THE LAROUCHE SHOW, JUNE 21, 2008
The Great Flood of 2008: How Prince Philip's Greenies and Neo-Cons Caused It
Harley Schlanger: Good Afternoon, and welcome to the LaRouche Show. It's Saturday, June 21, 2008. I'm Harley Schlanger: and I will be your host.
As we've been covering on The LaRouche Show, the breakdown of the global financial system, which was accurately identified by Lyndon LaRouche in his international webcast on July 25th, 2007, has had dramatic effects on every aspect of the economy. Among these are the record numbers of foreclosures, with banks and financial institutions repossessing homes by the thousands every day. There's been a dramatic collapse of the dollar, and now we're seeing a hyperinflationary trajectory—just as LaRouche had warned—which is especially pronounced in the prices of health-care, fuel, and food.
On June 3rd, just a couple of weeks ago, leaders of a number of nations gathered at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's conference in Rome, to address the growing food shortages, which now threaten nearly 2 billion people worldwide. While representatives at this conference rejected the worse option, which was a call for more free trade and more power invested in the World Trade Organization, there was no solution offered.
This food crisis is going to become more severe now, as a result of the devastating flooding which is occurring along the Mississippi River. In addition to whole towns being submerged under water, valuable farmland has been flooded, and crops and livestock have been destroyed.
This did not have to happen: Following the last serious flooding in this area, in 1993, Lyndon LaRouche called for a major water infrastructure program in the region, a call which was reinforced every single year before the Congress, by representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers. Unfortunately, the Congress did not respond.
Again, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, LaRouche issued an urgent call for a national mobilization for reconstruction of the nation's infrastructure. He said it had to be national, not just specific to New Orleans. Partly in response to LaRouche's initiative, a bill was introduced in 2006, by Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri, to fund the kind of Civilian Conservation Corps which would employ young people in needed infrastructure development, especially in the area of the Mississippi River which is now being devastated by flooding. But this was also rejected by the Congress.
Today on The LaRouche Show, we will discuss what should have been done had LaRouche's warnings been heeded. We'll also discuss the damages that have already been done, because these proposals were not implemented, and what urgent measures must be introduced now.
First we're going to hear from an old friend of the program, Bob Baker, who comes from Iowa. Then we'll hear from Marcia Merry Baker, who is in addition to her services as co-host of The LaRouche Show, she's a leading expert on infrastructure, and you can see her writings on www.larouchepub.com and www.larouchepac.com regularly. And then Allie Perebikovsky from the LaRouche Youth Movement War-Room is also with us today.
So let's begin with Bob Baker: Bob, you're very familiar with agriculture in the Midwest especially Iowa. Why don't you open by just giving us a picture of the damage overall from the ongoing flooding?
Bob Baker: Thanks, Harley. Well, what you have is, you've got to look at the physical infrastructure and really paint a picture. You have hundreds and hundreds of grain elevators along the Mississippi, and farms with grain bins, that have 3, 4, maybe 10 foot of soggy, wet grain sitting in the bottom of it. And it's very hard to get that soggy, wet grain out, without mixing it with all the good grain. So you got a big problem there. Plus this stuff starts to mold, you start getting aflatoxin, you start getting all kinds of biological growth going, and in some cases it could actually get very hot, and just destroy the whole bin.
You have roads and ditches where the water's flooded over and the currents have just gouged out, like taken all the gravel off the top of the roads, or eaten out the sides of the ditches so they can't be used.
You have, in the fields, you'll have, especially on the bottom-land, you'll have all kinds of silting now, very fine soil that's come and has been deposited all across the top of the soil. And the bottom-land, which is the better land, much has been invested in that to get it to that productivity in terms of drainage. But now you'll find silt and sand that would look like snowdrifts across the field, on a winter day. And it could be 3-4 feet deep, it'll take lots of time and lots of effort to remove that, and then reincorporate what's left back into the soil over a period of years, so that it's productive.
You've got hundreds and hundreds of livestock buildings that have been flooded. One of the most stark reports came from Oakville, Iowa, where the county has lots of livestock, hogs in particular; they had 36,000 hogs in the total area. And they tried to remove them and the water came up so fast, that many of the hogs in the confinement buildings, they just had to open the doors and let them out. And they swam and floated many miles. And what happened is a lot of them ended up on these levees with the sandbags, and then they covered the sandbags with plastic so the water doesn't erode them away. And these pigs were crawling up the sandbags and poking holes in the plastic, and so they lined up a whole detachment of police and shot 'em all. And see, this is an aspect you don't see coming through the media very much.
If you go through the sewer systems of the cities, and the water systems, you can't imagine the amount of sand and mud that will be deposited in the sewer lines, and the water systems, that'll all have to be scraped out, cleaned, and it may take months and months to get this functioning again.
The railroads: Whole railroads under water. Whole fleets of semi-trucks, the current has lifted them up and piled them in a pile somewhere.
