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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Attorney Ben Crump

DAYTONA  BEACH, Fla. – The ex-wife of a DeLand, Fla., man who was run over and killed by a local police car in May wants the Volusia County medical examiner removed or suspended for her conclusion that "there was no evidence that he was struck by the vehicle.''

In an interview, Attorney Ben Crump and his client, Krystal Brown, accused Dr. Marie Herrmann, the medical examiner, of "professional negligence, at worst intentional deceit."

Marlon Brown was run over and killed by Police Officer James Harris during a pursuit on May 8. DeLand is about 15 miles from Sanford, the city that gained global attention in the Trayvon Martin case. Crump is the attorney for Martin's parents. With advice from Crump, Krystal Brown filed a complaint against Herrmann with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Medical Examiner's Commission.

The Florida Courier also has learned that the Florida State Conference of the NAACP reached out to Tom Battles with the Department of Justice about the DeLand case.

"He is aware of the situation and his office is prepared to investigate the death of Marlon," Cynthia Slater said.

As first vice president of the Florida NAACP, Slater said she is responsible for providing oversight to the DeLand NAACP, "so I have been working with the West Volusia Branch on this issue since the beginning."

In a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Medical Examiner's Commission obtained by the Courier, Krystal Brown wrote: "I am requesting that the Medical Examiner's Commission perform an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Marlon Brown's death and whether Dr. Herrmann violated any professional or ethical regulations or worse engaged in criminal conduct to conceal the truth about what caused Marlon Brown's death."

Brown ex-wife is appalled that a high-speed car chase over a possible seat belt violation led to the death of Marlon Brown, the father of her three children.

According to a police report, Volusia County Sheriff's Deputy John Szabo noticed that Brown was driving on May 8 without using a seat belt. Szabo turned on his emergency lights, Brown took off and a chase began  around 12:36 a.m.DeLand Police Officers Harris and Justin Ferrari joined the pursuit of Brown.  Along the way, Ferrari abandoned the chase.

Harris drove to the left of Ferrari's patrol car and continued the pursuit until Brown abandoned his vehicle and took off running through a vegetable garden.

Mrs. Brown and Attorney Crump believe Brown's death was caused by Harris' car running him over.

The dash cam of the patrol car caught the incident on video, which Mrs. Brown and Crump believe clearly proves their conclusions. A grand jury chose not to file vehicular homicide charges against Harris.

Crump said he didn't know if the grand jury had viewed the video. He said he does know the medical examiner's report was read to the grand jury.

Her ex-husband's death will not go in vain said Mrs. Brown, who already has settled at $550,000 civil lawsuit with the city of DeLand. Harris was fired May 31.

In the termination letter to Harris, DeLand police Chief Bill Ridgway Harris wrote: "I have determined that you have failed to meet probationary standards. Effective immediately, your employment with the City of DeLand has been terminated. This decision was made in the best interests of the department, the city and the community."

Mrs. Brown was married to Marlon for 10 years before they divorced in 2006.

Though the marriage ended, Mrs. Brown said they remained friends. "I still loved him. We talked a couple a times a week," she said.

Mrs. Brown said she had spoken to him the day before the accident.

She said she was home the night of the accident and was contacted shortly after it occurred.

"I went down there right after it happened," she noted.

Brown, who is a licensed nurse, has two degrees, but considers her full-time job raising the couple's three children — Marlon Brown Jr., 12; Armani Brown, 13; and DeAndre Williamson, 23.

No matter what happens, Brown says she vows to speak up to fight against laws governing high-speed chases to prevent what happened to her ex-husband from happening to anyone else.

She noted she has started her crusade working with the DeLand Police Department on their pursuit policy.

"I would like to be the spokesman to end illegal high-speed chase pursuits," she said.

If Brown was not wearing a seat belt, the police did have the right to pull him over.

On June 30, 2009, a law in Florida went into effect that allows officers to cite an individual for driving without a seatbelt on, even if no other violations are involved.

Prior to this law, officers could issue a civil citation for failure to wear a seat belt but could not use this violation as reason to stop a motorist.

Harris not being charged came as no surprise to Crump.

"If the matter was reversed, (and) Marlon was the driver of car, he would have been charged (for running someone over)," Crump noted.

Even though Brown's family has settled a civil suit with the city, Crump said they have the right to continue pursuing criminal charges.

"Neither one should affect the other," Crump said, referring to the criminal and civil cases.

Judging from the video and other evidence, Crump said he is convinced Harris drove in a reckless manner, which led to Brown's death.

"We don't know what the grand jury saw," he said. "All we know is they presented the medical examiner's report. We believe it was inaccurate – evidence shows this."

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