Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring 2017 Part 6

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First, it is important to acknowledge the 160th anniversary of the evil Dred Scott decision. That decision deprived Dred Scott unjustly of his human rights. Ultimately, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments (including the Civil and Voting Rights Act) would negate the evil Dred Scott decision. Today, we see once again how slavery ought to be remembered. Our black ancestors suffered huge injustices and this is why many of our people desire reparations. We owe a lot to the sacrifice of our ancestors. Harvard acknowledging its role in the slave trade obviously isn't enough. It isn't enough when police brutality, gentrification, and systematic racism still manifest itself against the black community. It isn't enough when Flint families suffer poisoned waters. It isn't enough when black girls and black women suffer epidemic levels of assault, harassment, and rape. We don't want tokenism. We want black people to have the power to determine our own destinies as human beings. We want true liberty in our everyday lives regardless of our sex or our income. We want economic justice and universal health care. We desire growth of our infrastructure in a Pan-African fashion. So, we know that revolutionary change is needed. I have no issues with reparations despite the difficulty of reparations transpiring in our generation. We will continue to fight to make sure that black men, black women, and black children have not only freedom, but justice.

It's a sad story that must be told. Kalief Browder is the personification of what's wrong with the prison industrial complex. Black people, for years and decades, have told the public about how vicious and nefarious the prison system is. In prison, people are assaulted by guards, money laundering exists, human beings are raped in many cases, there is massive corruption in many prisons, and human exploitation is in epidemic levels. America imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth. Even when people leave prison and paid their debts to society, there are in virtually second citizenship status (as in many states, many ex-prisoners can't vote and some struggle to find stable employment). Kalief Browder was a black man whose mother loved him a great deal. He endured vicious, , unjust, and inhuman treatment. It is totally incomprehensible to understand the turmoil that he experienced in his daily life. His story must be shown as a way for everyone to reflect and to be motivated to change conditions in society. In the final analysis, the status quo doesn't work and we desire revolutionary solutions to horrendous problems.
Rest in Power Brother Kalief Browder.

By Timothy

Spring 2017 Part 5

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For decades, basketball has been a part of world culture. It has promoted teamwork, camaraderie, friendship, and honor. It is a total team sport, which requires not only fundamental skills, but endurance, practice, mental strength, and hard work. Millions of people in America and a lot of people worldwide either see it, participate in it, or know about its components. The game is fun and it is easy to understand too. 2 teams of five players compete against each other. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop, which is mounted on a backboard on each side of the court. It was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts. It has been around for over 125 years, so beyond the 125 year anniversary of basketball, we certainly honor its history and its cultural impact internationally. People of every age, background, and sex have played this sport. People of a diversity of physical abilities and nationalities have played and enjoyed basketball too.

We know about Lisa Leslie slam dunking a basketball in the WNBA years ago. We know about Michael Jordan doing athletic moves and dunks in the basketball court. We know about Maya Moore inspiring her team and LeBron James making a championship a reality for the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time of its franchise's history. Therefore, basketball is here to stay. Also, it is important to note the following. Just because we love basketball, doesn’t mean that we want to minimize STEM fields or other important aspects of human civilization. STEM fields, history, philosophy, political matters, art, medicine, etc. are additional fields that we inspire anyone to pursue. Basketball for generations has been involved in social movements for positive change, has brought people together, and has been a key part of great human expression indeed. Now, it's the time to show what the great sport of basketball is all about.

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The Start

Basketball has a long history in its invention. It was invented by Dr. James Naismith (who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959). He was an educator in physical education and he was born in Canada. In 1891, he invented basketball. He was working at the YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He wanted to invent a new game, because he was in the winter and young people were forced to play sports indoors. He wanted to promote a more athletic sport in the midst of the disruptive group of students. He also wanted to condition young athletes during cold months. Dr. Naismith used his mind to invent a game of skill, finesse, and accuracy instead of one relying solely on pure strength. He played a game as a child when he used rocks. He used a soccer ball and two peach baskets placed 10 feet up in the air. He organized nine players on each team. He created a set of 13 basic rules and basketball was formed. The first game was played on December 21, 1891.  The eighteen players were John G. Thompson, Eugene S. Libby, Edwin P. Ruggles, William R. Chase, T. Duncan Patton, Frank Mahan, Finlay G. MacDonald, William H. Davis and Lyman Archibald, who defeated George Weller, Wilbert Carey, Ernest Hildner, Raymond Kaighn, Genzabaro Ishikawa, Benjamin S. French, Franklin Barnes, George Day and Henry Gelan 1–0.  The goal was scored by Chase. Initially, players could only advance the ball by passing it. Bouncing the ball along the floor — what we call "dribbling" today — did not become part of the game until later. Points were earned by successfully tossing the soccer ball into the peach baskets.   After each basket that was made, players had to climb a ladder to retrieve the ball from the basket. Iron hoops with open-ended nets didn't come along until 1913.  The first public game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 11, 1892. The first college basketball game was played on January 18, 1896, when the University of Iowa hosted a game with the University of Chicago. The final score was: Chicago 15, Iowa 12.  Only in 1906 were metal hoops, nets and backboards introduced. Moreover, the earlier the soccer ball was replaced by a Spalding ball, similar to the one used today.

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Basketball expanded rapidly during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The YMCA helped to spread basketball throughout America, Canada, and the world. By 1893, Mel Rideout created the first European basketball game in Paris in Montmartre. At the same time, Bob Gailey sent basketball in Tientsin, China. Duncan Patton came into India to spread basketball. There were Genzabaro Ishikawa to Japan, and C. Hareek to Persia to send the sport of basketball to those nations. When World War I came about in 1914, the U.S. Army soon fought in Europe by 1917. The American Expeditionary Force in WWI took basketball wherever it went.   Together with the troops, there were hundreds of physical education teachers who knew basketball. Naismith also spent two years with the YMCA in France in that period. The first professional league was founded in 1898. Six teams took part in the National Basketball League, and the first champions were the Trenton Nationals, followed by the New York Wanderers, the Bristol Pile Drivers and the Camden Electrics. The league was abandoned in 1904. Then, many small championships were organized, but most of them were not as important as some teams who played for money against challengers. There were the Original Celtics who were famous back during the early 20th century. They played until 1928. Some viewed the team as the forerunners of the Boston Celtics of the NBA. Yet, the team is not. The Boston Celtics was created in 1946.  In 1922, the first all-African American professional team was founded: the Rens (also known as New York Renaissance or Harlem Renaissance). The Rens were the Original Celtics’ usual opponent, and for their matches a ticket cost $1. They took part in some official championships and won the first World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1939. The team disbanded in 1949. In the 1920's and 1930's, Eastern Basketball League (founded in 1909), Metropolitan Basketball League (founded in 1921) and American Basketball League (founded in 1925) were the most important leagues in America.

During the year years of basketball, college basketball was always extremely popular in America. The first known U.S. college to field a basketball team against an outside opponent was Vanderbilt University. That team played against the local YMCA in Nashville, Tennessee on February 7, 1893. The second recorded instance of an organized college basketball game was Geneva College’s game against the New Brighton YMCA on April 8, 1893 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania which Geneva won 3-0. The first recorded game between two college teams occurred on February 9, 1895, when Hamline University faced Minnesota A&M (which later became a part of the University of Minnesota). Minnesota A&M won the game, which was played under rules allowing nine players per side, 9–3. The first intercollegiate match using the modern rule of five players per side is often credited as a game between the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa, on January 18, 1896. The Chicago team was organized by Amos Alonzo Stagg. He learned the game from James Naismith at the Springfield YMCA. The Chicago team won the game 15-12. Some sources said that the first “true” five on five intercollegiate match was game  between Yale and Penn, because the Iowa team, that played Chicago in 1896, was composed of University of Iowa students, but did not officially represent the University of Iowa – rather being organized through a YMCA. College basketball games spread to colleges nationwide by 1900. In 1897, the AAU (or the Amateur Athletic Union) has taken oversight of basketball activity from the YMCA. By April 1905, representatives of fifteen colleges separately took over control of the college game. They created the collegiate “Basket Ball Rule Committee.” The Committee was in turn absorbed into the predecessor of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (or NCAA) in 1909. The extremely popular NCAA’ Men’s Basketball Tournament was created in 1939. Basketball traveled quickly internationally. In 1909, the first international match was held in Saint Petersburg.  Mayak Saint Petersburg beat a YMCA American team. The first great European event was held in 1919 in Joinville-le-Pont, near Paris, during the Inter-Allied Games. United States, led by future Hall of Fame player Max Friedman, won against Italy and France, and then Italy beat France. Basketball soon became popular among French and Italians. The Italian team had a white shirt with the House of Savoy shield and the players were: Arrigo and Marco Muggiani, Baccarini, Giuseppe Sessa, Palestra, Pecollo and Bagnoli.

World basketball grew as well during the early 20th century. On June 18, 1932, a real international organization was created. It had tournaments and teams. Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland founded the International Basketball Federation (Fédération internationale de basketball amateur, FIBA) in Geneva. Its actions and work was crucial in causing the first inclusion of basketball in the Berlin Summer Olympic Games in 1936. The first Olympic title was won by the U.S. national team: Sam Balter, Ralph Bishop, Joe Fortenberry, Tex Gibbons, Francis Johnson, Carl Knowles, Frank Lubin, Art Mollner, Donald Piper, Jack Ragland, Willard Schmidt, Carl Shy, Duane Swanson, Bill Wheatley and the trainer James Needles. Canada was runner-up; the games were played on an outdoor clay court. The first World Championship was held in Argentina in 1950.

African Americans have a long history in the early years of basketball. The Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn and the St. Christopher Club of New York City were established as the first fully organized independent all-black basketball teams in 1906. These teams were amateur. In 1907 the amateur, all-black Olympian Athletic League was formed in New York City consisting of the Smart Set Athletic Club, St. Christopher Club, Marathon Athletic Club, Alpha Physical Culture Club, and the Jersey City Colored YMCA. The first inter-city basketball game between two black teams was played in 1907 when the Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn traveled to Washington, DC to play the Crescent Athletic Club. In 1908, Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn, a member of the Olympian Athletic League was named the first Colored Basketball World's Champion. In 1910 Howard University’s first varsity basketball team started. In 1922 the Commonwealth Five, the first all-black professional team was founded. The New York Renaissance was founded in 1923. In 1939 the all-black New York Renaissance beat the all-white Oshkosh All-Stars in the World Pro Basketball Tournament. From the late 1920's the African American Harlem Globetrotters were a successful touring team, winning the WPBT in 1940. The all-white National Basketball League began to racially integrate in 1942 with 10 black players joining two teams, the Toledo Jim White Chevrolets, and the Chicago Studebakers. The NBA integrated in 1950–51 seasons, just two years after its founding, with three black players each achieving a separate milestone in that process. In the draft held immediately prior to that season, Chuck Cooper became the first black player drafted by an NBA team. Shortly after the draft, Nat Clifton became the first black player to sign an NBA contract. Finally, Earl Lloyd became the first black player to appear in an NBA game as his team started its season before either Cooper's or Clifton's. After the integration of the NBA, the Harlem Globetrotters started to focus on international touring and exhibition performances, including comic routines. These tours helped to popularize basketball internationally, and gave the Globetrotters the reputation as Basketball's goodwill ambassadors.

