The latest revelations from WikiLeaks confirm Monsanto’s continuing efforts to influence governments worldwide to rule in its favor and punish those who won’t.

A cable written in 2007 and released recently by WikiLeaks confirmed the company’s important influence at the very highest levels of the U.S. government. Authored by Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of then-president George Bush, the cable outlined a response to resistance from various members of the European Union to adopting GM (genetically modified) crops. At issue specifically was France’s move to ban Monsanto’s GM corn variety:
 
 

The Black Hills of South Dakota have long been associated with the four U.S. Presidents who adorn Mount Rushmore. The granite faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln have been etched into the American imagination. Yet a fifth granite face has emerged from the Black Hills in the form of the famous Lakota leader Crazy Horse.
 

The government of Greece is catching flack over its decision to add some questionable categories to its list of recognized disabilities. As reported by the Associated Press, disability groups in the country were especially outraged over the government’s decision to add pedophiles to its list of those the state recognizes as disabled individuals. Among the other “disabled” categories added to the list were exhibitionists, kleptomaniacs, pyromaniacs, compulsive gamblers, fetishists, and sadomasochists.

 

With the announcement by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, that Trustmark Life Insurance Company’s recent increases in premiums for their health insurance were “excessive” comes the certain result: A few may be helped, but many will be harmed.

 She declared, “It’s time for Trustmark to immediately rescind these rate [increases], issue refunds to consumers or publicly explain their refusal to do so.” Under ObamaCare’s usurpations of prior state law, any premium increases of more than 10 percent are to be reviewed and if determined to be unreasonable, made subject to public exposure and pressure to abide by the agency’s dictates as to what is reasonable.
 
A spokeswoman for Trustmark, Cindy Gallaher, responded to Sebelius: “We respectfully disagree with the assumptions and conclusions drawn today by the Department of Health and Human Services. Our premiums are driven by the rising cost and increased utilization of medical services.”

Despite his advanced age, it appears Warren Buffett has never heard the admonition, “Practice what you preach.” And it seems that some of his apologists haven’t, either.  As you may know, Buffett has long been urging the government to seize more money from the rich, with the rationale that they have an obligation to pay more. In response, many traditionalists have told him to put up or shut up: If he truly believes in what he says, there’s nothing stopping him from writing a check to Big Brother as large as his socialism-espousing mouth.  And now Buffett has a response:
 
 

Will a northern plains state axe the property tax? This June, residents of North Dakota will vote on a primary ballot measure which, if approved by voters, would eliminate local property taxes, retroactive as of January 1, 2012.  There could be no better place than the Flickertail State — which has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and a thriving energy-based economy — to attempt this unprecedented experiment in government by the people.
 
 

While discussing on The View recently how North Korean heir Kim Jong Un enjoyed the luxury of being sent to a Swiss boarding school, Whoopi Goldberg said the following, “This is what happens with communism. It’s a great concept; on paper it makes perfect sense. But once you put a human being in power, it shifts. We saw it in Russia; we’ve seen it all over the world.”

 

One of the unintended consequences of the ongoing and accelerating crisis in the eurozone is that ordinary citizens are taking their money out of the banks and burying it. Lack of both confidence in the stability of the European economy and credible solutions to the crisis have led to the exit of currency from banks in Greece, Italy, and other European countries.

 

Last week's column started off asking: "What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done?" The answer is that human greed is what gets wonderful things done. I wasn't talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I was talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves.

Think about greed and racial discrimination. In 1947, when the Brooklyn Dodgers hired Jackie Robinson, why did racial discrimination by major league teams begin to drop like a hot potato? It wasn't feelings of guilt by white owners, affirmative action, or anti-discrimination laws. It turned out that there was a huge pool of black baseball talent in the Negro leagues. It became too costly for teams to allow the Dodgers to gain a monopoly on this talent. Black players won the National League's Most Valuable Player award for seven consecutive seasons. Had other teams not stepped in to hire black players, allowing the Dodgers to hire them, it might have given the Dodgers a virtual monopoly on world championships.

During South Africa's apartheid era, whites were in control, both economically and politically, and enacted some of the harshest racially discriminatory employment laws. There were job reservation laws that reserved certain jobs for whites only. Many white employers went to considerable lengths to contravene and violate those laws. White building trade unions complained to the South African government that laws reserving skilled jobs for whites had broken down.
 

The news that Eastman Kodak is preparing to file for bankruptcy, after being the leading photographic company in the world for more than a hundred years, truly marks the end of an era.

The skills required to use the cameras and chemicals required by the photography of the mid-19th century were far beyond those of most people — until a man named George Eastman created a company called Kodak, which made cameras that ordinary people could use.

It was Kodak's humble and affordable box Brownie that put photography on the map for millions of people, who just wanted to take simple pictures of family, friends, and places they visited.

As the complicated photographic plates used by 19th century photographers gave way to film, Kodak became the leading film maker of the 20th century. But sales of film declined for the first time in 2000, and sales of digital cameras surpassed the sales of film cameras just three years later. Just as Kodak's technology made older modes of photography obsolete more than a hundred years ago, so the new technology of the digital age has left Kodak behind.

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