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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Life and Society

The FBI rejected using criminal charges against Hillary Clinton as it relates to the email investigation. FBI Director James Comey announced those words yesterday on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton used a private email server to handle government communications during her four years as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Comey did criticize Hillary Clinton in his statement by saying that she was being extremely careless in the handling of classified information. He said that such actions don’t rise to the level of criminal violations. He said that, “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring criminal charges in this case. Hillary has praised this while many Republicans have criticized the decision on why no charges were enacted. The FBI director began by admitting that it was highly unusual for him to present his findings in a public statement, but that it was appropriate because of the widespread interest in the case. He then declared: “I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.” There is no question that since this is an election year and pressure form the Obama administration influenced Comey’s decision. There has been criticism over the half hour private meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton. Attorney Loretta Lynch said that she would not overrode the FBI recommendation on the Hillary Clinton email case. Comey has mentioned that of the 30,000 emails stored on Clinton’s private server and returned to the State Department by her attorney, 110 “have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.” The term “owning agency” refers to the agency which originated a chain of emails, frequently one of the intelligence agencies with more restrictive classification standards than the State Department.

We know for years that many people in government want to keep a tighter lid on NSA spying operation, CIA torture in detention camps, CIA/Pentagon drone missile assassination programs, etc. Most of the information deemed “secret” in the Clinton emails was retroactively classified by one of the intelligence agencies. Emails were reclassified as secret even in cases where they merely forwarded to Clinton’s attention media reports about alleged secret US government activities. As Comey outlined it, there were three possible charges that could have been brought against Clinton or her aides: intentional mishandling of classified information or grossly negligent mishandling, both felonies; and knowingly removing classified information from appropriate systems, a misdemeanor. Many people have made classified material available to the public that exposed the crimes of U.S. imperialism, but they are either imprisoned or on the run. Sincere whistleblowers are treated by spies and super criminals instead of heroic people wanting to show people the truth. Hillary Clinton is complicit in supporting a right wing coup in Honduras and fermenting wars for regime change in Libya and Syria. She signed off on drone assassinations in Pakistan. The FBI decision will cause Hillary Clinton to be the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party officially removing the last obstacle. This decision comes 3 weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where Clinton will be nominated as the Democratic Presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton is wealthy and has massive political links, so she escapes prosecution (even with the controversial Clinton Foundation). The wealthy have more immunity than the non-wealthy. So, we know how this email saga is all about. Also, Trump is a person that I don't respect because of his racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and his other reprehensible actions.

Jackie Robinson was very active in civil rights activism. He was once a columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier.  Wendell Smith, the Pittsburgh Courier sportswriter and columnist who, along with Sam Lacy of the Baltimore Afro-American and Joe Bostic of the (New York) People’s Voice, had been lobbying hard for desegregated baseball in the mid-1940s. The Courier, the Afro-American, and the Chicago Defender were some of the most powerful newspapers in the African American community during the 20th century. They carried news around the world. The black press, the black church, and the black community in general gave Jackie Robinson help and encouragement to continue in his baseball career. In 1960, he was at the Democratic National Convention. His friends told him that John Kennedy was serious about civil rights. When Kennedy wanted to hold the Dixiecrat coalition together and sat segregationist Governor of Arkansas Orval Farbus on stage, Robinson walked out in legitimate disgust. Jackie Robinson was a political independent. He supported Nixon for President in 1960. Later, Jackie Robinson praised John F. Kennedy for his stance on civil rights. He supported the Civil Rights Act. By 1964, he supported Nelson Rockefeller (or the New York Governor) as President as a Rockefeller Republican delegate. He saw the ascension of Barry Goldwater, which he opposed because Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When Jackie Robinson was in the Republican National Convention in 1964, he saw racism and bigotry massively. Barry Goldwater made a play to appeal to southern whites. Goldwater caused the modern conservative movement. His extreme words would be echoed by Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump. The 1964 Convention was disgraceful. 1300 delegates were there and 15 were black. Of those 15, one had his credential revoked and another black person there had cigarettes put out on him by Goldwater supporters. One angry Alabama delegate wanted to fight Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson was a man and he was ready to defend himself like a man. The delegate’s wife held the racist back and it didn’t occur. It was after this scene that Robinson later said he now had “a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”

