McCain’s funeral ‘a council of war’

Charles Pierce at Esquire: John McCain’s Funeral Was a Council of War—Just as He Meant It to Be

We let the customs, manners, norms and institutions weaken through neglect and now we are in open conflict with an elected president and, make no mistake about it, John McCain’s funeral was a council of war, and it was a council of war because that’s what John McCain meant it to be.

He deliberately made known to people that the president* was not welcome at any of the services. He deliberately chose the previous two presidents to deliver the formal eulogies. He deliberately created that scene in the Capitol rotunda at which Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Mike Pence, an unholy trio of Trumpist quislings, had to choke down their own cowardice and say how much they loved him and his irascibility. He deliberately created a mirror in which, if they still have an ounce of self-awareness, they could see the rot that has set in on their souls.

Even at the end, John McCain knew what he was doing and he was a fearsome opponent. He wanted a pageant of everything this administration* has trashed and put up for sale, and that’s what he got Saturday—a morality play shot through with Shakespearian portent and foreshadowing, a pageant of democracy’s vengeance.

Meghan McCain:

We gather to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice, those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served. He was a great fire who burned bright.

In the past few days, my family and I have heard from so many of those Americans who stood in the warmth and light of his fire and found it illuminated what’s best about them. We are grateful to them because they’re grateful to him.

A few have resented that fire for the light it cast upon them for the truth it revealed about their character, but my father never cared what they thought and even that small number still have the opportunity as long as they draw breath to live up to the example of John McCain.

The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.

George W. Bush:

Perhaps above all John detested the abuse of power, could not abide bigots and swaggering. He spoke up for the little guy, forgotten people in forgotten places. One friend from naval academy days recalls John reacted to seeing an upperclassman verbally abuse a steward. Against all tradition, he told the jerk to pick on someone his own size. It was a familiar refrain during the six decades of service.

Barack Obama:

John cared about the institutions of self-government, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, rule of law, separation of powers, even the arcane rules and procedures of the Senate. He knew that in a nation as big and boisterous and diverse as ours, those institutions, those rules, those norms are what bind us together. They give shape and order to our common life, even when we disagree. Especially when we disagree.

Donald Trump:

Presidential parade

An ex-presidential line-up.

That was taken at ex-First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral.

President Trump didn’t attend the funeral, which was not out of the ordinary. USA Today: President Trump was not at Barbara Bush’s funeral – here’s why

President Trump did not attend former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral on Saturday in Houston.

Instead, first lady Melania Trump was there representing the Trumps, continuing a tradition of first ladies attending the funerals of their predecessors.

The White House told the BBC Trump wouldn’t attend “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family.”

Trump’s absence isn’t unusual for a sitting president. The last president to attend a first lady’s funeral was John F. Kennedy, who went to Eleanor Roosevelt’s service in 1962.

Former president Barack Obama did not attend Nancy Reagan’s funeral in 2016 or Betty Ford’s in 2011, and Bill Clinton did not attend the funeral of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Clinton did speak at a graveside service for her at Arlington National Cemetery in 1994.

A president in attendance would be potentially quite disruptive with all the security involved.

CNN: President Trump won’t attend Barbara Bush funeral, to ‘avoid disruptions’

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter will not attend, as Jimmy Carter will be on a trip overseas and Rosalynn Carter is recovering from recent intestinal surgery, a spokesperson for the Carter Center said in a statement Thursday.

Bush, the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty and a first lady who elevated the cause of literacy, died Tuesday. She was 92.

There could have been unnecessary controversy if Trump had attended, as Barbara Bush had strongly criticised him during the presidential campaign. Snopes has a summary:

During the 2016 campaign, Barbara Bush didn’t hold back in her critiques of then-candidate Donald Trump. In the course of a CNN interview, for example, she proclaimed that “[Trump] doesn’t give many answers to how he would solve problems. He sort of makes faces and says insulting things … He’s said terrible things about women, terrible things about the military. I don’t understand why people are for him, for that reason. I’m a woman … I’m not crazy about what he says about women.”

In another interview with CBS, Bush again lambasted Trump for his comments about women and called him a “comedian” or a “showman”:

Trump beat off a challenge from her son Jeb Bush in the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential campaign.




The Mandela funeral delegation…

…was never going to satisfy everyone no matter who was chosen. Limited to five it was always going to have to leave out people who someone thinks was worthy of being in the official delegation.

The others can choose to stay here or make their own way to South Africa. However finding a seat on a plane and finding accommodation will be difficult.

Minto attacked Mandela in 1995?

John Minto has been openly critical of post-Mandela governmet in South Africa and it

There’s been a lot of comment in the leftie blogosphere about whether John Minto should be in New Zealand’s official delegation to Nelson Mandela’s funeral, due to Minto being a prominent anti apartheid and anti Springbok tour activist.

There’s even a Petition To Support John Minto’s Attendance At Mandela’s Funeral but keep in mind that that is being promoted by the Mana Party  orientated blog The Daily Post (where Minto is an author).

John Key says the delegation is appropriate but David Cunliffe thought Minto should have been included.

PM says delegation for Mandela service has the right mix

John Key will lead a small delegation to South Africa that will include Labour leader David Cunliffe, former Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Don McKinnon, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.

Mr Cunliffe has suggested Mr Minto should have been part of the delegation but John Key says the labour leader never raised the matter with him.

Cunliffe doesn’t say if he would have offered Minto his place.

Pita Sharples says he protested in 1981, he will represent protesters at Mandela funeral in Minto’s absence.

Danyl at Dim-Post adds  Being on the wrong side of history is awkward:

If Key takes John Minto to Mandela’s funeral it means swallowing the gigantic rat that Minto – who they regard as the epitome of left-wing idiocy – was completely right, and the National Party was completely wrong. So no trip for Minto.

A comment from ‘Dave’ is critical of a claimed Minto attack on Mandela when he was in New Zealand in 1995:

I was at St Matthews in the City in 1995 when Mandela went there (during his CHOGM visit) to meet the 1981 protesters. Minto berated him for not introducing communism to South Africa and attacked him for allowing capitalist companies to stay in business. A near-speechless Mandela responded: “But who do you think will employ our people?”

Until that moment I had thought Minto was an anti-racist of high principles. I then realised he was an extreme Marxist.

Minto also refused a South African honour from Mandela’s successor, attacking South Africa for retaining capitalism.

And ‘several other comments:

“Minto is on record as being strongly opposed to the contemporary South African government, ironically.”

“Minto has a history of failing to recognise the difference between ‘solemn formal occasion’ and ‘political protest’. “

“Who actually thinks he wouldn’t do something overtly political if he was over there?”

Dim-Post is a generally left/Green leaning blog.

Key must attend Mandela’s funeral

As announced Prime Minister of  John Key must represent New Zealand at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. It would be an insult to Mandela and to South Africa if he didn’t.

PM to attend Mandela’s funeral

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed he will attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral in South Africa.

“Nelson Mandela was an inspirational leader, and a remarkable man.

“On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express my sincere condolences to both his family and all South Africans,” he said.

“For years he symbolised South Africa’s hope for a future free from apartheid.

“Mr Mandela was a force for change, not only in South Africa, but around the world.

“In his time as president he helped South Africa come to terms with its past, and, through reconciliation, built the foundations for a stronger nation,” Mr Key said.

A delegation headed by the prime minister will represent New Zealand at the funeral.

@jofromgreylynn kicked off some twittering about this yesterday:

The man who can’t remember how he felt about the Springbok tour protests is going to Mandela’s funeral. He should be paying for Hone to go.

This was supported and criticised, and defended:

dude, that’s not an attack, its a statement of fact. Or has he recovered his memory?

A more pragmatic approach was suggested by Finlay Macdonald@MacFinlay 

If Key is going to Mandela’s funeral he should at least be accompanied by the surviving leaders of the early “No Maori No Tour” movement.

Duncan Garner suggested similar;y – @Garner_Live 

Should the PM take John Minto and Trevor Richards in his delegation to Mandela’s funeral? I say yes. Your thoughts?

@jofromgreylynn changed tack and backed this:

I believe the PM should be taking a number of people active in the anti apartheid movement to Mandela’s funeral.

Garner put it to John Key on RadioLive:

PM considering taking Minto/Richards to Africa for Mandela’s funeral. @RadioLIVENZ Drive

So they could be included in the delegation. That would be far better than re-litigating apartheid divisions.