Sen. Ron Wyden Blasts Trump’s Picks for National Security Adviser, CIA Director

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has been an outspoken critic of overreaching surveillance policies such as warrantless wiretapping and the use of torture to gather information from suspected terrorists.

Today, he issued a statement raising concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for national security adviser, retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.).

Here is Wyden’s statement:

“The designation of Michael Flynn to be National Security Adviser is deeply alarming. His statements about Muslims are profoundly un-American as well as damaging to the fight against terrorism and national security. He has indicated an openness to torture and the destruction of an entire city, both of which are clearly illegal, not to mention immoral and destructive to America’s global leadership. His financial entanglements with Russia and other foreign governments are also cause for concern, particularly given President-elect Trump’s refusal to disclose his own finances.

With the designation of Michael Flynn and Steven Bannon, the president-elect has created a White House leadership that embodies the most divisive rhetoric of his campaign. To the extent that these become policies or legislative proposals, I commit to stopping them. I will also approach the confirmation process with the expectation that nominees will, at the very minimum, demonstrate a clear commitment to American values and the rule of law.

In that spirit, I look forward to the confirmation process for Representative Mike Pompeo to be Director of the CIA. Given its recent history of operating a disastrous torture program and then spying on the Senate itself, the agency demands principled leadership now more than ever. Unfortunately, Representative Pompeo’s comments in which he asserted that the CIA’s torture program was legal and that the American people did not deserve to know about it are deeply troubling.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley to Donald Trump: “Don’t Bring White Supremacists into Your Administration”

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has been adamant in his demand that President-elect Donald Trump remove former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon from his leadership team.

Today, Merkley went further, taking that call to the floor of Congress.

In a speech on the U.S. Senate floor, Oregon’s junior senator connected the hiring of Bannon—who ran a news website that became a beacon for the white nationalist and anti-Semitic groups known as the “alt-right”—with reports of nationwide hate crimes.

“Donald Trump has a responsibility to put an end to the prejudice and put an end to the hate crimes sweeping our nation,” Merkley said. “Put the hate speech and hate acts behind you. Don’t bring white supremacists or deeply prejudiced individuals into your administration.”

Related: How Donald Trump threatens Portland—and why you must fight back.

Merkley and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have both called this week for Trump to drop Bannon as his chief White House strategist.

UPDATE, 10:38 am Friday, Nov. 18: Here is the full text of Merkley’s floor speech. Perhaps most notably, it contains a tribute to Portland’s anti-Trump protesters, and calls on Trump to listen to them.