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The NBA was called the Basketball league at first in June 6, 1946. It was founded in New York City. In 1967, the NBA faced new competition with the creation of the ABA or the American Basketball Association. So, both leagues had the best players in the country. The NBA landed the most talented college star of that era. His name is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (his previous name was Lew Alcindor). Also, Rick Barry (the NBA’s leading scorer back then) jumped into the ABA along with 4 veteran referees (their names are Norm Drucker, Earl Strom, John Vanak, and Joe Gushue). In 1969, Alan Siegel, who oversaw the design of Jerry Dior's Major League Baseball logo a year prior, created the modern NBA logo inspired by the MLB's. It incorporates the silhouette of the legendary Jerry West based on a photo by Wen Roberts. Although NBA officials denied a particular player as being its influence because, according to Siegel, "They want to institutionalize it rather than individualize it. It's become such a ubiquitous, classic symbol and focal point of their identity and their licensing program that they don't necessarily want to identify it with one player." The iconic logo debuted in 1971 and would remain a fixture of the NBA brand. The ABA was very successful. They signed many major stars during the 1970’s. One was Julius Erving of the Virginia Squires. It allowed teams to sign college undergraduates.  The NBA expanded rapidly during this period, one purpose being to tie up the most viable cities. From 1966 to 1974, the NBA grew from nine franchises to 18. In 1970, the Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers) all made their debuts expanding the league to 17. The New Orleans Jazz (now in Utah) came aboard in 1974 bringing the total to 18. Following the 1976 season, the leagues reached a settlement that provided for the addition of four ABA franchises to the NBA, raising the number of franchises in the league at that time to 22. The franchises added were the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and New York Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets). Some of the biggest stars of this era of the 1970's were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Dave Cowens, Julius Erving, Elvin Hayes, Walt Frazier, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, George Gervin, Dan Issel, and Pete Maravich. The end of the decade, however, saw declining TV ratings, low attendance and drug-related player issues – both perceived and real – that threatened to derail the NBA.

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Basketball increased with popularity still. The NBA added the ABA’s innovative 3 point field goal starting in 1979 to open up the game. During that same year, rookies Larry Bird and Magic Johnson joined the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers respectively. This started a period of significant growth in fan interest in the NBA nationwide and internationally. Both players were some of the greatest players in NBA history. In 1984, they played against each other for the first time in NBA Finals. Magic Johnson and the Lakers during the 1980’s caused the Lakers to get five titles. Bird and the Celtics went on to cause the Celtics to win 3 titles. Also in the early 1980's, the NBA added one more expansion franchise, the Dallas Mavericks, bringing the total to 23 teams. Later on, Larry Bird won the first three three-point shooting contests. Former league commissioner David Stern who took office on February 1, 1984 before retiring February 1, 2014, oversaw the expansion and growth of the NBA to a global institution.

The 1984 NBA Draft was one of the most talented drafts in NBA history. The players of the draft during that year included Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley, Melvin Turpin, Alvin Robertson, John Stockton, and other players. Scottie Pippen, Dominique Wilkins, and other players of the 1980’s were ahead of their times and excellent in their talent. Michael Jordan entered the league in 1984 with the Chicago Bulls, providing an even more popular star to support growing interest in the league. This resulted in more cities demanding teams of their own. In 1988 and 1989, four cities got their wishes as the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and Minnesota Timberwolves made their NBA debuts, bringing the total to 27 teams. In the first year of the 1990's, the Detroit Pistons would win the second of their back-to-back titles, led by Coach Chuck Daly and guard Isiah Thomas. Jordan and Scottie Pippen would lead the Bulls to two three-peats in eight years during the 1991–98 seasons. Hakeem Olajuwon won back-to-back titles with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995. The 1992 Olympic basketball Dream Team, the first to use current NBA stars, featured Michael Jordan as the anchor, along with Bird, Johnson, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, Charles Barkley, and Christian Laettner. Eleven players on the Dream Team have been inducted individually into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Dream Team was a great team.

In 1995, the NBA expanded to Canada with the addition of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors. In 2001, the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, which left the Raptors as the only Canadian team in the NBA. In 1998, the NBA owners began a lockout which lasted 191 days and was settled on January 18, 1999. As a result of this lockout the 1998–99 NBA season was reduced from 82 to 50 games (61% of a normal season), and the All-Star Game was cancelled. The San Antonio Spurs won their first championship, and first by a former ABA team, by beating the New York Knicks, who were the first, and are the only, eighth seed to ever make it to the NBA Finals. By this time, the modern era of the NBA existed. By the summer of 1998, the breakup of the Chicago Bulls championship roster existed. The Western Conference afterwards dominated the NBA Finals. Since 1998, the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs combined to win the title nine out of 14 seasons.  Tim Duncan and David Robinson won the 1999 championship with the Spurs, and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant started the 2000's with three consecutive championships for the Lakers. The Spurs reclaimed the title in 2003 against the Nets. In 2004, the Lakers returned to the Finals, only to fall in five games to the Detroit Pistons. After the Spurs took home the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in 2005, the 2006 Finals featured two franchises making their inaugural Finals appearances.

The Miami Heat, led by their star shooting guard, Dwyane Wade, and Shaquille O'Neal, who had been traded from the Lakers during the 2004 summer, won the series over the Dallas Mavericks in six after losing the first two games. The Lakers/Spurs dominance continued in 2007 with a four-game sweep by the Spurs over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were led by LeBron James. The 2008 Finals saw a rematch of the league's highest profile rivalry, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, with the Celtics winning, for their 17th championship, thanks to their new big three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. In 2009, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers returned to the Finals, this time defeating the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic. Bryant won his first Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his 13th season after leading the Lakers to their first NBA championship since the departure of Shaquille O'Neal. The 2010 NBA All-Star Game was held at Cowboys Stadium in front of the largest crowd ever, 108,713. At the end of that season, the Celtics and the Lakers renewed their rivalry from 2008 when they met again in the NBA Finals for a record 12th time. The Lakers won the title by winning Game 7, 83–79.

Before the start of the 2010–11 season the NBA had an exciting summer with one of the most anticipated free agent classes of all time. Two of which signed, and one resigned, with the Miami Heat, leading to a season that was heavily centered on their eventual success or failure at taking home the championship. The Heat, led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, did in fact make the Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, in a rematch for the franchises of the 2006 Finals. The Mavericks, led by Dirk Nowitzki (the eventual NBA Finals MVP), took the series in six games. This was the Mavericks' first title. Veterans Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and Peja Stojaković celebrated their first NBA championship. July 1, 2011, at 12:01 am, the NBA announced another lockout. After the first few weeks of the season were canceled, the players and owners ratified a new collective bargaining agreement on December 8, 2011, setting up a shortened 66-game season. Following the shortened season, the Miami Heat made a return to the Finals with the trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh against Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. The Heat went on to defeat the Thunder in five games, capturing their second NBA title in six years. Their success would continue into the following season, which concluded with their victory over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals. The two teams would meet for a rematch in the following year's Finals, where the Spurs defeated the Heat in five games. Following that series, LeBron James announced that he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. James led the Cavaliers to their second Finals appearance, where they fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games. Most recently, in a rematch, the 2016 NBA Finals concluded with the Cavaliers defeating the Warriors in seven games to win their first NBA Championship. Right, Lebron James is the greatest player in the NBA playing right now. He has taken the league into new heights and has shown philanthropy outside of the court too.

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Other Leagues

The American Basketball Association or the ABA was created as an alternative to the NBA in 1967. This was when the NBA had a lot of popularity. The ABA offered an alternative ethos and game style as well as some changes in the rules. Julius Erving was the leading player in the league, and helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim. His playing strength helped legitimize the American Basketball Association. The league emphasized excitement and liveliness, be it in the color of the ball (red, white and blue), the manner of play, wild promotions, or the three-point shot. National recognition and earnings were low, leading the league to look for a way out of its problems. That is why the ABA soon merged with the NBA. The ABA was merged with the NBA in the summer of 1976. Its four most  successful franchises (the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs) being incorporated into the older league.  The aggressive, loose style of play and the three-point shot were taken up by the NBA.

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Impact and International Power

The internationalization of basketball has increased over the years and decades. Since the advent of the 1992 Dream Team, many players from around the world has been inspired to play in international basketball leagues and in the NBA (of North America). We live in a new society. We live in a more technological, social, political, and economic integrated globe. About a quarter of the players in the NBA are international players. Ben Simmons from Australia, Dragan Bender from Croatia, and the Pelicans’ Buddy Hield from the Bahamas play in the NBA. Also, countries like France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Nigeria, Angola, and other nations have their own basketball leagues and championships as well. Their institutions must be respected just like the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki, Drazen Petrovic, and Yao Ming made huge impacts in basketball and they weren’t born in America. Hakeem Olajuwon was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He is one of the greatest basketball players in history. He won 2 championships in the NBA and had 2 Finals MVPs. He has also paved the way for many international players to play in the NBA and other international leagues.

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Women's Basketball

Women’s basketball has existed for over 100 years in the world. It is very popular not only in America, but worldwide. Today, FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup features top national teams from continental championships. There is the Euro League Women that has teams from Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League. There is the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship. Also, there is the famous WNBA League. Women’s basketball started in the winter of 1892 in Smith College.  Senda Berenson, an instructor at Smith, taught basketball to her students, hoping the activity would improve their physical health. Basketball's early adherents were affiliated with YMCAs and colleges throughout the United States, and the game quickly spread throughout the country. Berenson modified some of the rules. These included a court divided into three areas and nine players per team. Three players were assigned to each area (guard, center, forward) and could not cross the line into another area. The ball was moved from section to section by passing or dribbling. Players were limited to three dribbles and could hold the ball for three seconds. No snatching or batting the ball away from a player was allowed. A center jump was required after each score. Peach baskets and the soccer ball were the equipment. Variations of Berenson’s rules spread across the country via YMCAs and college. The first intercollegiate women’s basketball game was played between teams from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, in 1896. Women’s basketball popularity increased. Women’s basketball became part of the Olympic Games in 1976. Funding for women’s basketball in America grew in funding in the college level. New laws forbid discrimination based upon sex. In America, Title IX was passed in 1972 as a way to end sexual discrimination and stereotyping in admission to colleges and in academic subjects.  Between 1971 and 2000, Title IX has proven to have had a huge impact on female collegiate sports. “Sports participation among college women has risen from 372 percent over that time, from 32,000 to more than 150,000 women (McDonagh, Pappano, 2008, 108). Also now 33.5% of female students participate in sports (McDonagh, Pappano, 2008).

