Your Monsanto, Tom Vilsack, GMO food assignment
I'm not up-to-date on farming matters and I let McDonald's handle the food side of things. So, I'm turning making some sense of the issue of GMO food and seeds ("genetically-modified organism") over to you, especially as regards the links between Monsanto Corporation - one of the leading promoters of GMO seeds - and our new Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.
* "The Multiple Ways Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach" (link)
* "Six Reasons Why Obama Appointing Monsanto's Buddy, Former Iowa Governor Vilsack, for USDA Head Would be a Terrible Idea" (link)
* S.425 from Sherrod Brown: "A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for the establishment of a traceability system for food, to amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspections Act, the Egg Products Inspection Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for improved public health and food safety through enhanced enforcement, and for other purposes." The exact relationship between that bill and this issue isn't clear; if anyone finds something damning, leave a comment.
* HR 875 from Rep Rosa DeLauro: "To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes." This says it would end family farming through excessive regulation; they're probably overselling it. However, the fines for violations of various FSA regulations that would cover most all types of food production outfits including farms are very high.
* Former Monsanto VP Michael Taylor was on the Obama transition team; see 'Obama's Team Includes Dangerous Biotech "Yes Men"' (huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/obamas-team-includes-dang_b_147188.html). See also this.
* "Monsanto Behind Legislation That Would Police Rural Communities and Intimidate Seed-Saving Farmers" (link)
* "The Future of Food" (link, documentary from Jerry Garcia's wife)
* "New Monsanto and GMO Propaganda" (July 2001 Le Monde article, link)
* The World According to Monsanto, an eight-part French documentary (Part 1 here)
* "RAID on seeds (Life, itself) ... by Monsanto" (dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/12/15/224022/35/752/673513)
* Something similar to the above: mydd.com/story/2008/11/24/3838/2901
* A reply to those who say this is just a leftwing issue is here.
* Missouri-based radio host Derry Brownfield (link) apparently said something about Monsanto on his show and was subsequently fired: link. Others say it was because he was becoming too shortwave-y: link. Audio of the one of the controversial shows is in this MP3 file.