Mr. President, our Nation has gone through a difficult, bruising Presidential election. Normally, we would be making the pivot to healing those wounds, but this election has been particularly rough, and the wounds sustained during the campaign continue to haunt our Nation. Many groups of Americans across our country are frightened for the future, of being deported, of being targeted as Muslims, of resurgent racism toward African Americans, of anti-Semitism, of losing their right to marry the person they love.
   Unfortunately, they have good reason to be afraid.
   We have seen a surge, a wave of hateful bigoted, racist, sexist attacks happening in communities across our country since the election. The divisive rhetoric and conduct of President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign over the past year and a half is responsible for unleashing this blight on our country. He has the responsibility to turn things around, to put an end to this division, and to start the healing.
   That is why, earlier today, 10 of my colleagues in the Senate joined me to send a letter to President-Elect Trump, demanding that he stand up and condemn these verbal and physical attacks occurring around this country, that he denounce his own past campaign rhetoric that gave life to so many of these acts of hate and violence, and that he exclude proponents of hatred and discrimination from the ranks of his administration, including immediately firing white supremacist Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist.
   Here is what the text of the letter says:
   Mr. President-Elect:
   Your campaign conduct and Electoral College victory have unleashed a wave of verbal and physical assaults against our fellow Americans. In just the last six days, the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented hundreds of acts of discrimination and violence toward many of the ethnic and social groups you attacked in your campaign. These attacks are absolutely unacceptable. We condemn them. We stand united with our fellow citizens.
   Unfortunately, these acts of hate have been enabled by your campaign strategy of promoting bigotry, racism, and sexism. It is the logical consequence of your campaign attacks on and discrimination aimed at Hispanics, African Americans, veterans, immigrants, women, Muslims, Jews, and individuals with disabilities. Millions of Americans see a President-elect who has chosen to knock them down rather than to lift them up. Your conduct has empowered too many Americans to act on their darkest impulses.
   This is the wrong vision for America and the wrong path for your coming Administration. We call on you to change course. We urge you, as our future President, to join us in rejecting hate and embracing respect for every ethnicity, race and gender. We urge you to join us in fighting for a nation free of discrimination, where every child has the opportunity to thrive and contribute according to his or her ability. We urge you to join us in fighting for our Constitutional vision of equality and opportunity and the vision in our Pledge of Allegiance of liberty and justice for all.
   As you assume the mantle of leadership in office, it is your responsibility to put an end to the crimes of hate and prejudice sweeping our nation. These wounds to our national citizenry are of your making. It is your responsibility to rectify the damage. You have the power as President to move beyond the hate-filled rhetoric of your campaign.
   We call on you to repudiate your campaign attacks against diverse communities of Americans.
   We call on you to address the American people and demand that all Americans end these verbal and physical attacks and replace acts of hatred with acts of kindness.
   We call on you to exclude the proponents of discrimination and hatred from the ranks of your Administration, and that includes immediately firing Steve Bannon as your Chief Strategist.
   The letter concludes:
   It is time for you to act boldly and powerfully to put the nation on a path of healing. For the sake of all Americans, we call on you to rise to the challenge.
   In addition to myself, it is signed by Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Ed Markey, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Al Franken, who spoke so eloquently a few moments ago, Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator-Elect Chris Van Hollen, and Senator Tom Carper.
   I thank my colleagues who have appropriately said that at this moment–at this unusual moment in our history, in our time here in the 21st century–that we have a President-elect playing on hate and prejudice and bringing a white supremacist in as Chief Adviser is unacceptable.
   Some will say that President-Elect Trump cannot himself be accountable for what is happening across our country, but they are wrong. His words and his conduct are directly connected to the harassment and the physical and verbal assaults that we are seeing.
   I am going to share with you all the comments of the campaign and the acts of citizens in category after category to show how these are tied together–how, indeed, these verbal assaults and these physical assaults are motivated by and justified by the campaign of our President-elect–just to emphasize that it is time for our President-elect to take responsibility, to change course, to embrace the connectedness of our American communities, the vision of equality and opportunity in our Constitution, the vision of a nation with justice for all, and the fact that our President should be working to raise up all families–not raising up a few by tearing down the rest.
   Let’s start by looking at what Mr. Trump said about our Nation’s Latino citizens. At the start of his campaign, Mr. Trump said:
   “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best ….. they’re sending people with lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. ….. And some, I assume, are good people.”
   Later in the campaign he promised to build a wall–“a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
   When discussing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a U.S. district judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University–by the way, an American-born citizen–the President-elect said the judge couldn’t be impartial and should be removed from the case because “this judge is of Mexican heritage.”
   Judge Curiel was born and raised in Indiana.
   Mr. Trump’s right-hand man, his designated Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, used his position at Breitbart News to continue attacks against Latinos. Under his leadership, Breitbart frequently used anti-immigrant slurs and published “war on Spanish” and nativist-appealing content in his quest to make his platform a platform for White nationalism.
   It is important to note that even many Republicans and conservative commentators believe that Mr. Bannon is a man with unconscionable views and frightening ties to white supremacist movements.
   John Weaver, a former top adviser to Governor John Kasich tweeted of Mr. Bannon’s selection as Chief Strategist: “The racist, fascist extreme is represented footsteps from the Oval Office.”
   Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, called Bannon: “White supremacist, anti gay, anti Semite, vindictive.” Ana then said: “Be afraid, America.”
   Glenn Beck, known to all of us as a rightwing radio commentator–a very conservative commentator, a person who has attacked virtually every idea to help working America that comes from the blue side of the aisle–said Bannon is “terrifying” and said that he has helped to give voice to White nationalists.
   Former KKK leader David Duke and the American Nazi Party have praised Bannon’s elevation to the White House. So there should be no mistaking or sugar coating what precisely this individual, Steve Bannon, stands for.
   Under his leadership, Breitbart became a leader in anti-Latino, nativist material–one headline after another attacking Hispanics here in America.
   So when we look at what is happening right at this moment to Latinos today, what do we see? We see students in our schools taunting and bullying their classmates. At DeWitt Junior High School in Lansing, MI, White students formed a human wall and refused to let their Latino classmates into the school.
   In Ventura, CA, a Latino mother reported seeing fifth graders at her child’s school chanting: “Build a wall.”
   Latinos all across our Nation are being harassed and told they are going to be deported, they don’t belong here in America, even if they were born here in America.
   In Andover, MA, a group of white men in a car threw a water bottle at a young Hispanic woman and screamed: “Time to go back to your country”–insert expletive–“my man Trump is on top now and we don’t want you here!”
   In Southern California, a college student was accosted by a man who said:
   I can’t wait until Trump asks us to rape your people and send you back over the biggest damn wall we’re going to build. Go back to hell.
   Then he inserted a racist slur for a Mexican and then threw water in the young woman’s face.
   Walls all across the Nation are being spray painted with phrases such as: “Build the Wall Higher.”
   In the face of attacks such as these, it is hard to remember that we are, indeed, a nation of immigrants. Unless you are 100-percent Native American, you are the child, grandchild, great grandchild, or the descendent of immigrants. Your forefathers and foremothers came to our country and felt they had come to a place where they could thrive. We have those beautiful words carved into the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
   It inspires all of us. Each one of us–again, unless we are 100-percent Native American–have an ancestor who came to the country and felt that moment of freedom and opportunity no matter where they had come from.
   Latinos are not the only group of Americans suffering because of the rhetoric of the Trump campaign. African Americans have become a significant target in post-Trump America, as too many take their cues from our next President’s words and actions towards that community–words like the ones President-Elect Trump used to talk about African Americans who work for him. He said:
   “I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
