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Wed Nov 21, 2012, 12:50 PM

Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl" answers Reagan's sick joke.

Reagan's sick joke: The most terrifying words in the English language: I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

Do you think people suffering during the 1930's Dust Bowl agreed? After six years of not having a cash crop, people in the hardest hit region of the dust bowl--the Oklahoma panhandle-- were glad to have the government give them jobs, cash and assistance. The government even helped those who left for California by providing them with migrant housing. The government also introduced better soil conservation farming. The government bought bad land from farmers and re-introduced native grass to prevent further soil erosion.

When FDR visited a nearby Texas town, 200,000 people lined up to see him. One of the largest bands ever assembled played The Eyes of Texas are Upon You. They certainly showed how they appreciated FDR's efforts. And of course, it rained during his visit! (During a recent drought in CO, it rained during Obama's visit too.)

Ken Burns' documentary, The Dust Bowl described how farmers plowed up land that was susceptible to erosion by giant wind storms on the great plains. Some farmers were just city people who came, plowed up the land, planted, returned to the city and then came back for the harvest. They were called suitcase farmers. But when the drought occurred, they didn't plant anything. Instead their land remained dormant which made it perfect sources of dirt for the giant dust storms.

In the end it was greed and ignorance that drove people to plow up the plains. The government bailed the people out. But because of Reagan, the government doesn't bail out the people. Instead the government bails out the greedy corporations and wealthy people as it did during the Reagan-caused Savings and Loan fiasco. Why didn't Reagan's words apply then? Oh, and don't forget about the Bush Bank bailout fiasco. They refused to help struggling homeowners but had plenty of money for the crooked banks and Wall Street frauds. Now the government doesn't have any money for the people.

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Reply Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl" answers Reagan's sick joke. (Original post)
Democrats_win Nov 2012 OP
Dark n Stormy Knight Nov 2012 #1
Hestia Nov 2012 #3
DollarBillHines Nov 2012 #6
Spazito Nov 2012 #2
yesphan Nov 2012 #4
Z_I_Peevey Nov 2012 #7
silverweb Nov 2012 #5
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #8
Care Acutely Nov 2012 #9
TerryF Mar 2013 #10

Response to Democrats_win (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:51 PM

1. K&R. And anyone who missed that doc, check your local PBS listings and watch it. Although, I think

it is the most depressing and hard to watch of Burns' docs.

Maybe I was less politically aware when watching the others, but this one just reminds us of all that is bad about Republicans. In other DU threads on this it's been said that even those areas, where peoples livelihoods, often their very lives, were saved by government action, the majority are Rs, and not the moderate kind.

Any hope I had that this would be a reminder to to cons about how government can be good, here is part of a comment I found about the film: (I won't bother putting in all the "sics", it's from here.)

The true facts are out their in many forms for folks to find & understand about climent and land & water but the sheep people don't look to facts they just belive what they want & are told they want by government & other people wanting their money and ours.

Right now the world and facts are so often 180 degrees upside down from the truth because our schools have ben largely taken over by progressive librals and are not teaching the truth anymore.




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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:07 PM

3. Yes, it is depressing, but how wonderful that they found survivors during those

times to talk to us about what actually happened when they were kids. I've watched several Dust Bowl doc's but this is the first one that had actual survivors.

I thought it was telling of the woman who reported that her father had always voted R but became a die hard Democrat after Roosevelt visited the area and sent in the Conservation Corps. It was astounding what difference was made in 5 years regarding the Dust Bowl. Wow.

At the end of the 2nd episode, the survivors then warn people about the draining of the Ogalahla (sp?) aquifer and how stupid it is to drain it for pig feed. They said that our grandchildren will hate us for draining their drinking water.

What wisdom those people gave when Ken Burns filmed them.

Magnificent series, watch it.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:26 PM

6. I wonder where 'stargazzer' learned to write..

I always get a kick when semi-literate morons have all of the answers.

