Archive for Michelle Obama

Not Fearing the Hashtag

Those leaked pictures of Obama working out were doubtless meant to terrify terrorists around the world. No more Mr. Nice Guy. From Community Organizer Man to the Ass Kicker.

The results are in:

Supporters of the Islamic extremist group ransacking Iraq were seen mocking the White House’s hashtag diplomacy with #bringbackourhumvee tweets early this morning.

Middle East and North America photo manager for the Agence France-Presse Patrick Baz said in a tweet that he had seen the #bringbackourhumvee meme on websites and twitter accounts supporting terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The hashtag is a play on the #bringbackourgirls campaign to rescue the 276 Nigerian girls being held captive in Nigeria by Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

The Nigerian girls never were rescued despite high profile displays of support for military intervention from the first lady and celebrities like Amy Poehler.

That’s how hardened and depraved these savages are. They are immune to the charms of Amy Poehler.

She looks pissed. Once you’ve lost Hollywood, Boko Haram, you’re days are numbered. I hear Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg are in development on a script. See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.

Really, Hugh? That might be the funniest pose you’ve ever taken. Well, second funniest:

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Why is This Woman Frowning?

Wouldn’t you with this news?

In a testy exchange during a Senate hearing Thursday, a Defense Department official repeatedly told Sen. Robert Menendez that the U.S. government couldn’t say whether Nigerian forces are prepared to rescue more than 300 girls who were kidnapped in the country last month.

The situation in Nigeria, [Alice] Friend admitted earlier in her testimony, is a mess. The military there is poorly trained, poorly equipped, and so afraid of an increasingly brutal Boko Haram that its members are reluctant and perhaps incapable of taking on the terrorist organization. The military had been kept for decades at a low level of capability, Friend said, because of fears by the country’s government about a possible military coup. Those concerns are no longer an issue in Nigeria, Friend added, but the weakness of the military there remains a dangerous reality.

Even worse, perhaps, is a growing fear within the ranks of the Nigerian military of taking on Boko Haram. “They don’t have the capabilities, the training, or the [equipment] that Boko Haram does. And Boko Haram is exceptionally brutal and indiscriminate in their attacks,” Friend said. “So we are now looking at a military force that’s, quite frankly, becoming afraid to even engage.”

The Defense Department’s efforts to train Nigerian military officials have been crippled by a U.S. law passed in 1997 to combat human-rights abuses. The Nigerian military has at times responded to aggression from Boko Haram with their own human-rights violations. Because the Leahy Law, as it’s known, prevents the U.S. military from assisting any foreign military that has committed human-rights abuses, the Defense Department is having difficulty find a unit that it can legally help.

Wait, this is too rich. One dumbass appeal to emotion (#bringbackmybonnietome) is being stymied by the consequences of previous dumbass appeal to emotion (the Leahy law)—both from liberal Democrats? It would take a heart of stone not to laugh. If you listen to the human rights pantywaists, America and Israel are the greatest violators of human rights since Caligula and Genghis Khan. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

For now, the U.S. is focused on finding the kidnapped girls. Reports indicate that they may have been separated and possibly taken to neighboring Cameroon, Niger, or Chad.

Has anyone here
Seen my 300 schoolgirls?
Can you tell me where they’ve gone?
Boko seized a lot of people,
And they’ve become brides young
In Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

I say we find the plane (what plane?) before we find the girls. Anyone wanna bet?

PS: I mentioned that this whole hashtag thing was begging for parody, which had yet to appear. Oh boy, now has it ever. Here are a couple of PG-rated (the tiniest minority, I assure you):

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#bringbackourputtinggreens

Michelle Obama says she and Barack are “outraged” at the kidnapping (and presumed enslavement) of the Nigerian girls. They just handle it differently.

Michelle:

In this week’s address, First Lady Michelle Obama honored all mothers on this upcoming Mother’s Day and offered her thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls.

Barack:

It’s the usual Saturday golf. President Obama and three White House aides – usual type players – arrived at the Joint Andrews course shortly after noon.

It’s the president’s 12th time out this year and the 169th round of his presidential golfing career.

So, while Michelle was pouring her heart out for the girls, Barack was prowling the greens at Andrews. Almost at the same moment.

Good for him. I find the preening prima donnas in the hashtag and selfie generation insufferably smug. If you’re going to be shallow, Mr. President, plumb the depths of your shallowness.

