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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

President Mandela Trumps Prime Minister Thatcher: Obama Has a Marxist Moment (President Placed at Risk)


While Air Force One flew to South Africa carrying some of the highest ranking US Officials to attend the funeral of South African President Nelson Mandela, we couldn't help wonder what made this event different than say, Margaret Thatcher's funeral.

To get this obvious point out of the way, we of course agree that President Mandela was a beacon of freedom and liberty and obviously suffered severe personal losses in the name of ending apartheid.  Segregation, racism, and genocide based on ethnicity serves no place in a civilized world, and Nelson Mandela served as a minister of freedom for all men and women, of all races as well as sexual orientation (besides race, President Mandela was involved in gay rights as well).

We certainly agree that President Mandela has served his country well, and is deserving of acknowledgements by the United States.  But there is a dark side of the Mandela legacy as well, which we have some issues with.  In addition, is it the policy of the United States to send such a high level entourage for a funeral for other high-ranking political figures?  The answer to this, is simply no.

We think it's important for people to realize who is actually attending President Mandela's funeral services:

  1. President Barack H. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
  2. Former President Bill Clinton and First Lady (Sec. of State) Hillary Clinton
  3. Former President George W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush
  4. Former President Jimmy Carter
In stark contrast, here is the attendee list for Baroness Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979-1990:

  1. Former Secretary of State George Shultz
  2. Former Secretary of State James Baker
In case you weren't keeping score, Nelson Mandela ranked high enough to have the current President and First Lady of the United States, in addition to three other past Presidents of the United States.  Ms. Thatcher... two FORMER Secretaries of State.  The United States couldn't even muster up to send current Secretary of State John Kerry or one of his Under-Secretaries.  No, the United States couldn't see her way clear to send ANY CURRENT ACTIVE DIPLOMAT OR CABINET MEMBER.

As Americans, we are embarrassed by this complete lack of respect for one of our closest cold-war allies and the longest sitting Prime Minister, not to mention the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.  Margaret Thatcher was known to be very close to former President Ronald Reagan, and in fact, advised him on many foreign affairs (not only advising him on what was wrong, but on how to fix tricky situations).  Ms. Thatcher was honored by the United States as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 by then President George H.W. Bush, among many distinctions and honors she has earned for her steadfast diplomatic efforts and actions to prevent world-wide atrocities and injustices.  

Nelson Mandela, while standing up for principles we all believe to be worthy and just, to the point of essentially self-incarcerating himself by using his trial as a platform for a four hour speech inspired by Fidel Castro, was a man worthy of many similar honors.  No one can deny that.  However, when researching President Mandela's history, he was clearly of a Socialist ideology, a staunch Marxist, as well as taking up armed rebellion to overthrow South African government at the time.  None of this makes him a bad person by any means;  actually, it makes him one who IS worthy of honors and distinction from the United States.  

When digging deeper, we find out however, that his wife (of whom he ended up divorcing in 1996), Winnie Mandela, was responsible for both directly and indirectly, the torture and deaths of many men, women and children while she was an activist.  Besides being convicted of several crimes, including murder and fraud as well as organized crime, Mrs. Mandela also CONDONED the execution method known as "necklacing" whereby tires filled with gasoline were put around the neck of a "condemned person" and set afire, causing a slow and excruciating death lasting at least 20 minutes.  President Mandela, to our knowledge, did not speak out against this practice nor spoke out against his wife until after their divorce in 1996 even though he was aware of her wrongdoings.

We have a problem with the United States sending such high-ranking officials to South Africa;  not because President Mandela was bad, but because we didn't do so for a close diplomatic partner, the United Kingdom.  How can any American feel that it is just to send an envoy of 4 Presidents to South Africa, yet send two former Secretaries of State to one of the world's most notable women in a country that has stood by the United States even during the most QUESTIONABLE circumstances?

It is not clear as to why the Obama Administration, and the President himself who admittedly met with Nelson Mandela exactly once in his political career as a Senator, felt it was appropriate to sail Air Force One with the President and two former Presidents along with former First Ladies / Secretary of State Clinton.  Why put on this show for the world?  Who are we trying to impress?  Clearly, Margaret Thatcher was equally, if not more deserving of such honors, yet we sent not one active Public Official to her funeral.

The United States needs to come up with a set protocol for State Funerals and stick to it.  We can't "cherry pick" which State Funerals we will attend with the highest officials while others, we send no one.  It is embarrassing, it is inappropriate, it is offending and most of all, it is dangerous.  Frankly, I wouldn't blame the UK for being annoyed at President Obama right about now.  Call it a slap in the face, call it whatever you like.  The bottom line is that we were wrong for ignoring the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.  

We do believe an envoy should be at the funeral for President Mandela;  but overkill can be a bad thing at times.  This is one of those times.  

URGENT UPDATE:  12/12/13

The world now knows that during the special service event there was a possible breach in security whereby a "sign language interpreter" by the name of Thamsanqa Jantjie from a company named SA Interpreters (no relation to Scott Anthony).  While Mr. Jantjie stands by his claim that he is a certified interpreter and that his qualifications are on file with SA Interpreters according to a CNN report, the owners of that company, simply can not be found.

Flash News Network on 12/10/13, broadcast that we questioned heavily the protocol used for the Mandela Funeral and Services.  On board Air Force One were the current sitting President and First Lady, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Former President and First Lady George W. Bush.  Former President Clinton and Carter were to meet up in Johannesburg, South Africa for the services.

(Photo Credit:

We are now confident, that our second-guessing this bizarre protocol was correct.  In fact, not only was our President placed at risk, but so were multiple other world-leaders.  Something told us that this was a serious deviation from standard protocols, and it turns out, our hunch ended up being correct.

The African National Council (ANC) who sponsored the State Event, stated that they did NOT hire, nor vet the fake interpreter.  The Deaf Federation of South Africa is also outraged at the appearance of a fake interpreter;  at the very least, they were offended.  In our opinion, the lack of proper security protocols as well as vetting of personnel who would have close access to our President as well as other Dignitaries, World Leaders, Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc. was a blatant risk to our leaders.

It is our hope, that the United States will use this event as a learning tool and prepare a proper protocol for attending State Funerals.  To have the current sitting President on the ground in foreign territory among those who may not have the United States' best interest in mind, is a risk I would think many Americans would agree is not worth having to attend an event.

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