Now, that's the physical side. And if you multiply that into the psychological impact into the population, which basically are pulling together in the crisis, but when this is all over, it's going to hit people like gang-busters. And you see it in the grocery stores, where many people around the bigger cities, because they were flooded, they were all driving out to the small communities, and you ended up with a sort of a food shortage on the shelf, because the small grocery stores in the outlying cities weren't prepared for that, plus they couldn't get restocked. Because, in one case, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, two of the most heavily hit area, are 13 miles apart, but you'd have to drive 218 miles to get from one to the other.
Schlanger: Hey Bob, let me ask you: In addition to the land that's being hit, there's already crops that have been planted that are moving toward maturity. What happens to these crops when they're submerged for days or weeks?
Bob Baker: Well, they're done. I mean, they're just—they're covered with mud, even if the water went on 'em and receded rapidly, so you could harvest them, they'd be so dirty and dusty, it would just be second-rate feed.
Schlanger: So this will already, then, have an effect in reducing the harvest for the summer of 2008.
Bob Baker: It's going to have a big effect, because, if the farmers do replant, which means they'll be very late, like corn, in Illinois they figure any time corn is planted after the 15th of May, it loses 1 bushel per day. So, here we are almost at the end of June, if it dries out enough. But the other aspect is—
Schlanger: Bob, just on that: Does that mean, let's say, in a week the water's gone, they start to sift through the damages. It's too late to plant a crop for this summer, then?
Bob Baker: In many cases, yes.
Schlanger: Okay, go ahead.
Bob Baker: And in cases where you could plant soybeans, 'cause you plant those later, you can't because there is so much chemical residue, that you would have used for the corn crop, that would automatically kill the beans. So, you have a compounding situation.
Now, you also have some flood health problems, that are of great concern, because you got a lot of human waste overflows, fertilizer run-off, you know, nitrogen going into the water system.
Schlanger: Does this affect the drinking water then?
Bob Baker: Yeah, especially shallow wells in the Midwest. But then you also have, you know, like the one veterinarian was reporting that if there's ponded water, floodwater on farms where livestock doesn't have access to it, or gets into it, you can have a lot of chemical residue in that water that could kill off the livestock. Also, he said, not knowing what's in that floodwater, brings about another concern, something that we haven't had to deal with since the 1950s, and that's anthrax. And if they see mortality—you know, the symptoms of that, because anthrax can lay dormant in the soil for decades and even centuries, but this type of catastrophe can activate it.
Schlanger: [station id] We're discussing the flooding that's hitting the Midwest of the United States, that's moving south along the Mississippi River. And I'd like to bring in Marcia Merry Baker, right now. Marcia, this didn't have to happen, did it? I mean, it doesn't seem to me that the rains were so much heavier this year, than the last couple of years: What caused this flooding?
Marcia Baker: Well, it didn't have to happen because you're talking about this area of drainage called the Upper Mississippi Basin, that has not had all that mankind could install in the way of flood control infrastructure built! That's the simple part: to your immediate question about rains: There were some very impressive rains in recent times, namely, there was a wet spring in much of the runoff area that feeds into the Mississippi main channel, and that's especially in northern Iowa, lower Wisconsin; even up the Ohio, which feeds into the Mississippi, in Indiana and also Illinois. And then, after that wet spring, and it was relative cold and a lot of farmers put in their crops later than they would like to, so you were already vulnerable, then there were quite a few inches—up to 15 inches— in a very short period of time in early June.
So you got a sequence of weather, but this isn't the first time that it's happened in this vast river basin. There was a different sequence in 1993 that led to that epic flood, what they call the "Great Flood of 1993," although that was later in the summer, in July and August. And in past times: In the 1920s and even in the 1800s, on record, you just have a very large area you're talking about, so this would be one of the places on Earth, where you would want to focus your technology. The Army Corps of Engineers calls this the Upper Mississippi Basin, and it just wasn't built up properly.
Schlanger: Well, I assume the Corps has made proposals. You probably heard in the opening, I made the report that every single year the Corps is putting forward proposals for the national infrastructure, which are always cut, way, way down. But is there a plan for the Upper Mississippi Basin? And what do you know about the funding and the implementation of the plan?
Marcia Baker: Right, well, as to the latter question: it's underfunded and not fully implemented at all.
To put this in perspective, we are talking about the Upper Mississippi Basin, as I said, and also that's contiguous with the Missouri River System Basin that rises way out in the Rocky Mountains up in Montana. And combined, the fully Mississippi, including the Lower Mississippi Basin—and you know that ends in the delta area of New Orleans in Louisiana; so we saw what happened with that when it was hit by the Katrina Hurricane in 2005. But: What's happened is, after some huge floods in 1927, the Army Corps of Engineers—these floods in the Lower Mississippi Basin—the Army Corps of Engineers came in and said: Yes, let's build flood control systems from top to bottom of this giant system. And they went to work over the Franklin Delano Roosevelt years in the 1930s, and they pretty much built up a great deal of the Lower Mississippi Basin. You're talking about the states of Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, down to New Orleans.