   He then went on to say:
   “I think the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”
   Those are the words of our President-elect.
   When he talked about the Black Lives Matter movement on FOX News, he said:
   “I think they are trouble. I think they’re looking for trouble.”
   He often shows a startling disconnect with the African-American community, generalizing that they all live in inner cities that he regularly describes as poverty-stricken war zones.
   This disconnect started very early on in his real estate career when President-Elect Trump was publicly sued twice for discriminating against African Americans who were trying to rent apartments in his buildings.
   Of course, we can’t talk about Mr. Trump’s–President-Elect Trump’s–relations with the African-American community without bringing up his longstanding promotion and advocacy of the birther movement, which tried to delegitimize our country’s first African-American President.
   Those efforts go back to 2011, when Mr. Trump was considering a run for the White House and said on one talk show: “If he wasn’t born in this country, which is a real possibility ….. then he has pulled off one of the great cons in the history of politics.”
   He went on and on and on–month after month–questioning the legitimacy of our President in office.
   To his credit, on that particular point Mr. Trump has recanted himself, but he used it as a race card time after time after time to delegitimize our President–President Obama–because he is African American.
   The views of President-Elect Trump’s right-hand man, his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, aren’t any better. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart created a news section titled “Black Crime.”
   Just 2 weeks after the Charleston massacre in which nine African-American churchgoers were slaughtered, Breitbart ran this headline. By the way, in that attack, the attacker used the Confederate flag as a symbol–a racist symbol–to justify attacking these nine individuals.
   What did Steve Bannon do? He ran this headline: “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”
   In a lengthy July post on Breitbart, Bannon accused the left of a “plot to take down America” by fixating on police shootings of Black citizens. Well, the list goes on and on, but he proceeded to say: “There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent.” That is certainly a direct racist statement.
   And what is the result we see today of all of this racism from our President-elect and from his Chief Strategist? Well, we have seen a startling rise in people’s willingness to use the “N” word in public.
   At a school in Maple Grove, MN, the boys bathroom was defaced by graffiti that included racial slurs such as the “N” word and porch monkeys, alongside pro-Trump messages such as “Trump Train” and “Make America Great Again.”
   Students from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who were living off campus found the quote “Go Home” and the “N” word written on their front door.
   A man in Knoxville, TN, woke up one morning to find his car vandalized with the phrase–and I am paraphrasing–expletive deleted “U”, insert “N” word, and then the word “Trump” spray-painted on his car.
   We have seen incidents harkening back to a time in history of discrimination and segregation.
   At a high school in Jacksonville, FL, an individual put up these signs: “Colored” and “Whites Only”–the time of Jim Crow in America, where African Americans were treated as second-class citizens–and a “Whites Only” sign was found on the door of a bathroom stall at a high school in Duluth, MN.
   These are just a few of the incidents. There are the assaults as well, one incident after another of African Americans being assaulted. There is the softball field dugout in Wellsville, NY, where the phrase “Make America White Again” was spray-painted and the defacement of a wall in Durham, NC, where someone decided to write “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your vote.” There was a horrific incident in my State of Oregon in which an African-American woman was attacked in the parking lot of a grocery store in Hillsboro, OR. A group of three men threw a brick at her, broke her ribs, called her the “N” word, threatened to rape her, and they said: Now we finally have a President who feels how we feel.
   It is hard to imagine how our President-elect, with his own racist commentary, his own past acts of discrimination, his own racist campaign, his own racist Chief Strategist, isn’t at all connected to these events sweeping the country. They are directly connected. And that is why we are calling on the President-elect to change course. The election is behind us. Before the President-elect is 4 years of opportunities to improve the lives of Americans. Take the assaults of the past and make them the assaults of the past. Look to the vision of partnership to build a better America in the years ahead. Leave that past behind.
   Martin Luther King, Jr., once said:
   Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. ….. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and the passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
   Let’s make that the spirit of the next 4 years, where together we are dedicated to progress for all Americans toward reaching that goal of opportunity and equality and justice.
   Another target has been our women across the country. Our President-elect repeatedly treated women as sexual objects. Women have worked so hard to be seen as equals in our society. Women have flown as astronauts. They have reached the heights in science. They have reached peak after peak in leadership across our country. They bring their insight and wisdom to this Chamber here in the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives 100 yards across Capitol Hill.
   But our President-elect has seen it differently. Referring to the media, he said: “It doesn’t really matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of”–insert a demeaning term for women. He declared that “You don’t give a”–insert expletive–“if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.”
   Our President-elect derided a political opponent by commenting on her looks, saying, “look at that face! Would anybody vote for that? Can you imagine that, the next face of our President?”
   During the campaign, our President-elect called a female lawyer disgusting or at some point in passing he called a female lawyer disgusting because she asked to take a medical break to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter.
   I think we are all aware of the comments he made towards FOX News debate moderator Megyn Kelly–words I choose not to repeat at this moment. And then he said pregnant women are an inconvenience for his business. And of course our President-elect was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, saying:
   “I’m just automatically attracted to beautiful–I just start kissing them. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
   Then he went on to talk about groping the women and being able to get away with it because he is a star.
   He has brought into the White House his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who shares these views about women, putting up a headline: “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women. ….. They Just Suck At Interviews.”
   Another one said: “The Solution to Online `Harassment’ is simple: Women Should Log Off.”
   Here is another: “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” as if women’s rights are a disease.
   We see that these comments and the conduct of the President-elect and the comments of his Chief Strategist have had an impact. Two men at a concert in Ohio threatened to “Donald Trump” a female security guard because she wouldn’t let them into a restricted section of the venue. According to one teacher, a 10-year-old girl was taken home from school after a male classmate grabbed her private parts, and when asked why he did it, the boy said that if a President can do it, he can do it too. In Oklahoma City, a woman was chased on the highway because of her Hillary bumper sticker, while men in another car hurled sexual insults at her.
   These are just a small number of the hundreds and hundreds of events happening across this country. Every Member of this body, every Member of the Senate can relate stories from people who have shared with them over the past few weeks, stories from their constituents who have written to them to share the harassment they have suffered.
   We have just seen a historic milestone. We have had, for the first time, a woman as the nominee of a major political party–and not only that, she got a lot more votes than did Donald Trump. The women’s suffrage movement has come so far since the days when Elizabeth Cady Stanton said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal” and that “the history of the past is but one long struggle toward equality.” We have come a long ways in the few decades since Martin Luther King said that the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. Across our country, citizens have worked to bend that arc in this vision of a nation that embraces opportunity for all–not opportunity only for the rich and powerful to have more opportunity, but opportunity for all, for every child to have the ability to contribute to this country.
   My father, now deceased, was a mechanic. He never went to college. But he told me when I was in grade school: Son, if you go through the doors of that schoolhouse and you work hard, you can do just about anything here in America. That is the vision we want to strive toward, where the son of a mechanic, the daughter of a janitor, the child of a Hispanic couple or an African-American couple or a gay couple or a lesbian couple–where every child has the opportunity to thrive. To do that, we have to set aside these racist attacks, these sexist attacks.
   Another target has been our Muslim-American community. For the last year and a half, they, like other groups of Americans, have been denigrated and insulted by President-Elect Trump and his campaign. His campaign has worked to fan the flames of Islamophobia. Take Mr. Trump’s views on registering Muslim-Americans. When asked whether the United States should have a registry of Muslims, he said, “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. ….. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” When the reporter followed by asking “Would Muslims be required to register?” he answered, “They have to be. They have to be.”
