“The F.B.I.’s Black Phantom Menace”

Source: The F.B.I.’s Black Phantom Menace – The New York Times

A scary essay from Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times, reawakens many suspicions I’ve had about the FBI for decades.

I wrote “suspicions” but they were more than that: they came out of shards of information, bits and pieces here and there.

Excerpts:

In a report that was never supposed to be made public, but was on Oct. 6 by foreignpolicy.org, the F.B.I.’s Counterterrorism Division has concluded that there is a real threat from the “black identity extremist” movement.

It said “Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans” has been responsible for “an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence” in the future.

Wait, what exactly is black identity extremism? The answer is: nothing.

It’s a fiction, as others have powerfully argued, including Andrew Cohen, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice.

But that doesn’t make the report any less sinister. As Cohen pointed out, the F.B.I. has a “history of surveillance and intimidation of black Americans that frequently goes beyond legitimate law enforcement into paranoia, racism, and political expediency.”

Be chilled, folks. This is bad, paranoid stuff–a conspiracy by the FBI to demonize and criminalize a minority against whom deadly force has been wrongly used.

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“In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing and Recognizing Fake News”

Source: In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing and Recognizing Fake News – The New York Times

Maybe the Italians can send teachers here to show our students how to do it.

ROME — After reading the horrors in Dante’s “Inferno,” Italian students will soon turn to the dangers of the digital age. While juggling math assignments, they’ll also tackle work sheets prepared by reporters from the national broadcaster RAI. And separate from the weekly hour of religion, they will receive a list of what amounts to a new set of Ten Commandments.

Among them: Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the internet and social networks can be manipulated.

And bravo, Jason Horowitz for this provocative and entertainingly written article. (That first sentence will give you an idea.)

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Is Trump above the law? CREW takes him on in court

Source: Is Trump Violating the Constitution? In Absentia, He Defends Himself in Court – The New York Times

The defendant was elsewhere, stirring and twittering in his new city, his name rarely spoken — just the title sufficed — but always top of mind inside an overstuffed Manhattan courtroom.

“The president” is a businessman, the plaintiffs’ lawyer reminded the judge. “The president” refuses to leave the marketplace. This is hardly a fair fight, the logic goes, for those who are not “the president.”

“I want to address the government’s view,” said the lawyer, Deepak Gupta, “that the president is above the law.”

CREW is presenting its case in court. The best remark is the last one–from the plaintiffs.(I mean, this blog is called Sidebar for Plaintiffs, right?):

[The plaintiffs] might yet win. They might not. But the moment itself, Mr. Gupta said, was worth celebrating.

“It’s not every day that you get to argue against the president of the United States in court,” Mr. Gupta said afterward. “There are a lot of countries in the world where you don’t get to do what we did today.”

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