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Republicans Jeopardize National Security By Blocking Obama Diplomatic …


A vindictive or spiteful person exudes a powerful and unreasoning desire for revenge with the express intent of causing anguish or hurt for their intended target. Republicans have caused misery for the American people over the past five-and-a-half years out of revenge for electing an African American man as President by actively obstructing governance by spitefully refusing to allow debate or votes on legislation for the people. They also willfully blocked filling vacancies to myriad posts in government out of sheer malevolence toward the President, including diplomatic posts and ambassadors in countries where America needs a representative to deal with international crises affecting national security. National security, like the welfare of the people, is of no consequence to Republican spite.

Presently, the United State has no ambassador in Guatemala. With Honduras, Guatemala is where children fleeing violence emigrate from to America’s southern border for relief according to Bush-Republicans’ law that suddenly is an immigration crisis. Since February, America did not have an ambassador in Russia either, despite the crisis involving Russia invading Ukraine to assist separatists embroiling the region in what should be labeled a civil war. When America most needs diplomats to help address the myriad international crises affecting either this country’s allies, national security interests, or a ginned-up immigration crisis on the southern border, Senate Republicans are continuing their obstructionist tactics and blocking diplomatic nominees en masse. Instead of routine unanimous consent, Republicans expressed their typical racial hatred of Barack Obama, disregarded for national security, and adolescent petulance at Harry Reid for attempting to rein in their prior obstruction of judicial and diplomatic nominees.

Last year when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally took very limited action to stop Republicans filibustering (obstructing) Presidential appointees for no other reason than acrimony. Reid only took the so-called “nuclear option” to expedite filling critical government posts, and it appeared that maybe some of the 59 vacancies in 186 diplomatic positions around the world would finally be filled. On Thursday, Senator Robert Menenedez attempted to get what, under normal governance ,was unanimous consent for over 24 diplomatic vacancies, but Republicans said no; they want vengeance for Reid’s filibuster reform to expedite Presidential appointments.

It is noteworthy that all of the nominees were already approved by by committee and only need floor votes to take their posts, but being the vindictive malcontents they are, Republicans will not let allow that to happen. They are childish angry and have used every tactic available to bring the nomination process to a screeching halt either by demanding “regular order” for each nominee and then extend the maximum debate time although the have not been too interested in debating. Prior to Reid’s limited “filibuster reform,” Republicans block nominees simply to prevent normal government and judicial appointees from working for the people, this time they admit their obstruction is payback against Senator Reid for the dreaded nuclear option that was necessary to govern.

When Senator Menendez asked for unanimous consent for the “bloc” of previously approved nominees, Wyoming Republican Senator Michael Enzi objected to every request made by Menendez and referred to last November’s “nuclear option” filibuster rule. He said,”We used to pass ambassadors and all kinds of people en bloc like that, but we have this nuclear option now that the majority chose so it takes a little longer to do that whole process, and on that basis, I object. My college roommate was a career ambassador, and I helped him get assignments and brought a lot of people through en bloc at the same time. But that was before we did the nuclear option.”

Now, the State Department will have to wait at least five weeks while Republicans luxuriate on hiatus or campaign on their high regard for America’s national security. The Republican vendetta is particularly egregious since Secretary of State John Kerry went public and pleaded with Republicans in the Senate to confirm much needed State Department officials before the Senate went on an undeserved 5-week paid vacation. According to the American Foreign Service Association, the Republican Senate’s intransigence will “damage America’s reputation and weaken our country’s national security interests.” It is curious why the AFSA is shocked Republicans could not care less about national security. Surely they knew Republicans voted to prohibit the Pentagon from acknowledging another clear and present threat to American national security, global climate change.

