21st Century Wire says…
As Barack Obama and his family continue their $100 million taxpayer-funded African safari junket this month, it seems like a given that the White House will cynically attempt to seize the PR opportunity that exists – to place the US President next to the ailing 94-year-old global icon, Nelson Mandela, to stage a high-profile, touching photo-op in Pretoria – a move designed to boost Obama’s rapidly sinking international credibility.
TAKING ADVANTAGE: White House eyeing a PR bounce – by aligning Obama with the ailing Mandela.
Who would have ever expected that the South Africans themselves would step in to throw a massive spanner in Ben Rhodes and David Axelrod’s PR spin cycle.
In Pretoria, hundreds of people were demonstrating today against a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, burning the U.S. flag in protest and calling out Obama as “arrogant and oppressive”. Between the drone assassinations, Benghazi stand-down orders, the IRS scandal, the gun-running to al Qaeda in Syria and the NSA shamelessly spying on Americans – there can be little argument that these protesters are echoing the sentiments of Americans.
The most expensive holiday in world history
As austerity and budget haranguing dominates the US domestic agenda, America’s Royal Family has taken a blank check to fund the most expensive presidential holiday in US, if not world history. The envelope includes hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, as well as a Navy aircraft carrier, amphibious ships, a mobile medical trauma center, Fighter jets flying 24-hour shifts, military cargo planes to airlift in 56 support vehicles, 14 limousines, and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet-proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family are staying.
This African adventure, more than any other event during his Presidency, shows how out of touch both the President and his White House truly are, lavishing off the public purse in a way that would embarrass even Julius Caesar …
Obama protesters rally near hospital treating Mandela
PRETORIA: Hundreds of people in the South African capital Pretoria demonstrated on Friday against a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, marching near a hospital where anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela lay critically ill.
Flying on board Air Force One from Senegal, Obama paid tribute to Mandela who as South Africa’s first black president led the nation out of apartheid, but said he was not seeking a “photo op” with the ailing statesman.
Mandela, 94, has been in the Pretoria heart clinic with a lung infection for nearly three weeks, his fourth spell in hospital in six months.
A Nobel Peace Prize laureate like Obama, Mandela is admired around the world as a symbol of resistance against injustice and of racial reconciliation. His condition improved over Wednesday night but he remained critical.
Nearly 1,000 trade unionists, Muslim activists and South African Communist Party members marched through the capital to the U.S. Embassy where they burned a U.S. flag in protest, calling Obama’s foreign policy “arrogant and oppressive”.
Muslim activists held prayers in a car park outside the embassy. Leader Imam Sayeed Mohammed told the group: “We hope that Mandela feels better and that Obama can learn from him.”
South African critics of Obama have focused in particular on his support for U.S. drone strikes overseas, which they say have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, and his failure to fulfil a pledge to close the U.S. military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba housing terrorism suspects.
Protesters said the first African-American president should not try to link himself to the anti-apartheid figure.
“Mandela valued human life … Mandela would condemn drone attacks and civilian deaths, Mandela cannot be his hero, he cannot be on that list,” said Yousha Tayob…