Is that a shot at Hugh Grant or something? Or maybe at the president’s golf buddy and busted john, Bobby Titcomb?

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Michelle Shocked—Shocked!—to Learn Islamists Are Misogynists

And the news has taken her from sadness…

…to outrage:

[T]he first lady said she and her husband are “outraged and heartbroken” by the kidnappings. “In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters,” she said. “We see their hopes, their dreams – and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”

“I want you to know that Barack has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to find these girls and bring them home.”

“This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education—grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls,” she said.

Sound like Dr. Gosnell! But let’s not get distracted.

“We know that girls who are educated make higher wages, lead healthier lives and have healthier families,” the first lady said. “And when more girls attend secondary school, that boosts their country’s entire economy. So education is truly a girl’s best chance for a bright future, not just for herself, but for her family and her nation.”

I think Boko Haram knows that, too, Madame First Lady, which is why they call themselves Boko Haram (“school sucks”). They believe that a girl’s place is not in the classroom, but in the bed (if she’s lucky) of a 70-year-old goatherd with twenty bucks to buy a bride.

“I hope that any young people in America who take school for granted—any young people who are slacking off or thinking of dropping out—I hope they will learn the story of these girls and recommit themselves to their education.”

I guess. I mean, as Animal House’s Dean Wormer would say, fat, dumb, and pregnant is no way to go through life. Here’s hoping, anyway.

I just hope we’re not leading the Nigerians down the primrose path to Aleppo. We told the Syrians that chemical weapons were a red line. And then we got yellow.

So, here’s hoping that the greatest military in the history of the world—a superpower without rival—can offer hope to the mothers and fathers of Nigeria. Though I’m not sure 300 of their daughters is worth the life of one of our sons. (I’m not sure they’re not—I’m just not sure!)

But can we just please leave our egotism and self-regard out of it?

I mean, how far are we from parody, even with this disturbing story?

Not very far:

Though I would embarrass myself and hold up a sign if it would have saved Hadiya Pendleton.

Speaking of “grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls”. Can you ask your old man to send the Marines to Hyde Park?

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What it Takes to Be Fired if You’re an Obama

First, be an Obama in-law:

Oregon State fired men’s basketball coach Craig Robinson Sunday night, sources told Sports Illustrated. Robinson, who is the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama, went 94-105 in six seasons with the Beavers, failing to make the NCAA Tournament.

The timing of Robinson’s firing is surprising given he has three years left on an Oregon State contract that will reportedly pay him $4 million.

The last paragraph is a hoot. Who’s going to fire the president’s brother-in-law without a $12 million kiss? We don’t deport his illegal alien blood relatives, no matter how many laws they break. I’d say Oregon State canned Mr. Robinson on the cheap.

PS: The Chicago hospital where Michelle worked never filled her no-show job when she left. Maybe they can take it out of mothballs for Craig.

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All Americans Look Alike

That can be the only rational explanation for this bizarre outburst:

A prominent Japanese politician has raised hackles as Barack Obama visits Tokyo by claiming it’s an ‘open secret’ that he and the first lady are headed for divorce, and that the president has been using Secret Service agents to cover for him as he pursues extramarital affairs.

Kazuyuki Hamada, who sits in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, earned his PhD a half-mile from the White House at George Washington University, and emerged as a shrill commentator on America’s economy and foreign policy.

Hamada complained April 5 on his official blog about Obama’s decision to visit Tokyo without first lady Michelle Obama in tow. ‘His approval numbers are dragging down near 30 per cent,’ Hamada wrote, according to an English translation, ‘and his failed leadership in some places brings him scorn as the worst president of the postwar era.’

‘The biggest reason – of many – for the collapse of his reputation is his failed relationship with his wife,’ Hamada claimed.

‘It is an open secret that the pair are already negotiating their divorce, and that they are waiting for his term in office to be over, and then they’ll separate.’

He had stiff words for the impact of the first lady’s multimillion-dollar ‘goodwill’ trips to far-flung places on the taxpayers’ dime.

The Japanese pol claimed that ‘if you ask the president, he will tell you, “I can’t show my face to the voters after how she’s spent so much money”.’

‘On the other hand,’ Hamada added, ‘if you get his wife to talk, she’ll tell you: “The president is a pathological philanderer. He uses the Secret Service for this, and has used them to hide evidence that he’s a cheater”.’