AFSA president Bob Silverman said, “Chairman Menendez went out of his way to have a vote on qualified nominees and we commend him for his leadership, but clearly political bitterness took over in the Senate last night. The fact that other nominations went through without objection indicates that some in the U.S. Senate don’t care about the role of American diplomacy in promoting national security. What happened last night is deplorable.” It is deplorable, but only slightly more-so than normal because Republicans had the temerity to openly admit they were being deliberately mean-spirited for meanness sake. Senate Republicans have been blocking nominees for five-and-a-half years, so this time is no more “deplorable” than throughout the President’s tenure.

A spokewoman for AFSA, Kristen Fernekes said Africa is a chief region of concern “with the ebola outbreak, Islamic terror group Boko Haram, and general national security issues” that made filling the 20% vacancies immediately “in everyone’s interests.” Everyone, that is, except Republicans whose only interests lie in obstruction; only now they admit it is out of sheer spite. To be fair to the GOP obstructionists, they did finally allow a vote for an ambassador to Russia that has been vacant since February and Russia’s military foray into Ukraine that led to the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger jet.

A great deal of attention is given to House Republican intransigence, spiteful actions, and blatant disregard for national security, except of course when refugee children arrive at the southern border, but Senate Republicans are no better. In fact, they are just as vile as the Ted Cruz-led teabagger House and they are taking out their vengeance on America’s ability to maneuver through international crises regardless the adverse affect on the nation’s security at home and abroad.

These Republicans malcontents have displayed a level of vindictiveness that exceeds any pretense that they care about America’s national interests. Ebola and Islamic terrorists in Africa, Russia invading Ukraine, and Guatemalan children fleeing violence to seek refuge in America, and the United States has no ambassadors to assuage the problems that affect this country’s national security. Not because there are no qualified and approved nominees waiting for over seven months, but because Republicans want vengeance regardless the danger to America’s national security. Although Republicans are openly obstructing diplomatic nominees and objecting because of the “nuclear option,” it is a continuation of their five year vendetta against Americans for electing an African American man as President.

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Anger And Grief Boil Over In Ferguson In Wake Of Unarmed Young Man’s …

ferguson police

What began as a peaceful candlelight vigil to remember a teenager who was viciously shot down Saturday by a police officer turned into a night of rioting and looting. On Sunday, in the community of Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, protesters marching after a vigil that was held for Mike Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer the day before, confronted a large group of cops that were gathered nearby to ostensibly keep the peace during the demonstration. It appears that the outsized police presence in the area caused a number of the protesters to be agitated and focus their anger directly at the officers. Things would only go downhill from there.

I was on the scene for the beginning of the tensions. After the vigil, which was held at the apartment complex where Brown was killed, hundreds of people began marching up the street chanting “We want justice!” and “No justice, No peace!” Community leaders were part of the procession, and it appeared that it was going to be similar to demonstrations that had taken place over the previous 24 hours. In other marches and gatherings in the city, while demonstrators were palpably angry and emotional about what had occurred, no instances of violence were reported. All protests up until Sunday evening were peaceful and well-organized.

However, in this instance, there was a sudden change within the crowd as they approached a large group of law enforcement. While most in the group of demonstrators peacefully chanted and expressed their sadness regarding this awful tragedy, about 50 or so of the protesters verbally confronted the police officers in an extremely confrontational way. While no physical action was taken towards the officers on the scene, the sight of them gathered wearing tactical gear as if a riot was inevitable seemed to be too much for some in the crowd. Obscenities were tossed at the cops and tension was extremely high. In response to the perceived threat, hundreds of more police officers were called in from surrounding jurisdictions. By the time I had left the scene, roughly 200 squad cars had arrived, and there were about 400 police officers on the scene.

With a large force of cops forming a line and dealing with the demonstration, the entire Ferguson community was thrust into chaos. With the knowledge that all surrounding police forces were engaged directly with the protesters, groups of people started looting and damaging local businesses. Over a dozen stores were ransacked and a QuikTrip gas station was eventually burned to the ground after being cleaned out of all merchandise. Per reports, this QuikTrip was where Mike Brown had just left when he was confronted by the police officer who shot him. The looting continued on through the night. It wasn’t until the early hours of Monday morning that the police were able to finally contain the scene and arrest dozens who were robbing stores.

