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Tag Archives: Nelson Mandela

Sign Language Interpreter at Mandela Memorial a Fake

I’ve never seen anything like this. The sign language interpreter for President Obama and other world leaders at the Mandela memorial in South Africa Tuesday was a fraud. Didn’t know a word a sign language.

Check this out below. It’s all gibberish.

Here he is along with an actual sign language interpreter who was provided by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. You can see the difference.

Apparently, the man stood there for hours making up pure nonsense. I’m amazed and thankful the security was handled a little better.

And here is, proudly standing with the leader of the free world.

Obama fake interpreter

Bush Booed During Mandela Memorial

A sterling example of the maxim, no good deed goes unpunished.

Former President George W. Bush was booed when he appeared on the video monitor at today’s memorial for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, according to the White House pool report, which cited local press outlets.

Meanwhile, when the images President Obama and Michelle popped up, there was a 30-second “deafening roar,” the pooler wrote.

How sad. Bush has done a far greater amount for South Africa than Obama. But Obama is much better at crafting his public image and saying the right things.

Bush personally saved the lives of millions of South Africans with his President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, ensuring AIDS drugs are available to South Africa’s impoverished masses.

From a Washington Post piece describing how Bush’s achievements were haunting Obama’s June trip to South Africa:

In South Africa, the success ( of PEPFAR) was extraordinary. AIDS killed roughly 2.3 million in South Africa — once one of the worst-affected countries in the world — and orphaned about a million children there, according to the United Nations. Today, rates of infection have fallen to 30 percent, and nearly 2 million people are on antiretroviral drugs.

Meanwhile, Obama has cut PEPFAR funding and generally been his customary inattentive self. From the same Post piece:

AIDS advocates on Sunday said that Obama administration budget cuts that have slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from PEPFAR threaten to turn back years of progress in the fight against the AIDS epidemic. Last year, the administration unveiled a budget that reduces AIDS funding globally by roughly $214 million, the first time an American president has reduced the U.S. commitment to fighting the epidemic since it broke out in the 1980s during the Reagan administration.

“Knowing that Africa has many challenges, with fighting AIDS being one of the biggest challenges, we were really expecting President Obama to continue where President Bush had left off,” said Hilary Thulare, country director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit group that works in 26 countries providing medical care to people with AIDS. “But it’s been a disappointment. Obama is retreating on AIDS and, by this, retreating on Africa.”

Thulare said she wished Obama was as inspired by Mandela when it came to fighting AIDS.

I’m sure those desperately in need of AIDS drugs in South Africa would be happy to hear that Mandela’s saga “woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself,” as Obama said today.

Meanwhile, Obama today delivered his speech, shared some stirring words, accepted his applause, and went home. I imagine most of those awestruck by Obama and contemptuous of his predecessor are HIV-negative.

Bush is still heavily involved in Africa, turning his focus last year to cervical and breast cancer and traveling repeatedly to the continent.

I assume he knows that even as he was booed in Johannesburg, God was cheering, and millions of South Africans who would be dead are going about their lives.

Obama Uses Mandela Speech to Jab Republicans

Oh boy. This is not cool.

It seems clear to me that President Obama took a smack at Republicans during his remarks this morning in South Africa at the memorial for Nelson Mandela, busting them for talking Mandela’s talk while failing to walk the walk.

In America, and in South Africa, and in countries all around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not yet done. The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality or universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important . . . There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.

Obama, as you probably know, has lately been doing his income inequality schtick, saying it’s the biggest thing that drives him and will be the focus of the rest of his presidency and secretly has been his focus all along and blah blah blah blah blah.

But now it appears that Republicans who oppose his statist and redistributionist measures to achieve income equality lack the moral fiber of people like Obama and Mandela.

Because the blood of Mandela, you see, still flows within Obama:

But let me say to the young people of Africa and the young people around the world – you, too, can make his life’s work your own.

Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Nelson Mandela and the struggles taking place in this beautiful land, and it stirred something in me. It woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself, and it set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today. And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be a better man. (Applause.) He speaks to what’s best inside us.

Clearly, Republicans need to do a better job finding what’s best inside them. If they could only locate their inner Madiba, they might support universal early childhood education, Obamacare, a $20 minimum wage, and gay marriage.

Speaking at such an historic event overseas, Obama should have made damn sure to steer clear of any hint of partisanship and moral judgement against his political opponents. But he can’t help himself.