And the problem that hit, in 2005 when Katrina hit, is all of this wasn't maintained. So the Lower Mississippi Basin had a lot built. They had diversion channels, they had built up embankments, they had levees proper, they had flood lakes that were empty when there was no flood and filled up when there was a flood. So, the same kinds of things after the Second World War, were on the drawing board to be done in the Upper Mississippi, and they were only partially done. I can't say whether you would say they were 30% done, or 50% done, but sure enough it was not at all finished. So that's the vulnerability, you see. And in 1993, it was estimated that what was in place, in the way of levees along the main stem of the Mississippi, and then a lot of the tributaries up there in the north—the Wisconsin, Illinois and many Iowa rivers—they reduced the damage in 1993 by 50% by what they had. But hey! They might have reduced it by 80 or 90% or more if they had everything. And now 15 years later, we're getting it all over again.
Schlanger: Marcia, what is the main argument, when the Army Corps goes before the Congress and makes a proposal? I know you've drafted some model legislation also. What's the argument that you get from the Congress when they say, "We're not going to do it." Is it simply, they say, "we don't have the money," or are there other considerations?
Marcia Baker: Well, there are several arguments put forward, and then you look behind the curtain, and you find a lot of them are from the same source; they have the same mother. One of the arguments—the plain, old argument is: We don't have enough money, we can't do it. Well, any society that says, it's like saying—you look at these ruins back in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, where they once had irrigation systems and then gave up bothering and then the civilization disappeared! So if we don't have resources for protecting ourselves against floods in an area that's known to be a huge runoff area—forget that argument.
Secondly: There is a very insidious one, that, when it's sunny and it's not flooding—and I think you were the origin of this, Harley—picture this development: Some guy rolls into town. He's like the "76 trombone" salesman or something, and he's the riverboat gambler that says, "Hey! Don't worry about the future. You have problems now in Iowa, some of your towns don't have manufacturing, your farmers aren't getting paid, you can't pay for your schools: Tell Iowa to get money by legalizing casinos, and you have a great amenity here, a tourist amenity called the Mississippi River. So put the casinos on the riverboat, you'll get some money for schools. And don't ruin the view for tourists, by building up a great big, concrete levee. It's so ugly! Just let people have their little riverside cafés." And that's—
Schlanger: I believe we put the headline, "The Devil Comes to Davenport" on that scenario, didn't we?
Marcia Baker: Yes we did, and that was September 1993. That's on video; I'll be looking it up, Harley, because we had one of those riverboat casino croupiers come and give a speech about how great it is to not build your levees and keep your view—until, of course, it floods! And your entire town disappeared. That was Davenport, Iowa! It's still that way; it's pretty much under water.
So that's the second kind of thing that was a major campaign in all these areas. You look at San Antonio, look at downtown Cleveland, look at Washington, D.C. and the Anacostia River where there's supposed to be a stadium go up. In other words, that's a feature of the last 30 years of the bubble economy.
Schlanger: Well, I wanted to ask about that. Because you hear some of these arguments coming forward, that "well it's the farmers, they're farming too much." But actually, the one thing that is a problem of development, as I understand it, and I saw an article on this about St. Louis, that as part of the housing bubble, there were housing developments that were built on what used to be flood plains.
Marcia Baker: I think 30,000 at least, and that's a very big number, since 1993. I don't know if that's accurate. The media have it out it, and it could be, because of just what you're saying. The quick-buck bubble for real estate development, either commercial or housing.
Schlanger: Well, Marcia, I just came up with the solution: So all these foreclosed houses along the Mississippi should float down to New Orleans, and then they can be used to replace the houses that were wiped out by Katrina.
Bob Baker: Yeah, they have a lot of pigs resting on the roof, right now. [laughter]
Marcia Baker: So you can have instant barbecue!
Schlanger: Just to step away from it, from the broader picture, for a second, because I know you prepared some reports, Marcia, for the FAO conference in Rome, and I also want to bring Allie in in a moment to talk about this: But in the broader picture of things, this just adds to a catastrophe which is just at its beginning stage in terms of food. But how should the listener think about what's going on there?
Marcia Baker: This is a hit against one of the most productive areas of the world, the North American corn belt, that's going to cost in lost corn, in lost soybeans, and also wheat which was reading to be harvested in Illinois, so that's gone, because of the timing of the floods. And some of the farmers and others are trying to guestimate the volume that's going to be lost.
In 1993, you lost several millions of tons of grain, and remember, that already some of the grain from Iowa—Iowa was the world center of corn being used for ethanol—so 16% of the farmland area of Iowa, we understand, is definitely affected by the flood to a greater or lesser degree. And remember, the United States itself, everywhere in the country, accounts for close to maybe a third of all the world corn produced, and it accounts for over half of all the world corn exported. So if you're reducing this, you're cutting the amount of corn available for Africa, which imports it, and many other parts of the world.
So in a week or so, there'll be more reliable measures, but this is a big hit of the total amount of corn, also soybeans, available to the world.
Schlanger: [station id] You can send questions to our panel to: firstname.lastname@example.org....
