07 30 2016
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The Wake of Vanport
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  • Russian hackers likely responsible for hacking attack on Clinton HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Giddy if exhausted, Hillary Clinton embarked on a post-convention Rust Belt bus tour just hours after becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. The celebratory mood quickly evaporated amid fresh revelations that hackers had breached a program used by her campaign and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to sharpen his barbs. "Remember this," Trump said during a rally Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy." And for the first time he encouraged his supporters' anti-Clinton chants of "lock her up." "I've been saying let's just beat her on Nov. 8," Trump said, "but you know what? I'm starting to agree with you." About an hour later, Clinton aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign. The FBI said it was working to determine the "accuracy, nature and scope" of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee data analytics program used by the campaign and other organizations. Outside experts found no evidence that the campaign's "internal systems have been compromised," Merrill said, but he gave no details on the program or nature of the attacks. Partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors and voters. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack. The House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed. The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor that followed, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats launched their convention. Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will attempt to return attention to their positive economic message on Saturday, with campaign stops through economically struggling areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. "When we take that oath of office next January, we know we can make life better. We know we can create more good jobs," she told voters gathered at an outside market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Clinton cited an economic analysis by economist Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, that found more than 10 million jobs could be created in her first term if her economic proposals were put in place. Zandi's analysis of Trump's plans found they would cost the country 3.5 million jobs and lead to a "lengthy recession." Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain. "We don't resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets," Clinton said. Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and may be a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity. Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation. Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men drawn to Trump's message. Democrats continued contrasting their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine called the "very dark and negative" event a "journey through Donald Trump's mind." "That's a very frightening place," he told thousands of supporters in Philadelphia. Clinton told voters that they faced a "stark choice," calling the coming election the most important one in her lifetime. "This is a moment of reckoning for our country. I don't recognize the country that Donald Trump describes," she said.___Lemire reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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  • SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food. Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014. It wasn't immediately clear how altered wheat cropped up in Washington. But the U.S. Agriculture Department said there is no evidence it has entered the market. If it did, the FDA concluded that "it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply," the department said. A farmer discovered 22 plants in an unplanted field, and the wheat was developed to be resistant to the herbicide known as Roundup, created by seed giant Monsanto, the USDA said. An agency spokeswoman did not know where in the state it was found. Federal officials said they were working with the farmer to ensure that none of the modified wheat is sold. Out of caution, the agency said it is holding and testing the farmer's full wheat harvest, but so far it has not found GMOs. The plants are a type of wheat that had been evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, Monsanto said in a statement. It said the type found in Washington state is similar to the one discovered in Oregon three years ago; it has the same inserted DNA but in a different location. No variety of genetically engineered wheat has been approved for commercial use or production in the U.S. GMOs are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients like cornstarch, soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Only a handful of modified fruits and vegetables are available, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and a small percentage of sweet corn. The FDA also has approved for consumption a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon, but it's not yet available in grocery stores. South Korea said Friday that it will inspect U.S. wheat imports for genetically modified wheat, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has asked the USDA for information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods. The USDA said it has validated a test that Monsanto developed for the herbicide-resistant wheat, which would be available to trading partners. "Trading partners will get the tests. I believe that once they have those in place, they'll continue buying," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, a state agency that represents wheat farmers. "We don't anticipate any major disruptions." The USDA also said it has beefed up oversight of genetically engineered field trials and now requires developers to apply for a permit for those involving GMO wheat starting this year. In 2014, genetically modified wheat plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where it was legally tested by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The plants in eastern Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, and the USDA closed its investigation two years ago unable to determine how the wheat got there. Different strains were found in each state. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington State Agriculture Department referred questions to federal authorities.
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  • Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis 
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  • Hillary Clinton cast herself as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world 
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It started with a love note.

When George Zimmerman was acquitted for the death of Trayvon Martin, organizer Alicia Garza said it felt like a punch to the gut. Reacting to cynicism and resignation, she wrote the love note calling for the end of the killing of Black people.

When Patrisse Cullors read the line in the note, “Black lives matter,” she had a flash of inspiration. She created the social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and shared it with the world. Since then, the Black Lives Matter movement has become the center of race advocacy.

Cullors recently visited Portland and met with community organizers to discuss the growing movement and its future.

Cullors said she is part of generation living in the middle of the war on drugs and the war on gangs. She grew up watching the rise of violence and the destruction of her community. When Cullors, Garza and Opal Tometi founded the group, they wanted to honor and include all Black lives.

“We understood we needed to have mass movement as part of Black liberation,” she said. “It was going to take all Black lives to stop the genocide of Black people, inside this country and outside of this country.”

The meeting was organized by the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, which funds social justice movements in Oregon. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Black Lives Matter Portland chapter, Don’t Shoot PDX, the Portland chapter of the NAACP, the Black chapter of PFLAG, the PSU Student Union and the Black Student Unions of Lewis & Clark College and PCC.

Sharon Gary-Smith of MRG talked about the challenges of organizing around racial justice in one of the Whitest cities in the United States.

“Here in Portland, we have some unique and very different kind of circumstances, but we still know that ‘Black Lives Matter’ rattles around here,” Gary-Smith said. “We have evidence of shootings in Portland that could rival cities with significantly more people of color.”

The group discussed Black Lives Matter’s disruptive tactics. Cullors said her chapters are encouraged to sit and talk with Mayors, police union leaders and Chiefs of Police, but disrupting political events and holding public protests are useful actions as well.

The movement received backlash after activists interrupted a rally for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Cullors said Black Lives Matter lost some support from White, left-leaning progressives.

After the incident, in advance of his speech in Portland, Sanders met with activists in Portland. Hillary Clinton also had a well-publicized meeting with a different chapter. The movement has yet to endorse any Presidential candidate. Cullors said there hasn’t been a candidate willing to go beyond courting and lip-service.

“The reality is that we do not have a candidate who is saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ and actually meaning it,” she said. “We don't have a candidate that is saying they are going to develop a Black agenda, that's going to look at poor Black communities. We don't have that candidate yet.”

The backlash is part of the growing pains that often accompany a mass popular movement. The group talked about having more influence because of the size of the movement, but noted they also dealt with more personal attacks.

Alyssa Pagan described being harassed on the Portland State University campus for her work, which has included efforts to disarm campus security officers at PSU.

Another big concern was the co-opting of the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” Pagan said people regularly scream at her, “All Lives Matter.” This appropriation can be seen in “White Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” variations as well as “Christian Lives Matter,” which was used after the Umpqua Community College mass shooting.

During the same week of Cullors’ visit, the Portland Police Association, the labor union that represents police in Portland, paid for a billboard that read “Having Enough Police Matters.” The billboard is part of a campaign to pressure the city to hire more police officers, and is located across the street from a downtown church with a “Black Lives Matter” banner.

Cullors addressed these concerns with a calm reserve. She said left-leaning politics has long been too White, too male and too middle class, effectively marginalizing Black concerns. She urged activists to work closely with their lawyers. She also called out foundations to fund groups that are working on criminal justice reforms.

She acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement and slogan is always in danger of being co-opted by outside influences. She asked the activists to focus on doing good, smart, engaged work that benefits all Black lives.  

“Only in my dreams would I imagine we'd have a movement that would bring this many Black people together,” she said. “The fact that this is happening with all of its contradictions is powerful and beautiful and must be celebrated.”

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