The fight for gender equality continues. Professional leagues for are found globally. There we many attempts to create women’s professional leagues in America. The other attempts (like the Women’s Pro-Basketball League and the WBA) didn’t last over 10 years until the NBA founded the WNBA in 1996. The WNBA played its first game in June 21, 1997 and I remembered it like it was yesterday. The regular WNBA season is June to September (North American Spring and Summer). Most WNBA teams play at the same venue as their NBA counterparts. Most team names are also very similar to those of NBA teams in the same market, such as the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. Rules for women's basketball are nearly the same as the rules for men's basketball. Probably the biggest difference is that the circumference of the women’s basketball is one inch smaller than the circumference of the size of the men's basketball. Also, in American professional basketball, the women’s three-point line is slightly closer to the basket than men’s. As for the Olympics, since 1996, the U.S. women’s basketball team has won gold. The FIBA Africa Women's Championship is the women's basketball continental championship of Africa, played biennially under the auspices of FIBA, the basketball sport governing body, and the African zone thereof. Women’s basketball is global and it will remain forevermore.

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Important Lessons

There are many lessons learned in basketball. It is a team game, therefore one person can’t win a team game alone. There must be teamwork in order to make one team the victor. Also, basketball is fun. It requires not only athleticism and physical skill. It requires practice and patience, because practice can make anyone a better basketball player. Anyone needs patience in order to concentrate and make a game more interesting. Also, basketball is more than a game. It has given opportunities to so many human beings from the poor to those who work in other fields too. We have issues too. Many big corporations want to exploit athletes for the sake of increasing their profits and growing their portfolios. Many athletes have been the victims of bad contracts and other complications. This should change. We also know about the legacy of many players displaying a social consciousness involving basketball. Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul Jabbar are well known human beings who have advocated for social justice and standing up for civil rights. They stood in support of Muhammad Ali in defending his right to oppose the unjust Vietnam War. Today, many athletes give much of their money to help the minorities and the poor. Also, some athletes are selfish and refuse to help the inner city, which is a shame.

The fundamental point is that we have work to do. We want resources to build up our communities excluding materialism and militarism. "Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete" is a book written by the sports expert William C. Rhoden. His book conclusively exposes the exploitation of athletes by the establishment in strong terms. Basketball is an international game that has helped so many people. Yet, basketball alone can never save us. Social activism, the development of our consciousness, and real work can help society in comprehensive ways. Basketball has sent joy into the lives of many. It has united societies and developed cultures. It is a game that is part of the expression of humanity. We love the game and we cherish it. Also, we have the responsibility to use basketball to teach us the lesson about making the world better.

By Timothy

Spring 2017 Part 4

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Phoenix, Arizona is found in the Southwest and the Western part of the United States of America. Phoenix has a long history. Its growth is amazing, its people are diverse, and its cultural strength is beautiful and magnanimous. Today, the great city of Phoenix has more than 1.5 million human beings. From its airport to its neighborhoods (like Midtown, Uptown, West Phoenix, North Phoenix, Biltmore, Aracadia, and Sunnyslope), Phoenix is known for its technological innovations and its down to Earth people. Phoenix is a cultural center of the state and a large city of the Southwest region. Diverse fauna and flora reside in the city too from bobcats to a giant saguaro. People of diverse backgrounds and creeds live in Phoenix. Frank Lloyd Wright influenced heavily much of the architecture or the city of Phoenix. He built his winter home called the Taliesin West in Phoenix. Home to many recreational parks, artistic locations, and sports arenas, its tourism in Phoenix has been very strong. The mayor currently is Greg Stanton, who is a Democrat. He was re-elected in 2015. It has its own light rail system too. Valley Metro's 20-mile (32 km) light rail project, called Valley Metro Rail, through north-central Phoenix, downtown, and eastward through Tempe and Mesa, opened December 27, 2008. Future rail segments of more than 30 miles (48 km) are planned to open by 2030. From an agricultural community to an international city, it has shown the world that great communities are blessings for the world society. It has almost 1.6 million people. Phoenix is found in the Valley of the Sun metropolis area. South of Phoenix is Maricopa County. Northeast of Phoenix is Scottdale. Southeast of Phoenix is found the city of Temple. Northwest of Phoenix is Glendale and Peoria. West of Phoenix is found Goodyear and north of Phoenix is Prescott.

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Native American History

The first inhabitants of Phoenix were the Native Americans. They were hunters and gatherers. They hunted Pleistocene animals like mammoths, mastodons, and giant bisons. Back then, there were ancient horses, camels, and giant sloths in the area whose remains were discovered in the Salt River Valley. The Native Americans lived in the southwestern American region and northern Mexico for tens of thousands of years. This existed in 9,000 B.C. By 7,000 B.C, some Native Americans left the area to be replaced by other Native Americans. This era lasted from ca. 7,000 B.C. until 1 A.D. These human beings were hunters and gatherers. They travel the area too. By about 3,000 years ago, the culture changed into an agricultural lifestyle. Maize around this time was cultivated. The agrarian culture grew. Farming spread. Groups started to show their cultural differences. These differences in the ancient Southwestern territories were among farmers, villagers, and the nomads. The farmer culture was dominated by a tribe called the Hohokam.

The Hohokam peoples used petroglyph or writings on stone. They came from Mexico. They were agrarian in their civilization. They traveled as north as the Salt River basins. For more than 2,000 years, the Hohokam peoples traveled into Phoenix.  Hohokam is a present-day name given to the occupants of central and southern Arizona who lived here between about the year 0 and 1450 A.D. (current era). It is derived from the Pima Native American (Akimel O'odham) word for "those who have gone" or "all used up. The Hohokam travel into the valley has been divided into 5 periods by paleontologists. The earliest period is known as the Pioneer Period, which lasted roughly from 1–700 AD, and was categorized by groups of shallow pit houses, and by its end the first canals were being used for irrigation. Also, the period saw the first decorated ceramics appearing.

This was followed by the Colonial Period (c. 700 – 900 AD), during which time the irrigation system was expanded and the community sizes grew, as did the size of the dwellings. Rock art and ball courts began to appear, and cremations became the usual form of burial. 900 to 1150 AD, referred to as the Sedentary Period, again saw the expansion of the settlements and the canal system. Platform mounds began to be built, and plazas and the ball courts which began to appear in the last period, became more prevalent in the larger settlements. The final period, the Classic Period, lasted approximately from 1150 A.D. until 1450 A.D. The number of villages declined during this period, but the size of the remaining settlements increased. Their canals were about 135 miles which made the desert land arable. Many of these canals are used for the model day Arizona Canal, Central Arizona Project Canal, and the Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct. By 1300, the Hohokam peoples became the largest population in the Southwest. They traded with the Aztecs and other nearby peoples like the Anasazi, Mogollon, and the Sinagua. Some believed that the Hohokam witnessed a supernova of 1006. They disappeared from the area by the mid 1400’s possibly either because of drought or flooding. Afterwards, many people came into the area. They were the Akimel O'odham (commonly known as Pima), Tohono O’odham and Maricopa tribes began to use the area, as well as segments of the Yavapai and Apache. The O’odham especially dominated the Phoenix area with irrigation systems, crops, etc. They worked to protect themselves from the Yuma and Apache tribes. The Yuma people traveled and they lived in the Arizona state.

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Colonization by Europeans

By the 1500’s, Spanish explorers came about into the Arizona area. Many of them wrote accounts about their journeys. They left behind European diseases that ravaged Native American tribes with no immunity, especially smallpox, measles and influenza. The Spanish opened a mission in the Tucson area, but made no settlements anywhere near Phoenix. When the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, most of Mexico’s northern zone passed to United States control. A portion of it was made into the New Mexico Territory (which included what is now Phoenix) shortly afterward. Later, in the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, the U.S. promised to honor all land rights of the area including those of the O’odham. The O’odham gained full constitutional rights. During the American Civil War, the Salt River and the Gila River Valleys (which made up of much of the territory of Phoenix today) were claimed by both sides in the conflict.  Confederate Arizona was officially claimed by The South, and formally created by a proclamation by Jefferson Davis on February 14, 1862. Its capital was at Mesilla, in New Mexico.

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The North claimed the Salt River Valley as part of the Arizona Territory, formed by Congress in 1863 with its capital at Fort Whipple, before it was moved the following year to Prescott. While laying claim to the area, the Confederates made no move to enforce that claim, while one of the reasons for the establishment of Fort McDowell was to support the North's possession of the territory. However, since the Phoenix area had no military value, it was not contested ground during the war.

The founding of Phoenix

The founding of Phoenix has a long history. By 1863, the mining community of Wickenburg was the first to be established in what is now Maricopa County. It’s located to the northwest of modern Phoenix. During that time, Maricopa County had not yet been incorporated. The land was within Yavapai County, which included the major town of Prescott to the north of Wickenburg. When the Civil War came to a close, settlers from the north and east began to encroach on the Valley of the Sun. The U.S. Army set up Fort McDowell on the Verde River in 1865 to quell Native American uprisings. In order to create a supply of hay for their needs, the fort established a camp on the south side of the Salt River in 1866. This was the first non-native settlement in the valley. Later, other nearby settlements would form and merge to become the city of Tempe. Yet, this community was incorporated after Phoenix. Phoenix’s history as a city started with Jack Swilling. He was an ex-Confederate who in November 1867 was on a visit to the Fort’s camp. He was the first to utilize the agricultural potential of the Salt River Valley. He promoted the 1st irrigation system, which was in part inspired by the ruins of Hohokam canals.

Returning to Wickenburg, he raised funds from local gold miners and formed the Swilling Irrigating and Canal Company, whose intent was to build irrigation canals and develop the Salt River Valley for farming. The next month, December, Swilling led a group of 17 miners back to the valley, where they began the process of building the canals which would revitalize the area. There is no concrete evidence on who came up with the name for the new community, but anecdotal stories give credit to Darrell Dupa, who suggested they name it Phoenix. Swilling had suggested "Stonewall", after Stonewall Jackson, and another proposed name was Salina, which had been an early name for the Salt River. However, in light of the rebirth of a town after the collapse of the Hohokam civilization, the name Phoenix predominated. A letter to a newspaper in Prescott shows that this name was already in use by January 1868. The Board of Supervisors in Yavapai County, which at the time encompassed Phoenix.