Now, Allie, you were telling me yesterday as part of your investigation of the broader effects on the food crisis that there's been some motion from governments, including Australia and Canada, to dramatically cut back food production, even though there are these problems with drought in some parts of the country, floods in other parts of the world: What can you tell us on what looks like British Commonwealth countries?
Allie Perebikovsky: Well one of the biggest developments that just occurred, on Thursday, June 19th, in Australia, is you actually had a Parliament vote, to take down—a single desk vote —to take down and basically completely destroy the Australian Wheat Board, which is the one institution that basically installed protectionist measures to keep the wheat farmers from being preyed upon by these grain cartels. And we actually had documentation right there, from some of these farmers—there was a huge farmer rally in Australia—and one of these farmers came up to us before the decision was made, and told us that if they dismantled this Wheat Board, this was the difference between him planting a full crop this year, and only a half a crop or even no crop. I mean, there's farms being abandoned because of this decision.
And you can see this in the broader context of a British Empire drive to dismantle these granaries: Because this decision in Australia set the precedent for a similar kind of dismantling, or attempt to dismantle the Wheat Board in Canada as well. And this was quoted by one of the Members of Parliament, as saying that this is specifically a precedent to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board.
So this is big, because you have the biggest granaries right now, you have Australia, you have Canada, the United States, all of these areas of the world which can be used to actually quickly and efficiently double food production!
Schlanger: There's also an attack on Argentina, on the government of Argentina, by trying to pit the cartels against the government, and shut down production there. It's another important grain center.
Perebikovsky: Yes. Yeah, and the government of Argentina is proposing a protectionist legislation right now, for the Argentina grain companies. And there's a huge revolt right now, against the government as being a huge, staged revolt against them.
So yes, this is a huge thing, that we're fighting internationally.
Schlanger: You also have farmers out on strike, or farmers demonstrating for milk prices in Germany and Belgium. The French farmers, who are known to take unorthodox tactics, are spraying certain animal fertilizer from what they call "honey wagons," on city halls, to make their intentions known. [laughter]
But, Marcia, let me just ask you, because this is where we get to the important issue: Here we have a global food crisis, we have a shattering blow to the center of U.S. food production, and yet, for some reason, I've heard nothing from either Senator McCain or Senator Obama on this. And in fact, the only discussion you hear, is that the two of them seem to be in agreement on the need to have more free trade, more power to the World Trade Organization, what is the issue of protectionism as it's related to the farm sector, and food production and national food self-sufficiency?
Marcia Baker: Right, well, we're at the end of an era, of 30-some years, especially marked by 1984, let's start there, with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Agriculture Round which they began in Uruguay: Where the lie was enforced internationally by these financial interests working through the IMF and World Bank, that said that every country's citizens would be better off if they relied on the world market. The slogan of the GATT, that in 1995 became the World Trade Organization, was "One World, One Market," and they would put it in 16 different languages.
But the market doesn't have anything for you! Even if you had the money, there's nothing on the shelves of the world market for millions of people. And since that's the reality for over a year, and certainly over the last few months, many nations de facto are turning to, looking at the fact they should restore their own and work toward food self-sufficiency, or at least not be so dependent on a market that's blown out, both financially and in physical quantities that aren't there any more of food.
One example, yesterday, by the way, is that the Security Council of the nation of Russia met yesterday, and what was on their agenda? Food! Apparently, this might have been one of the first times.
Also the Economic Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the former Soviet bloc: What was on their agenda? Food! And a discussion of how these individual nations, not just Russia, but the others of the former Soviet bloc, how they could become more food self-secure.
So that old one-world market world, the pretense of that is gone. It was always a lie, it was a way to loot nations, it was a way to have these cartels that Allie mentioned—take any of the cartels, the dairy, the frozen food, the grains; take the frozen food cartels, many of them out of London—Green Giant is just one of their brand names—and instead of freezing food in the huge United States that has latitudes to freeze everything from Florida to Maine and Minnesota, they relocated to Mexico, to South America, to Asia, for all kinds of products.
But the end of the line is now at hand. And as Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche said, when they were in Rome, Italy this last week, for many reasons, where they held one press conference on the food crisis: Food is very personal, it's the upfront issue, we're going to change the direction of the world or not, based on this. And so protectionism is now, again, for your farmers, for your agriculture, back on the agenda.
Schlanger: Well, Marcia, let me appropriately play, the name for this is "the devil's advocate"—and it is advocating for the devil—namely, Soros and the speculators; but let me give them their due for a moment: They argue that the reason prices are going up, is because free trade works, because you have supply and demand pressures. Now many of our listeners who try to organize, run into problems of people who are educated or miseducated at American universities, who actually believe in these supply and demand curves. What's wrong with the argument that it's a supply and demand question that's causing the prices to go up?
