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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When Bree Newsome -- an activist and filmmaker associated with the national Black Lives Matter movement -- scaled a flag pole at the South Carolina state house last June and removed the Confederate battle flag, she sparked a national conversation.

Activists and lawmakers across the country started to ask why the flag is still prominently displayed at so many government buildings, in the south and elsewhere, when it’s widely recognized as a racist symbol and was embraced by Dylann Roof, who killed nine people during a prayer meeting at a Black church last summer.

In Oregon, the conversation zeroed in on the presence of the Mississippi flag – which includes a Confederate battle emblem as part of its design – in the “Walk of Flags” display on the capitol grounds in Salem. That display included flags from all 50 states as well as Oregon’s nine federally recognized Native American tribes.

Now it’s down one. Mississippi’s flag was removed at the beginning of last week.

Last October lawmakers decided to give Mississippi the chance to change the design of its own flag. According to a letter dated March 7 and co-signed by Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek and sent to their Mississippi counterparts – Terry Burton, president pro tempore of the Mississippi senate and Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn – it was only after Mississippi failed to act that Oregon decided to take down that state’s flag.

“We respectfully disagree with the confederate symbol in your state flag,” the letter reads. “Out of respect for the great state of Mississippi, we chose to give the Mississippi Legislature a chance to act first. With the understanding that all of the bills related to the state flag died in the Mississippi Legislature last month, we have now taken action to remove the flag.”

Mississippi lawmakers drafted 12 different bills to alter the state’s logo design – but none of them made it out of committee by the legislature’s February deadline.

In response to a query about the flag’s removal, Courtney’s office issued a statement containing some of the same language as the letter to the Mississippi legislature, but also noting Oregon lawmakers are not alone in their objection to the continued display of Confederate insignia.

“Across the country, other government entities removed the Mississippi flag from displays. In the State of Mississippi, universities, counties and cities – including the capital city of Jackson – refused to fly the official  flag of the state,” the statement said.

Last fall, Kotek said she supported the effort to remove the flag from Capitol grounds.

"The Confederate insignia on the flag is widely seen as a symbol of racist intolerance, which is in direct conflict with Oregon values of fairness and equality. I support removing it from our Capitol grounds and leaving the flagpole unadorned until Mississippi adopts another flag, one that honors the dignity of all people,” Tina Kotek, speaker of Oregon’s House of Representatives, said last October.

Rep. Lew Frederick (D-North/Northeast Portland) told reporters last summer he wanted to see the flag come down.

"I grew up with this flag, and it was used around me for the same reasons it even exists," Rep. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, said in June. "To taunt African Americans, to remind us of our status in the historical South, and to remind us of exactly what it symbolizes to those who carry or display it: racism and their attachment to racism."

Both that statement and the letter to Burton and Gunn close with the hope that Oregon will be able to hoist a redesigned flag in the future: “It had been our sincere hope that Mississippi would always be represented in our Walk of Flags. We now look forward to the day when Oregon can raise a new flag representing the great state of Mississippi and her people.”

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