It officially recognized the new town of Phoenix on May 4, 1868 and formed an election precinct. The first post office was established on June 15, 1868, located in Swiling’s homestead, with Swiling serving as the postmaster. Phoenix grew. By 1870 in the U.S. census, the total Salt River Valley population had 240. Due to economic considerations benefiting the members of SRVTA, the more westerly town site was selected, and a 320 acres (1.3 km2) plot of land was purchased in what is now the downtown business section. On February 14, 1871, following a vote by the territorial legislature, Governor A.K. Safford issued a proclamation creating Maricopa County by dividing Yavapai County. In that same proclamation, he named Phoenix the county seat, but that nomination was subject to the approval of the voters. An election was held in May 1871, at which Phoenix' selection as the county seat was ratified. Quite a few members of SRVTA were also elected to county positions: among them were John Alsop (Probate Judge), William Hancock (Surveyor) and Tom Barnum was elected the first sheriff. Barnum ran unopposed as the other two candidates had a shootout that left one dead and the other withdrawing from the race. The town's first government consisted of three commissioners. Several lots of land were sold in 1870 at the average price of $8. The first church in Phoenix opened in 1871 as did the first store. The first public school class was held on September 5, 1872, in the courtroom of the county building. By October 1873, a small school was completed on Center Street (now Central Avenue). The total value of the Phoenix Town site was $550, with downtown lots selling for between $7 and $11 each.

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Phoenix's Growth

By 1875, the town had a telegraph office, sixteen saloons, and four dance halls, but the townsite-commissioner form of government was no longer working well. At a mass meeting on Oct. 20, 1875, an election was held to select three village trustees and other officials. Those first three trustees were John Smith (Chairman), Charles W. Stearns (treasurer), and Capt. Hancock (secretary). 1878 saw the opening of the first bank, a branch of the Bank of Arizona, and by 1880, Phoenix's population stood at 2,453. Later in 1880, the first legal hanging in Maricopa County was held, performed in town. In 1881, Phoenix continued to grow. It had a board trustee, but it became obsolete. The 11th Territorial Legislature passed "The Phoenix Charter Bill", incorporating Phoenix and providing for a mayor-council government. The bill was signed by Governor John C. Fremont on February 25, 1881, officially incorporating Phoenix with a population of approximately 2,500. On May 3, 1881, Phoenix held its first city election. Judge John T. Alsap defeated James D. Monihon, 127 to 107, to become the city's first mayor. Infrastructure and services developed in Phoenix especially to respond to crisis or events. After many smallpox outbreaks, the public health department was instituted during the early 1880’s. There was the volunteer fire department being created after 2 serious fires in the city. The public water system began in 1887. Other services which would see their beginnings in this decade were a private gas lighting company in 1886. A telephone company was created in 1886, a mule drawn streetcar system was made in 1887 and electric power came about in 1888. The coming of the railroad in the 1880’s was the first of several important events that revolutionized the economy of Phoenix. A spur of the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Phoenix and Maricopa, was extended from Maricopa into Tempe in 1887.

Merchandise now flowed into the city by rail instead of wagon. Phoenix became a trade center, with its products reaching eastern and western markets. In response, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was organized on November 4, 1888. Earlier in 1888, the city offices were moved into the new City Hall at Washington and Central (later, the site of the city bus terminal until Central Station was built in the 1990’s). When the territorial capital was moved from Prescott to Phoenix in 1889 the temporary territorial offices were also located in City Hall. The Arizona Republic was a daily paper in 1890 with Ed Gill as its editor. The greatest flood in the Valley’s history was in 1891. The creation of the Phoenix Sewer and Drainage Department existed in 1892. The Phoenix Street Railway electrified its mule-drawn streetcar lines in 1893, with streetcar service continuing until a 1947 fire. Another important event which occurred in 1893 was the passage of a territorial law which allowed Phoenix to annex land surrounding the city, as long as it obtained the permission of the inhabitants of that area. This would begin a process which lasts till today, as the city annexed some surrounding terrain, growing from its original 0.5 square miles of territory to slightly over 2 square miles of territory by the turn of the century. On March 12, 1895, the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railroad ran its first train to Phoenix, connecting it to the northern part of Arizona. The additional railroad sped the capital city's economic rise. The year 1895 also saw the establishment of Phoenix Union High School, with an enrollment of 90.

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The Early 20th Century

By 1900, the population of Phoenix was 5,554. On February 25, 1901, Governor Murphy dedicated the permanent state Capitol building. It was built on a 10 acre site on the west end of Washington Street, at the cost of $130,000. The Phoenix City Council levied a $5,000,000 tax for a public library after the state legislature. In 1901, a bill allowed for a tax to support free libraries. Andrew Carnegie sent money to a library in the city as well. The Carnegie Free Library opened in 1908 and it was dedicated to Benjamin Fowler. Back then, many tuberculosis patients came into the Phoenix weather. The reason was because of its dry, warm climate. Tuberculosis is a dangerous lung disease.  The Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of Mercy opened St. Joseph's Hospital in 1895, with 24 private rooms for tuberculosis patients. Although the Catholic population was small and poor, the city's Protestants were generous and funding a new hospital. In 1910 the sisters opened Arizona's first school of nursing. Today St. Joseph's Hospital is part of a corporation called Catholic Healthcare West, and is still operated by the Sisters of Mercy. Until 1901, the sisters also ran Sacred Heart Academy, an elite school for young ladies. The Sisters of the Precious Blood opened St. Mary's Catholic High School in 1917. Brophy College Preparatory for boys was opened in 1935 by the Jesuits.

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act, allowing for dams to be built on western streams for reclamation purposes. Residents were quick to enhance this by organizing the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association (on February 7, 1903), to manage the water and power supply. The agency still exists as part of the Salt River Project.  Theodore Roosevelt Dam was started in 1906. It was the first multiple-purpose dam, supplying both water and electric power, to be constructed under the National Reclamation Act. On May 18, 1911, the former President himself dedicated the dam, which was the largest masonry dam in the world, forming several new lakes in the surrounding mountain ranges. On February 14, 1912, President William Taft was in existence. Phoenix in that year became the capital of the newly formed state of Arizona. This happened just six months after Taft had vetoed on August 11, 1911, a joint resolution giving Arizona statehood. Taft disapproved of the recall of judges in the state constitution. Compared to Tucson or Prescott, Phoenix was considered preferable as the capital because of its central location. It was smaller than Tucson, but outgrew that city within the next few decades, to become the state's largest city.

In 1913, Phoenix formed a new form of government. It went from a mayor council system to a council manager system. It was one of the first cities in the United States with this form of city government. After Arizona’s statehood, Phoenix’s popular grew massively. By the end of the first eight years under statehood, Phoenix’s population grew to 29,053. Two thousand were attending Phoenix Union High School. In 1920, Phoenix built its first skyscraper, the Heard Building. In 1928, Scenic Airways, Inc. saw profitability in flights in the Southwest. Scenic General Manager, J. Parker Van Zandt purchased land for Scenic in Phoenix, and named the new airport Sky Harbor, which was formally dedicated on Labor Day in 1929. On March 4, 1930, former President Calvin Coolidge dedicated a dam on the Gila River named in his honor. Because of a long drought the "lake" behind it held no water. Humorist Will Rogers, also a guest speaker, quipped, "If that was my lake I’d mow it."

Phoenix's population had more than doubled during the 1920's, and now stood at 48,118. After the stock market crash of 1929, Sky Harbor was sold to another investor, and in 1930 American Airlines brought passenger and air mail service to Phoenix. In 1935 the city of Phoenix purchased the single runway airport, nicknamed "The Farm" due to its isolation, and it has been owned and operated by the city to this day. During the 1930's couples used to fly into Sky Harbor solely to get married at the chapel, for Arizona was one of the few states that did not have a waiting period for marriage. It was also during the 1930's that Phoenix and its surrounding area began to be called "The Valley of the Sun", which was an advertising slogan invented to boost tourism. In 1940 as the Depression ended, Phoenix had a population of 65,000 (with 121,000 more in the remainder of Maricopa County). Its economy was still based on cotton, citrus and cattle, while it also provided retail, wholesale, banking, and governmental services for central Arizona, and was gaining a national reputation among winter tourists.

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WWII in Phoenix

During World War II, Phoenix’s economy became a distribution center. It was turning into an embryonic industrial city. It mass produced military supplies. In the area, there were 3 Air Force fields like Luke Field, Williams Field, and Falcon Field. There were two large pilot training camps. Their names are Thunderbird Field, NO. 1 in Glendale and Thunderbird Field No. 2 in Scottsdale. These facilities coupled with the giant Desert Training Center, being created by General George S. Patton (east of Phoenix) brought thousands of new people into Phoenix. Mexican-American local organizations enthusiastically supported the war effort, providing encouragement for the large number of men who enlisted, and assistance for their families. Many civilians were employed in the war effort, bringing the community more money than ever before. Some projects were organized in cooperation with the dominant Anglo community, but most were operated separately. Numerous postwar politicians got their start during the war on the home front or from their experiences and contacts in the military.

The postwar G.I. Bill of Rights provided mortgage funding for home ownership, allowing thousands to move out of small apartments. On Thanksgiving night on 1942, there was a brawl at a bar. This caused the MPs to arrest a black soldier. Later, black troops rebelled from segregated units. 3 men died and 11 were wounded in the rebellion. Most of the 180 men arrested and jailed were released, but some were court-martialed and sent to military prison. This existed in the midst of racial tensions in America and rebellions happened in Detroit and in other places where black innocent people were brutalized and murdered by racists. German prisoners of war built a secret tunnel at the prisoner-of-war camp which was located at the present site of Papago Park. In the Great Papago Escape of 23 December 1944, 25 POW's escaped. Local and federal officials took a month to recapture them all. During the war, public transportation was overwhelmed by the newcomers at a time when gasoline was rationed to 3 gallons a week and no new autos were built. In 1943, the transit systems operated seventeen streetcars and fifty-five buses. They carried 20,000,000 passengers a year. A fire in 1947 destroyed most of the streetcars, and the city switched to buses.