Marcia Baker: Well, if you have shortages, which we do in different parts of the world, you might have some competing as to who's going to get the scarce rice or corn or dairy products, by paying a higher price. But hey! That leaves out the fact of these grain speculation exchanges, that you might as well call casinos. The famous one called the Chicago Board of Trade in Chicago, one in Kansas, one in Minneapolis, one in London, one in India, one in South Africa, and these places are going wild! You'll find that prices went way up in recent month, as a lot of money follows—that the name George Soros is connected to, for certain—didn't have anywhere else to go to and speculate in. The casinos for securitized home mortgages blew out in the last year, so you couldn't play that game any more! So the only game in town, almost, was the still-open exchanges for what they call "agro-commodities futures." You speculate on what the price will be for December delivery of new crop corn that you might harvest next fall.
Or you speculate on other things, hogs bellies, or rice or something like that, because it's one of the only games in town. And that's been a nominal focus of outrage on Capitol Hill by Congress, who isn't doing anything about it—
Schlanger: And these prices started going up before the flooding, and before it was even clear there were shortages.
Marcia Baker: Quite. Yes.
Schlanger: And I think then the other point, is that it's the cartels themselves that are advocating less planting, to use the advantage of the monetization, or securitization of crops, so that instead of the idea of planting for a reserve, because you need food, they are deliberately creating scarcity, they're shutting down farms in the advanced sector, and taking advantage of cheap farms in the developing sector. Marcia, you and I were in Seattle, when there was a rebellion by the farmers from the South, saying, "we're not getting paid enough."
Marcia Baker: Right, and that was in 1999, I think. It was called the "Battle of Seattle," because actually there were a lot of British-accented, black-hooded anarchists, who smashed the place down.
But the line was put out, at that time, especially by London, the British Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, who said, "Now that there's a lot of outrage against the World Trade Organization, by certain countries, and farmers in developing countries, we will befriend the poor nations of the world—we British." His name is Mr. Beyer [ph], I think. "And we will fight for ending all barrier to trade, and all tariffs by industrialized nations that are preventing the food from Africa and the Caribbean from going to Britain and France and the United States, freely." The end.
And that's what they've done for the last several years, ten years. But it's all blown out now, because the sophistry and the cant, and the pretense of that is exposed.
Schlanger: Well, you and I, personally, had several run-ins with Pascal Lamy, who at the time was the head of GATT, who's now the head of the World Trade Organization, who insisted that only free trade will bring the prices that will improve conditions in the southern hemisphere—and we're still waiting to see that. And it's never going to happen with free trade, because free trade is really just colonial policy.
I would encourage our listeners, by the way, who want to know the fraud of this free trade argument, to write in, or look on the website: We published a book several years ago, called The Civil War and the American System, and the arguments presented in there by Henry Carey and even Abe Lincoln, demonstrate that free trade is nothing new. And was identified by American patriots and producers, in the 19th century, that free trade was identified as British imperial policy to destroy the productivity of the American farmer.
Now Bob, I wanted to come back to you, because you have experience in financing agriculture in the Midwest. You are from Iowa, so you have the experience with this. We used to have a sense in the farm sector that it wasn't just about making profits, but it really was about feeding the world.
Bob Baker: Yeah, I mean, when the ag crisis hit in the 1980s, the big slogan was, "take the culture out of agriculture," and of course, the "culture" was to uplift humanity, rather than just make money.
And just to give you an example, there are scenarios now, people are calculating that if we continue to use the amount of corn they plant for ethanol, that the United States could be an importer of corn! In other words, if we don't import corn, we could have negative stocks. And that is just some basic arithmetic, based on what the projected yields are. Because we've got 20% of the acres are pretty well destroyed, 16-20%, but the other 80% or so, are not in very good shape either, because of massive amounts of rain that's hurt their yield potential.
Schlanger: And Bob, isn't the case that a lot of farmers from the World War II generation, and even the farmers that were born in the '50s and '60s, many of them have left farming in recent years, and you actually are going to have a shortage of skilled family farmers left in the country?
Bob Baker: Yeah, there's an article, actually, in the Wall Street Journal, from the son of a neighbor I grew up next to, and he's discussing the fact that it's just like "putting gasoline on a fire." He said, it makes it even worse, what's happening with the flood. But he said, he was losing money before that. He's raising livestock, raising pigs, and he said it was costing him $170 to produce a 280 lb. pig, and he was getting maybe $145-$150 for it.
Marcia Baker: Yeah, Harley, if we could bring that back to your supply and demand question, on how do you answer people? Bob can say more about this, but take the world meat supply country by country and so forth: It's completely insufficient. But: Hah! What happens, in April, in Canada, this is an indicative response by a government in Ottawa, they said, that the reason why hog farmers are getting less money for their animals, as Bob just said—they're losing $50 or more per animal —is because there's a "glut on the market, there's too much meat." So we want to bring the supply down to the level of the demand, there isn't enough demand, so we're going to have a hog kill-off program.
And in April, Canada announced this, it solicited a signup, where if you get rid of your breeding sows, for every one, you'll get $225. And you're a farmer in Manitoba, or something, you contract to have an empty barn. You raise no more, you don't go back in business for three years.
Now, this is a lie: That's what the answer is to some ill-informed person who says "doesn't supply and demand obtain?"
