This starts as follows:
Cleveland, Ohio, has spent $50 million preparing for next week’s Republican convention, earning the city a lawsuit and much criticism in the process. But as the fraught relationship between police and black communities was thrust back into the national spotlight last week after police killings in Louisiana and Minnesota, the ensuing protests, and the sniper attack in Dallas, many fear the convention could descend into chaos.
This article is here merely to set the scene. I have no idea about what will or might happen in Cleveland, indeed except for the quite vague idea that "the convention could descend into chaos".
Here is some on the Cleveland police:
With some exceptions, the Cleveland Division of Police has generally responded to past protests with restraint, but it has nonetheless come under scrutiny for its discriminatory practices and excessive use of force in everyday policing, and is perhaps most infamous for the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014. In December 2014, the Department of Justice issued a damning report on Cleveland’s policing.
I say. This does not precisely quell my doubts about the police, and neither does this, which sounds as if it is preparing for war:
In Cleveland, officials are estimated to have spent at least $20 million in federal funds on equipment ranging from bicycles and steel barriers to 2,000 sets of riot gear, 2,000 retractable steel batons, body armor, surveillance equipment, 10,000 sets of plastic flex cuffs, and 16 laser aiming systems, which a technology retailer describes as being used for “night direct-fire aiming and illumination.” And while the city has not fully disclosed all the equipment it has acquired for the convention, Ohio’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which has been monitoring the preparations, raised concerns that police might be planning to deploy Stingray devices, used to monitor and track cellphones, as well as a Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a sonic crowd-control weapon that emits painfully loud sounds.
We will see.
2. iCensor: Apple Patents Remote ‘Kill Switch’ for iPhone Cameras
The second item is by Nika Knight on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows - and this shows you should not, I repeat not invest in an iPhone or indeed anything from Apple, as far as I am concerned :
- iCensor: Apple Patents Remote ‘Kill Switch’ for iPhone Cameras
Owning an iPhone could someday mean being blocked from recording anything that someone in power doesn’t want you to record.
That’s the potential ramification of a patent granted to Apple earlier this week for technology that remotely disables iPhone cameras by infrared sensors.
While Apple’s patent application uses the example of a rock band preventing audience members from recording a concert, since the application was first submitted back in 2009 observers have noted that the technology could also be used by police, repressive governments, and anyone in power to stop citizens from recording abuses of power and other injustices.
The patent was approved despite thousands of signatures on a petition seeking to block the technology from being developed.
Here is some more:
“Here’s the rub. The First Amendment and Article 19 of the U.N.‘s Declaration on Human Rights don’t really apply to the corporations that build these cellphones and run these social networks. Free speech rules don’t apply to Silicon Valley,” wrote the civil liberties group Free Press back in 2011, and Apple’s “cellphone camera kill switch can be used as a pre-emptive strike against free speech.”
Approval for the patent was also granted amid increasing use of smartphone technology to record abuses of power, whether that is everyday citizens recording police brutality, House Democrats recording their sit-in for gun control after Speaker Paul Ryan shut off C-SPAN cameras, or peaceful protesters recording assaults by police.Critics note that it’s not hard to imagine police officers disabling all iPhone cameras in the vicinity before taking any action—whether legal or illegal—against people.
Yes, of course. And I shall not at all be amazed if this will be soon extended to other kinds of cellphones (although this is a patent for the iPhone).
What can be done against this? Not much, I fear. I just absolutely refuse to own or wear any cellphone, because I think these things are designed to keep constant track of people, their conversations and their mails, but I grant that is just me.
This is a recommended article.3. Trustworthy Hillary
The third item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
Hillary Clinton’s 6-point lead over Donald Trump in last month’s CBS News poll has now evaporated. As of mid-July (even before Trump enjoys a predictable post-convention bump in the polls) she is tied with him. Each garners the support of 40 percent of voters.