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Phoenix had just over sixty-five thousand residents in 1940. Later, it became America’s sixth largest city by 2010, with a population of nearly 1.5 million, and millions more in nearby suburbs. Young veterans traveled into Phoenix too. By 1948, high tech industry would be a strong staple of the economy of Arizona. Military electronics, research, and development centers developed. Motorola made offices in Phoenix. It was close to New Mexico and southern California. Engineering programs existed in Arizona State University. The climate allowed more residents to live there. Other high tech companies like Intel and McDonnel Douglas would set up manufacturing operations in the Phoenix area too. After World War II, the 1950’s saw Phoenix going through massive changes. Population growth rapidly increased in the city. Industry has grown. Many housing for minorities developed. Also, there was smog, traffic congestion, and many people moved into the suburbs and other surrounding communities. By 1950, over 105,000 people lived within the city. Thousands lived in surrounding areas.  There were 148 miles (238 km) of paved streets and 163 miles (262 km) of unpaved streets.  The 1950's growth was spurred on by advances in mechanical air conditioning, which allowed both homes and businesses to offset the extreme heat known to Phoenix during its long summers. Affordable cooling in the decade contributed to a wild building boom. In 1959 alone, Phoenix saw more new construction than it had in the more than three decades from 1914 to 1946. In May of 1953, there was the location of the very first franchise of the McDonald’s restaurant chain in Phoenix. It was found in the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Indian School Roads. The Phoenix location also was the first McDonald’s restaurant to feature the Golden Arches architectural motif, which would be emblematic architectural element of the global restaurant chain. The McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice, desired to expand the successful restaurant that they had created in San Bernardino, California. They licensed the first McDonald’s franchise to the Phoenix businessman named Neil Fox and two other partners for a licensing fee of $1,000.00.  There was the rise of Barry Goldwater too in Phoenix. He lived from 1909 to 1989. He was one founding father of the modern conservative and libertarian movements. He was well known in Phoenix, Arizona and throughout the state. He wanted reform and he rebuilt the Republican Party in the state. He was a state Senator known as “Mr. Conservative.”

He promoted conservative views throughout his life. He led a 1964 Presidential campaign against LBJ, which Goldwater lost. I don’t agree with him on many political views, but it is important to outline the complexities of a person's life regardless of their ideological affiliations. He is of both English and Jewish heritage. He is related to the famous theologian Roger Williams. He was a lifelong Episcopalian. He was a conservative. Therefore, he opposed New Deal liberalism and distrusted unions. Phoenix schools back then was segregated. Goldwater held a contradictory view on civil rights. He believed in civil rights for black people, but he wanted the states to handle the issue without federal intervention. I oppose that proposition since civil rights is a federal issue beyond just a state issue. He opposed the federal Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act because of federalism reasons. Of course, I disagree with Goldwater on that issue. In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was explicit in opposing the 1964 Presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. Dr. King wrote the following words:

"...On social and economic issues, Mr. Goldwater represented an unrealistic conservatism that was totally out of touch with the realities of the twentieth century. The issue of poverty compelled the attention of all citizens of our country. Senator Goldwater had neither the concern nor the comprehension necessary to grapple with this problem of poverty in the fashion that the historical moment dictated. On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represented a philosophy that was morally indefensible and socially suicidal. While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulated a philosophy which gave aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand. In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy..." (From The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, ed., Clayborne Carson [Time Warner, 1998], 247. See also, Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? [Harper & Row, 1967]).

Barry Goldwater was a pilot, an outdoorsman, and a photographer. He loved the natural beauty of Arizona. He loved history and politics. He wanted to get rid of corruption in Phoenix. He was elected to the Phoenix City Council in 1949. He wanted to eliminate widespread prostitution and gambling. Goldwater rebuilt the weak Republican Party and won election to the U.S. Senate in 1952, defeating the Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland by enough of a lead in the Phoenix area to narrowly overcome Democratic strength in rural Arizona. Many groups wanted to eliminate corruption in city government.

In 1947 a new organization, the Phoenix Charter Revision Committee, began to analyze the administrative instability, factionalism, mediocrity and low morale that had long paralyzed city government. The proposed a series of reforms and reorganized itself as the nonpartisan Charter Government Committee. Goldwater was a leader, and the committee, starting in 1949, swept nearly all the elections in the next two decades. The Committee had a broad base that included many civic and business leaders, and made sure that all the city's religions were represented. The problem was that the committee had only one woman and it had no black people or Hispanic people in the organization. Eugene C. Pulliam, owner of the city's major newspaper the Arizona Republic, provided extensive publicity. Much of the Committee’s funding secretly came from Gus Greenbaum, an associate of organized crime figures, despite the Committee’s vehement public denunciation of crime and corruption. The newly invigorated city council introduced a more efficient, less corrupt system based on a professional city manager. While the Committee could win all its elections, it was defeated on one major policy issue when a different grassroots group warned against urban renewal proposals, saying they were socialistic and threatened the rights of private property owners.

Arizona by the 1960’s changed from a Democratic stronghold in the 1930’s to a Republican bastion by the 1960’s. To this day, Arizona is a heavily conservative, Republican state. Democrats have lost much political power over the decades. There are many reasons for this. Many Midwesterners traveled into Arizona. Many of these human beings were Republicans. The new industries in Arizona were headed by people who voted Republican and abhorred labor unions. These new industries used high technologies and they appealed to engineers and technicians. Many Democratic areas were found in urban centers. Many retirees came into Arizona were Republicans. The media climate was different too. Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette newspapers and their television stations, owned by Eugene Pulliam.

After 1964 however the Pulliam media were politically better balanced. Finally, Pearce points to the quality of Republican candidates that Goldwater had systematically recruited from among the affluent, well-educated new arrivals from the East. They attracted votes across party lines, as did Goldwater himself, as well as Governor Howard Pyle, Congressman John Rhodes and numerous others. Pearce, however, also notes a growing right-wing element, based in Phoenix that repeatedly challenged the business-oriented Republican establishment. Goldwater would be more libertarian and opposed the theocratic element of the GOP by the 1980's and in the 1990's.

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The Civil Rights Movement in Phoenix

The civil rights movement has a long history in Phoenix, Arizona. A lot of people in America don't know about the civil rights movement in Phoenix. Decades ago, numerous people moved into Phoenix in trying to get economic opportunities and to escape the bigotry and racism that existed in other places of America. Also, racism is a global phenomenon, so racism existed back then in Phoenix too. The Klan was prominent there in the 1920’s and the 1930’s. Also, many residents and others in the city fought back in order to fight for human justice for all people. Local organizations and leaders in Phoenix fought for local and national change. Black Americans came into Phoenix too. Phoenix had segregation back then. Back then, much of the black population in Phoenix was middle class, rich, and entrepreneurs. One of the greatest civil rights leaders in Phoenix was Lincoln Ragsdale Sr. He lived from 1926 to 1995. He was outspoken on many issues and he was a famous Tuskegee Airmen back during World War II. He fought for reforms in the Valley like voting rights, civil rights, the desegregation of schools including neighborhoods, and public accommodations. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was raised in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He and his family escaped the Tulsa riot where white racist terrorists burned black businesses and murdered innocent black people. Onlia Violet Ragsdale (his mother) had a college degree and was the President of the National Association of Colored Women’s Oklahoma chapter. Lincoln Ragsdale fought for racial equality and he loved flying, so he was in the Tuskegee Airmen. He narrowly escaped a lynching when he was 19. He moved into Phoenix in 1946. He and his brother formed a mortuary business. His family has done this before too.

This made Lincoln Ragsdale Phoenix's first black funeral home owner in Arizona in 1948. He graduated from Arizona State University and received a doctorate in business administration from Union Graduate School. He married Eleanor Ragsdale, who was a local schoolteacher at Dunbar Elementary School. She was an activist in her own right. They married in 1949. He formed many businesses from construction to a restaurant. Lincoln called Phoenix the Mississippi of the West. Phoenix had signs that discriminated against black people and Mexicans. He worked to integrate cemeteries via the Greater Phoenix Council for Civic Unity or the GPCCU. He fought for the desegregation of Arizona schools. Barry Goldwater supported this effort. The law which passed only went so far as to allow school boards to voluntarily desegregate. While many districts, including Tucson's, did desegregate voluntarily, Phoenix schools did not. The GPCCU then campaigned for a local ballot initiative to desegregate Phoenix's schools, but it failed by a 2-to-1 margin. Before 1954, Phoenix desegregated their schools before the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. He fought against housing discrimination too. The Ragsdales raised 4 children despite threats, harassment from the police, and graffiti with racial epithets on their home. Ragsdale and Rev. George B. Brooks were in the Maricopa County NAACP chapter. They protested and wanted to end workplace discrimination that barred black people from skilled jobs. Lincoln and Eleanor organized protests in local Phoenix Woolworth stories in 1962.

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He fought and caused the passage of an Arizona state wide civil rights law. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Arizona State University in 1964 at Ragsdale’s invitation after which the Ragsdale hosted him in their home. Dr. King spoke in 1962 too in Phoenix. Ragsdale worked with the Hispanic community too. As a pilot, Ragsdale served on the Phoenix Municipal Aeronautics Advisory Board in the 1970's. Lincoln and Eleanor Ragsdale knew African dignitaries, Jesse Jackson, and other human beings. Lincoln Ragsdale later became involved in the intense fight to create a statewide Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Arizona, which finally passed after a voter-approved ballot measure in 1992. Eleanor Ragsdale also fought for racial justice too. She was an entrepreneur. Many people played a role in the Phoenix Civil Rights movement. Their names were: George B. Brooks, Clovis Campbell Sr., Val Cordova, Carl E. Craig, Hayzel B. Daniels, Pete Garcia, J. Eugene Grigsby Jr., Charles Lama Jr., Edward F. Orduna. The city council created the Phoenix Human Rights Commission in July of 1963 to fight poverty and racism. It was chaired by William P. Reilly who wanted more job opportunities for black Americans.

It or the Commission received pledges from 300 businesses to hire without regard to race, color, or creed. A self-help job training program was created in 1967 by Reilly, Carl Craig, Robert Nesby, George Brooks, Augustus Shaw, and other black activists. Operation LEAP (Leadership and Education for the Advancement of Phoenix) was created to fight poverty too. It was a public, private sector partnership agency. Yet, Operation LEAP struggled to get results. Many Mexicans supported black people in marches and sit ins in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. Many Hispanic groups existed too. A lot of black women were in leadership positions of the civil rights movement. Great teacher Arlena E. Seneca worked in education. She won Phoenix Women of the Year honors. Vernell Coleman organized Juneteenth celebrations and Black History Month in Phoenix. Helen Mason supported the Phoenix Black Theater Troup. African American churches and other institutions assisted the black community in Phoenix in many ways.

