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August 13, 2007 11:15PM
http://www.counterpunch.org/engdahl08132007.html

Buy Feed Corn, They're About to Stop Making It

The Hidden Agenda Behind Bush's Biofuel Plan

That bowl of Kellogg's Cornflakes on the breakfast table, or the portion of pasta or corn tortillas, cheese or meat on the table is going to rise in price over the coming months as sure as the sun rises in the East. Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the new world food price shock, conveniently timed to accompany our current world oil price shock.

Curiously it's ominously similar in many respects to the early 1970's when prices for oil and food both exploded by several hundred percent in a matter of months. That mid-1970's price explosion led President Nixon to ask his old pal, Arthur Burns, then Chairman of the Fed, to find a way to alter the CPI inflation data to take attention away from the rising prices. The result then was the now-commonplace publication of the absurd "core inflation" CPI numbers--sans oil and food. Stephen Roche was the young Fed economist who was assigned the statistical manipulation job by Burns.

The late American satirist, Mark Twain once quipped, "Buy land: They've stopped making it" Today we can say almost the same about corn or all grains worldwide. The world is in the early months of the greatest sustained rise in grain prices, for all major grains including maize, wheat, rice that we have seen in three decades. Those three crops constitute almost 90 per cent of all grains cultivated in the world.

What's driving this extraordinary change? Here things get pretty interesting. The Bush Administration is making a major public relations push to convince the world it has turned into a "better steward of the environment." The problem is that many have fallen for the hype..............

.................Another agenda behind Ethanol?

Uh Huh. The dramatic embrace of bio-fuels by the Bush Administration since 2005 has clearly been the global driver for soaring grain and food prices in the past 18 months. The evidence suggests this is no accident of sloppy legislative preparation. The US Government has been researching and developing bio-fuels since the 1970's. The bio-ethanol architects did their homework we can be assured. It's increasingly clear that the same people who brought us oil price inflation are now deliberately creating parallel food price inflation. We have had a rise in average oil prices of some 300 per cent since the end of 2000 when George W. Bush and Dick Halliburton Cheney made oil the central preoccupation of US foreign policy.

Last year, as bio-ethanol production first became a major market factor, corn prices rose by some 130 per cent on the Chicago commodities in 14 months. It was more than known when Congress and the Bush Administration made their heavy push for bio-ethanol in 2005 that world grain reserves had been declining at alarming levels for several years at a time when global demand, driven especially by growing wealth And increasing meat consumption in China, was rising.

As a result of the diversion of record acreages of US and Brazilian corn and soybeans to bio-fuel production, food reserves are disappearing. Global food security, according to FAO data, is at its lowest since 1972. Curiously that was just the time that Henry Kissinger and the Nixon Administration engineered, in cahoots with Cargill and ADM_the major backers of the ethanol scam today_what was called The Great Grain Robbery, sale of huge volumes of US grain to the Soviet Union in exchange for sales of record volumes of Russian oil to the West. Both oil and corn prices rose by 1975 some 300-400per cent as a result. Just how that worked, I treated in detail in: A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics.

Today a new element has replaced USSR grain demand and harvest shortfalls. Bio-fuel demand, fed by US government subsidies is literally linking food prices to oil prices. The scale of the subsidized bio-fuel consumption has exploded so dramatically since the beginning of 2006 when the US Energy Policy Act of 2005 first began to impact crop planting decisions, not only in the USA, that there is emerging a de facto competition between people and cars for the same grains. Lester Brown recently noted, "We're looking at competition in the global market between 800 million automobiles and the world's two billion poorest people for the same commodity, the same grains. We are now in a new economic era where oil and food are interchangeable commodities because we can convert grain, sugar cane, soybeans_anything_into fuel for cars. In effect the price of oil is beginning to set the price of food."

In the mid-1970's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a protégé of the Rockefeller family and of its institutions stated, "Control the oil and you control entire nations; control the food and you control the people." The same cast of characters who brought the world the Iraq war, the global scramble to control oil, who brought us patented genetically manipulated seeds and now Terminator suicide seeds, and who cry about the "problem of world over-population," are now backing conversion of global grain production to burn as fuel at a time of declining global grain reserves..................
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