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WASHINGTON — As a candidate for president, Barack Obama saw President George W. Bush's missteps in the Gulf Coast, war policy and the economy as easy targets for criticism.
Now Obama is being dogged by variations on the same themes, his judgment under the microscope of public scrutiny and his options for action limited. To be sure, it's still early in his presidency, and much history remains to be made before he faces re-election. However, the worsening trials he faces today may combine into a fateful crossroads of his time in office.
"As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges," Obama said Tuesday night in his first address from the Oval Office. "At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaida wherever it exists. And tonight, I've returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we're waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens."
Almost two months after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, as he intensifies his personal engagement in the nation's worst environmental disaster, the BP oil spill is confounding him. Along the motorcade route Tuesday in Pensacola, Fla., where Obama wrapped up a two-day Gulf visit before heading back to Washington for his prime-time address, signs waved by supporters competed with ones that said "Day 55 still no skimmers" and "Enough photo ops."
by By Tim Johnson
SELLS, Arizona — Like any young man on the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation on the border with Mexico, Clayton Antone can reel off the going rate for smuggling a load of marijuana into the U.S.
"You get $2,000 for a 45-minute drive," Antone said.
The Mexican and Canadian shiny pick-up trucks and late-model SUVs outside the homes of unemployed Indians on the reservation suggest that some have acted on the math.
Traffickers in Mexico and Canada increasingly are using Indian reservations along the borders as conduits for bringing marijuana, Ecstasy and other illicit drugs into the U.S. The drug gangs take advantage of weak and underfunded tribal police forces and the remoteness of tribal lands, and they find that high unemployment rates and resentment of federal law enforcement agencies make some young native Americans ready allies.
Drug seizures on the tribal lands have risen sharply. In 2005, law enforcement agents made 292 seizures totaling 67 tons of marijuana. By 2009, they tallied 1,066 seizures totaling more than 159 tons.
WASHINGTON - June 16 - The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), the nation's largest consumer group dedicated to organic integrity, is pleased the nation's largest natural products retailer Whole Foods Market is taking action to address widespread organic labeling fraud in personal care. Such brands as Avalon Organics, Nature's Gate and Giovanni, make organic claims on products whose main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients are generally made without any organic material whatsoever and are usually composed in significant part from petrochemicals.Whole Foods staff should be commended for taking such a bold meaningful step on behalf of organic integrity for their customers. The new standard announced by Whole Foods is a milestone achievement for OCA campaigners who recently began escalating tactics with boycotts of organic cheaters, protests at trade shows and forging strong alliances with groups such as Consumers Union.
by Donna Smith
Oh, the things we did not fix in the healthcare bill are shocking. Just as seniors falling into the Medicare drug benefit donut hole begin to get the $250 checks meant to calm their fears about our new healthcare legislation, the rest of us would do well to remember the abuses of the for-profit healthcare system that will continue and even accelerate in the coming years.
Health insurance is not health care. Health insurance is a financial product marketed and sold to protect health and wealth which may do neither thing very well. I view it as a defective product. Yet, very soon we will be buying more of it and helping more of our fellow Americans buy more of it with the subsidies that support the great health insurance bailout that is being called "patient protection."
Yesterday, I went to the doctor for an appointment I waited weeks to secure. I am insured. I have what some would say is fairly good insurance from one of the for-profit insurance giants. I waited patiently in the waiting room, and then was escorted to the exam room. There was a flurry of activity around me. A thorough history was taken. X-rays were taken. The nurse said, "Oh, honey, are you in pain? Those X-rays show some pretty awful deformity." I said I have been hurting for years but that I have waited until I could stand no more to seek treatment. Most of the time I take large amounts of OTC anti-inflammatory medication and muddle through. It's the American way. It's the insured American's way. It's the working, insured American's way.
You thought you had the right to choose what you eat? The FDA says you don't. They claim that there is no fundamental right to choose your food or freedom to contract for it. Responding to a Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund lawsuit, the FDA clearly states that you do not have the right to freedom of choice in your diet.
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) Lawsuit Against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The FTCLDF is a 501(c)(4) organization, which means that it exists to promote the social welfare of its members and community. They define their reason for being in one sentence:
"Sustainable farming and direct farm-to-consumer transactions further the common good and general welfare of all Americans."
Their Mission Statement says, in whole:
"The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is a 501 (c) (4) non-profit organization made up of farmers and consumers joining together and pooling resources to:
"o Protect the constitutional right of the nation’s family farms to provide processed and unprocessed farm foods directly to consumers through any legal means.