   Well, let me share with the President-elect that we are not a nation that discriminates because of one’s religion. It is called freedom of religion. Our vision is opportunity for all. There were nations that discriminated based on religion. Those were European nations. That is why a lot of our forefathers came here–to escape that oppression and to have the freedom to thrive and to maintain the religious views they wanted to have, not what somebody else told them they had to have, or to be imprisoned, or register them for discrimination because of their religious background.
   So when any American attacks our Muslim-American brothers and sisters, we need to stand with them shoulder to shoulder. And if any other religious group is attacked, we need to stand with them shoulder to shoulder and stand for the vision of opportunity and equality for all. That is what every Member of this Chamber should be coming down here to say–that when those groups are attacked, we will stand with them because that is not the vision of America. That is not the spirit of America. That certainly is 100 percent contrary to the vision of America.
   Our President-elect tried to foment fear of Muslims seeking refuge in our Nation from war zones. He told a crowd in Minneapolis that allowing refugees into our country “will import generations of terrorism, extremism and radicalism into your schools and throughout your communities.”
   This statement is so far diverged from the truth as to make it impossible to recognize where he got this notion. Every expert will tell you that if a terrorist wants to come into our Nation, the hardest path is to come as a refugee: You have to go to refugee camp, you have to be registered, you have to be vetted for years, and if you are male, you are probably not going to make it, but because the goal was to foment Islamophobia, this lie was repeated again and again. It is much easier to come into our country on a tourist visa, a business visa, a student visa, not a refugee settlement visa.
   Our President-elect told the same crowd that refugees settling in Minnesota were “joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country. ….. `’
   Now there are reports from some connected with the transition team that the incoming administration is considering implementing a system for registering Muslim Americans, just as President-Elect Trump talked about, and using our country’s shameful internment of Japanese Americans to justify this idea because it is a precedent. Let me be clear: Imprisoning fellow Americans as we did during World War II was a shameful and dark chapter and a mistake. We need to make sure we remember that it was a mistake and never use it as a precedent for action in the future.
   Then, again, here we have our President-elect’s Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, who has run headlines like, “Political Correctness Protects the Muslim Rape Culture” or “Immediately After Muslim Mayor Elected, London’s Iconic Buses Proclaim, `Glory to Allah.”’ Mr. Bannon has personally suggested that we are in a global war against Islam.
   So it is no wonder the rhetoric of our President-elect and the leader of the White supremacist Web site is causing discrimination and confrontation with Muslim Americans around our country.
   Some are being physically assaulted, like the woman at San Jose University who lost her balance and choked when a man attempted to rip off her headscarf or the Muslim student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus who reported having a knife pulled on her.
   Then there are those who are being verbally abused and otherwise intimidated, including a woman riding the BART train in San Francisco who was accosted when another passenger called her a terrorist who should be deported, and a pickup truck that has been driving around Brooksville, FL, with writing on it that says: “All Muslims are Terrorists,” “Deport them all,” and “I hate Muslims.” In Georgia, a Muslim teacher found a note left for her that said: “Headscarf isn’t allowed anymore” and telling her to “hang yourself with it.” That is the level of Islamophobia sweeping our Nation at this very moment, inspired by the rhetoric of our President-elect and his Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, and it is unacceptable. It needs to stop.
   As Robert Kennedy once said, “America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity–the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.” We need to embrace that heritage, we need to cherish that heritage, and we need to strive to live up to the best instincts of our Nation, not the darkest impulses.
   Yet another group that is feeling threatened is our LGBTQ community. I will note that Donald Trump in his campaign did not attack our LGBTQ community overtly, and he said on “60 Minutes” the other night, as the question of same-sex marriage came up, the question of same-sex marriage is “settled.”
   Actions speak as well as words, and of all the possible men and women he could choose as a running mate, he chose now-Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, the most anti-LGBTQ Governor in America. This individual is someone who has signed a draconian religious “liberty law” in Indiana that allows individuals and businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Our Vice President-elect supported conversion therapy to change people’s sexual behavior. As a radio host, he gave a speech and declared marital equality would lead to “societal collapse.”
   Mr. Trump’s Chief Strategist echoes much of this. One headline on Breitbart News said: “Dear Straight People: I’m Officially Giving You Permission to Say”–and then it goes on to list anti-LGBTQ slurs. Another headline that he put up on his Web site said: “Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time to Get Back in The Closet.” Yet another headline said: “Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Twice As Likely To Be Depressed, Fat Adults.”
   How has this kind of rhetoric impacted our Nation since the election? A gay couple in Ogden, UT, woke up to find their car vandalized with anti-gay slurs painted on the side. Rainbow flags, the symbol of the LGBTQ movement around the world, were burned in Rochester, NY. An individual in North Carolina found a note on their car that said:
   Can’t wait until your “marriage” is overturned by a real president. Gay families = burn in hell #Trump 2016.
   Like so many of the other groups of Americans I have talked about, the LGBTQ community has struggled for a long time to be accepted, to be recognized as full members of our society, to not be discriminated against when they seek employment in our country, to have the same rights against discrimination that we adopted for race and gender and ethnicity in 1964. We have come a ways, but we haven’t yet made it to the point that we have provided the same foundation against discrimination that we provided in 1964 to other groups.
   So while Donald Trump himself did not attack the LGBTQ community, the person he chose as Vice President and the person he elevated to Chief Strategist for the White House very much have, and that is a powerful, powerful message that has unleashed attacks across this country.
   As our next President, Donald Trump has the responsibility to put an end to the prejudice and to put an end to the hate crimes sweeping our Nation and to calm the fears and anxieties of millions of Americans who are frightened about their future in this country–about whether they will have an opportunity to contribute to this country, whether they will be fired from their job, whether their car will be vandalized, whether their children will be taunted and bullied, whether they will be attacked in a parking lot.
   Across the Nation, thousands of people have been turning out to walk the streets and to protest. They are trying to send a message. Sometimes that message has gone off-track.
   In Portland, OR, thousands turned out to send this message to our President elect: Put the hate speech and hate acts behind you. Don’t bring White supremacists or deeply prejudiced individuals into your administration. Let’s have a next 4 years that embraces all Americans and their opportunity to succeed. They are trying to send a message by walking with their feet from park to park, across bridges, through the streets.
   Unfortunately, some anarchists decided to destroy the effectiveness of this protest by breaking windows and setting some fires. The organizers of these protests condemn the anarchists and try to keep them out, and most of the protests have succeeded.
   I ask for our President-elect, if you won’t listen to those of us who are publicly asking you to change course, and if you won’t listen to my colleagues who are privately calling you and saying to you and your team to change course, then listen to the people in the streets across America who are trying to peacefully convey the message that we are a diverse nation, with a fabulous vision of embracing people of every religion and every ethnicity and every race. Let’s continue that tradition. Let’s strengthen that tradition. Let’s build on that tradition. That is the message all of us are trying to send.
   I join my colleagues to repeat the requests we have made on the floor in Senate, the letter we sent to you, the message sent privately by many of my colleagues sitting across the aisle, the message sent by many of our leaders from civil rights groups and other organizations who have contacted the transition team, the message that has echoed with thousands and thousands of emails sent to Capitol Hill to ask us to help convey this message.
   From every direction, Americans are reaching out and saying: End the hate speech. End the hate commentary. Bring people into your administration who believe in opportunity and justice for all. Change directions.
   It is a time for leadership. It is time for our President-Elect Donald Trump to rise to the occasion and to help build a nation that provides the foundation for every American to thrive.

