29 July 2010

"Stonewalling" (v).

I don't know about you, but I've been following American Senators Robert Menendez, Kirsten Gillibrand, Frank Lautenberg and Charles Schumer's barely-half-informed innuendo and bare-faced defamation at a distance, without seeing the whites of their eyes at it were. I like to put names to faces, and a quick search yielded all four arrayed in this sententious, scandalous wee press conference.

You may be surprised by the extent of the clear, uncompromising claims they're making, despite the want of substantiating evidence. I certainly was.  While my expectations were low, I hadn't quite taken cognisance of  the depths of iniquity and slander to which these self-seeking U.S. politickers are willing to sink. They're like offended children, eyeing their geometry homework without comprehension, having daydreamed through the whole class in which the various principles and their complexities were explained to them. "I don't understand", they mew. "I wasn't listening - and it is all your fault!" Humble creatures these, they'd have you believe, bravely taking on powerful commercial interests, wielding only the torch of truth for illumination, hacking at a noxious thicket of cover up and conspiracy. I imagine this rather appeals to that Manichean, self-righteous bent in America's account of itself and its politics. All of which might be rather more interesting, if any of the individuals involved showed the slightest interest in the subject they declaim over with such exaggerated and clownish gravity.  Without any apparent familiarity with the distribution of devolved powers in the UK, the clearly available public record, without acknowledging the papers which have already been published online, the senators permit themselves outrageous defamations and warrantless allegations. In short, their behaviour bears all the hallmarks of bad faith, or as someone else styled it, simple "grandstanding". George Kerevan expands on the theme in an article in today's Scotsman. Last week, Love and Garbage summoned our imaginations away to a thoroughly amusing parallel universe in pointed parody of the whole escapade.

Just a couple of bits of footage for today, then, for those of you who've not had the pleasure of seeing the US senators at first hand. Firstly, I'd encourage you to actually take a peek at this BBC video of Senator Menendez latest (I suspect actually somewhat abashed) press conference, in which he issued cries of "stonewalling" and encouraged those witnesses who rebuffed his accusatory advances - presumably including Jack Straw and Kenny MacAskill but not Tony Blair - to attend a rescheduled Senate hanging and haranguing, as a mechanism to - I kid ye not - "clear their names".  If you're not familiar with the other three US Senators, then you are in luck. You can see the increasingly hysterical submissions of all four of those valiant seekers after truth at the press conference mentioned above, with a lurking Menendez playing the eminence gris at their heels...



  1. Grandstanding is what Kerevan called it.

    I see it ore as Showboating.

  2. I think your choice of word is more apt, Bugger. Grandstanding implies a performer, playing up for an existing audience. Showboating has more of a whiff of the carnival atmosphere about it, with all the bells rattling and whistles screaming, desperately seeking the attention, any attention.

  3. The aforementioned Love & Garbage attempted to leave a comment hear earlier, but blog goblins seem to have intercepted and eaten it. Even so, I wanted to quote his remarks on Twitter with respect to the foregoing:

    "The ignorance, the shameless politicking. The callous use of the genuine (legitimate) grief of families. And the inability to read a website. The whole bullying attempt to provoke anything other than a measured response from the Scottish govt makes me sick. The whole bullying attempt to provoke anything other than a measured response from the Scottish government makes me sick. (and as you know I am one that thinks there are legitimate questions to answer on the procedure for reaching the decision)."

  4. I only saw Menendez's comments yesterday, but it's Schumer's that are by far the most jaw-dropping -

    We then know that the British Government agreed to release Al-Megrahi based on a fraudulent doctor's prognosis that he had only three months to live."

    I mean - what??? Is there another man alive capable of packing so many brazen untruths into so short a sentence? It was one thing (albeit still indefensible) that he was ignorant on these points a couple of weeks ago when he first started calling for an inquiry, but now that the true position has been patiently explained to the senators several times over, I don't know what excuse he has left. It's like trying to get a message through to a ranting three-year-old with his fingers stuck in his ears.

  5. In my innocence, James, I initially shared your sense that the senators' errors might be put down to an incautious American parochialism. After all, failure to master the detail of Scottish devolution is forgiveable. Stridently persisting in ignorance and error is not so.