Thursday, March 24, 2016


Readings Selected by Dick Bennett
March 24, 2016
2000 Years Ago in China to Extension Offices Today
FDR’S New Deal 1930s to Republican Reaction
Kaye, The Fight for the Four Freedoms

Bill De Blasio’s NYC Programs 2015
Banking for the People by the USPS
Barbara Lee, The People’s Budget 2016
Bernie Sanders, “a vision of the day when ‘we will no longer be outsiders in the House.’”
Michael Moore, Traveling the World for What We Need

It is not known where or when the first extension activities took place. It is known, however, that Chinese officials were creating agricultural policies, documenting practical knowledge, and disseminating advice to farmers at least 2,000 years ago. For example, in approximately 800 BC, the minister responsible for agriculture under one of the Zhou dynasty emperors organized the teaching of crop rotation and drainage to farmers. The minister also leased equipment to farmers, built grain stores and supplied free food during times of famine.[5]
The birth of the modern extension service has been attributed to events that took place in Ireland in the middle of the 19th century.[6] Between 1845–51 the Irish potato crop was destroyed by fungal diseases and a severe famine occurred (see Great Irish Famine). The British Government arranged for "practical instructors" to travel to rural areas and teach small farmers how to cultivate alternative crops. This scheme attracted the attention of government officials in Germany, who organized their own system of traveling instructors. By the end of the 19th century, the idea had spread to Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, and France.
The term "university extension" was first used by the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford in 1867 to describe teaching activities that extended the work of the institution beyond the campus. Most of these early activities were not, however, related to agriculture. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century, when colleges in the United States started conducting demonstrations at agricultural shows and giving lectures to farmer’s clubs, that the term "extension service" was applied to the type of work that we now recognize by that name.
In the United States, the Hatch Act of 1887 established a system of agricultural experiment stations in conjunction with each state's land-grant university, and the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created a system of cooperative extension to be operated by those universities in order to inform people about current developments in agriculture, home economics, and related subjects.
County Extension Offices. Through its county agents, the Cooperative Extension Service gives individuals access to the resources at land-grant universities across the nation. These universities are centers for research in many subjects, including entomology (the study of insects) and agriculture.
Search for Arkansas counties and Extension Offices.

New Deal

United States history
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New Deal, the domestic program of the administration of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1939, which took action to bring about immediate economic relief as well as reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labour, and housing, vastly increasing the scope of the federal government’s activities. The term was taken from Roosevelt’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination for the presidency on July 2, 1932. Reacting to the ineffectiveness of the administration of President Herbert Hoover in meeting the ravages of the Great Depression, American voters the following November overwhelmingly voted in favour of the Democratic promise of a “new deal” for the “forgotten man.” Opposed to the traditional American political philosophy of laissez-faire, the New Deal generally embraced the concept of a government-regulated economy aimed at achieving a balance between conflicting economic interests.
Civilian Conservation Corps [Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.]Much of the New Deal legislation was enacted within the first three months of Roosevelt’s presidency, which became known as the Hundred Days. The new administration’s first objective was to alleviate the suffering of the nation’s huge number of unemployedworkers. Such agencies as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were established to dispense emergency and short-term governmental aid and to provide temporary jobs, employment on construction projects, and youth work in the national forests. Before 1935 the New Deal focused on revitalizing the country’s stricken business and agricultural communities. To revive industrial activity, the National Recovery Administration (NRA) was granted authority to help shape industrial codes governing trade practices, wages, hours, child labour, and collective bargaining. The New Deal also tried to regulate the nation’s financial hierarchy in order to avoid a repetition of the stock market crash of 1929 and the massive bank failures that followed. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) granted government insurance for bank deposits in member banks of the Federal Reserve System, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was formed to protect the investing public from fraudulent stock-market practices. The farm program was centred in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), which attempted to raise prices by controlling the production of staple crops through cash subsidies to farmers. In addition, the arm of the federal government reached into the area of electric power, establishing in 1933 the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which was to cover a seven-state area and supply cheap electricity, prevent floods, improve navigation, and produce nitrates.
In 1935 the New Deal emphasis shifted to measures designed to assist labour and other urban groups. The Wagner Act of 1935 greatly increased the authority of the federal government in industrial relations and strengthened the organizing power of labour unions, establishing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to execute this program. To aid the “forgotten” homeowner, legislation was passed to refinance shaky mortgages and guarantee bank loans for both modernization and mortgage payments. Perhaps the most far-reaching programs of the entire New Deal were the Social Security measures enacted in 1935 and 1939, providing old-age and widows’ benefits, unemployment compensation, and disability insurance. Maximum work hours and minimum wages were also set in certain industries in 1938.
Certain New Deal laws were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that neither the commerce nor the taxing provisions of the Constitution granted the federal government authority to regulate industry or to undertake social and economic reform. Roosevelt, confident of the legality of all the measures, proposed early in 1937 a reorganization of the court. This proposal met with vehement opposition and ultimate defeat, but the court meanwhile ruled in favour of the remaining contested legislation. Despite resistance from business and other segments of the community to “socialistic” tendencies of the New Deal, many of its reforms gradually achieved national acceptance. Roosevelt’s domestic programs were largely followed in the Fair Deal of President Harry S. Truman (1945–53), and both major U.S. parties came to accept most New Deal reforms as a permanent part of the national life.