Beer Hall: Cherry Festivus, Zoiglhaus’ One Year Celebration, and 10 Barrel’s Pray for Snow Party

These days, you don’t have to give up your hoppy favorites to take a pretty solid trip to the land of European beer.

Pfriem’s excellent pilsner just became the first American-made version to medal in the European Beer Star, and we have an ever-increasing number of breweries and bars dedicated to old-world traditions to go with our decidedly American brewpubs.

This week, spend some of that plane ticket money on a trip to Portland’s own cherry beer festival to taste new and old world krieks, and follow it up by a trip to Lents’ year-old German-style beer hall. But don’t forget to sprinkle in an IPA from Inglewood, a salted caramel stout from a SE Portland suburb, and watch people eat shit on skis while drinking a $3 can of cucumber kettle sour in the middle of NW. Then, laugh in the face of anyone who tells you their town has better beer culture than yours.

They don’t. They just don’t.

Thursday, November 17

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp ChicoCabra Celebration

(Bridget Baker)
(Bridget Baker)

In the world of garage and basement-dwelling homebrewers, a trip to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp may as well be a week spent at the Wonka factory. Two of Belmont Station’s own cashed in their golden tickets this past year, returning from Chico with a tasty batch of stout to share with their jealous, beer-soaked universe. Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark St. 5-7 pm. Free.

Friday, November 18

Cherry Festivus

Hilary Sander
Hilary Sander

The second annual celebration of cherry-infused ales and lagers is a much-expanded affair, now three days long, and including artisanal chocolate pairings. With world-sought pours like Cantillon Kriek, De Garde’s Petit Kriek, and a cherry-filled-randall pour of Ecliptic’s imperial cherry porter, we’ve got two words that pair well with all of the aforementioned changes: Yes, please. Bazi Bierbrasserie, 1522 SE 32nd Ave. 5-11 pm Friday, November 18, 3-11 pm Saturday, November 19, 1-7 pm Sunday. November 20.  

Three Weavers Launch Party

Given their affinity for all things hip-hop, it’s not surprising that the folks at N.W.I.P.A. have taken a liking to Inglewood-based brewery Three Weavers since its inception two years ago. Creators of fantastic ales and lagers both hoppy and otherwise, female brewmaster Alexandria Nowell is the beer equivalent of a 2016 XXL Freshman Class member—making waves from the rap-haven’s 30 barrel brewhouse that are well deserving of a spin (or several pours). N.W.I.P.A., 6350 SE Foster Rd. 6-9 pm. Free.