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Response to Democrats_win (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 02:59 PM

2. In the documentary, a woman who went through it as a child talked about...

her Dad saying he normally would never vote for a Democrat but he was going to vote for Roosevelt and then she said she is sure her Dad became a die-hard Democrat from that time on.

There was much in this excellent documentary I didn't know about, details that are rarely covered. One small detail was where the "Dirty Thirties" originated and why. Until watching this, I had always attributed it as referring to the Depression and not to the Dust Bowl.

Excellent OP!

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Response to Democrats_win (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:16 PM

4. If you enjoyed this documentary,

I highly recommend Timothy Egan's book "The Worst Hard Time".

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Response to yesphan (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:32 PM

7. I second that--it is a terrific history that reads like an adventure story.

One of the best nonfiction books I've ever read.

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Response to Democrats_win (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 03:23 PM

5. Available on line.

Those like me, who don't have a TV, can watch it here: http://video.kpbs.org/video/2219206510/

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Response to Democrats_win (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:45 PM

8. RWR was a jerk

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Response to Democrats_win (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:29 PM

9. K&R

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Response to Democrats_win (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2013, 04:01 PM

10. Here's what was left out of Ken Burns presentation.....

And yes I did watch Ken Burns, The Dust Bowl on PBS twice in fact just to qualify this answer:

This is from Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_Marketing_Act )

"Under the administration of Herbert Hoover, the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1929 established the Federal Farm Board with a revolving fund of half a billion dollars. The original act was sponsored by Hoover in an attempt to stop the downward spiral of crop prices by seeking to buy, sell and store agricultural surpluses or by generously lending money to farm organizations. Money was loaned out to the farmers in order to buy seed and food for the livestock (this was especially important since there had been a drought in the Democratic South previously), but Hoover refused to lend to the farmers themselves, thinking that it was unconstitutional and if they were lent money, they would become dependent on government money. The Federal Farm Board's purchase of surplus could not keep up with the production-as farmers realized that they could just sell the government their crops, they reimplemented the use of fertilizers and other techniques to increase production. Overall, the deflation could not be countered because of a massive fault in the bill-there was no production limit. Had there been a production limit, the deflation might have been helped somewhat. The funds appropriated were exhausted eventually and the losses of the farmers kept rising."

The Agricultural Marketing Act was the precursor to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 which increased farmer subsidies further.

The drought leading to the Dust Bowl began in 1931 two years after the Agriculture Marketing Act. Already as noted above farmers were over producing because they knew that the government would buy their crops. The worst years of the dust bowl were 1934 and 1936.

So first came government subsidies.

Then, over production and improper farming practices leading to mono-culture of wheat production which as Burns pointed out destroyed the 5 foot deep grass root layer which was helping to keep the dust bowl area soil intact.

Then, the drought began and lasted nearly a decade. (It wasn't labeled global warming then however because there was no UN to push the political agenda associated with a change in climate as we have today.)

As Burns presentation pointed out, the farmers kept over farming their land as before the drought began in the hopes that the drought would break. As we now know, it did not.

Some other interesting facts pointed out by Burns was the huge amount of acreage grabbed by the government as a result of the Dust Bowl which remains in their hands to this day.

Additionally, over 200,000 people migrated to California during the decade of the 30's and many of them were not from the Dust Bowl area. Nearly one-third of the migrants were professional or white collar workers including lawyers, teachers and small business owners. Our nation was, after all, mired in the Great Depression which lasted throughout the decade of the 1930's despite the 3 New Deals of FDR. In fact, in 1938 the unemployment rate reached its peak of over 24% and was said to be a 2nd depression.

Only about 1/8th of the migrants in California were actually of Okie heritage or from the Dust Bowl area.

So, Reagan's words were not answered by Ken Burns, The Dust Bowl. Government intervention which encouraged over farming and wheat mono-culture began before the drought and continued as Burns pointed out into it with the hopes of the farmers that the drought would not last.

Had the soil root layers not been uncovered en masse as they were prior to and during the drought, the soil would probably have remained in place.

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