Fighting for the Four Freedoms
April 11, 2014 | Updated January 5, 2016
If you believe America desperately needs a great surge of democracy in the face of fierce opposition from reactionary and corporate forces, then remembering and reviving the spirit of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died 69 years ago this week, is in order.
Seventy-five years ago, FDR’s State of the Union address made it clear that a fight was inevitable, a fight to preserve, protect and defend four essential freedoms: freedom from fear and want and freedom of speech and religion.
This week, Bill speaks with historian Harvey J. Kaye, author of the new book, The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great, about how FDR’s speech was a rallying cry to build the kind of progressive society that Roosevelt hoped for but did not live to see at war’s end.
Kaye says the president was able to mobilize Americans who created “the strongest and most prosperous country in human history.” How did they do it? By working toward the Four Freedoms and making America “freer, more equal and more democratic.”
He believes Americans have not forgotten the Four Freedoms as goals, but have “forgotten what it takes to realize them, that we must defend, sustain and secure democracy by enhancing it. That’s what Roosevelt knew. That’s what Jefferson knew. And no one seems to remember that today. That’s what we have to remind people of.”
Producer: Candace White.  Segment Producer: Robert Booth.  Editor: Sikay Tang. Outro Producer:Lena Shemel. Outro Editor:Rob Kuhns.

I wrote the following letter to The Nation in response to the onslaught against New Deal values and to The Nation’s editorial:
Your Jan. 25/Feb. 1, 2016, editorial, “Four Freedoms Besieged,” engages particularly all who share the Democratic Party’s fight for the Four Freedoms for speech and worship and from want and fear.   Eleanor Roosevelt’s American dream “of greater justice and opportunity for the average man” and FDR’s expansion of the New Deal to achieve that Dream could be grasped through affirmative government of, for, and by the people.    Thus were the phantoms and panics of fear defeated.   Despite powerful opposition, Kaye writes, our nation became “freer, more equal, and more democratic than ever before.”  Restoring and sustaining these values despite even fiercer opposition continue for Democrats today.

NYC’S Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new programs, “What Has Bill de Blasio Done?”  The Nation (2/9, 2015), 6.    $8 million for after school programs, 1 million workers to have paid sick time, $13.13 new living wage up from $11.90, 500 thousand ID cards for undocumented immigrants.
See Eric Alterman, Inequality and One City:  Bill de Blasio and the New York Experiment, Year One.  Nation Books, 2015.

Banking Goes Postal
FEBRUARY 13, 2015
Sixty-four unions and community groups are demanding a banking public option—at the post office.
In one year, the underbanked and unbanked pay out more in financial service charges than the federal government spends on all domestic food aid.
American Postal Workers Union (APWU) president Mark Dimondstein has an offer that should be hard to refuse, especially for the 10 million American households, mostly low-income, that do not have a checking account or other basic banking services.

Through its network of 30,000 post offices and other outlets, the United States Postal Service (USPS) could readily and cheaply provide many banking services (just as it now provides money orders), no matter where you live or what you earn. This could save people without bank access from paying the exorbitant interest and fees at currency exchanges, payday lenders, rent-to-own dealers, pawn shops and other subprime financial institutions.   MORE
David Moberg, a senior editor of In These Times, has been on the staff of the magazine since it began publishing in 1976. Before joining In These Times, he completed his work for a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Chicago and worked for Newsweek. He has received fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Nation Institute for research on the new global economy. He can be reached at

Representative Barbara Lee  Unsubscribe
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to me  3-24-16

Representative Barbara Lee  Unsubscribe
Mar 22, 2016 (2 days ago)

to me

A Budget for the People
Last week, I joined my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus to unveilThe People’s Budget. In stark contrast to the Republican’s austerity budget, The People’s Budget creates 3.6 million good-paying jobs, builds pathways out of poverty, ends bloated Pentagon spending and expands educational opportunities, including universal pre-K and debt-free college. 
This budget is a moral document that invests in American families and communities.

Congress must come together to end austerity and pass this budget to open the American dream to all.

MICH Outsider in the White House by Bernie Sanders
Sep 28, 2015 | 368 Pages
Bottom of Form
The political autobiography of the insurgent presidential candidate

Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the presidency of the United States has galvanized people all over the country, putting economic, racial, and social justice into the spotlight, and raising hopes that Americans can take their country back from the billionaires and change the course of history.