Saturday, November 19

Zoiglhaus’ First Anniversary Party

(Emily Joan Greene/WW)

Lents-based German-style outpost Zoiglhaus has been slowly gorwing into its massive East Portland space for a full go around the sun, climbing the ranks of bavarian-themed breweries since opening a year ago. They’re already crafting some of the best Helles and Berliner Weiss that this city has ever known, and you can celebrate that fact this evening by tasting some of brewer Alan Taylor’s even rarer stuff, all while listening to the sweet (sweet?) sounds of a band called European Takeout. Zoiglhaus Brewing Company, 5716 SE 92nd Ave. 5-10 pm. Free.

10 Barrel Pray for Snow Party

Emily Joan Greene
Emily Joan Greene

Even the macro gods smile upon ski season. 10 Barrel reaches into its deep pockets to close down two streets near its NW Flanders locale for a snow-packed rail jam that includes $3 cans of Cucumber Crush and Pub Beer all evening long. Cheap sour beer and an opportunity to watch people crash and burn on skis and snowboards in the Pearl District? Say what you want about Budweiser, but they sure know how to throw our kinda party. 10 Barrel Brewing, 1411 NW Flanders St. 5-10 pm. Free.

Tuesday, November 22

Russian River Brewing Night

Five taps of legendary Russian River brewery will take over Green Dragon tonight—with limited-edition bottle sales as well. Expect Supplication sour brown aged in pinot barrels, Temptation sour blonde aged in chardonnay barrels, and Consecration sour dark aged in cabernet barrels, plus Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. Green Dragon, 928 SE 9th Ave. 5-9 pm. Free.

Breakside Salted Caramel Stout Release

You know your stout is good when an IPA-dedicated beer bar throws it a launch party. Long among the best seasonal dark ales to bless this river town, Breakside’s Salted Caramel Stout ooozes complex, salty-sweet aromas, providing a perfect compliment to the world’s darker days. But with a fully stocked kegerator of other Milwaukee-made creations, there’s still probably something hoppy to sate your lupulin tooth, too. N.W.I.P.A., 6350 SE Foster Rd. 6-9 pm. Free.

Silver Lining Alert: Oregon Estate Taxes Break Records in Most Recent Quarter

The quarterly revenue forecast the state released yesterday included few surprises: Oregon’s economy continues to clip along, although more slowly than earlier this year.

“Oregon continues to outpace the nation and the expansion endures,” wrote the state’s chief economist, Mark McMullen. However, “job growth in recent months has decelerated somewhat from the full-throttle rates seen in the past couple of years.”

State revenues are tracking forecasts because McMullen and his colleagues in the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis anticipated a slowdown in growth.

One trend state econonmists didn’t anticipate was a strong uptick in revenues from estate taxes—Oregonians dying with estates worth more than $1 million.

(Estate taxes begin at 10 percent on the first million and increase to 16 percent above $9.5 million.)

In the first year of the current two-year state budget cycle, estate tax receipts came in about 15 percent higher than forecast and over the two year period are now expected to reach nearly $280 million, exceeding the original estimate by 28 percent.

The month of August alone saw estate tax receipts of $48.6 million, which state senior economist Josh Lehner says is more than twice the previous highest month on record.

Even with increased tax planning, economists expect the state to continue to reap the benefits of generational change, particularly as the strong economy has boosted the values of financial assets such as stocks and bonds and the value of real estate.

“The large Baby Boomer generation is aging into their retirement years today and into their later ages in the coming decades,” their forecast reads. “As such there will be an increase in the number of Oregonians passing away in the relatively near future.”

Portland’s Aviation Gin Just Got Sold Off to New York—Here’s Why

Portland distiller House Spirits has sold Aviation Gin to a New York marketing firm called Davos Brands.

House Spirits will still make Aviation Gin, but now it will be as a contracted distiller, not as its owner.

“The main event is they acquired all the intellectual property including trademarks,” says House Spirits co-owner Tom Mooney. “Now we’re producing it at much closer to production cost.”

Aviation—the lavender-forward gin hailed nationwide as the original American dry and one of the hallmarks of the craft-distilling movement in this country—was up to now the flagship brand for the Portland distillery, which last year became the largest craft distillery in the Pacific Northwest. Aviation has risen to become the top-selling craft gin in the country.

The official line—the one in the press release—is that the sale will help the Aviation brand grow much bigger than it has already.

“We did quite a feat getting it from zero to 20,000 cases,” says Mooney. “Getting from 20,000 to 100 [thousand] is another feat. They’ve got the sales team, they’ve got the clout with distributors. Aviation will be a much bigger brand than it would have been if we hadn’t sold.”

But saying the brand will grow more under Davos’ ownership is only part of the story behind the sale. Davos has been Aviation’s sales team and marketer since December 2014, meaning Aviation already had access to Davos’ connections and resources while owning the brand.

The other side of the story is that the money from the sale will go toward making whiskey—lots and lots of whiskey. This will effectively transform House Spirits into a single-malt whiskey distillery, alongside more niche brands like Krogstad aquavit and a forthcoming Guatamalan rum.

House Spirits already sells whiskey, but only in small batches. They plan to sell whiskey in such large quantities it will overtake Aviation as their largest production brand.