Bob Baker: Also, I'll jump in, because, Iowa is the number-one hog producing state and corn producing state in the nation—maybe the world—and they're now importing baby pigs by the tens of thousands from Canada, this was before the flood, to feed out in the United States, because of the drastic shift of currencies, and it's making everything crazy.
Schlanger: And isn't this also, with the ethanol, running up the price of corn, that's increasing the cost to pig producers, also?
Bob Baker: Absolutely. So you have a lot of the extra fertilizer, from the high fuel prices, that's now—they put on very expensive fertilizer that's just been washed off the ground, so they can't use it on the flooded area. But even on the higher land where they got so much rain, it diluted the fertilizer, especially nitrogen which translocates in the soil and it can actually just dissipate the percentage that's available. So they expect a much-reduced yield from all those types of factors.
Schlanger: Marcia, we have an email question from an old friend of yours and mine, Fred Huenefeld, from, as he writes "Loosiana." And Fred asks, "is there anything that could be called a 'world market price' on any commodities." Under free trade, I guess Fred's asking, whatever happened to parity pricing?
Marcia Baker: [laughs] I can say one thing, Bob and you all can say others: But one thing is, as Mr. LaRouche has been saying about oil pricing, that decades ago, there was the idea and practice that you wouldn't have any spot market speculation, this casino stuff that came about in the 1970s, thanks to George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and the rest. You would have nation-to-nation agreements between oil producer and oil consuming nations.
And similarly with food: It's a situation where internationally, if you want to talk about what should the price be? Nations could set it between each other, and set a price that would hold up, and not be subject to change every few months and more often.
So those kinds of things are starting now, as the so-called free trade system has blown out. So Vietnam and Philippines just signed a deal this week for rice; India is signing deals with the Persian Gulf nations, and so forth, for rice.
And within the United States and other countries, domestically, certainly we need a parity price, that is, a price that's on a par for a farmer with his costs of production, and with what other productive people are making in this society in which he's living. And that was the 1930s program under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And Fred Huenefeld has written about that for Executive Intelligence Review: We had the article there in 1996.
Schlanger: And that's what he's been fighting for.
And I would encourage people—there's an older book that was written by Lyndon LaRouche that has a beautiful discussion of this. It was called The Road to Recovery. You may remember this, Marcia, this was in 1999 for the 2000 [Democratic Presidential] campaign. And Chapter 3 of that book is titled, "Tariffs and Regulation, the Core Constituencies." And he has a whole section there on the issue of farm parity price, and farmers and labor, and also why you have to have a protective tariff. So this is something that people might want to call into the LaRouche PAC and get your copy of that.
I want to go back to Allie for a moment, because I know that one of the things the War-Room is looking at, is both the 1923 DVD, how there was hyperinflation created, deliberately, by the destruction of Germany at the Versailles Treaty; and then the new DVD that's going to be coming out soon on 1932, the battle between the British Empire and the American System, specifically around the Franklin Roosevelt election.
But, Allie, when you look at what you just described with the Wheat Boards being shut down, the global contraction of food production, the hyperinflation, some people get the idea, eventually, that this is not all something that's happening by coincidence. And Lyndon LaRouche keeps pointing to the fact that you have a commitment to Malthusian views from the City of London. What can you tell us about that?
Allie Perebikovsky: Yeah, this is the fight right now, it really is! What we're putting out on the 1932, the 1923, literally everything that we are currently fighting for, leading into Lyndon LaRouche's webcast, is on the issue of the British Empire oligarchical system, which destroys nations. The fight for food sovereignty is actually a fight for national sovereignty. That's what we're really looking at. We're looking at a system which actually enslaves nations, it's a system which is meant to create the genocide of 5 billion people on the planet, versus the American System: Which is a system of protectionism, of regulation, and a credit-based system meant to facilitate economic development between nations.
And this is specifically what Lyndon LaRouche has been focussing on lately, is the Four Powers agreement. He's actually writing a paper on this right now, to identify the role of the Four Powers in starting a new economic system in the world. 'Cause our current economic system is completely dead: If you look at it, it's created a huge physical economic breakdown, which expresses itself mostly in the hyperinflationary food crisis.
But the real point is, it's not necessary: This entire system is absolutely not necessary. And our fight is to make sure we get nations able to produce again. We can get Australia, Canada, the United States, to become the granaries of the world. Within a year, we can end starvation and end poverty. We can start building these great infrastructure projects to improve living standards. And that's the real fight here. This has been the fight for centuries: Do we actually improve the condition of mankind, or do we make mankind enslaved and beastly?
Schlanger: Well, Bob, let me take a look, for a moment, at the kind of response you're getting from the Congress. I mean, for example from Iowa: From what I understand, both Senators Harkin and Grassley are continuing to insist that we have to proceed with taking corn and turning it into ethanol. Is it really just that the farmers in Iowa are so badly beaten down by the last 20 years of free trade economics, that they'll give up on this idea of producing food for the world, just to make some money?