Overall, police arrested over 30 individuals. Despite the chaotic scene, there were almost no injuries reported. A reporter for a local newspaper said he was hit in the head with a bottle and two police officers suffered minor injuries, but apparently no residents were hurt. However, the aftereffects of this horrible night will be felt in the community for a long time. Some of the businesses in the area may not be able to recover or will simply move to different communities. A planned rally for Monday morning was canceled as the mayor of Ferguson stated that anyone attending would be arrested.

Residents in the area are heartbroken over what happened Sunday night. Instead of giving voice to a cause and shedding light on an issue that seems to disproportionately affect the African-American community, the images of looting and rioting will now be what is associated with this tragedy. Community leaders and Mike Brown’s family have condemned the criminal activities that occurred in the wake of a peaceful demonstration, but the damage has been done. On Monday morning, some residents expressed their thought that most of those involved in the looting were not from Ferguson, but from surrounding communities taking advantage of the situation. If true, that is even sadder as they do not have to deal with the ramifications of their actions.

In conclusion, my feelings now are the same as they were Sunday evening. This situation was exacerbated by the heavy police presence on the scene during a very solemn and peaceful remembrance for a young man who had his life taken from him. Considering that this tragedy was caused by a Ferguson police officer, it is only adding fuel to the fire for a large group of cops to be gathered and wearing riot gear. They are just making themselves a target for the anger and outrage that many in the community are feeling. Perhaps giving those protesting space and dignity, while not appearing in such a militarized fashion, may have created a much calmer environment. Instead, law enforcement allowed itself to be a target for hostility.

Below are some tweets I sent out shortly after leaving the scene. I’d also like to recognize Alderman Antonio French. He has been providing firsthand accounts from Ferguson since Saturday. The Alderman was also doing his best Sunday night to calm the tensions.

ETA: While Monday’s rally was canceled, dozens of protesters still showed up outside the Ferguson police department on Monday morning. Alderman French live tweeted during the demonstration.

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Despite Republican Attempts To Kill It Social Security Stands Tall On Its 79th …

Happy Anniversary, Social Security! It’s been 79 years, and the American people love you.

Oh, and by the way, Democrats built that. Also, Democrats built some other things similar to Social Security… like Medicare and Obamacare.

Yes, Pelosi went there. That was the gist of Leader Nancy Pelosi’s statement Thursday on the anniversary of Social Security, a good reminder that Democrats have long advocated for programs for the people. It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) who signed the beloved Social Security program into law in 1935.

Leader Pelosi noted, “In the nearly eight decades since its enactment, Social Security has stood as a cornerstone of economic certainty for millions of America’s seniors and families. Together with Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, Social Security provides essential protection for the middle class. But there continue to be Congressional Republicans who put forward dangerous proposals to privatize or partially privatize Social Security, which would rob seniors of the economic security they count on.

“When Democrats created Social Security, we pledged to defend the right of our nation’s seniors to pursue a life of liberty and happiness. Democrats have stood by the promise of Social Security since its inception, and Democrats will continue to protect and strengthen Social Security for the generations to come.”

On January 17, 1935, FDR explained the Social Security legislation as something to help protect Americans from the hazards of life, “A recommendation for legislation to help protect Americans from the hazards of life.”

His words are especially poignant after the brutal recession that started in 2007. The Democratic President closed by saying, “We pay now for the dreadful consequence of economic insecurity – and dearly. This plan presents a more equitable and infinitely less expensive means of meeting these costs. We cannot afford to neglect the plain duty before us.”

This is why Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel pledged in a statement today, “House Democrats will continue to stand fast against Republicans’ efforts to undermine seniors’ vital lifeline and risk Americans’ retirement security through privatization. Rather, we must work together to protect and strengthen Social Security for both today’s seniors and for future retirees.”