Westward, their single-malt whiskey, is currently a five-year-old whiskey distilled from wash made by local brewers such as Breakside Brewing. But for the past year in their new $6 million distillery on Southeast Washington Avenue, House Spirits has also been brewing the mash they use for their whiskey using a 30-barrel brew system—ranking them among the larger brewers in Portland.

“[Aviation] definitely was our flagship brand, and the thing people knew us most for—equal parts because it’s a fantastic product, but also because that’s how we behaved,” Mooney says. “We needed to make sure most of our resources went into growing that brand.”

But currently, Mooney says, they’re producing more whiskey than gin.

But because whiskey needs to be aged before it can be sold—a minimum of three years in House Spirits’ case—the sale of the Aviation brand is essentially funding House Spirits’ ability to make a vast quantity of whiskey that can’t turn a profit for years.

“We’re producing whiskey in greater quantities than we’ve ever sold Aviation,” says Mooney. “But not by a lot. It’s pretty close. This year our production of Westward is pretty similar. Westward is around 50 percent, Aviation is 40 percent, and the other 10 percent belongs to our other brands.”

House Spirits still has a long-term contract to still distill Aviation for Davos, Mooney says, although he didn’t disclose the exact terms of the agreement, nor the amount Davos paid for the trademark and recipe.

“In the past we’d been approached by potential buyers who didn’t want us to continue producing it, and we turned them down,” says Mooney. “I would say for many years it will be there—whether many is 5 or 10 or 50 years, time will tell.”

But Aviation gin will no longer be offered at House Spirits’ tasting room—including the new tasting room they plan to open at the Portland Airport this Monday, November 21.

“In the near term it’s about focusing on building our American single malt program,” says  spokesperson Alexandra Sklansky, “and working behind the scenes on a rum program.”

House Sprits will also be introducing a Guatemala-made rum called Magdalena in spring of 2017—distilled as cane liquor in Guatemala, and aged at House Spirits. Magdalena is the name of the sugar mill that makes the liquor, and also  minority investor in House Spirits.

Between the whiskey and rum, House Spirits will essentially become a different company, without Aviation as their best known product..

“It’ll feel very weird,” Mooney says.

Oregon Got 1.6 Percent More Crowded This Year

Does it seem like people are moving to Oregon in droves? They are.

Oregon hit a peak in population growth this past year when the population rose by 1.6 percent, the largest population increase since the mid-1990s.

The Population Research Center at Portland State University reports that Oregon’s population increased by 62,505 people in 2016, driving the total population to 4,076,350.

The county with the largest percentage of population gain? Deschutes County, which grew by 3.5 percent. (That’s Bend, for those keeping score at home.)

What’s driving all this growth?

“People move because they want to be in communities that are likeminded with similar people,” says Risa Proehl, population estimates program manager at at PSU, “where they have friends and family, and where jobs are. People are attracted to Oregon because there are many affordable places to live here, there is control over urban sprawl, and there is access to the natural environment.”

Proehl says the majority of new arrivals are coming from California and Washington.

“Many are retirees, it’s a popular retiree destination, young families, and young single people. We are seeing a broad spectrum,” Proehl says.

The majority of population growth has taken place in urban centers—Oregon’s incorporated cities saw a 39,460 population increase, more than half of all growth. Combined population in cities totals an estimated 2,816,400—more than half of the population in the state.

Multnomah and Washington counties have seen the largest raw population gains with an increase of around 13,000 residents in each (Portland’s population increase was estimated at 14,000). Clackamas and Deschutes counties each grew by about 5,000, Marion and Lane counties added around 4,000, and Jackson grew by about 3,000. In aggregate, population growth in these counties accounted for 80 percent of the state’s population growth.

This type of growth is a sign of a strong economy says Proehl, because people are attracted to places where there’s work. But this type of population boom can have mixed impacts. “There is more of a demand on services, infrastructure, and housing,” Proehl explains. “It’s more crowded.”

The Da Vinci IQ Has The Sleekest App Integration I’ve Yet Encountered and a Ceramic Oven That Produces Tasty Clouds

The first time I saw a vape with an app, I was very excited. The original make of the first brand I encountered with an app, the Firefly, underwhelmed me. But with iPhone-based controls and some other new features, it seemed like the second edition would be a game-changer.

Well, I didn’t really like the Firefly 2, which I found buggy. That feeling is not universal—the Portland Mercury’s cannabis columnist called it “the best portable vaporizer on the market,” after getting the exact same review model I had—but for me it that opinion is rather deeply held. I’ve been a loyal Pax man since.

Related: The Best Affordable Vaporizers of 2016

Well, the DaVinci IQ ($275) might finally flip me. This handheld loose-leaf vaporizer is one of the sleekest I’ve yet seen.

And that starts with the app. While the forthcoming Pax 3 also has an app, it’s not yet ready to link to the latest Pax, which has the same body as the Pax 2.

The DaVinci IQ’s app is up and running, and boy is it slick. It’s totally intuitive, makes a connection as easily as Bluetooth headphones and allows you to set up custom preset paths to bake the most out of any particular flower over a set time period. It heats up fast—about 2 degrees per second—and displays the temperature on a retro-futuristic array of dots.

There’s not many details to talk about with the app, which is the highest compliment you can give it. As far as I can tell, it’s accurate, gently toasting at 300 and charring a little once you move above 400. If you keep it up near 420 for any length of time, it also runs too hot to hold comfortably in your hand.

The body is about the size of a slide-open cellphone with nice rounded edges and a reassuring heft. It’s a bottom-loader with a battery that recharges inside the device by micro USB.