Bob Baker: Well, to the extent there's any leadership to fight it, and that's of course where LaRouche's institution as a political leader is so important to set the course; but the farm state leaders have, by and large compromised everything to such a degree, that even when they say something good, or support something good towards, especially food production, it's not enough, not even close.
Schlanger: Do you think they're aware, for example, in Iowa, that you have even the French Agriculture Minister, the German Agriculture Minister, the President of Egypt, as Marcia pointed out, the Russian National Security Council, talking about food? That this Four Power potential, that a global rebellion against globalization is possible?
Bob Baker: I don't think they have that sense that there's that big of a global battle going on. That's where I think our work's cut out for us, to get this across.
Schlanger: You got a lot of people to call in Iowa, then, Bob!
Bob Baker: That's right!
Schlanger: There's a lot of farmers there, who, if they still have phone service, would like to hear about this!
Bob Baker: Yeah, if they got their snorkel on! But see, this is the challenge, because I think this is a wakeup, like this young man who's losing thousands of dollars on livestock.
And getting back to Fred and what Fred brought up about the discussion on parity, and what Allie said about, "we need national sovereignty on a world scale, in order to provide food, infrastructure"—I mean, the process for decades now, has been set up to have cheap grain, it was really cheap, and the cheap grain helped consolidate the livestock industry to the point, where now, you have 26 livestock producers, producing 60% of the hogs.
Schlanger: So you have the cartelization of agriculture.
Bob Baker: They couldn't do it without being hooked into the Cargills, and the ConAgras, and the big packers and the big grain companies. So they consolidated the control, and now all of a sudden grain prices go through the roof, and all these guys are going to go broke. There's no way they can't.
And so, they set up with a cheap dollar for whole hordes of outside money from Europe or wherever, could come in and buy up the food producing industry for pennies on the dollar.
Schlanger: Now, Marcia: With this picture that we've just been discussing, what's the possibility, now, that we could go back to the Congress with a broader infrastructure plan? And first of all, what would the components of a national infrastructure plan be? And what's the possibility that there's an opportunity now to fight for this and get it implemented?
Marcia Baker: Well, the kinds of emergency measures we should have, let me mention some of them, and these are the ones as you referred to earlier, are not being raised at all, by the Harkin, Grassley, or Obama, McCain, certainly not Bush—you know what I mean, it's an amazing blackout! Really, even, of even raising what ought to be done.
Schlanger: I'm just going to interrupt you for a second, because there was a truthful statement made by George Bush the other day, that I want our listeners to know about: When Bush was talking about going over to "do an inspection of Iowa" and he was clearly tired from his trip, hanging out with the Queen and others. So they asked him, what're you going to do? And he said, "Well, we gotta go and bring help, and optimism to the farmers, and gosh, it just seems like there's been a lot of disasters since I've been President."
The President was right! But it doesn't look like McCain or Obama have anything to offer. So, go ahead, Marcia.
Marcia Baker: Okay, well, let's think of three areas, just to throw it out there, and we'll be doing this, this dialogue, these emergency campaigns that Allie has, there's the LaRouche Youth Movement/LPAC drive on this. But one thing, obviously on an emergency basis, there should be no grain, no oilseeds like soybeans go to biodiesel, no grains go to ethanol, and we should make a big issue of it in Canada: No wheat there, go to ethanol, which is happening. We should have a floor price, call it that, call it parity, call it whatever you want, for the meat animals, for the grain, for what's out there.
Schlanger: Do you need emergency credit for the short term, to get—?
Marcia Baker: Absolutely! Because, remember in 1993 when this hit, the economy of the U.S. was breaking, but you still had a semblance of rural banks, credit and something you could access if you were a farmer, or a businessman in one of these flood-stricken states. Now, you don't have that! The banks are shut down! So we need emergency credit—
Schlanger: So this would be LaRouche's two-tier credit policy, an immediate application of that: Cheap credit for production.
Marcia Baker: Right, and for processing and you could put a premium on it, so you wouldn't be left with only five processors —Smithfield, ConAgra, you know what I mean; you could do that.
And then, on the infrastructure side, which represents a need for jobs, like you mentioned the youth Job Corps, which means a tremendous amount of construction work to be done under the leadership of the Army Corps of Engineers; bids to be placed and all. But the concept is: This vast Upper Mississippi Basin, where over 12 million people live, it's not just a channel of rivers that are flooded or certain farms, it's a grid—isn't it? —that's fallen apart. You need to restore a true rail grid.
You have right now, you're going to have an impact, apart from the loss of livestock and grain, you know the whole barge system of the Upper Mississippi is closed. In 1993, it was closed for 36 days! And so this is going to have an effect around the world, even if the grain was good, it's not going anywhere, and I don't know when it's going to start going anywhere. So you have 200 barges that are just sort of stranded.
