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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White HouseIn June 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter that the federal government must pay for the full contract support costs (CSC) incurred by tribes while providing healthcare and other governmental services for their tribal citizens through Indian Self-Determination Act contract agreements.

In opposition to that ruling, the White House shared with Congress late this summer a continuing resolution budget proposal that would allow the federal government to forgo paying millions of dollars worth of CSC to tribes.

The proposal authorizes the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to limit how much each tribe would be paid for CSC. Tribes would be left to pay for any CSC funding not appropriated by Congress.

Tribal leaders who have reviewed the plan say it amounts to a tribe-by-tribe federal cap on CSC funding that would wipe out tribal legal claims and put tribes in the difficult position of being required to spend money to administer contract support programs without providing them the funding to do so.

Forty-five tribes and tribal organizations sent a letter September 3 to congressional members of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, asking them to eliminate the administration's request from their pending appropriations bill.

"If this language is enacted, once again Indian tribes would be the only government contractors in the Nation whom the United States could cheat with impunity," the tribal leaders wrote. "Worse yet, the Administration developed this plan in secret, without any consultation with the tribes and without any consultation with the authorizing committees."

Tribal leaders have also argued that the administration's plan may be unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment, as well as illegal under the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution, because the proposed policy changes tell the tribes they must do their contracted work and must accept less-than-full payment.

President Barack Obama's 2014 budget request falls copy40 million short of what is required to honor all tribal contracts with the IHS, and copy2 million short of what is required to honor all BIA contracts, according to testimony provided to Congress in April.

Congress, which is scheduled to be in session for only nine days in September, must pass a continuing resolution by October 1 to avoid a partial government shutdown, so time is short for a tribal leaders' case against the plan to make waves.

After Obama released a similar proposal in April, tribal leaders and some members of Congress balked, and administration leaders promised to conduct consultation with tribes on the matter—promises that have not been kept, according to tribal affairs experts

"It is absolutely awful and shockingly disappointing to tribal advocates," said Philip Baker-Shenk, an Indian affairs lawyer with Holland & Knight, of the new plan. "While unfunded mandates like this are banned for everybody else, apparently Office of Management and Budget officials believe Indian tribes are the exception to that rule. Because the Obama CSC cap would upend existing law, it does not belong on a [continuing resolution] that, by definition, extends current law into the future. It should be abandoned and rejected as yet another bad idea thrown at Indian country."

Lloyd Miller, an Indian affairs lawyer with Sonosky Chambers involved in several tribal contract support disputes with the federal government, places blame squarely on Yvette Roubideaux, director of the IHS, for failing to make a forceful case that these costs must be paid. He says Roubideaux has acted as if these contracts were just another program to be balanced against other programs or activities her agency felt were more important, including internal spending.

"I certainly put this at the feet of the director," Miller said. "She has complete control over this issue. She is a free agent here; she has control over how she manages her budget, and she consistently chooses other so-called priorities.

"Dr. Roubideaux has to pay her bills, and she doesn't like that," Miller added. "So she is seeking ways to avoid paying her bills, and this effort is impairing the ability of tribes to hire health service providers. When she underpays those costs, she forces tribes to take money away from the other areas she has prioritized."

Roubideaux' office has not responded to requests for comment.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, told Indian Country Today Media Network that she is "disappointed" by the administration's request, but "determined" not to allow Congress to pass it.

"I continue to have great concerns with the Obama administration's disregard of tribal rights and self-determination, even after being reinforced by the United States Supreme Court in its Ramah decision," Murkowski said. "Within the context of the federal budget, the tribal budget is miniscule – and does not deliver justice to our nation's first people in terms of contract support costs. Much more must be done to administer intelligent medical care to a population that – whether it's the troubling diabetes, suicide or alcoholism rates – face tremendous health challenges."

Murkowski previously said at an April 25 hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that "self-determination contracts are the core of our nation's federal trust relationship with Indian tribes."

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