Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
14 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Monsanto Planting Seeds in the White House?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Valuable 2   Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H1 3/24/09

opednews.com

Apparently, President Obama is considering appointing Michael Taylor to head the new Food Safety Working Group. Who's Michael Taylor? From Food Politics (care of Jill Richardson):

Mr. Taylor is a lawyer who began his revolving door adventures as counsel to FDA. He then moved to King & Spalding, a private-sector law firm representing Monsanto, a leading agricultural biotechnology company. In 1991 he returned to the FDA as Deputy Commissioner for Policy, where he was part of the team that issued the agency's decidedly industry-friendly policy on food biotechnology and that approved the use of Monsanto's genetically engineered growth hormone in dairy cows.
 
 

His questionable role in these decisions led to an investigation by the federal General Accounting Office, which eventually exonerated him of all conflict-of-interest charges. In 1994, Mr. Taylor moved to USDA to become administrator of its Food Safety and Inspection Service... After another stint in private legal practice with King & Spalding, Mr. Taylor again joined Monsanto as Vice President for Public Policy in 1998.

 

The man has moved in and out of roles at the federal government and Monsanto so many times he probably has whiplash.

So what's the big deal? (I'm not going to opine on Monsanto here, other than to say that I know quite a few people who think Monsanto is the most evil corporation in the world, and that's even after this AIG debacle.) Well, two things:

The first is that I find it puzzling, to put it lightly, that Obama would choose this guy to help ensure food safety. Here's what Taylor recently said:

FDA is in "bad shape" and the FSIS meat and poultry inspection system is "obsolete," Taylor said. "We're spending a lot of government money to do inspections that could be done by someone else," he said. "We need to complete the transformation of FSIS as a food safety agency, away from inspection to a science-based public health agency." 

Yes, because it's been proven just how effective is lack of rigorous monitoring and regulation on the part of the government. We need more of less. Taylor was also responsible for writing the rBGH labeling guidelines for the FDA. The guidelines specifically prohibited dairies from stating that their products contained or were free of rBGH. Sounds safe to me.

Second, the appointment of Michael Taylor to the Food Safety Working Group would really belie Obama's pledge not to appoint lobbyists to positions within his administration. And this would not be the first time. Am I shocked? No. But this is not merely a matter of a politician going back on a pledge or dancing around the edges. 

The AIG/bank bailout fiasco shows just how crippled the Obama Administration can be by conflicts of interest. Secretary Geithner has failed miserably at asserting the federal government's authority over the corporations to which we've handed out hundreds of billions of dollars. The banks aren't lending, and AIG and Citigroup are using our tax dollars to provide private benefits to some of the who got us into this mess. 

As Josh Marshall eloquently states, the real issue behind the AIG bonus debacle isn't the money.

There's no end of puffed up outrage and opportunistic posturing over the on-going revelation of the AIG bonus scandal. But some line has been crossed. And it's worth thinking really clearly about just what that line is. What is so damaging about this isn't the money -- which is almost trivially small compared to the many hundreds of billions we've already committed. The problem is what appears to be the president's mortifying impotence in the face of bankers and financiers who created the problem. 

Appointing people who have close ties to--and, in many cases, have actually worked for--the industries they are responsible for regulating, is a losing proposition. Whether or not Geithner and other Obama appointees are intending to serve private corporate interests over those of the nation, their close relationships and possible conflicts of interest certainly don't help.

Originally posted at Post Carbon Institute. 

 

http://postcarbon.org

Asher Miller became the Executive Director of Post Carbon Institute in October 2008, after having served as the manager of the Relocalization Network. He's worked in the nonprofit sector since 1996 in various capacities. Prior to joining Post Carbon (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Monsanto Planting Seeds in the White House?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
11 people are discussing this page, with 14 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

It seems with each new day we are confronted with ... by cpaddock 1252335501 on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009 at 2:12:02 PM
Jesus H Christ, this is more like a republican sit... by Mr M on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009 at 3:19:01 PM
Jeffrey Dahmer as white house chef !! Good one M ... by jersey girl on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009 at 8:21:51 PM
Asher, In reference to the rGBH labeling guideline... by Brad Mitchell on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009 at 4:41:32 PM
... although that is one of the points brought up,... by Mr M on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009 at 7:09:15 PM
Brad, Thanks for your response. To clarify, my so... by Asher Miller on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 11:20:55 AM
providing the seeds for the White House vegetable ... by Stanimal on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009 at 5:19:32 PM
was caught lying again.  Didn't he say he... by jersey girl on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2009 at 8:20:18 PM
http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/economic-f... by Darren Wolfe on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 8:26:15 AM
Makes me wonder if it will be Monsanto in disguise... by amicus curiae on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 9:50:36 AM
forward:  Food Safety Working Group: Will Oba... by Michael Arvey on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 11:33:45 AM
Considering she works on the side of healthy, orga... by jersey girl on Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 6:39:15 AM
to have any hope that he would do anything other t... by steve scheetz on Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:53:12 PM
Yeah, Obama lied through his teeth. He won votes b... by Ingrid on Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 3:18:00 PM