Like the Firefly (but unlike the Pax), it has a ceramic bowl and air path, which I find very easy to clean. At least when it’s new, a few taps leaves it looking like it did when it left the factory. I also found it makes for tastier vapor, a little smoother and milder than you get from flower baked in metal.

Related: Looking for a Portable Loose-Leaf Vape? Check These Out.

Like Pax, the DaVinci line makes a wide range of accessories, from a keychain pick to a little cloth carrying case. At least for now, little goodies like that $15 carry case, an adapter for glass, and a little aluminum bud box come with it, which definitely left me feeling like a baller.

Once the Pax 3 and app are fully operational, it’ll be interesting to compare and contrast the two. But if you’re shopping around, you should definitely check out the DaVinci.

Portland Man Dissolved in Yellowstone Hot Spring Was Apparently Trying to “Hot Pot”

The Portland man who died in a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park last summer was apparently trying to “hot pot,” according to the final accident report recently released by park officials—a term for the deeply verboten act of soaking in the park’s thermal pools.

To be fair, the pool does look pretty soakable.

Originally, officials thought the Portlander he had merely lost his footing and slipped into the hot spring while walking off track.

But according to the recently released report, on the afternoon of June 7, 23-year-old Colin Scott and his sister left the boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser and wandered to the Norris Geyser basin looking for a pool to soak in.

The report quoted Scott’s sister as saying, “her brother was reaching down to check the temperature of a hot spring when he slipped and fell into the pool.”

She had been filming the journey to the geyser on her phone, and caught Scott’s accident. Officials say they won’t release the video.

Later, a rescue team found portions of Scott’s body, along with a wallet and orange flip flops. The rescuers had to stop due to a lightning storm, and when they came back the next day, they couldn’t find any further remains in the highly acidic water.

Unlike Oregon’s mild hot springs, which, at 85-112 degrees, are perfect to soak in amongst old hippies, hot springs in Yellowstone can reach up to 250 degrees.

“In a very short order,” a deputy said, “there was a significant amount of dissolving,”

The Last Bell Rings for You Is A Little Kooky, But Just Go With It

It’s a fine line between chaos and order, individuality and conformity, treasure and trash. However, it’s also a fine line between art and kooky nonsense, and Performance Works NorthWest co-founder and director Linda Austin’s current performance project dances gleefully on both sides.

The second installment in a triptych of performances from Austin’s multiyear (Un)Made project, The Last Bell Rings for You, assembles a cast of more than 25 to shuffle, roll, shimmy, saunter and explore the small warehouse space of Shaking the Tree Theatre.

Austin’s core collaborators are joined by 18 members of the community with varying levels of experience who were given one week to rehearse. The resulting performance unfolds organically like a creeping vine—it doesn’t necessarily need to know where it’s going to look beautiful.

The performers are given free rein in the space, alternately flitting from spot to spot like butterflies before falling into marching band-style formations and quickly dissolving again. Every shuffle of shoe and slap of foot becomes part of the hypnotic rhythm of the sparse and primarily sound-based score. Ordinary objects—a basketball, an empty box, a potted plant—are examined as if alien artifacts or holy relics. Singing and vocalizing ranges from silly to haunting, and light and shadow become performers in and of themselves with the help of lighting designer and PWNW co-founder Jeff Forbes.

The purpose of the (Un)Made series is equally open-ended, intended by Austin to exist as both “experiential inquiry and staged performance.” It would be easy to ascribe meaning to each abstract movement, from our struggle between solitude and connection, to the arbitrary importance we imbue into everyday objects. But that would miss the point, or rather, force one where it is simply unnecessary. Like so many millions of lives lived every day in a web of the ephemeral, the beauty is in the being. Just enjoy the kooky nonsense. PENELOPE BASS.

SEE IT: The Last Bell Rings for You plays at Shaking the Tree Theatre, 823 SE Grant St., 8 pm Thursday-Sunday, through Nov. 20. $15.

The State’s Two Largest Business Associations Vote (Finally) to Merge

After years of discussion, Associated Oregon Industries and its younger, more progressive spinoff, the Oregon Business Association announced today they have voted to merge.

“This is the culmination of three years of intense discussion and outreach,” said Pat Reiten, AOI Chairman of the Board and President of PacifiCorp Transmission said in a statement announcing the merger. “We wanted to make sure we did this right because it’s not only about what is good for business, but, ultimately, what’s good for Oregon.”

Between them, the two groups represent just about every significant employer in the state, with many large companies belonging to both.

Associated Oregon Industries, formed in 1895, has lost some of its swagger over the past decade as Democrats have cemented their hold on the levers of power in this state. Portland-area businesses who wanted a more progressive and environmentally-friendly approach founded the Oregon Business Association in 1999.

The two groups agreed more often than they disagreed but still found significant areas of policy disagreement. Last year, for example, OBA supported Democrats’ move to implement a low carbon fuel standard for Oregon, while AOI opposed it.

Related: AOI and OBA don’t always agree, but their opposition to Our Oregon unites them.

Part of the impetus for merging the two groups was the consistent victories public employee unions won over business interests in Salem and at the ballot over the past decade.

The unions’ long winning streak ended this month, when corporate interests poured $27 million into a campaign to defeat Measure 97, a proposed $3 billion-a-year corporate tax increase.

But the merger will not go into effect until July 1, 2017, which means AOI and OBA will continue as separate organizations through the 2017 legislative session and will not name a new leader for the combined entity for seven months.

As WW reported earlier, several of the founders of OBA and some big players, including Nike, initially opposed the merger and it would be no great surprise if another business association popped up to represent dissident viewpoints.