Monday, June 13, 2011

CPSIA - Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

We live in interesting times.  There has been no action by Congress to deal with the CPSIA since its controversial passage in August 2008 despite consistent and loud hue and cry.  Right now, Dems are blocking progress.  Apparently, they think the biggest threat to America is ANY change to the CPSIA. Our markets, our jobs, our livelihoods will be a necessary sacrifice to . . . what? 


During this crisis of thousands of businesses catering to children, a Democrat on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the committee charged with managing the CPSIA mess, has been emailing photos of his you-know-what to women and girls all over America.  One of Anthony Weiner's email correspondents was reportedly voted "Most likely to be involved in a tabloid scandal" by her high school class (she's only 21, it wasn't long ago).  I think you get the (sordid) picture.  Mr. Weiner has been of no use on the CPSIA, riding the high horse "protecting children" with his Dem brethren, at the VERY SAME TIME he was using the Internet for interactions that are, at a minimum, pretty creepy. 

So Weiner is against letting even a notch out on the CPSIA belt around our necks, too unsafe . . . but he thinks it's okay to creep around on the Internet, shooting pics of himself in the Congressional locker room and sending them out to his female Internet pals (one of whom was a porn star).  Hypocrisy?  How can that be, the Dems are cloaked in white, right???

Mr. Weiner remains perplexingly in office.  As Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus noted on Meet the Press:

"What we called for is for Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leaders in this country to do what every American knew had to be done immediately and call for his resignation. Now, it seemed to me that for the first 10 days in this circus that the only job [in America] that Nancy Pelosi was interested in saving was Anthony Weiner's. We've got crushing unemployment in this country, we've got a president that's, that's whistling past the graveyard, we've got families that are struggling, and instead we've got leadership in a Democratic Party that are defending a guy that deserves no defense."  [Emphasis added]

And back at the ranch, the CPSIA Amendment (ECADA) is stalled.  Why?  Consider the May 25th words of Rep. Henry Waxman, Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee and principal roadblock to relief:

"But instead of refining a good law, the Republican bill goes after the law with a wrecking ball. The result is an assault on children’s safety.  The Republicans call their bill the 'Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act.' A better name is the 'Unsafe Toy Act.'"  [Emphasis added]

That's right - the Dem leader is calling the work of the Republican majority the "Unsafe Toy Act".  Hmmm.  Please NOTE that the General Counsel of this committee (Gib Mullen) is the former General Counsel of the CPSC and its former Director of Compliance.  Is the implication that this former Kirkland & Ellis partner is a "hack", lacking principle and integrity and is simply doing as he is told by Republican overlords who don't care about children's safety?  Please, if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

The label "Unsafe Toy Act" is an insult and a lie in so many ways.  First of all, it isn't true.  As I have discussed extensively in this space, ECADA is a surgical revision to the CPSIA, designed to fine tune the law without restructuring it.  Reporters have called me to ask what the big deal is.  Good question but the answer is obvious.  No rational person subject to the laws of the United States or residing here would want to make toys, or any children's product, "unsafe".  If you insist that they would, Mr. Waxman, PROVE IT.  Oh yeah, you don't do that, do you?

Second, Mr. Waxman impugns the dignity and integrity of anyone who would dare support ECADA.  That includes me since for more than 20 years my career has been devoted to making educational products (with perhaps the best safety record in the entire children's product industry).  Mr. Waxman's label plainly announces to the general public that I favor poisoning kids to make more money.  That is rather offensive, to say the least.  Members of the House of Representatives are permitted to speak their minds, through and including libelous remarks, while on the House floor.  They literally can say ANYTHING with impunity - I can't sue them for this slander.  As such, there is no recourse for this slander.

This unfortunate label is at the heart of what the Dems are after - political advantage.  Those of you who periodically pepper me with defenses of good Democrats fail to recognize the consistent pattern of obstruction and failure to act reasonably among the small group (cabal) of Dems and associated consumer groups behind this roadblock.  The pattern of lies is all for political effect.  Can you imagine the reelection commercials?  Good for the Dems, bad for anyone who disagrees with them.   The threat even applies to Dems who might have a conscience and be willing to stand up to the demagogues - the consumer groups are ready to attack them, too.  Everyone knows it, no one wants to say it.

Mr. Waxman trots out the usual lies and misstatements, relying on the trick of portraying this law as a "toy law":

"The Unsafe Toy Act triples the amount of lead allowed in most children’s toys. For some children’s products, the bill would allow lead levels to increase 100 times or more.  The bill eviscerates the requirement that toys imported from China be independently tested for safety. . . . Just listen to what the experts are saying about this bill. The Consumer Federation of America says that the bill creates 'huge loopholes.' Consumers Union says it will 'lower standards and roll back safeguards for children and infants.'  The American Academy of Pediatrics and 100 other experts in children’s health wrote to express their 'deep concern' over the bill because it 'would have the effect of permitting more lead in toys.'  Chairman Inez Tenenbaum of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and a majority of the Commission wrote that the bill 'would effectively revoke key protections … and fails to adequately protect the health and safety of American children.'"

I have rebutted the consumer group "arguments" numerous times in this space already. I am not going to repeat myself here.  Mr. Waxman's reference to "triple" lead levels refers to a new limitation on the excessive and useless 100 ppm lead standard that, btw, has never been deemed technologically feasible by the CPSC.  The "change" to lead levels of 100 times or more than existing standards refers to the rule exempting metal alloys (like brass) complying with the stay authorized by the CPSC Commission.  OMG, you mean we can still use brass in children's products like pens and trumpets?  The HORROR!

Neither the consumer groups nor Mr. Waxman and his Dem brethren have answered my question - Where are the victims?  This question was asked several times in the April 7th hearing by members of the committee.  To date, no one has supplied even one case history.

No one calls Mr. Waxman to account for his lies and innuendos, so he persists in trashing those who can't defend themselves.  This is not unlike his unjustified attacks on Toyota that were later proven FALSE.  Mr. Waxman did something similar at the April 7th hearing first discussing the CPSIA Amendment.  In his opening statement, Mr. Waxman laid it on thick: 

"But your discussion draft, which is the subject of today’s hearing, takes a wrecking ball to the law and would endanger young children. . . . Your discussion draft is a very different document. Democrats, consumer groups, and health experts were not consulted. The result is a one-sided proposal that provides relief to industry, but sacrifices children’s health and safety. . . . I have learned over the last few months that there seems to be no limit to the ability of the new Republican majority to pass bad legislation in this Committee and on the House floor. I have no doubt that if you want to do so, you could do so again with your draft bill.  But there is no chance that a bill this extreme could ever become law. It would not survive in the Senate and if it did, it would be vetoed by the President." [Emphasis added]

It's always nice to end with a threat.

The title of this post refers to a lampoon written by now Senator Al Franken (D-MN).  In this book, he contends that Republicans are liars.  Well, well, well, how times change, huh?  Mr. Franken???  Any comment?

I didn't think so.

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