I believe he means the Clintons, doesn’t he? I mean, we’ve dipped our toe in the National Enquirer stories about the Obamas’ marriage, but we didn’t believe them. Any more than we believe in the president’s African birth. (What African would treat his extended family so coldly?)

That shrill sound you hear is not the First Lady letting her hound dog of a husband have it (unless it’s an echo of 20 years ago), it’s the shrieks of dog whistles blaring like sirens at a nine-alarm fire. I think the Japanese need some racial-sensitivity training—and have had for about a century.

PS: Obama may cheat in elections (throwing candidates off the ballot), fundraising (millions in shadowy contributions), governing (executive orders), and killing (trials for some American citizens, drones for others), but that doesn’t mean he cheats at the important stuff like marriage and golf.

PPS: Well, no one’s accused him of cheating at golf.

PPPS: Do you think Michelle would have gone to Japan if she knew that its legislature was called the Diet?

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Here’s a Line President Obama Never Hears:

“Chicken or pasta?”

Or: “Can I ask you to put up your tray table?”

The Obama family managed to rack up nearly $16 million in flight expenses for two trips last year.

According to Air Force documents obtained by the government accountability group Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act request, the Obama family vacations to Africa in June and July, and the family’s Christmas vacation to Honolulu, cost taxpayers big bucks.

The Obama’s Africa trip cost $8,104,224 to fly for a total of 35.5 hours to, from, and around Africa at a rate of $228,288 an hour. The family’s Christmas Honolulu trip flights were slightly less expensive costing about $7,781,361 — flying for 36.9 hours at a cost of $210,877 an hour.

The conservative watchdog notes that the Obama’s 2013-2014 vacation to was more than $3 million greater than their Honolulu vacation the year prior.

“The costs to taxpayers of President Obama’s travel, especially his luxury vacation travel, are beyond the pale,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “And the secrecy surrounding these costs shows that Obama’s vows of transparency are rubbish.”

No way!

Of course, travel costs do add up when you take separate planes (Boeing 747s) back from Hawaii. A few extra days in Hawaii and a dedicated plane were our gift—sorry, Obama’s gift—to Michelle for her birthday. (If you believe the story, which the National Enquirer doesn’t.)

Do they tell Obama to turn off any electronic devices? Does he have to check his luggage? Do they lose his luggage? Do they tell him to stick the nuclear football under the seat in front of him or in an overhead bin? Do they shut him off from the drink cart? Does he stare at the flight attendant’s behind? Does he wipe down the lavatory for the next user? (I do, unless previous pigs have left it beyond my help.)

If we’re going to use FOIA, let’s find this stuff out!

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My Defense of Michelle Obama

Trust me, this is going to hurt me more than it is you:

Writing in the New Republic, former White House West Wing press aide Reid Cherlin goes pretty far out on a limb for a former in-guy with the Obama towel-whipping society, describing First Lady Michelle Obama as a controlling yet sometimes fickle East Wing boss who has created an unhappy work environment.

I credit Mrs. BTL for installing a sexism BS detector in my head. Women are often described in critical terms for the same traits that win men praise. Always, if you ask the missus.

So let’s tread carefully:

Apparently, all that spontanaiety you see from Michelle takes a lot of planning.

The first lady’s office can be a confining, frustrating, even miserable place to work. Jealousy and discontentment have festered, as courtiers squabble over the allocation of responsibility and access to Mrs. Obama, both of which can be aggravatingly scarce. Fueling these sentiments, according to former East Wing insiders, is the exacting but often ambivalent leadership style of the first lady herself.

Unlike her husband, who derives visible satisfaction from his ability to improvise, Mrs. Obama depends on structure to support her public warmth—the ease with which she’ll pick up a hula-hoop, say, or do the Dougie with school kids.

The imperative to guarantee results could be paralyzing. “That was the pressure on us,” one ex-aide told me. “‘Don’t do it if it’s not going to be perfect.’” Staff knew that every event should produce positive coverage, and that all the angles had to be exhaustively researched and gamed out (not easy with a team of less than 30).

But it was never completely clear what the standard of perfection should be. “There’s no barometer: The first lady having the wrong pencil skirt on Monday is just as big of a fuck-up as someone speaking on the record when they didn’t mean to or a policy initiative that completely failed,” says another former aide. “It just made you super anxious.”

