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December 10, 2005

Would You Like Some Anthrax Sprinkled on Your Donut?

By Pepper of the Daily Pepper

Blogenfreude at Agitprop sent out the alert that the Carlyle Group, a private military enterprise linked to the Bush Clan, is planning to violate Dunkin Donuts: "Yes sports fans, The Carlyle Group, peddler of death worldwide through its ownership of such fun-and-games outfits as United Defense and Qinetiq, is now angling to buy French-owned Dunkin Donuts."

Be sure to click through so you can enter Blogenfreude's competition for best Carlyle Group Dunkie name. There's also a link to the related Washington Post story. I have two questions a) IS NOTHING SACRED? and b) What would the Carlyle Group want with the big DD? Actually, defense types have a long history with food companies.

Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle, the company that brought you aspartame, which is NutraSweet and Equal. According to "The Plot Against Sugar" by Rich Cohen, which appears in the December 2005 Vanity Fair, Rumsfeld appears to have been the driving force behind FDA approval of aspartame. The FDA was reluctant to approve aspartame, but when Rumsfeld started working for the Reagan Administration, everything fell into place for the sugar substitute:

For two decades, aspartame had failed to win approval. Then Ronald Reagan was elected president, and Donald Rumsfeld, while keeping his position at Searle, worked on the president-elect's interim foreign-policy team. Soon after Reagan was inaugurated, Searle re-applied for approval of aspartame. Within a few months, Reagan had named a new head of the FDA and the chemical got the green light. Rumsfeld had correctly recognized that Searle's problem was not scientific; it was political.

This isn't intended to draw a conspiracy analogy between aspartame and Rummy or Dunkies and the Carlyle Group, but the defense interest in food isn't anything new. It's just a reminder that this administration is made up of business figures. The Washington Post suggests that Carlyle will just position the company to sell it at a profit:

Typically, the target companies are sold within a few years, either to another corporate buyer or in an initial public stock offering.

That's what Carlyle's been doing all along, as Kevin Phillips points out in American Dynasty:

The Carlyle Group, founded in 1987 as a merchant bank focused on political influence and defense-sector investments, became famous for turning its impressive portfolio of national-security-related companies into winners for Carlyle's operation or profitable resale.

The sudden interest in Dunkies suggests to me that they're looking to shift away from the war business. If Iraq is going to be successfully rebuilt, companies like Carlyle will need to sink money in the reconstruction, but the insurgency indicates that they won't make a return on that investment for a good long time. So, it's off to the land of food, and just like any other investment firm, they have some successes, but they leave a trail of damaged companies in their wake. They're out to make money no matter the cost. They don't care if it's donuts or arms, just as long as it turns a profit.

December 10, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

are you aware of the story about how fluoride is in our water and toothpaste because the aluminium companies(again a stronghold of defense) needed some way to contain all the excess sodium fluoride from the production of the wonder metal?

all hail our military-industrial overlords

Posted by: almostinfamous | Dec 10, 2005 7:42:20 PM

are you aware of the story about how fluoride is in our water and toothpaste because the aluminium companies(again a stronghold of defense) needed some way to contain all the excess sodium fluoride from the production of the wonder metal?

Great story. got any evidence of this nefarious plot? Hey, it's worth asking because the world is full of bullshit stories that people buy into because it fulfills their conspiracy paranoia and this sounds like one of them.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Dec 10, 2005 9:17:22 PM

This isn't about conspiracy, Fred. The point is that the Carlyle Group and other companies are interested in making money, and they'll do it with whatever product they think they can move.

About the flouride, I hadn't heard that one, but I wouldn't be surprised. I don't think that defense contractors sit around rubbing their hands together figuring out how to destroy the little guy - they just rub their hands together hoping to make a buck.

And, Fred, don't you think it's weird that Carlyle would be interested in donuts? At least you can admit that.

Posted by: Pepper | Dec 11, 2005 3:29:29 PM

This isn't about conspiracy, Fred. The point is that the Carlyle Group and other companies are interested in making money, and they'll do it with whatever product they think they can move.

Well, isn't that the charge of business? We do expect them to be lawful and doughnuts seems lawful enough.

Here's another curious quote from the post:

They're out to make money no matter the cost. They don't care if it's donuts or arms...

Hey, if they work within the law, the rules that we have all greed upon in advance and were promulgated by a democratic process, and they make money, then there is little to bitch about. If you believe somehow that a particular business practice is that unsavory, then we need to add it to the law.

What you seem to be doing is applying a second set of rules that favor your political leanings...........rules that have *not* been agreed upon in advance and were promulgated not by a democratic process, but by mob.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Dec 11, 2005 3:57:48 PM

And they WON the bidding ... coming soon: Bradley Fighting Brownies and Petroleum-Jelly Filled! Oh, and a redesigned treat: Cruellers!

Posted by: blogenfreude | Dec 13, 2005 1:07:33 PM

Re: Aspartame
As a food inspector in New York State, I investigate aspartame degradation in diet soda every year. Aspartame starts to breakdown at 86F (loss of sweetness and medicinal taste) - the bottler does not load there trailers the night before (in summer) because of this problem. The breakdown into aspartic acid and methyl alcohol (aka wood alcohol and methynol) are toxic. The bottler estimates worst case at 54ppm after breakdown... of course the dose makes the poison and proving that 54ppm causes adverse health affects is difficult... don't let anyone say that methyl alcohol is also present in fruit at similar concentrations because fruit also contains ethanol which is an antidote... the television show "House" featured this same poisoning senario.

Posted by: Allen Mozek | Jan 5, 2006 4:36:37 PM

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