This is astounding, given that Trump’s campaign is in shambles while hers is a well-oiled machine; that he’s done almost no advertising while she began the month spending $500,000 a day on ads; and that Republican leaders are deserting him while Democrats are lining up behind her.
The near tie is particularly astonishing given that Trump has no experience and offers no coherent set of policies or practical ideas but only venomous bigotry and mindless xenophobia, while Hillary Clinton has a boatload of experience, a storehouse of carefully-crafted policies, and a deep understanding of what the nation must do in order to come together and lead the world.
I say. Here are two remarks.
First, as to the polls. I've noticed the CBS poll, but I have also noticed other polls and related news, and I observed that they are contradictory and rather predictable: The left (or "left" ) states Clinton is doing well and quite a lot ahead; the right says similar things about Trump; and the middle seems to be in the middle.
I have to grant I did not follow this all that well, but then I tend not to trust polls, in part because I know a fair amount of statistics and methodology. And in this particular case - Clinton vs Trump - the real outcome is only in November.
Second, what Robert Reich seems to be forgetting here is that he reacts like a well-educated and smart person (which he also is), which in fact is a minority in the USA, that is not much larger than 15% or so. They probably have more influence than the ordinary voters, but the ordinary voters are the majority.
Then there is this:
What explains this underlying distrust?
I’ve known Hillary Clinton since she was 19 years old. For twenty-five years I’ve watched as she and her husband became quarries of the media – especially, but not solely, the rightwing media.
I was there in 1992 when she defended her husband against Jennifer Flower’s charges of infidelity. I was in the cabinet when she was accused of fraudulent dealings in Whitewater, and then accused of wrongdoing in the serial rumor mills of “Travelgate” and “Troopergate,” followed by withering criticism of her role as chair of Bill Clinton’s healthcare task force.
I saw her be accused of conspiracy in the tragic suicide of Vince Foster, her friend and former colleague, who, not incidentally, wrote shortly before his death that “here [in Washington] ruining people is considered sport.“
I am not much interested in Reich's extensive personal reminiscences of Hillary. He does know her well, and that means that very probably what he says about her is rather strongly edited, and I am not much interested in his opinions, because these are not what counts. What counts are the opinions of the many who don't know Hillary Clinton and who distrust her. 
There is considerably more on Hillary's history, but I don't think Reich's article will increase the trust in Hilllary.
4. ACLU Ready to Defend Against Trump's "One-Man Constitutional Crisis"
The fourth item today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
- ACLU Ready to Defend Against Trump's "One-Man Constitutional Crisis"
This has a subtitle which is informative:
'Taken together, his statements and policy proposals would blatantly violate the inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, federal and international law, and the basic norms of a free and decent society.'
I agree. The article starts as follows:
I agree - and would not be amazed if president Trump were to outlaw the ACLU. There is also this:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is readying for "an all-hands-on-deck moment" should presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump—a "one-man constitutional crisis," according to the rights group—be elected to the White House.
Trump's policy proposals, including pledges to deport over 11 million undocumented immigrants; to ban Muslims from entering the United States; to surveil American Muslims and their houses of worship; to bring back waterboarding and other forms of torture; and to expand libel laws in order to sue media outlets "and win money," would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments, according to ACLU executive director Anthony Romero on Thursday.
Romero's claims are backed up by the 27-page Trump Memos (pdf), a legal analysis of some of the real estate tycoon's most egregious proposals.Along with the op-ed and Trump Memos, the ACLU also launched on Thursday a petition that reads: "I pledge to speak up, stand up, call out, and hold elected officials and candidates accountable to the Constitution. Trying to win an election is no excuse to disregard or dismiss the Bill of Rights."
I did download the Trump Memos (843 Kb on Linux) and they are well worth reading.
This is a recommended article.
5. Norman Lear sits down with Salon: “Trump is the middle finger of the American right hand”
The fifth and last item today is by Andrew O'Hehir on Salon:
- Norman Lear sits down with Salon: “Trump is the middle finger of the American right hand”