the story first broke September 2012).  I then Googled “NECC Drug Scandal” and came up with 786,000 hits.

Then I Googled “Chinese drywall import scandal” (2001) and came up with more than 4.4 million hits.

Since the late 1990’s there has been a conservative political agenda in the United States to take away and/or limit Federal government regulatory and watchdog protection for consumers. One of those exemptions from FDA over-site led to the NECC Drug Scandal. That same conservative political agenda also led to the 2007-08 global financial crises.

Wiki reports that from the NECC scandal (started September 21, 2012 and still ongoing) there have been 48 deaths, 720 injuries and more than 400 lawsuits filed against NECC.

Let’s compare that to the potential for injury from the Chinese drywall scandal: “The Center for Disease Control, in collaboration with The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a guide indicating the residents of affected homes reported irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks.”

Out of curiosity, I Googled, “the Ford Pinto Case (1972) where, due to a cover up at Ford, people died.”The cases involving the explosion of Ford Pintos due to a defective fuel system design led to the debate of many issues, most centering around the use by Ford of a cost-benefit analysis and the ethics surrounding its decision not to upgrade the fuel system based on this analysis.” My Google search came up with 719,000 hits. Twenty-seven deaths were attributed to Ford Pinto fires.

Does this “found” post on corruption and good-old-fashioned universal human greed reveal that a scandal in China will cause more of an uproar than a similar or worse scandal in the United States? If so, why?  After all, no one has died yet from that tainted drywall that was made in China and sold in the US.

If the fungus tainted drugs from NECC had been made in China and exported to the United States, how many Google hits do you think would result?

Discover High Speed Rail Tragedy in China Reveals Small Minds in West (39 people died and it was an accident not linked to corruption) and More on China’s July 2011 Rail Accident (Note: a Google search of this topic came up with 22.2 million hits)

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Kombucha Fermented Tea

May 30, 2010

Sometimes I wonder about the sanity of most Americans.  It seems they will drink or eat anything that arrives pretty on a plate or in a fancy bottle. I  read a piece this morning that said Lindsay Lohan and other Hollywood types like Madonna, Kirsten Dunst and Halle Berry are into this new (but old) synergy drink called Kombucha.

Kombucha Home Brew

No one knows for sure where this fermented tea originated but recorded history says it started in Russia during the late 19th century. Promotional material says the drink comes from ancient China or Japan. In fact, some say that kombucha, known as the Godly Tsche, dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and was “a beverage with magical powers enabling people to live forever”. Since the first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, didn’t live forever, we can discount that claim.

I asked my wife about this tea and she said that as a child she saw it being fermented and that the stuff floating around inside the jar reminded her of dead cockroaches.  Once someone like Pepsi or Coke gets hold of something old like this there is no telling what kind of chemicals will be added. If you want to make this tea, click Kombucha Tea for the home brew recipe.

If you believe the health claims for this tea, you may want to learn about the Chinese “Chong Cao“. Remember, the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) hasn’t evaluated any of this stuff yet.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Food Safety in the People’s Republic of China

May 27, 2010

A friend sent me a piece about tainted supplements in the United States.  One paragraph grabbed my attention.

“In recent years, a vast majority of supplement suppliers have located overseas — principally in China. Nearly all of the vitamin C and many other supplements consumed in the United States are made from ingredients made in Chinese plants. Those plants are almost never inspected by the FDA because the agency is not required to do so, has little money to do so and does not view the plants as particularly risky.” Source: New York Times

Chinese farmers harvesting bok choy

China has an agency that is similar to America’s FDA. It’s called The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and was founded in 2003 as part of an effort to improve food safety. Today, there are about ten government departments and ministries under the State Council responsible for food safety in China. (Information about China’s SFDA)

Although China’s SFDA is relatively new compared to America’s FDA, China appears to be taking food safety seriously compared to weaknesses discovered in America’s FDA. 

Evidence that China is serious about food safety happened on July 10, 2007, when Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the SFDA was executed by lethal injection for taking bribes from various firms in exchange for state licenses related to product safety.

In fact, until the 1906 Food and Drug Act, America did not have an FDA (Source: FDA Early History), and recently the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed that hundreds of agency scientists had been pressured to approve a drug despite reservations about safety.   

Discover more about China’s Eating Culture

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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