Because Obama’s central animating principle as president is not leading the nation; it’s his vision of social justice. He doesn’t view himself as Republicans’ president too, but as the man bearing the progressive banner against their immoral, discriminatory ideology of hate.

But Enough About Mandela

Uhh boy. Looks like we’ll be hearing another Mandela and Me speech out of the president.

National Security spokesman Ben Rhodes, who gaggled along with Jay Carney during the flight to South Africa, previewed the remarks Obama will make at the memorial to Mandela. Self-references aplenty. Man, this guy really can’t seem to get outside himself.

I think, for the president, he’ll reflect on what Nelson Mandela meant to the people of South Africa, to him personally as well. You’ve heard him speak in the past about Nelson Mandela and the impact he had on the president.

Obama will also some commentary about how Mandela came about his legendary status.

I think remembering him as a truly multifaceted figure with a wide array of different skills and abilities reminds us that his success wasn’t preordained — it had to be earned over a lifetime.

Sometimes when you look back, when the story has a happy ending, it all seems as if it was meant to be. I think one of the points the president will make is that it took decades of persistence and talent and a wide range of very unique skills to make Nelson Mandela the figure that he was and make him capable of bringing about that change.

Sounds like Obama was planning to ghostwrite a self-help book for Mandela.

Meanwhile, aboard Air Force One, Obama, George W. Bush – who probably will get blamed for Mandela’s death the moment he turns his back – Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Bush and Hillary Clinton are swapping Mandela stories in the conference room.

The president and the first lady have been able to spend time with the Bushes and with Secretary Clinton.  And so I think it’s a unique experience obviously.

And I think they all are remembering their different interactions with Nelson Mandela and his family, because again, he is a leader that intersected with so many different American political leaders of both parties over the years, and so each of them has their own experience with Mandela.

Also aboard are Attorney General Holder, senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice

Obama to Travel to South Africa Next Week

President and Mrs. Obama will travel to South Africa next week “to participate in memorial events,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this afternoon.

Carney did not say exactly when Obama will leave, and it’s not exactly clear which events Obama will attend. A memorial for Mandela will be held Tuesday at FNB stadium in Johannesburg. After that Mandela’s remains will lie in state for the following three days. But he’s not scheduled to be buried until December 15.

It’s About Me! And Joe!

You know, Thursday I wrote that it was appropriate that Obama be a little self-referential in his statement on Mandela’s death, given that both are historic figures in the march toward racial equality.

Some of you called me on it, and while I still think it’s valid, you had a point. I took a closer look at the statement and noticed . . . there’s nothing it in about the United States.

Nothing like, On behalf of all Americans . . . The people the United States mourn the loss of . . . I mean, this isn’t a statement by the president; it’s a statement by some guy who is personally upset and wants to praise a leader who deeply affected him on his important lifetime journey.

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life.  My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid.  I studied his words and his writings.

The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears.  And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.

To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us.  His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most.  And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

Who cares what you only hope? Honestly. You’re working for us.

And look at Biden’s statement. Again, nothing for us:

I saw his world the way it used to be when I visited South Africa as a 34 year old Senator. When I exited the plane I was directed to one side of the tarmac, while the African American congressmen traveling with me were sent to the other side.  I refused to break off, and the officials finally relented.  When I tried to enter Soweto township with Congressmen Andrew Young of Atlanta and Charles Diggs of Detroit, I remember their tears of anger and sadness.

Gosh, I really wanted to know about Joe Biden’s experiences 35 years ago. And, what’s more, about what a civil rights hero Joe Biden is. That’s what I wanted to know when I heard Mandela died.

Biden uses his “mourning” statement to pitch to the most crucial voting block of the Democratic base. Great.

Ironically enough, these two are praising a man who was able to step way beyond himself. To suffer in dignity in prison, to be willing to sacrifice his life for his cause, and to walk away from the power Obama and Biden have so relentlessly sought.

That’s right, perhaps Mandela’s greatest achievement was to set a template for democracy in South Africa by choosing – choosing – to peacefully end his time as president. This is quite unique in Africa.

And he could do it because Mandela knew it wasn’t about him.

BTW, sorry if you have this song in your head the rest of the day . . . I do.

Nelson Mandela Dies

Nelson Mandela, who led the fight in South Africa to end Apartheid, Died today at 95.

Mandela had been in failing health for some time, though the death of such an historic and beloved figure will no doubt come as an awful shock to many.

The question for the White House now is whether President Obama will attend the funeral. My assumption would be that he will, no doubt with Mrs. Obama and possibly the children as well.