Former staffers describe a high-stress, high-stakes workplace, in which Mrs. Obama scrutinized the smallest facets of her schedule. Aides in both wings of the White House say she insists on planning every move months in advance and finalizing speeches weeks ahead of time—a rigidity nearly unheard of in today’s chaotic political environment.

“For her, trust is huge, really feeling like people were protecting and thinking about her,” says one alum. “And then, also, she’s a lawyer. She’s really disciplined. She cares about the details. She’s never going to wing it.”

Imagine the first black First Lady of the United States wanting to be the personification of perfection! Imagine her holding to account the people on whom she relies!

There’s plenty I don’t like about Michelle Obama—her politics first and foremost. I’m also tired of her hectoring tone. (A-WOO-GAH! A-WOO-GAH! Sexism alert!!) Her bossiness. (CRACK!!! That just broke the detector.)

But I haven’t learned anything damning about her yet. Let’s keep trying:

All of this led to a culture of harsh internal judgment. Invitations to meetings with the first lady, in her office above the Jackie Kennedy Garden, became a vital status symbol, a way for staffers to measure their worth. “Every meeting was like an identity crisis, whether you got invited or not,” one former East Winger told me . . .

Whoever the chief of staff has been, Cherlin makes clear that the real power behind the throne is Valerie Jarrett, who gives the orders. Also very powerful is Sam Kass, who seems to have risen from Obama chef and gardener to all-round advisor and general-purpose guru.

They’ve become personal friends even intimates of the first lady, which Cherlin makes suggests, is what it takes to really succeed in the East Wing.

Talk about an unfair work environment.

BS.

What we’ve learned is that Michelle Obama is hypersensitive about her image. (What a bitch!) This makes her identical to any other woman not named Joan Rivers. Again, one could completely understand, and should certainly forgive, her compulsion to be a model First Lady (even First Mother), as she is the first African American to hold the position. While we might wish her to be more relaxed, more herself, she’s hardly in a comfortable position to do so. (Hey, maybe we’d rather she did not.)

We also learn that Mrs. Obama has her trusted intimates. That, too, is far from damning indictment.

I’ve had some pretty bad bosses, the worst of whom by far was a woman. She was irrational, temperamental, sharp-tongued, a nightmare to deal with in any capacity. But she was the boss, she ran the place. I bitched and moaned, to be sure, but my solution was to find another job. I did, and everyone lived happily ever after. (Except for my successor.)

We now return you to our regularly-scheduled First Lady bashing…

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Michelle Obama’s Chinese Vacation [UPDATED]

Some might say that a First Lady who reports on herself has a fool for a subject.

Michelle Obama, rather, believes: FLOTUS, report on thyself:

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Malia and Sasha visit the Great Wall of China. March 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Today we drove about an hour north of Beijing to a village called Mutianyu to visit a section of the Great Wall of China, which was simply breathtaking. The scenery on the way there was beautiful – a wide vista of mountains and trees – so the car ride alone was a treat. But then, running along the highest ridges of the mountains, you see it: The Great Wall – one of the great marvels of human history.

Sound familiar?

PRESIDENT [NIXON]. I can only say to the media, who, like myself, have never seen the Great Wall before, that it exceeds all expectations. When one stands there and sees the Wall going to the peak of this mountain and realizes that it runs for hundreds of miles, as a matter of fact thousands of miles, over the mountains and through the valleys of this country, that it was built over 2,000 years ago, I think that you would have to conclude that this is a great wall and that it had to be built by a great people.

Why’d they build it again?

“…to protect the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces…”

Huh.

Anyhow, back to the State Media travelogue:

To get to the Wall, we rode a cable car up a mountain (and we later rode back down on a long slide!). The section we visited is one of the more popular parts of the Wall for tourists, and it’s easy to see why. At Mutianyu, the Wall is roughly 20 to 25 feet tall and full of stairs, and there’s a watchtower every 100 yards or so. Those watchtowers serve as a reminder of why the Wall was built in the first place – to defend against attacks from armies descending from the north. Throughout its history, the Great Wall has gone through decades, even centuries, of ruin and disrepair. But it has always served as not only a physical barrier, but a psychological one to intimidate potential invaders.

Huh.

A long slide, huh?

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First Lady Michelle Obama takes a toboggan ride after visiting the Great Wall of China with Malia and Sasha. March 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Who needs Pravda when the Kremlin—sorry, White House—can report on itself?