Let me just mention one thing: There were four studies commissioned, after 1993, of what we ought to do on infrastructure, Harley. And one of them had to do with the enemy—I didn't mention this before—of infrastructure and mankind, the British-connected wing of the world, that's connected to the World Wildlife Fund. It was a group formed in 1973 called American Rivers. It has many well-meaning people, who would just like to have clean rivers, and no litter, that's okay. But it has some types behind it in the World Wildlife Fund, that are completely against any form of flood control. That's been publicized highly in the last week, by the Washington Post, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, saying, "Rivers should run freely, you shouldn't constrict them. Once you have levees that are too high, the streams run fast." Well, that's true. But that's forcing you to be pro or con levees—that's ridiculous. Flood control has many, many elements, and you need them all where the best engineers tell you!
Schlanger: Well, they're basically throwing out 1,000 years of civilization, at least in terms of Western Europe, because the canal system, this is the basis of developing a modern economy.
Marcia Baker: Right. And specifically on Europe, one of the four studies, since the 1993 flood of the Mississippi was done by the Dutch. It's called the Delft Study, and it said, "Go build everything! We did, after the 1950s flood." And they said, "Don't even think of a 500 year flood" that's a kind of engineering flood, meaning what kind of peak are you going to build for. They said, "There are parts of the Rhine River, that's built for a 1,250 year flood!"
And so, it's a real question of physics and science, which the LaRouche Youth Movement has been putting to people about how to view this planet we call Earth. You can go in, and terraform. You can go in and create the landscape. That was what inspired the succession of laws after Abraham Lincoln's period, 1860s, 1890s, there was a succession of laws that allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to get the mission of flood control to begin with. But then, they've been demobilized for the last 30 years.
So, build that infrastructure with this kind of perspective. And the Congress commissioned a report; there's a gentleman named Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway, he has a report; we don't even need more reports! We need the engineers to do it up, and then have this kind of combined emergency package which would really be the kind of rebuilding of the nation of the United States, occasioned by this big hit on the entire center of the country.
Schlanger: Allie, let me just ask you, as a young person, who's just been involved in politics for maybe a year and a half with the LaRouche Youth Movement, when you first came around, I'm sure you weren't attracted, necessarily, by the idea of infrastructure, but what Marcia was just talking about: The potential of man to transform nature. How do you communicate to young people, which is what you in the War-Room ultimately are responsible for, building a growing and expanding LaRouche Youth Movement, that's developing its capabilities as a new cadre of leadership for the country—how do you go out and organize youth to support these kinds of ideas of infrastructure, increase agriculture? How do you approach that?
Allie Perebikovsky: Well, you have educate people. Because the problem in our society is, young people especially—the thing is they don't really understand what infrastructure actually is. You know, infrastructure is the most amazing thing, because what it does, is, your entire civilization grows—what you're doing is you're actually creating a society where more and more people can live, can have hope and freedom. It's our duty as human beings to go out there and make the planet livable, to make it better, to green deserts.
And the thing is, actually, young people get excited about this! When you tell people, when you give them the kind of infrastructure projects that we, as the LaRouche movement have been proposing for years and years, when you tell them about having magnetic levitation all over the world, or how you can green deserts, so that you have people not starving—you know, you don't have 2 billion people on the verge of starvation—that's exciting! That's actually very exciting, because it's a human thing. It's a human thing to want to improve the quality of life, and the condition of life on this planet. And that's how you get young people excited: Is you educate them about what our role really needs to be on this world.
Schlanger: In that sense, Bob, farmers have always been those people who were out in the front, at least in the United States, in applying science and scientific ideas to improving the potential for all human beings.
Bob Baker: I think if we can go up and dig a three inch trench on Mars, that we can rebuild the Mississippi with all the best flood control you can imagine.
Schlanger: I thought you were going to recommend relocating Iowa farmers to Mars. Not a bad idea. [laughter]
We have a minute and a half left: Marcia, as the resident infrastructure expert, you're convinced this could be done if we had a national commitment to it?
Marcia Baker: Oh yes, and this is going to be the only debate: People who want to eat. That's most everyone you can imagine is going to be able to take sides! That's what, as Allie said, that's what the LaRouche Political Action Committee's doing.
Look, you mentioned space: If you go out into space, if you've seen these satellite photos, and you take them of North America, you do see a great big diversion channel, a big feature of the surface up around Winnipeg. And that's because the Red River, which rises in the Minnesota and the Dakotas, that flows north, once in a while, it floods. And decades ago, a mayor named Duff—a nice Scots Canadian—said, "We're going to build a ditch, and it'll be sitting there, ugly, but whenever it floods, Winnipeg won't get flooded. And you can see it from space, it's so big! It's called "Duff's Ditch." And we can do that! That's how we can deal with the planet.
Schlanger: We can build a trench through the Rocky Mountains to bring water in from Alaska. We can build the irrigation to green the Sonora Desert in Mexico.
Marcia Baker: Right. And what Allie said, it's true, for a person of any age, young or old: there is a deep human interest in the truth. And this is true. It's not true, rivers can't be tamed.
Schlanger: Well, Marcia, Bob and Allie, thank you very much for joining us today. I hope we've given some real hope, as opposed to what we hear from one of the Presidential candidates.
This has been The LaRouche Show.