The Arizona State University has many progressive activists. Clovis Campbell was the first African American to serve in the Arizona Senate. He was elected in 1970. Many unsung heroes of Phoenix include Vicky Daviss-Mitchell. She is a longtime community activist for over 50 years. She is a blogger, and a resident of Phoenix. She knew of crosses being burnt in years, of segregation, and other evils. Yet, she continues to fight for justice. She is right to say that some things ought to be taught at home too. Another community activist in Phoenix is Samuel Lee France. Dr. Neal Lester is a professor of English at Arizona State University. He wants education, housing, and ending evils. He’s the director of Project Humanities. He specializes in African American literacy and cultural studies. In our generation, the civil rights struggle continues. The unjust ban on ethnic studies in schools of Arizona must be banned. Immigration rights should be maintained. The rights of black people and all people must be respected.

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Late 20th century Developments

From the 1960’s to the 1980’s, the city of Phoenix further developed. The city metropolitan area has grown and it became a large tourist destination. It has an exotic desert setting. Many recreational opportunities existed and nightlife plus civil events flourished in the Central Avenue. By this time, Central Avenue was filled with skyscrapers. The Phoenix Corporate Center opened in 1960. Back then, it was the tallest building in Arizona at 341 feet. By 1964, there was the completion of the Rozenweig Center or Phoenix City Square. Architect Wenceslaus Sarmiento's largest project, the landmark Phoenix Financial Center (better known by locals as the "Punch-card Building" in recognition of its unique southeastern facade), was also finished in 1964. In addition to a number of other office towers, many of Phoenix's residential high-rises were built during this decade. The growth in Phoenix didn’t transpire evenly. This pattern existed in other cities too. The growth was mainly in the city’s north side, which was a location that was nearly all white. In 1962, one local activist testified at a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing. This person said that of 31,000 homes that was recently spurning up in the neighborhood, not a single one had been sold to an African American.

Phoenix’s African American and Mexican American communities remained mostly in the south side of Phoenix. The color lines were so rigid that no one north of Van Buren Street would rent to the African American baseball star Willie Mays (who was in town for spring training during the 1960’s). In 1964, a reporter from the New Republic wrote of segregation in these terms: "Apartheid is complete. The two cities look at each other across a golf course." People would fight against segregation in Phoenix too. In 1965, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum was opened on the grounds of the Arizona State Fair. This location was west of downtown. In 1968, the city was awarded the Phoenix Suns NBA franchise in a surprising fashion. The Phoenix Suns played its home games at the Coliseum until 1992. By 1968, the Central Arizona Project was approved by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This action assured future water supplies for Phoenix, Tucson, and the agricultural corridor in between. In 1969, the Catholic Church created the Diocese of Phoenix on December 2, by splitting the Archdiocese of Tucson. The first bishop was Reverend Edward A. McCarthy, who had become a Bishop in 1965.

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In 1971, Phoenix adopted the Central Phoenix Plan. This allowed unlimited building heights along Central Avenue. The problem was that the plan didn’t sustain long term development of the Central Corridor. There were few office towers constructed along the North Central during the 1970’s. None approached the scope of construction during the previous decade. Downtown experienced a resurgence. There was a great level of construction activity. This would not be seen again until the urban real estate boom of the 2000’s. Many high rise buildings were erected, including the buildings currently named Wells Fargo Plaza, the Chase Tower (at 483 feet, the tallest building in both Phoenix and Arizona) and the U.S. Bank Center.  By the end of the decade, Phoenix adopted the Phoenix Concept 2000 plan which split the city into urban villages, each with its own village core where greater height and density was permitted, further shaping the free-market development culture. This officially turned Phoenix into a city of many nodes, which would later be connected by freeways. 1972 would see the opening of the Phoenix Symphony Hall. The Salt River flooded in 1980. That flood damaged many bridges. So, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Amtrak worked together. They temporarily operated a train service. It has been referred to by the Valley Metro Rail known as “Hattie B” line. It existed between central Phoenix and the southeast suburbs. There were high operating costs and a lack of interest from local authorities in funding, so it was discontinued. Sandra Day O’Connor (who was born in Texas and grew up in Arizona) was the first woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on September 25, 1986. In 1985, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the nation's largest nuclear power plant, began electrical production. Conceived in 1980, the Arizona Science Center, located in Heritage and Science Park, opened in 1984. 1987 saw visits by Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

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Phoenix in the 21st Century

The 20 story City Hall was opened in Phoenix in 1992. There were many areas being developed to help refugees from Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Sierra Leona, Laos, Vietnam, and Central and South America. Many of the refugees from those nations lived in the Sunnyslope area with low cost housing. Students and adults spoke 43 different languages in local schools by the year of 2000. In the 21st century, Phoenix continued to grow economically. Its population grew too. It was the second fastest metropolitan area in America under Las Vegas. The Phoenix Light Rail developed in 2008. It would connect Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Squaw Peak, the second tallest mountain in the city, was officially renamed Piestewa Peak after Army Specialist Lori Ann Piestewa, an Arizona native who was the first Native American woman to die in combat with the U.S. military. Also, she was the first American female casualty in the 2003 Iraq War. Phoenix was hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis.  In early 2009, the median home price was $150,000, down from its $262,000 peak in recent years. Crime rates in Phoenix have declined in recent years and once troubled, decaying neighborhoods such as South Mountain, Alhambra, and Maryvale, have recovered and stabilized. Recently, Downtown Phoenix and the central core have experienced renewed interest and expansion, resulting in numerous restaurants, stores and businesses opening or relocating to central Phoenix.

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The Culture of Phoenix.

The culture of Phoenix is very diverse. There are performing arts venues in the city too. The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and the Arizona Opera plus the Ballet Arizona are found in the city. Performs globally come to these locations to express their talents to the world. Several smaller theaters including Trunk Space, the Mesa Arts Center, the Crescent Ballroom, Celebrity Theater, and Modified Arts support regular independent musical and theater performances. Music can also be seen in some of the venues usually reserved for sports, such as the Wells Fargo Arena and the University of Phoenix Stadium. Dozens of museums exist in the Valley (which includes Phoenix). The Musical Instrument Museum opened its doors in 2010. It has the biggest musical instrument collection in the world. It was designed by Alden B. Dow. He was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Phoenix Art Museum was constructed in a single year. It opened in November of 1959. Sculptures are found in the new Phoenix Civil Space Park. That is a two city block park in the middle of downtown. Tourism is very popular in Phoenix too. The greater Phoenix area has more than 62,000 hotel rooms in over 500 hotels and 40 resorts. Due to its natural beauty and climate, Phoenix has a plethora of outdoor attractions and recreational activities. The Phoenix Zoo is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. Since opening in 1962, the zoo has developed an international reputation for its efforts on animal conservation, including breeding and reintroducing endangered species back into the wild.

Right next to the zoo, the Phoenix Botanical Gardens were opened in 1939, and are acclaimed worldwide for their exhibits and educational programs, featuring the largest collection of arid plants in the U.S. South Mountain Park, which is the largest municipal park in the U.S., is also the highest desert mountain preserve in the world. Mexican food is found in restaurants as well.  Some of Phoenix's restaurants have a long history. The Stockyards steakhouse dates to 1947, while Monti's La Casa Vieja (Spanish for "The Old House") was in operation as a restaurant since the 1890's, but closed its doors November 17, 2014. Macayo's (a Mexican restaurant chain) was established in Phoenix in 1946, and other major Mexican restaurants include Garcia's (1956) and Manuel's (1964). There are other restaurants that show Korean, Irish, Japanese, Thai, Spanish, Brazilian, and French cuisine. Sports are a huge part of the culture of Phoenix. The Arizona Cardinals (of the NFL), the Arizona Diamondbacks (of the MLB), the Phoenix Suns (of the NBA), the Arizona Coyotos (of the NHL), the Phoenix Mercury (of the WNBA), the Arizona Rattlers (of IFL or indoor football), and the Phoenix Rising FC (of Soccer), and other teams play in Phoenix.

By Timothy

Spring 2017 Part 3

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The Age of Trump

Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. Trump's Inaugural Address in January 20, 2017, outlined not only economic nationalism and imperialist militarism. He was not veiled in its advocacy of the reactionary "law and order" plans. He wants to be make America First policies. He has scapegoated human beings who happen to be of a different nationality. He blames many immigrants for the economic troubles in American society. The truth is that immigrants are not responsible for all of our economic problems spanning decades.  We reject building walls of hatred and isolation. We want to build bridges of racial, economic, gender, and social justice. American and other Western capitalists have seized wealth from the poor and the working class to be sent to the super wealthy. That is why many multinational corporations have record profits. Trump's cabinet is made up of billionaires, multimillionaires, and other reactionaries. His advocacy of jingoistic nationalism, and the minimization of the plight of others in other nations. His speech advances the evil view that imperialist powers must lust for raw materials, cheap labor, and giving some people key strategic positions without adequately responding to the masses of the people. His speech has fascist overtones and we are clear to oppose his nefarious agenda.

I can't be silent on this issue. I'm a political person. Trump's first refugee ban and the ban of immigrants from 7 majority Muslim countries (for 90 days) are not only xenophobic and racist. It's disgraceful. Those nations included in the ban are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This totals more than 134 million people. There is already a strong vetting proves for any refugee and immigrant who desires to come into America from those nations. The January 27, 2017 executive order (entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”) bans refugees from coming into America for 120 days and bans refugees from the Syrian territory indefinitely. To punish innocent human beings from overseas is wrong. His ban doesn't cover Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and other nations, since those nations have business ties explicitly to U.S. corporations, which shows Trump’s hypocrisy. Courageous protests have occurred nationwide in airports in Chicago, New York City, Northern Virginia, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Charlotte, Boston, and throughout the country. Protesters were found in Portland, Detroit, Bloomington, St. Louis, Wichita, Rochester, Pittsburgh, etc. Trump has expressed preference to Christian refugees coming into America, but that policy is a religious test (as Trump has a preference to allow Christian refugees to come into America not Muslim refugees from the banned countries), which is illegal. The 1965 Naturalization Act forbids discrimination on immigration status based on national origin. It is illegal under international law (from the Geneva Convention) as it relates to refugees too. Both Christian and Muslim people are victims of terrorism in the world not just Christians.