UPDATE
I have been laboring under the impression that this junket is media-rein, but I stand corrected:

From a Q&A Mrs. Obama had today with CaixanOnline, a China-focused news site.

Never mind what bilge she spewed, or that she spewed it to state-run media organ (much like AP, NPR, NBC, et al), Mrs. Obama did sit for an interview. I regret the error.

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Michelle Obama’s Chinese Vacation

I would try to count the days, but who can tell which day it is when she’s a world away?

It’s the nights you need to count:

First Lady Michelle Obama is staying with her daughters and mother in an $8,000-per-night suite in Beijing, according to Chinese media.

Don’t worry. I’m sure the dozens of support staff and Secret Service rooms don’t cost a penny more than two grand.

The total cost of this excursion, which is heavy on tourist stuff, is likely north of $1 million, given that Judicial Watch was able to peg her 2010 trip to Spain at $467,000. This voyage has far more flying time – a major piece of the cost – and much more demanding security requirements, as well as lots of staff.

“Heavy on the tourist stuff” it may be, but she’s speaking in an official capacity, too:

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has told students at Beijing’s Stanford Center of the prestigious Peking University that access to information – especially online – and freedom of speech are universal rights.

On her second day of a five-day trip to China, Mrs. Obama told American and other students on Saturday that freedom of expression and worship, and having open access to information are universal rights that are the “birthright of every person on this planet.”

Good for her. I mean it. And what speaks of modern diplomacy better than a selfie?

Sadly, FLOTUS hasn’t updated her blog since the state dinner and “performance” hinted at yesterday (the day before?) Did she have the Moo Goo Gai Pan or the Egg Foo Young, I wonder?

She did have a great time in the Forbidden City, you’ll be happy to know!

PS: Aggie noted yesterday Michelle’s pitch-perfect Midwestern Nice tonality. She’s still got it:

The Forbidden City is far too large to fully experience in a single visit, but highlights include the following: The Hall of Union and Peace has almost 14,000 ornamental dragons. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is where the emperor viewed birthday celebrations and coronation ceremonies from his Dragon Throne. And then there are the Imperial Gardens, where you can walk along the paths and pavilions, admiring the beautiful rock arrangements, flowers and cypress trees.

While we loved our visit to the Forbidden City, we only wish we had more time to see everything. But then again, I’m not sure there could ever be enough time to fully appreciate all of the art and history within this extraordinary place.

You can take the girl out of Chicago, but I guess you can’t take the Chicago out of the girl!

PPS: We’ll continue to put our efforts into covering this trip, since the press won’t (can’t).

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Michelle Obama’s Chinese Vacation

The Obama/Robinson women are in China now, without a man and without the press, so how’s it going so far?

Obama, who is visiting China with her mother and two daughters, is expected to forgo discussion of trade, human rights and the tangle of other issues that have weighed on U.S.-China relations. Instead, she plans to focus on building goodwill through soft diplomacy.

Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan accompanied the visitors on a visit to the Beijing Normal School attended by elite Chinese students and American teenagers from prestigious schools such as Exeter, Andover and Sidwell Friends on study abroad programmes.

Obama, a Harvard-educated lawyer, wore wide-legged black slacks and a loose black vest.

Good to know! Of course, if that sentence isn’t a non-sequitur—two, actually!—I don’t know my non-sequiturs. (What relevance do her slacks have to her law degree? What relevance does her law degree have to her family vacation on the public’s dime?)

Peng, dressed immaculately in a cornflower-blue skirt suit, with a red leather clutch and matching stud earrings, appeared to speak limited English, but gamely ventured a few comments to foreign students and the Obama family.

Is that a shot at Michelle’s frumpy outfit?

Deserved, if it is.

But if we’re to get the real story of the First Lady’s Beijing junket (no press), we’ll have to go to the source:

After a long flight from Washington, D.C. – one that took around 20 hours – my mother, my daughters, and I arrived in Beijing to begin our official visit to China. Our first stop was at the Beijing Normal School, where we were hosted by Madam Peng Liyuan, the First Lady of China.

Madam Peng (her name is pronounced “Pung”) first became known to the Chinese people long before she was First Lady.

Pronounced “Pung”? Who knew? Betcha NPR wouldn’t know that.

As my family and I can attest from our time together at the Beijing Normal School, Madam Peng is a warm and gracious host. And this visit was a perfect opportunity to highlight the themes of my trip: the value of education and the importance of cultural exchanges between young people in different countries.

