Everything that’s wrong with our Government (introducing ‘Black is White’)

Another theme I’d like to examine in this blog, as it progresses, is the death of meaning in language and how that relates to the farcical nature of the press and its coverage of some of the more blatantly corrupt, obviously “For Sale”, Senators.  I call it, in honor of the Master Eric Blair, the: “Black is White” phenomenon.

Ben Nelson (D-Berskshire Hathaway) joined the Republicans (3 times and counting) in voting against cloture for the Financial Reform Legislation in the Senate.

Almost instantly Bloomberg reported that:

Senator Ben Nelson owned with his wife as much as $6 million worth of stock in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and supported an exemption to proposed derivatives rules sought by the Omaha, Nebraska, company. Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, reported in financial disclosure documents last year that he owned between $500,000 and $1 million of stock in Berkshire in 2008, and his wife, Diane, owned between $1 million and $5 million.

Rest assured though America, as Nelson insisted “his ownership of stock in Berkshire, a company from his state, didn’t pose a conflict of interest or an appearance of ethical impropriety.”  The only thing more predictable than a Senator getting caught acting blatantly in their own financial interests and openly selling their votes, these days, is the inevitably soul-crushing, intelligence insulting denial faithfully and unquestionably reported here by Bloomberg. Did the reporter at least laugh? Did he or she roll their eyes, snicker or sigh when Nelson spouted this nonsense?

It gets worse.   A man entrusted with leadership responsibilities at the pinnacle of our nation’s power centers said, after it was discovered that he had millions of dollars worth of stock in a company that directly expressed their disapproval to him with legislation that he blocked from even being debated further, that “it doesn’t influence my decision at all; never has, never will.”

I hope he at least tried to maintain a straight-face when he said this, because if he didn’t, you know…then…he’d really be mocking us.

This is how the Wall Street Journal characterized it: (emphasis mine)

Democrats killed a provision Monday pushed by Mr. Nelson that would have helped Berkshire avoid a big financial hit related to its portfolio of derivatives. Berkshire is Mr. Nelson’s biggest campaign contributor. Mr. Nelson and his wife, Diane, owned up to $6 million in the company’s stock at the end of 2008, according to the latest congressional disclosure records.

Mr. Nelson said he hasn’t spoken directly with Mr. Buffett and that there was nothing untoward about the relationship.

The glories of a free press!  Nelson essentially says there’s ‘nothing to see here, move along’ and the Journal obliges. Not even a weak follow-up as to why he proposed a legislative provision that would directly protect his financial stake in a company coupled with the revelation, all in the same paragraph, that said company is his biggest campaign contributor; and his lazy, phoned-in assertion about nothing being “untoward” isn’t even challenged?

Take it away bottom-feeding Nelson spokesperson, “‘it isn’t about Berkshire Hathaway,’ he said of the senator’s two votes.”   There it is: a pitch-perfect example of “Black is White” aka somebody declaratively stating something that is the exact polar opposite of what objective facts and reality would demonstrate to be true.  Some hapless stenographer will be there to take dictation and provide “balance” and “equivalence” where there is none.

As far as Ben Nelson not being “untowardly” influenced by his relationship with Warren Buffet goes, guess what? That really isn’t so true, either. On at least one occasion this year Sen. Nelson voted expressly according to Mr. Buffett’s wishes. Thanks to the miracles of Proquest I found this interesting nugget buried in a Wall Street Journal article about the once uncertain Senate reconfirmation prospects of Ben Bernanke: (emphasis mine)

Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) said Monday that he would vote for Mr. Bernanke after having spoken to fellow Nebraskan Warren Buffett, who advised him to do so.

I could have sworn that the people of Nebraska thought they were voting for Nelson to make decisions, not Buffett. I could have also sworn that Nelson is charged with acting in the best interests of the residents of Nebraska, who no doubt saw their pensions raided and homes foreclosed, and not he and his wife’s stock portfolio.

I could have sworn Black wasn’t White.


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