This anti-immigrant ban solves nothing and it violates civil liberties and promotes discrimination against Muslims. There are many stories of many people having trouble going into America. There is a 60 year old person with a visa. She had a signed letter from a surgeon to immigration officials telling them that Algonaimi needed to take care of her sick 76 year old mother. U.S. Customs officials didn’t view this as enough. Samira Asgari, an Iranian scientist coming to Harvard Medical School to work on a cure for tuberculosis. She said in a tweet: "I was pretty excited to join @soumya_boston's lab but denied boarding due to my Iranian nationality. Feeling safer?" The Taxi Workers Alliance called a one-hour boycott of JFK airport pickups in expressing opposition to the executive order. It is anti-freedom of religion. Trump is an overt authoritarian and a fascist and I don't use the term fascist lightly. To ban innocent Muslims from certain nations from coming into America is evil. I am not a Muslim, but we have to stand with our Muslim Brothers and Sisters from those nations who have an immigrant ban. There should be no religious test in America or anywhere for that matter. Trump has suspended Syrian refugees from coming into America when they are the victims of ISIS. So, Trump has shown his hand as being antithetical to freedom and hostile to equality. Now, Google has turned back many people who are from certain nations. This male Trump should be impeached in my opinion. I'm an American and I oppose Trump's agenda 100 percent. Many refugees have been detained in America without dub process of law.

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Lawyers have worked hard to allow some refugees to stay in America. On Saturday, after as many as 200 inbound foreigners with once-valid U.S. visas were detained at U.S. ports of entry on account of the ban, which was enacted while they were on route to America. The ACLU and other organizations filed for a class certification and argued against the ban in front of Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn.  Two Iraqi citizens — both refugees who had been granted admission to the U.S. and were already on route to the U.S. when Trump’s ban went into immediate effect — were detained at John F. Kennedy airport in New York early Saturday morning. One of the Iraqi men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked for the U.S. Army as an interpreter following the 2003 invasion, and had been targeted by militants as a result. Lawyers for the two men quickly filed a writ of habeas corpus demanding their release, and along with several organizations including the ACLU and the National Immigration Law Center, also filed a motion seeking class certification for all refugees and immigrants who had been suddenly detained at ports of entry on account of Trump’s order.   Hameed Khalid Darweesh is now free to walk around in America. A recent federal Brooklyn court decision allowed refugees with valid visas in America to stay in America for now. The federal judge prevented those detained from being sent back to the seven banned nations in the Middle East. The executive order still stands other than the court order. The executive order is disgraceful.

Today, many innocent Iranians can’t come to America. Iran has banned Americans from traveling into America too. Now, Steve Bannon is now on the National Security Council and Bannon is a blatant alt right white nationalist. This is an alarming violation of civil liberties (green card holders have been once included in the ban too, which is blatantly wrong).  This policy impacts all Americans too as an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It is illegal in violating the 1965 Naturalization Act since it discriminates against people on the basis of national origin and it is a violation of a religious test too. The executive order is plain morally wrong. Many people nationwide and worldwide are standing up for freedom and opposing that evil, fascist executive order too. Donald Trump has created a second, revised travel ban in March of 2017.

Trumpcare is not only reactionary and repugnant. It is based on hypocrisy. The reason is that Trump claims that his plan will help the sick, but the plan will cut services like Medicaid expansion (which will cause turmoil and suffering to low income Americans). The Medicaid expansion has been a great success in many states. Income based subsidies being eliminated as part of his plan is again very cruel. Obviously, Trump ignores actual solutions that can improve the ACA and led into truly universal health care (which many industrialized nations have and are working to help people).

Real solutions would be to: establish a public option in health care services, more government intervention to control the prices of medicines, increase the insurance subsidies for individuals and families, and many heroes want a Medicare for all system. From Carson's evil statement that slaves were immigrants to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' support of the voter suppression laws (plus he agreed with the gutting of the Voting Rights Act), these facts show that Trump stands for extremism and for the interests of the wealthy oligarchy. We are in favor of the power of the people and true, universal health care.

#Not my President.

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Extremist Executive Orders

One major part of the Presidency of Donald Trump is his early signing of numerous executive orders quickly. On January 23, 2017, Trump signed three executive orders. The first one withdraws the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (as part of economic nationalist reasons). The second one reinstated the Mexico City Policy dealing with NGOs and abortion access. The third one freezes federal workforce hiring. This is wrong and harms employment opportunities for millions of Americans. Trump wants to massively end regulations with his meetings with many large corporations. Trump has spoken about the lie that millions of people illegally voted against him. One the next day, he signed 2 executive orders to reverse the Obama administration's halt on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, the latter of which has been the subject of tense protests by the Standing Rock tribe.  It is a known fact that such pipeline risk environmental harm, damage water supplies, and many oil pipelines have exploded. Trump has signed another executive order in January 25 to begin the construction of a wall on the Mexico-United States border which is extremist and impossible because of geographic reasons. He increased border patrol and immigration officers. He has cruelly reduced grant funding to sanctuary cities and changed deportation standards. Like usual, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees with a border wall in the southern U.S. border, because the far right in America is allied with the far right in Israel. It is what it is. Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on January 26, 2017 that the border wall might be funded by a 20% tax on imports from Mexico, which may cause a trade war between America and Mexico. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a proposed meeting with Trump due to the controversy of whether Mexico would pay for the wall and after Trump suggested that Peña Nieto cancel the meeting.

In the first week of the Trump administration alone, we have seen a pro-war and a pro-social reactionary agenda. Trump has one of the most reactionary administrations in American history. The secretary of defense is retired general James Mattis. Rex Tillerson desires to bar Chinese access to islets in the South China Sea. Trump wants more “safe zones” in Syria. Trump wants to steal Iraqi oil in order to fund America, which is against international law. Trump agrees with using waterboarding which is torture. A draft memorandum is circulating in the White House that would reopen secret CIA prisons and torture centers overseas. This existed in just the first week of the Trump administration. The age of Trump existed as a product of war, a parasitic financial oligarchy, the growth of social inequality, and the total exposure of the fallibility of the capitalist system. Donald Trump is not a populist. He is a capitalist who had promoted failing casinos, corrupt universities, and failed businesses, which is a symbol of the state of American capitalism. Solidarity and alliance among many progressive people can defeat the agenda of Trump. Yet, we have to fight. We have to resist. We will use our voices.

Cabinet Members

Today, the extremist Donald Trump has much of his cabinet confirmed. His cabinet confirmed to us that he is an extremist. The Vice President is Mike Pence. Rex Tillerson is the Secretary of State. The Secretary of Defense is James Mattis. Mattis threatened North Korea with overwhelming force if North Korea attacked America and its allies. Elaine Chao is the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary of Homeland Security is John F. Kelly. Nikki Haley is the Ambassador to the United Nations. The RNC Chairman is Reince Preibus. Other people have yet to be confirmed yet. Trump use an executive order to get rid of many of the regulations on banks and financial institutions which came from the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. This shows how the Trump regime is in league with Wall Street interests. He signed these measures after having a meeting with his business council. The council is chaired by Stephen A. Schwarzman, the multi-billionaire chief executive of the private equity giant Blackstone Group. JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Visa have benefited from this bad policy. Senate Republicans were voting to repeal a rule linked to Dodd-Frank that requires oil companies to publicly disclose payments they make to governments in connection with their business operations around the world. Among those who lobbied against the Securities and Exchange rule was the new secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, in his capacity as CEO of Exxon Mobil. This is similar to amnesty for corporate exploitation.

I have seen a lot of despicable comments. Ben Carson's comments are some of the most disrespectful comments about our black ancestors that I have heard in this decade. Slaves were not immigrants who voluntarily came into American soil. Slaves were victims of kidnapping from Africa and they were stripped of their human rights and experienced indescribable anguish and turmoil. Slaves were branded, whipped, forced to wear torture devices, raped, assaulted, and murdered by racist terrorists. The Maafa and the Middle Passage were crimes against humanity and still some folks want to minimize or ignore the brutality of slavery. Ben Carson (who said that the ACA is the worse thing since slavery which is a lie) is a far right extremist who believes in cutting regulations involving housing and he makes outlandish, historical revisionist comments about American slavery. He is opposed to many legitimate social programs that has helped the poor and the working class for generations. Carson isn't the only one who has disrespected our black ancestors. He comes in a long list of extremists.

DeVos' comments are not only disrespectful, but they are based on something that has no basis in history. A large number of HBCUs existed from the Reconstruction era in order to give black people opportunities when many non-black institutions refused to respect racial justice. HBCUs back then and today give black people camaraderie, cultural growth, and many means to grow success from business to STEM fields. Her comments don't happen by happenstance. They are calculated in order to promote the lie that the privatization of all resources in society can somehow end injustice. We know that isn't true since the elimination of all public resources will cripple millions of Americans' opportunities. I believe in the general welfare and I believe in social justice. DeVos is totally unqualified to be the Department of Education since she never taught in any public school and she didn't answer questions succinctly on basic issues of educational concepts. Like usual, we will set the record straight and not let right wing extremists deter us from the mission. The mission is justice. Her father-in-law Rich DeVos, Sr., was the co-founder of the Amway Corporation. Rich DeVos Sr. was a member of the CNP or the Council on National Policy (which supports extremist causes). The corporate oligarchy funds the Trump regime and his allies. We know that her younger brother, Erik Prince, is a known militarist. So, many of the same ones who slander black people give passes to DeVos. Our eyes are on the prize.
Dissent and Resistance

We live in historic times and the Women’s March has great historical significance. This is part of history. It was the first major international protest in America of 2017 of so many people in America and in the world. There were over 500,000 people protesting in Washington D.C. There were about 750,000 people in Los Angeles, 250,000 people in New York City, from 150,000-250,000 people in Chicago, about 150,000 people in Denver, about 130,000 human beings in Seattle. Over 130,000 people were in Boston. There were about 100,000 human beings in London and in Portland. About 60,000 human beings were protesting and rallying in Atlanta and in Oakland. Over 50,000 people were in Toronto, Canada. 50,000 were in Philadelphia. 100,000 human beings were in Madison, WI, 20,000 people were in Pittsburgh, 20,000 people were in Nashville, TN, and 60,000 human beings were in St. Paul, MN. There were about 40,000 people standing up in Austin, Texas. Over 10,000 people were in St. Louis. People were rallying in Mexico City, Prague, and Sydney, Australia. There were 7,000 people in Palm Beach, Florida. Protesters were in Rome, Antarctica, St. Paul, Minnesota, and in other places of the world too. Demonstrations have been found in Tokyo, Dublin, Capetown, Paris, Vienna, Yangon, etc. The protesters were more than disagreeing with a demagogic new President named Trump. It was about standing up for the rights of women, black people, other people of color, immigrants, and other minorities. This is real. Trump and his crew are overt in their xenophobic, bigoted extremism and we have the right to disagree with Trump. The women there and others made history to voice their views. They opposed injustice and girls were protesting too. There were as much as 3 times as many people in the rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday than the people at the Trump Inauguration. The rally showed that women’s rights are human rights.

