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
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:
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
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 :
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
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
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
This is astounding, given that Trump’s
campaign is in shambles
while hers is a well-oiled machine; that he’s done almost no
she began the month spending $500,000
a day on ads; and that Republican leaders are deserting him
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
venomous bigotry and mindless xenophobia, while Hillary Clinton has a
experience, a storehouse of carefully-crafted policies, and a deep
understanding of what the nation must do in order to come together and
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
Then there is this:
What explains this underlying
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
I was there in 1992 when she
defended her husband against Jennifer Flower’s charges of infidelity. I
the cabinet when she was accused of fraudulent dealings in Whitewater,
accused of wrongdoing in the serial rumor mills of “Travelgate” and
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
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
Ready to Defend Against Trump's "One-Man Constitutional Crisis"
The fourth item today
is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This has a subtitle which
'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
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
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.
Lear sits down with Salon: “Trump is the middle finger of the American
The fifth and last
item today is by Andrew O'Hehir on Salon: