Vacation spin, crazy Uncle Joe and kindly Charlie Rangel

Vacation spin, crazy Uncle Joe and kindly Charlie Rangel

March 24th, 2014 in Opinion Free Press

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend colleges overseas in Beijing in this Friday, March 21, 2014, photo.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

White House To Spin First Lady's trip

First lady Michelle Obama, her daughters and her mother took off on another vacation -- this time to China -- on the taxpayers' dime last week, but don't look for any first-hand coverage of the event by the press. No, the White House says visitors to WhiteHouse.gov are encouraged to provide their email addresses to get "the First Lady's blog posts, videos of events and photos delivered right to your inbox."

Increasingly as the Obama administration has unfolded -- the one the president said would be the most transparent in history -- spun news is mainly what emanates from the White House. In November, news organizations filed a formal complaint about the administration's habit of "bypassing them to release official photos of presidential meetings and events," contending "visual press releases" have displaced independent coverage.

On the China trip, the White House website indicated "First lady Michelle Obama will not take questions from reporters or give interviews during her tour of China ... and members of the press corps who usually follow the first family everywhere can't travel with her entourage."

Old Uncle Joe

Vice President Joe Biden is becoming more and more like your crazy, old uncle whose pronouncements never quite live up to the truth. The vice president, who famously plagiarized a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock after he declared himself a candidate for president in 1988 and who often speaks before his brain is in gear, said last week he had led the charge to include Poland in NATO when he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The problem is, Poland joined NATO in 1999, and Biden was chairman of the committee from 2001 to 2003. In fact, The Hill reported, archconservative Jesse Helms, R-N.C., was then chairman and the one who started the debate over whether Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary should be added to the group. Biden, who did lead the Democratic Senate minority in support for Poland's inclusion, gave his recent remarks in Lithuania to reassure Baltic leaders the U.S. is committed to defending its NATO allies in the wake of Russia's recent Crimea intervention.

Anyone Calling For His Censure?

U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., explained last week exactly why President Obama hasn't had much luck working with tea party members of Congress. "They are mean, racist people," he said in an interview with New York TWC-TV. "Now, why do I say that? Because in those red states, they're the same slave-holding states! They had the Confederate flag, they became Dixiecrats, they had the Confederate flag, and the tea party, they've still got the Confederate flag! I don't think that's a coincidence."

Let's see if we've got this straight. All tea party members are mean and racist. All tea party members live in former slave states. And, apparently, all tea party members like (or have?) a Confederate flag.

This is from the same dear man who previously referred to tea party members as "crackers" and called a recent deadly blast in his Harlem, N.Y., district his community's 9/11.

Not A Convenient Use of Christ

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently posted the message "Philippians 4:13" on his official Facebook and Twitter accounts. The verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," is often cited by people as a personal mantra. Naturally, an atheist group has demanded he remove the verse, saying it is improper for a politician to promote a personal Christian worldview using "the machinery of the state."

Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation told The Blaze last week if the governor refuses to remove the verse -- after receiving a threatening letter from the group -- the organization will explore its options, including possible legal action. Even if Walker says the verse was personal and not sent from a government device, Barker said, the Wisconsin-based organization will check it out and might -- might! -- let the situation go. So worked up is the group over the verse listing that Barker and his fellow co-president and wife, Annie Laurie Gaylor, said the Bible message "seems more like a threat, or the utterance of a theocratic dictator, than of a duly elected civil servant."

Threat? Theocratic dictator? The verse, of course, references Christ, a man of peace and tolerance whose name Democrats are quick to cite -- What would Jesus do? -- when Republicans insist spending for the poor should be limited to available funds and not be put on a government credit card. But let someone personally cite his name ...