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Sexual Predators and Predator Drones: Is One Abhorrent but the Other OK?

By Dennis Loo (7/13/12)

Joe Paterno was revealed yesterday (7/12/12) in the Freeh Report on the Penn State scandal to have known at least as early as 1998 that Jerry Sandusky was raping young boys in the football locker room showers. The grand old father figure of Penn State football, who used to have life-sized cardboard statutes of himself being sold in Penn State stores, personally protected Jerry Sandusky from being criminally prosecuted in 1999 after top officials at the university had decided to formally report Sandusky to law enforcement. Paterno apparently convinced President Graham B. Spanier (who had to resign in disgrace after Sandusky’s arrest in 2011) to instead tell Sandusky that he should get counseling. And then Joe lied about being fully informed about and, in shielding Sandusky, involved in Sandusky’s sexual predatorship afterwards.

People in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are shocked and saddened that this winningest college football coach of all-time protected a sexual predator in order to avoid bad publicity for the football program and the university. And they should be.

But I have a question: what is the difference between a sexual predator being allowed to rape and molest young boys, while the institutional old boys club protected him and continued to give him access to the university facilities after Sandusky retired in 1999, so that he could “groom” his victims for attacking them, and the current U.S. president using Predator Drones – an idea that Obama actually initiated when he suggested that they should be used in Pakistan in August 2007, a suggestion that Bush initially ridiculed as too belligerent, and then subsequently adopted during his regime? Since taking office, Obama has escalated his use of drones in Pakistan and elsewhere; he now personally approves who will be killed next on his “kill list,” and he continues to shield his predecessors Bush and Cheney who confessed to torturing detainees, at least one hundred of whom are documented to have died under torture?

How are Joe Paterno and top university officials guilty as sin for their shielding a single sexual predator and Obama and the Democrats not guilty as sin for shielding Bush and Cheney and for carrying forward and going further with crimes of assassination, indefinite detention, and torture? Is not one predator just as bad as the other Predator?

How is Obama's statement that he's "looking forward, not backward," any different in the face of Bush and Cheney's atrocities than JoePa's turning away from and shielding his assistant coach's crimes? Is not the former even worse than the latter?

Read more: Sexual Predators and Predator Drones: Is One Abhorrent but the Other OK?

Food and Drug Scandals in China: the Wonders of the "Free Market"

By Dennis Loo (7/11/12)

The Chinese magazine Caixin, writing on June 20, 2012 ("China's Food Fright") about the burgeoning food contamination disaster in China, relates,

"In the three-plus decades since China began reform and opening up, regulatory standards have not been able to keep up with the ingenuity of food manufacturers."

"Reform" is the euphemism to describe capitalism's restoration to formerly socialist China. The innocent and positive sounding term was coined by the regime, led by Deng X'iao Ping, that covertly seized power after Mao's death in 1976, under the duplicitous signboard of being Mao's true revolutionary heirs, only to, after a few years of consolidating their power, set about undermining and ultimately jettisoning the fundamental principles and practices of socialist rule.

Of course, when you release the forces of the market in this "reform," you will not be able to keep up with the "ingenuity of food manufacturers." To give you a sense of the dimensions of this disastrous scene in food and medicines, here are some appetizers:

At the end of May 2012, the State Food and Drug Administration announced the results of inspections of nearly every pharmaceutical company. The report found that 5.8 percent of all capsules on drugstore shelves contained excessive levels of chromium, a toxic heavy metal substance. According to the report, 254 companies replaced edible gelatin with industrial grade gelatin when producing drug capsules. The number of firms accounted for more than 12 percent of total drug producers in the country.

Zhu Yi, a food safety expert at the China Agricultural University, said the discovery has implications that cross over to other industries. While medical products are more carefully monitored, the food and cosmetics industries receive even less government scrutiny.

The central government continues to expend a huge amount of resources quelling the panic that follows media reports of food safety scandals. In April 2011, the Ministry of Health issued a list of 47 possible toxic additives in the food system. However, food safety experts say such lists issued by the government are far from complete, adding that razor-thin profit margins among food producers continue to drive the use of toxic chemicals.

It comes down to a simple cost-benefit analysis – the cost of violating food safety regulations remains low compared to potential payoffs.

A recent Ministry of Health investigation found that it is not uncommon for legal edible additives to be used in excessive amounts in over 22 categories of food. The excessive intake of many of these additives has been proven to increase the risk of cancer and fertility problems.

Read more: Food and Drug Scandals in China: the Wonders of the "Free Market"

Aaron Sorkin’s “Newsroom”

By Dennis Loo (6/26/12)

HBO’s newest series, Newsroom, which debuted on Sunday, is written and produced by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote West Wing, Sports Night, and the movie The Social Network. The show is written from an idealist perspective – how the news ought to be and could be in a best of all worlds - rather than a materialist one – how and why news media have degenerated so far and what could be done about that.

What is most interesting about Newsroom, which drew a large opening audience for its Sunday debut of 2.1 million viewers, just behind HBO’s lineup of Game of Thrones (my choice for the best show ever) which had an opening audience of 2.2 million, and Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire of 4 million plus, and twice the excellent, but unlucky, Luck’s opening of 1.1 million, is the reaction of the real media to it.

In general the media strongly dislike the show.

Imagine that. A show that criticizes the media as being tawdry, superficial, money driven and stupefyingly misinforming, provokes the real media to say that they do not like the show!

Washington Post’s former media writer Howard Kurtz panned it at the Daily Beast (the successor to Newsweek) as “bad satire,” preachy and overblown:

Naturally, Will [anchor Will McAvoy played by Jeff Daniels] delivers a boffo NewsNight, running roughshod over government and corporate flacks, and at this point the audience is supposed to cheer. Except the characters have taken turns acting like such jerks that it’s more exhausting than uplifting.

As someone who is in and has been in the media, Kurtz does not know journalists who are jerks? Where have you been Mistah Kurtz? Are you dead to what real journalists can be like? Having been a journalist myself, and having been around a good number of them, I'd say the characters in Newsroom are a lot more appealing than their real counterparts generally are.

Read more: Aaron Sorkin’s “Newsroom”

Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12