In this book, Sanders tells the story of a passionate and principled political life. He describes how, after cutting his teeth in the Civil Rights movement, he helped build a grassroots political movement in Vermont, making it possible for him to become the first independent elected to the US House of Representatives in forty years. The story continues into the US Senate and through the dramatic launch of his presidential campaign.
“I endorse Brother Bernie Sanders because he is a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over fifty years. Now is the time for his prophetic voice to be heard across our crisisridden country.”
—Cornel West, author of Race Matters

“Bernie’s been in the forefront of all the crucial environmental fights of recent years.”
—Bill McKibben, cofounder of

“Bernie is the real thing. He’s not about reading the polls and finding out what he needs to say in order to get elected. He’s about an unwavering commitment to basic justice, equality and sound financial sense.”
—Ben Cohen, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s and founder of Stampede: Stamp Money out of Politics

“I feel weird using words like ‘values’ and ‘morals’ because those are words that have been co-opted to justify terrible things like bigotry and greed. I’d like to take those words back and use them to describe Bernie Sanders because his moral compass and sense of values inspire me.”
—Sarah Silverman, comedian and social commentator

Praise for the previous edition, Outsider in the House:
“A clear, compelling and comprehensive vision for reinvigorating democracy, reducing poverty, rebuilding the middle class and restructuring our health care and education systems. Sanders gives us a vision of the day when ‘we will no longer be outsiders in the House.’”  In These Times

Outsider in the House is a rare achievement: a concise, compelling book that both tells an interesting story and provides a readable, down-to-earth blueprint for political change.”
The Onion

“A road map for how progressives can win elections and not be a part of the two party duopoly.”
—Ralph Nader

“A grass-roots ‘how-to’ guide, especially helpful and inspirational for prospective independent candidates—a firsthand description of the career of the most successful American socialist politician in modern times.”
The Hill

Senator Bernie Sanders demands that the United States’ elected government represent us, its people. He observes a disturbing trend where the average citizen is disenfranchised, and fears that we are losing what makes America great — our system of democracy. Bernie has said:
“We are moving rapidly away from our democratic heritage into an oligarchic form of society where today we are experiencing a government of the billionaires, by the billionaires, and for the billionaires.”
What is an oligarchy and why don’t I want one?
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.”
The United States, in theory, is a democratic republic, where the voices of the many are represented by the men and women whom we elect to political office. But, according to aPrinceton University study, our government no longer represents most of us. In fact, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero,statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
Former President Jimmy Carter stated during an interview in July 2015 that “the billionaire class now owns the economy, and they are working day and night to make certain that they own the United States government.”
That’s really, really bad. What do we do?
We need to work together to fix our government. Bernie believes we can do so:
“We need people who are ready to take on the handful of billionaires holding the power, to tell them, ‘Enough is enough. This country belongs to us. This government belongs to us.”

Here’s how we do it:
Citizens United: Bernie wants to overturn Citizens United, a “disastrous Supreme Court decision” which allows unlimited sums of money to be funneled into electoral politics.
DISCLOSE Act: Bernie wants to enact legislation to protect the integrity and transparency of federal elections by establishing disclosure requirements for all contributions.
Public Funding of Elections: Bernie wants to move towards public funding of elections to promote a more even playing field where all Americans can participate.
Democracy Day: Bernie wants to celebrate democracy by creating a holiday to encourage voter turnout for elections.
Gerrymandering & Voter Suppression: Bernie wants to curb redistricting as well as reinforce the Voting Rights Acts by making it easy for anyone to cast a vote, including former felons who have served their time.
The Two-Party System: Bernie Sanders believes that many Americans have “rejected the two party system” and is one of the US Senate’s only two Independent members. He has supported legislation to introduce Instant Runoff Voting in order to give third parties a fair shot at competing in our elections.
Senator Bernie Sanders demands that the United States' elected governmentrepresent us, its people. He observes a disturbing trend where the average citizen ...
Where does Bernie Sanders stand on government regulation?
Senator Bernie Sanders demands that the United States' elected government represent us, its people.

 [Moore travels the world, takes the things we need, and brings them back to the United States.]
Michael Moore’s surprising and extraordinarily winning “Where to Invade Next” will almost surely cast his detractors at Fox News and similar sinkholes into consternation. They get lots of mileage out of painting Moore as a far-left provocateur who’s all about “running America down.” But his new film is all about building America up, in some amazingly novel and thought-provoking ways. In my view, it’s one of the most genuinely, and valuably, patriotic films any American has ever made.

It comes billed not as a documentary but a comedy, and the first joke is its hilariously misleading title. You think it anticipates a stern, leftist denunciation of American foreign policy. Instead, Moore tells us the Joint Chiefs of Staff invited him to Washington, DC, to confess that all their wars since “the big one” have been disastrous and ask his advice. He responds by offering himself up as a one-man army who will “invade countries populated by Caucasians whose names I can mostly pronounce, take the things we need from them, and bring them back home to the United States of America.
So, wearing his trademark baseball cap and literally wrapped in the flag, he sets off across the Atlantic searching out peoples to conquer who have things America needs. Yes, he knows all of these countries have their own share of problems. But he’s come, he says, “to pick the flowers, not the weeds.” And what a bouquet he assembles.
First stop is Italy, where he wonders why “Italians always look like they just had sex.” He finds some reasons for that happy glow in talking to a 30ish couple—he’s a cop, she works for a clothing company—who start enumerating all the paid vacation time they get. The basic portion, decreed by law, is four weeks, but when you add in government holidays and such, it comes closer to eight. They use all this time to vacation in places like Miami and Zanzibar, so there’s more than just sex (though we guess there’s plenty of that too) to explain their radiant tans and satisfied smiles.   MORE

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