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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Activists stormed the Lloyd Center shopping mall Friday. They used Black Friday – when many retailers open early and offer deep discounts to kick off the Christmas shopping season -- to call attention to ongoing injustices affecting African Americans.

The rally -- dubbed “Black Lives Matter, Not Black Friday” -- saw a diverse crowd of hundreds gather at adjacent Holladay Park. Afterward they took to the streets and then entered the mall itself. 

Teressa Raiford, lead organizer for Don’t Shoot Portland, who helped put the protest together, said organizers intentionally chose Black Friday as a rally day for the second year in a row. The idea was to highlight links between consumerism, capitalism and the deaths of African Americans.

The Portland Police Bureau sent a media advisory out Nov. 25 detailing their plans for several events scheduled for Black Friday, including the demonstration.

“As with all demonstrations and marches, the Police Bureau's goal is to ensure a safe, secure and orderly event for community members and to minimize disruptions to traffic,” the release said. “There is no specific information or concerns about the threat of violence, but the Portland Police Bureau will respond as it does with any large-scale event and have a number of officers in the area.”

Officer John Hurlman, a 24-year veteran of the Portland police force, was reassigned to an off-street job the day of the protest after he posted about the protest using his personal Twitter account.

"Black Lives Matter is planning to protest at Lloyd Center on black Friday. Oh joy, stuck late again at work to babysit these fools," Hurlman wrote. The tweet was subsequently deleted but screen captures circulated widely on social media.

Assistant Chief Donna Henderson said the since-deleted post is being reviewed by the Professional Standards Division.

During the first part of the protest, organizers read the names of Black Americans slain, mostly at the hands of officers of the law. Afterward the crowd took to the streets, interrupting traffic throughout the Lloyd District.

PPB officers, including some from the Gang Enforcement Team, trailed the group on bicycles and squad cars as they made their exodus from Holladay Park into the streets of Portland. 

As the assembly moved, apparently en route to the Broadway Bridge, it was re-routed by the Portland Police north onto Northeast Martin Luther King Blvd., where the crowd marched for about 10 minutes, and curving back around towards the bridge.

The group was then met by an increased number of police officers -- about 20 of whom were decked out in riot gear with batons in hand -- blocking the protestors’ entrance onto the crossing.

 Demonstators standoff with Portland Police officers armed with batons and other weapons, blocking the group's attempt to cross the Broadway bridge. --Photo by Donovan M. Smith 


After a standoff lasting nearly 15 minutes, the precession headed back toward Lloyd Center, this time entering the mall. Protesters draped resistance banners inside the mall and chanted while shoppers looked on.

The Skanner spoke to Lauren, who opted not to give her last name, as protestors streamed past her North Portland home where she was outside raking leaves.

She said she empathized with the sentiment that “Black Lives Matter,” especially in light of new information released about the killing of teenager LaQuan McDonald by the Chicago Police Department. But she hoped for a different slogan.

“I wish they were saying, ‘All lives matter’,” Lauren said. “I think discrimination happens to many people, so I think that’s what it should be.”

The protest in Portland was just one of many that transpired across the country Nov. 27, urging potential consumers against spending with large corporations for the day.

Major cities across the nation -- including Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia and New York City -- saw people engaging in actions to disrupt one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  

Coincidentally, Florida teen Jordan Davis was killed on Black Friday in 2012. On Nov. 23 of that year, Michael Dunn -- a White man who was sentenced to life without parole for Davis’ killing last year -- got angry that Davis and his friends were playing their music too loud in the parking lot of a gas station and opened fire.

The Guardian reports that Davis’ mother is one of many participating in “Not One Dime” initiative this year. The campaign aims to curb African American spending during the days between Nov. 27 and Nov. 30 to demonstrate the community’s collective purchasing power.

Consumer analysts reported Monday morning that Black Friday sales were down more than a billion dollars this year.

According to retail researcher ShopperTrack, sales at brick-and-mortar stores plummeted from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $10.4 billion this year.

Conversely, online sales saw a 14 percent spike from last year, raking in $2.72 billion. 

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