Jackie Robinson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were friends. In 1957, both men were given honorary doctorates of law at the Howard University’s commencement ceremony in June. Robinson would be with his wife and child in the Washington 1963 speech where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. They both fought injustice. Dr. King encouraged Robinson’s involvement in the movement. Dr. King said of Jackie Robinson in these terms: "... a pilgrim that walked in the lonesome byways toward the high road of Freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides." Robinson also chaired the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) million-dollar Freedom Fund Drive in 1957, and served on the organization's board until 1967. In September 1962, Robinson delivered an address to the Southern Christian Leadership Council at its annual Freedom Dinner in Birmingham, Ala. Robinson praised King in his remarks saying: "People used to tell me a lot of things about Dr. King, that he was trying to take over the world, that he was making money on the civil rights issues. I didn't believe them, of course. I knew this was a dedicated man and that he has made tremendous personal financial sacrifices in the cause. I sort of wondered why people would stoop to talk about him. Then I realized that the world has always talked against great men. The best way to keep from getting talked about is to do nothing." When King and other civil rights activists were jailed for their protests, the Robinson family hosted a jazz concert at their home in Stamford, Conn., to raise bail money. When King's march in Selma became the tragic event now known as "Bloody Sunday," Robinson sent a telegram to President Lyndon B. Johnson urging him to intervene to stop the violence. In April of 1968, King spoke to another Dodgers great -- former pitcher Don Newcombe -- saying: "You'll never know how easy you and Jackie and Doby and Campy made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field." In 1964, Jackie Robinson would help found with Harlem businessman Dunbar McLaurin the Freedom National Bank. This was a black owned and operated commercial bank based in Harlem. He served as the first Chairman of the Board. He later became special assistant for community affairs when Rockefeller was re-elected governor of New York in 1966. Jackie Robinson soon switched his allegiance to the Democrats as he supported Hubert Humphrey against Nixon in 1968.  By the mid to late 1960’s, the black freedom struggle’s young people increasingly became militant. The Black Power movement reached new heights by 1966. There was the rise of the Black Panther Party and SNCC would embrace Black Nationalism by the late 1960’s too. Jackie Robinson was from an older generation, so Jackie Robinson had disagreement with much of the rhetoric of the black nationalists. Yet, he always believed in freedom, justice, and equality for black people. He would support the Vietnam War. Of course, I don’t agree with the Vietnam War because of many reasons. In 1970, Robinson formed the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to build housing for low income families.

Jackie Robinson’s strength was that in his life, he stood up against injustice and he appealed to our better selves. He promoted compassion and eloquently spoke about improving society. In his later years, Jackie Robinson wanted the major leagues to promote more minority managers and central office personnel. That is why Robinson turned down an invitation to appear in an old timers’ game at Yankee Stadium in 1969 to protest the lack of black voices in managerial positions of major league baseball. He made his final public appearance on October 15, 1972, throwing the ceremonial before Game 2 of the World Series. He gratefully accepted a plaque honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of his MLB debut, but also commented, "I'm going to be tremendously more pleased and more proud when I look at that third base coaching line one day and see a black face managing in baseball." His wish unfortunately was fulfilled after is passing. The 1974 season was when the Cleveland Indians gave their managerial post to Frank Robinson (no relation), a Hall of Fame-bound player who would go on to manage three other teams. His wife Rachel Robinson would work in nursing and she became an assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing. She was a director of nursing at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. She also served on the board of the Freedom National Bank until it closed in 1990. Jackie Robinson’s health declined during the 1970’s. He had complications from heart disease and diabetes, which caused him to almost blindness by middle age.  On October 24, 1972, nine days after his appearance at the World Series, Robinson died of a heart attack in his home at 95 Cascade Road in North Stamford, Connecticut. His funeral service was held on October 27, 1972 at Upper Manhattan’s Riverside Church adjacent to Grant’s Tomb in Morningside Heights. 2,500 mourners came to the funeral. Many of his former teammates and other famous baseball players served as pallbearers, and the Rev. Jackson gave the eulogy.  Tens of thousands of people lined the subsequent procession route to Robinson's interment site at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, where he is buried next to his son Jackie and mother-in-law Zellee Isum.  Twenty-five years after Robinson's death, the Interboro Parkway was renamed the Jackie Robinson Parkway in his memory. This parkway bisects the cemetery in close proximity to Robinson's gravesite. His wife founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation to help people and society. Therefore, Jackie Robinson has a strong legacy of courage, compassion, and of strength. RIP Brother Jackie Robinson.

By Timothy

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