As the resident parent of the C&L bunch, I've been looking at the toy recalls closely and have written about the Bush administration's version of Consumer Products Safety Commission, which like so many of Bush's appointees, places more importance on corporations than the consumers it has been charged to protect. Well, now CPSC chairperson Nancy Nord has brought the wrath of Dobbs upon her:
This -- Nord, is she as imbecilic as she appears to be as absolutely insensitive to American consumers, as absolutely lacking the judgment to run a federal agency designed and created to protect the American consumer? I mean this woman is beyond belief. [..]
How many of these recalls did her agency initiate? I wonder if she would like to answer that question. I wonder if she would like to explain how in the world she could say this is not a trade issue when she is sitting there testifying before Congress saying that this country is simply swamped with those giant containers filled with all sorts of things, but in this case, toys that are not being inspected.
Welcome to BushWorld, Lou. Where have you been for the last eight years?
Full Transcripts Below The Fold
DOBBS: American toy brands exposed American children to millions of dangerous toys just last year. And federal government regulators were powerless to stop them and to protect American citizens. Today our government assures Americans that things will be different in 2008, but there is absolutely no guarantee that those officials know what they are talking about that they learned anything from their mistakes. Most toys are still made in communist China and new recalls are occurring almost daily. Christine Romans has our report.
ROMANS (voice-over): From video games to soft toys, dolls to puzzles and games. Toy manufacturers and importers are showing their wares to retailers and reporters.
LEE SCHNEIDER, COMMONWEALTH TOYS: We plan on producing millions of these toys over the next six to 12 months.
ROMANS: Twenty-five million toys were pulled off the shelves last year for safety violations. Now the industry wants to put the year of the recall behind it.
ALAN DORFMAN, BASIC FUN: These are tested extensively. It is a big deal especially coming after the year we came off of the industry.
ROMANS: Wal-Mart and Toys R Us just announced stricter toy safety guideline. The Toy Industry Association is closer to improving safety standards, a process begun last July.
CARTER KEITHLEY, TOY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: The safety conformist system will assure that it doesn't have any lead in it. That it doesn't have small parts if it's going to small children. That it doesn't have sharp edges or sharp points.
ROMANS: The Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is hiring more scientists and adding inspectors at America's busiest ports, though it doesn't say how many. The acting chairwoman of the consumer agency says the toys sold in this country, three billion a year, are safer than they have ever been and she seemed to downplay the outcry over dangerous magnets, lead paint and deadly chemicals on store shelves last year.
NANCY NORD, CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMM.: Some of the media stories caused parents to become very confused.
ROMANS: Exaggerating the risks, she said, and Nord brushed aside criticism that America's trade policies had eroded product safety.
NORD: Safety is not a trade issue. We will be vigilant in making sure that imports that come into this country are safe. Again, safety is not a trade issue.
ROMANS: But in testimony before a congressional panel last year she admitted her agency could not keep up with the explosion of imports.
NORD: There are just thousands and thousands of containers of consumer products coming into this country from overseas.
ROMANS: At this toy fair, aisles and aisles of new toys are mostly imported, mostly from China just like last year's recalls.
ROMANS: Now this toy fair seems familiar. Industry executives of the toy fair in October told us then it would be the safest holiday ever for toys and they featured a toy called the Aqua Dots. Lou, that toy was recalled just a month later after being featured at a toy fair just like this one because of course it metabolized into the date rape drug and it hurt some children.
DOBBS: This -- Nord, is she as imbecilic as she appears to be as absolutely insensitive to American consumers, as absolutely lacking the judgment to run a federal agency designed and created to protect the American consumer? I mean this woman is beyond belief.
ROMANS: She says that she relates to -- she's a mother, she relates to mothers and consumers, but Lou, she says that all those recalls show that the system is working. That ironically...
DOBBS: That it's working?
ROMANS: ... it shows that the system is working.
DOBBS: How many of these recalls did her agency initiate? I wonder if she would like to answer that question. I wonder if she would like to explain how in the world she could say this is not a trade issue when she is sitting there testifying before Congress saying that this country is simply swamped with those giant containers filled with all sorts of things, but in this case, toys that are not being inspected.
ROMANS: Yes, she does insist that trade policies and safety are two separate matters. That they are not linked which a lot of Senate Democrats, House Democrat, parent's groups and consumer advocates disagree with. They say that our trade policies have fostered this off shoring of our manufacturing...
DOBBS: Well, where the heck are the Republicans? Only an idiot would think otherwise. When the woman is sitting there saying that it's because we are overwhelmed with imports and we can't inspect them, how could it be anything but a trade issue as well? I mean unbelievable.
ROMANS: I think you have a significant philosophical difference with the chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission...
DOBBS: Well I think anyone with a triple-digit IQ would have a philosophical difference with her. Thank you very much, Christine Romans. And anybody who cares about what the heck they are doing in that job. Christine Romans, thank you, if I didn't say thank you, I want to say thank you again -- another failure by our government regulators to protect the consuming public in this country.