About 800 students attend the Beijing Normal School, and of those, roughly one in four are international students – including some Americans. All the classes are taught in English (one room even has a map of the United States on the ceiling), and the curriculum prepares students to study internationally once they graduate. Many students here hope to one day attend college in America.

Which opportunity will be denied to them to make room for affirmative action students. (Am I wrong?)

Madam Peng and I first visited a class where students were actually building their own robots, and they were kind enough to do a demonstration for us. The first robot we saw could actually walk over obstacles. Another one, which was shaped like a triangle, was referred to as “bad boy” by its student creators (one of them explained to us that this robot is “really naughty”).

It holds up little signs that say “I’m Falun Gong!” and “Free Ai Weiwei!”

I jest. But Nixon went to China in 1972 and we’re still playing ping-pong diplomacy 42 years later?

After the robotics class, we stopped by a ping pong practice session where I got some tips from the instructor and then had the chance to play with one of the students. She was excellent (though I think she may have gone easy on me, just to be nice).

Isn’t that sweet?

Look, there’s a role for this sort of thing, I guess. But isn’t it fair to say that Michelle’s personal ambitions (not least wanderlust) are covering up some very real problems? China’s human rights abuses; its support of North Korea; its territorial ambitions; intellectual property theft—one could go on. And her insistence that she be the only reporter with direct access to the participants in the trip is disturbing, dare I say Chinese, in its authority. It’s like Jay Carney asking questions of himself in a news conference. (Oh wait.)

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s dispatch from the front lines: dinner and a show.

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Air FLOTUS

I think I made a crack the other day about Michelle Obama and the girls (and their grandmother) visiting China, but also allowed that First Families often serve as American ambassadors.

But this?

First lady Michelle Obama will not take questions from reporters or give interviews during her tour of China that begins today, and members of the press corps who usually follows the first family everywhere can’t travel with her entourage.

And although she will make a few speeches with reporters in the room, the picture is largely one of an expensive, taxpayer-funded tourism exercise for Mrs. Obama, her two daughters, and her mother – not the official trip the White House has projected.

And limited information made available to MailOnline suggests that only two out of 22 scheduled events on the trip will afford journalists a chance to do any significant reporting – including a solitary speech – but still without interviewing Mrs. Obama.

‘How does this comport with the standards of an “official” trip that uses government resources?’ MailOnline asked. ‘Doesn’t this look more like a vacation at taxpayer expense if she’s not going to interface with the media?’

White House travel can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars since members of the president’s family must take a phalanx of Secret Service agents with them wherever they go. Those agents and their staffers need hotel rooms, rental vehicles and per diem meal expenses.

A vacation? Dude, she’ll be working! Doing the job the American press won’t (be allowed) to do:

I’ll be posting a daily travel blog, complete with videos and photos, and I’ll be taking – and answering – questions from kids across America as I go.

I hope you’ll join me – all you have to do is get online:

Go to WhiteHouse.gov to check out my travel blog, and you can even sign up for a daily email update delivered to your inbox.

Who needs the Fourth Estate when you have the First Lady to tell you what’s going on?

And she’ll be worth every penny:

First Lady Michelle Obama plans to pack in an exciting week of sightseeing during what is definitely NOT a vacation excursion with her daughters, who are on spring break, and her mother, who likes to go on Michelle’s trips.

The White House refuses to say how much it will cost you, according to the New York Times.

Well, I can reveal it here:

A lot!!

But this is not a vacation. Please repeat to yourself. This is not a vacation.

I’ll give you a moment.

This is just the Sister Sledge of the Second City, the Jeffersons of Georgetown:

[A]ccording to Tina Tchen, Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff:

I will say this as a Chinese American — of family and of three generations of family traveling together, which I think the Chinese will appreciate, and will appreciate the ties and the bonds that the Obama family have with one another across generations. And this is a great opportunity for the Obama family to experience that, and I think for the Chinese to see that as well in an American family.

OH PLEASE HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK WE ARE?

Stupid enough to return them to power, without any restraints on their behavior. He’s not running for a third term—though he might find the office too much to his liking to leave.

I say without rancor: this is a family vacation at your and my expense. A state trip would permit a role for the press, a private trip would not.

Now with rancor: They wanna go, they can pay their own way. Freeloaders.

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