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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(CNN) -- Mitt Romney touted his economic and educational proposals, tailored his message to the predominantly black audience, and beat back an isolated, though seemingly uncomfortable, smattering of "boos" in an address Wednesday to the nation's oldest civil rights organization.
During his speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's convention, the Republican presidential candidate stressed the need to reduce government spending: "If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we take in every year. And so, to do that, I'm going to eliminate every non-essential, expensive program I can find. That includes 'Obamacare.'"
That prompted a chorus of loud boos from the audience.
After a brief pause, Romney responded by referencing a survey that stated that three-fourths of the Chamber of Commerce's business members said the nation's health care law make it less likely to hire people.
In another seemingly uncomfortable moment, Romney enumerated five steps to restore the imperiled economy, including expanding trade, nurturing skilled workers and restoring economic freedom.
"I know the president will say he's going to do those things. But he has not. He will not. He cannot. And his last four years, in the White House, prove it definitively. If I'm president, job one for me will be creating jobs," Romney said.
"I submit to you this: if you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him."
Both lines prompted a separate chorus of boos.
But overall, the audience's displeasure was scant. During the 25-minute address, the audience was mostly polite -- giving its guest light applause at various moments.
Early on, Romney saw applause as he confronted the political reality he faces with black voters.
"Now with 90% of African-Americans, who typically vote for Democrats, you may wonder, or some may wonder, why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African American community and to address the NAACP," the candidate said. "One reason, of course, is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed and sexual orientation. From the poorest to the richest and everyone in between."
He added, "I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African-American families, you would vote for me for president."
At another point, the former Massachusetts governor drew warm responses by noting the historic nature of the President Obama's election.
"If someone had told us in the 1950s or '60s that a black citizen would serve as the 44th president of the United States, we would have been proud and many would have been surprised," Romney said. "Picturing that day, we might have assumed that the American presidency would be the very last door of opportunity to be opened. Before that came to pass, every other barrier on the path to equal opportunity would surely have to come down.
"Of course, it hasn't happened quite that way. Many barriers remain. Old inequities persist. In some ways, the challenges are even more complicated than before. And across America -- and even within your own ranks -- there are serious, honest debates about the way forward."
Much of Romney's speech centered on his policy proposals. In one instance, the candidate touted the need for education reform, offering parents a choice to send their children to charter schools. At another point, Romney defended against accusations he is running to protect the interests of the rich.
The candidate also reiterated his defense of traditional marriage, earning him more applause from those in the audience.
The NAACP is holding its convention in Houston. Vice President Joe Biden addresses the group on Thursday.
The audience was a skeptical one, based on what it heard during the GOP primary, an NAACP official said before Romney's speech.
"We've watched, in a very concerned way ... all of the Republican debates as they decided who their nominee would be," said Hilary Shelton, the NAACP's Washington bureau director and its senior vice president for policy and advocacy.
"But we're concerned that the questions discussed are not specific to the African-American community. In essence, it is as much the questions that weren't asked as the answers that weren't provided."
Shelton said of special concern is the unemployment rate for African-Americans, which recently rose from 13.6% to 14.4% -- just over 6 points higher than the national jobless rate.
It was a rare appearance for Romney in front of a predominantly African-American audience. Only one other time recently has he done so: visiting an inner-city school in May in Philadelphia to talk about his education plans.
Can infrequent appearances like these help Romney make up ground with black voters?
In 2008, Obama, the first African-American presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party, captured a near-total lock on the black vote: 95%, to 4% for Sen. John McCain.
This trend of African-Americans overwhelmingly voting for Democrats is not new. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry won the black vote by 77 points over President George W. Bush. In 2000, Vice President Al Gore won by 81 points. And in 1996, President Bill Clinton won the black vote by 72 points over Sen. Bob Dole.
By all measures, the Obama-versus-Romney race is expected to be tight. In swing states -- especially those with large African-American populations -- the black vote could make a difference.
For example, in 2008 in North Carolina, Obama won the state by just over 14,000 votes -- helped, in part, by 95% of African-Americans there voting for him. Similar scenarios played out in other battleground states with high black populations, like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
That said, Shelton of the NAACP said he feels that Romney could "surely" capture more black votes if the candidate offers economic proposals that appeal to the community.
"African-Americans, like every other demographic in our country ... vote their economic interests," she said. "We want to know that the plan that you have to address the issue of unemployment in our society will also reach us; that we'll see a tailored plan that will recognize that disparity and show us how you make sure we move the entire country forward, but also eliminate that disparity in the process."
He added, "Our history has shown us that when African-Americans came out of slavery, African-Americans overwhelmingly voted Republican ... because Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Abraham Lincoln moved the policy that freed them from the bondages of slavery."

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