Ethanol's boosters, led primarily by ADM, go to great lengths to screen the
public's knowledge of the facts behind this taxpayer-funded rip-off.
Justifications for the subsidy are draped in histrionics, flawed research
and/or demogogic appeals to patriotism (i.e. "No American soldiers should
die for foreign oil") --- Who would disagree with that ---
but who looks behind the statement to discover its falsehoods?
ADM's de facto monopoly in ethanol and its subjugating influence across wide
swaths of our agro-food system has been accomplished stealthily over decades
and is currently enforced by several largely hidden (but interlocking)
(1) political contributions and placement of ADM-approved toadies at all
government, particularly USDA and Congress,
(2) a large phalanx of controlled trade associations, commodity groups, and
related foundations at national, state and local levels and
(3) controlling influence in important media sectors through stock ownership
of newspapers, advertising and holding companies.
Let's illustrate the last point --- Have you been watching the public
destruction of Conrad Black, erstwhile chairman of Hollinger International,
and a member of British House of Lords? Hollinger, which controlled, among
other assets, The Chicago Sun Times, The London Daily Telegraph and dozens
of smaller newspapers, began imploding shortly after ADM's chairman emeritus
Dwayne O. Andreas and another longtime ADM director, Robert Strauss,
resigned their board seats at Hollinger in early 2003.
Other ADM directors and toadies, including former Ambassador Richard Burt and former Illinois governor James Thompson, continued serving on Hollinger's board and helped spark an internal investigation, brought in a former SEC chairman for window dressing and dumped Black amid a swirl of nasty allegations. Having orchestrated Black's ouster, by exposing audits
and other internal revelations of indefensible corporate greed, it would
appear the "Pot (Andreas) can call the kettle (Black)" and get away unscathed --- while simultaneously riding the public's post-Enron indignation.
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