The Saturday Women’s March is the largest one day inaugural protest in American history as almost 3 million people protested throughout America. Women have been leaders of movements for social change since the beginning of human history. Many women of color wanted their voice heard since a majority of white women voted for Donald Trump. About 52% of white women voted for Trump and black women have every right to outraged about this. There is nothing wrong with intersectional womanism and true feminism. It is a fact that women of color’s voices have been omitted by the powers that be for a long time.

That is why Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour have been leaders of this movement. Women deserve equality and justice period. Women give birth, take care of families, work hard, and do unsung things throughout human history. Days ago, we have witnessed an inauguration of an extremist who not only spews overtly fascist words, but is unashamed of his racism, sexism, and xenophobia. On this day, tons of women worldwide are protesting, speaking, and standing up for their human rights. We can't be free unless women are free. When a man makes more than a woman on average, when we see record misogyny and misogynoir. When we see oppression against women continuously today, then we must fight. We fight for women. We do this, because it is right and our views stand the test of time. Many people spoke in the rallies like Tamika Mallory, Janelle Monae, Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Rep. Maxine Waters (she has been woke on many issues), and others. They are protesting discrimination, racism, xenophobia, white privilege, police brutality, imperialism, sexism, Islamophobia, and other evils. We want universal health care, we want women's rights to be protected and respected, and we want black liberation. We want immigrants to have their rights honored, and we want humanity in general to have their voices heard.

I'm opposed to imperialism and empire. We a'int backing down either. We believe in studying the functions of government, so society can change. So, we should vote, organize, join in great organizations, work in our communities, and express solidarity with women worldwide. We value education and environmental justice. The truth is clear and our ancestors sacrificed for us. We stand with women and men who desire equality, justice, tolerance, and courage. The Women’s March proves that the struggle isn’t over, there is hope in the world, and love always trumps hate. When we honor women, we honor ourselves as human beings. Don't get it twisted: Black Lives will always Matter.
Still, we rise.

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Trumpcare fails (A Victory)

The Trump administration dropped the proposal to repeal and replace the ACA. Trump has wanted the Republicans in the House to agree with his nefarious proposal. He wants to repeal the ACA and replace it with his proposal. On Thursday, he didn’t have the votes to secure passage. On Thursday morning, he met with members of the far right Freedom Caucus in wanting more concessions or making the bill more reactionary and punitive. He failed to get the Freedom Caucus’ support. Many Republicans don’t support the bill, because even some of them believe that it is too harsh (which it is). House Democrats oppose the bill. There are dozens of Republican who plan to oppose the measure. Trumpcare is known as the American Health Care Act or the AHCA. Paul Ryan is desperate to support the bill too. The Trump administration is in disarray to promote the disgraceful proposal. The AHCA or Trumpcare is an attack on health care for retired human beings and all Americans. It is worse than the ACA (and the ACA has imperfections too). It or Trumpcare strips Medicaid on the federal level (which has helped the poor), it will strip millions of people of health care coverage, it removes restraints on profit gouging in insurance monopolies, and it proves massive tax cuts for wealthy people plus medical firms.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that “Trump care” will leave 14 million more people uninsured in its first year and 24 million over a decade. Like the ACA, many multinational corporations will benefit from Trumpcare. The Trump bill escalates the health care counterrevolution begun under the previous President. Since the bill was first released on March 6, it has been made progressively more brutal as negotiations within the Republican caucus have been held in an attempt to win over the most diehard opponents of health care for poor and moderate-income people plus seniors. Earlier this week, the White House agreed to amend its initial bill to allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients and receive federal funding in the form of a block grant, rather than on the basis of a cap on outlays per recipient.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Seema Verna, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, sent a letter to state governments last week saying they were open to granting waivers to allow states not only to add work requirements, but also to require recipients to pay premiums and co-pays for Medicaid care. Both per-capita spending caps and block grants effectively end Medicaid, which currently covers 74 million people, as an open-ended federal entitlement program, but the block grant scheme will hasten the dismantling of the program. Trumpcare cuts health care subsidies for low income people and for the elderly who are not yet eligible for Medicare. It is bad. On Wednesday, in a further attempt to win over the Freedom Caucus holdouts, the White House offered to strip its bill of an Obamacare mandate requiring insurance firms to provide essential benefits in ten areas: doctor’s visits, emergency services (such as ambulances), hospitalization, maternity care, pediatric care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, lab tests, rehabilitation, and preventive services.

Trump's proposal is anti-human. “I’m afraid if they get rid of the essential benefits,” commented Dr. John S. Meigs, Jr., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, “you’ll have meaningless insurance.” This is still not enough for the Tea Party crowd, which shows how evil and despicable the Tea Party crowd is. They are reportedly demanding even further windfalls for the insurance companies, including the elimination of language that bars companies from setting insurance rates based on a person’s sex, medical condition, genetic condition or other factors. They are also demanding caps on the amount of money insurers have to pay out on health claims, limits on the number of years a beneficiary can be covered, and drug testing of beneficiaries. We are in a battle for our health care in this generation. Both parties are infiltrated by U.S. corporate financial elites who want to cut health care (as shown by Trump’s evil proposal, which can reduce the life expectancies of many Americans). This is real.

So, Donald Trump dropped the bill altogether. The Freedom Caucus, Trump, and the Tea Party are enemies of universal health care. The dropping of the bill is great news.

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Donald Trump's evil Budget Proposal

I read about the budget of Donald Trump. That budget proposal is one of the most extremely reactionary budgets since the days of Ronald Reagan. Trump's massive proposal to cut tons of social programs is total evil and has no merit. Many people (especially the poor and the elderly) will suffer more hardships as a product of this evil budget. The budget will try to cut: HUD, the Department of Transpiration (including cuts to Amtrak), cuts to the PBS channel, cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services (which includes cuts to medical research), cuts to the Department of Education, cuts to the EPA (when we need a stronger environment), and other programs. He wants to eliminate needed programs as well. Trump is a total extremist. Trump ally Steve King has said racist, anti-immigrant comments. We know that Trump has respect for Andrew Jackson (who was a racist, a slave owner, and an abuser of the rights of Native Americans). Andrew Jackson is a person of bad character who almost ruined the economy of America. We must speak up and show our voices to oppose Trumpism. The biggest impact of the budget cuts will be on the urban and rural poor. Trump proposes to abolish the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides $3 billion a year to heat homes in the winter; the Community Development Block Grant program, which spends $3 billion on community development, affordable housing and aid to the homeless; the Appalachian Regional Commission, which promotes economic development and community infrastructure in that region; and the Delta Regional Authority, which does the same in the majority-black delta region of the state of Mississippi. The budget proposal is an attack on the poor and working class outright.

So, Trump's budget proposal is a total representation of countererevolution. It exposes Trump as a fraud and a person who has shown cruelty towards the elderly and the poor. It exposes the lie that Trump is a populist. It also should make any Trump voter feel shame for voting for such an extremist. Trump is a person who said that he doesn't believe that all people aren't created equal, yet, people in many cases voted for him. Trump voters should be ashamed of themselves. The budget massively increases the military budget while cutting social programs in a draconian fashion. It advocates ending many desperately needed programs outright. The document deals only with discretionary spending, funds that must be appropriated each year by Congress, accounting for about one-quarter of the $4 trillion that the US government will spend in the fiscal year that begins October 1. The budget leaves open the fate of the remaining $3 trillion in federal spending, which includes payments under entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps, as well as other legally required payments, such as interest on the national debt. The Pentagon’s budget increases to $639 billion under Trump's proposal.

Military spending will comprise 2/3 of the overall budget. There is also a proposed $2.6 billion in funding for building a wall along the southwest US border—only a fraction of the estimated $25 billion cost of this mad and inhuman project. The Trump budget proposes the outright elimination of 19 government agencies, most of them long targeted for destruction by ultra-right ideologues and Christian fundamentalists. These include the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal services for the poor; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; AmeriCorps; and the Chemical Safety Board, which investigates industrial disasters in chemical production and transport, including oil-well blowouts like the 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The budget hurts lives and promotes evil. The biggest single cut is a $5.8 billion reduction in the budget for the National Institutes of Health, which funds a vast array of biomedical research by tens of thousands of health scientists. The biggest percentage cut, 31 percent, is in the Environmental Protection Agency, where 3,200 jobs and 50 programs would be eliminated, including all pollution cleanup operations in the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay. Half of the EPA’s budget for research and development is eliminated..

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We Shall Overcome

The Trump regime has ironically enough grown a progressive movement. In just one week after his inauguration, millions of people worldwide protested against him in the Women’s March. They or the activists abhorred Trump’s agenda of immigrant bashing, misogyny, bigotry, and his reactionary agenda. The antiwar movement is still in existence. The Black Lives Matter movement has been forthright in opposing racist police violence. Black Lives Matter is a historic movement that has expanded and caused more people to address racism, economic injustice, and police terror never seen since the 1960’s & the 1970’s. There have been protests in London, Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt to oppose fascism including injustice too. Neo-fascists like Richard Spencer will be defeated of their agenda in the end. Steve Bannon being a chief strategist and senior counselor of the White House is a disgrace. Crowds of courageous, progressive people have been in meetings to stand up for health care and to oppose evil policies. The Republican dominated Congress is clear on what they want. They believe in privatizing health care, cutting taxes for the super wealthy, removing and ending environmental regulations, depriving voting rights, and using other repugnant policies. Also, the leadership of both major parties have funded more military spending and an aggressive, imperialist foreign policy.

This is not new. Lee Atwater admitted that Republicans used race baiting and other bigoted tactics under the guise of talking about “forced busing, states’ rights, tax cuts, etc.” We reject the myths that the wealthy alone create jobs or that rural towns alone represent the only component of America. Rural, urban, suburban, and other peoples represent America. While deportations are in existence now, many people are resisting such policies. Trump deserves no conciliatory tone. He deserves our opposition. A ban on refugees, a scapegoating of Muslims, a proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, and support of stop and frisk by Trump is totally wrong. Also, it is important to support the rights of the Black working class and the black poor. There is no total human freedom without addressing the social and economic needs of black people. Political independence is a necessary too. We won’t ally with a party of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry. Also, many people are tired of another party that focuses on neoliberalism and compromises to please GOP extremists. There is something wrong with capitalism with record income inequality and massive poverty. There is something wrong with that. That is why race and class must be viewed together in forming solutions. You can’t defeat racism without ending economic inequality and you can’t end economic inequality without ending racism. Unity, collaboration, and coalitions must be instituted in order for us to see the Dream of justice and equality to be made real.

We shall overcome.

By Timothy