Fortune Magazine was unimpressed with the Republican idea to “privatize” Social Security (aka, destroy Social Security). In 2010, when this was yet another hot campaign issue for the GOP, they pointed out that the stock market has had “two 50%-plus drops in just over a decade” and you’d think this “would have shown conclusively the folly of retirees’ having to bet their eating money on the market.”

Why is privatizing Social Security such a turkey? Because retirees shouldn’t have to depend on the market’s vagaries for survival money. More than half of married couples over 65 and 72% of singles get more than half their income from Social Security, according to the Social Security Administration. For 20% of 65-and-up couples and 41% of singles, Social Security is 90% or more of their income. That isn’t projected to change.

It’s obscene that more media do not call out the ridiculous Republican idea of a Social Security that is not secure. Tying “security” to the stock market, especially after the last decade of two plunging markets under Bush, is an idea that should be laughed at.

This is not “security”, thus it is not a viable replacement or “reform” to Social Security. It is a different idea, and should be proposed properly as such, but then the main goal of destroying Social Security could not be achieved. Thus, the destroyers of “security” must keep presenting their idea as a “reform” when it is in fact a destruction.

Happy Anniversary, Social Security. May you be long funded and protected.

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Peaceful Day In Ferguson Marred By Late-Night Arrests; No Tear Gas Or Rubber …

ferguson tuesday nightedited

A generally peaceful Tuesday evening of protest marches in Ferguson ended in the late-night arrests of dozens. However, police showed a lot more restraint than in other nights and did not use tear gas or rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. After hours of marching, organizers of the marches called out to the crowd and said it was time to go home as Wednesday will be a busy day. Protesters plan on showing up at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, MO Wednesday morning to call for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch to recuse himself from the investigation into the shooting death of Mike Brown. Once the majority of protesters quietly and peacefully left the scene, a small group stayed behind. Like nights past, this group, called “the fighters” by St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, looked to confront the police head on and cause trouble.

Eventually, bottles were thrown at police. While police individually chased down offenders, other members of the crowd tried to hide out in the media staging area, posing as journalists. It appeared their plan was to mingle with the media and then attack police covertly. Eventually, police were able to identify these demonstrators and arrest them without much incident. The rest of the people who refused to disperse after a while were eventually arrested. In all, police said that 47 people were arrested Tuesday evening. An earlier arrest was made in the evening when people in a car pulled up to the police command center and made threats. Two handguns were retrieved from the car during the arrest.

Like the night before, it could be that many of those arrested are from out-of-town. On Monday, police arrested 78 people (revised up from the original total given of 31). Of those 78, 75 were arrested for refusing to disperse. Of those 75, 18 are from out of state, 5 are from different parts of Missouri and only 4 are actually from Ferguson. The rest are from other parts of the St. Louis area. Police did reveal that one man arrested Tuesday night had been arrested twice before during the protests and is from Austin, TX. It appears that much of the agitation and provocation within the protest crowds is being done by outside activist elements hoping to use these protests as a way to make a point or cause commotion.

Wednesday looks to be a busy day for Ferguson and the ongoing situation. A grand jury has convened to hear evidence in Brown’s killing. A prosecutor from McCulloch’s office will present evidence against Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown six times, and see what charges come back. Attorney General Eric Holder is in Ferguson and will meet with FBI agents investigating a civil rights case against Wilson. He’ll also talk to community leaders about the ongoing situation in Ferguson. Protests in Clayton are expected to last throughout the day. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, as of now, has refused to remove McCulloch from the case and replace him with a special prosecutor.

On Tuesday, I spoke with Camille Conte of The Camille Conte Show regarding the ongoing events in Ferguson. During the discussion, I spoke at length about McCulloch and the need for him to be removed from investigating the case due to his perceived lack of objectivity. I also discussed with Camille how the combination of an outsized police presence, national media spotlight and outside activists and agitators have helped to create outbursts at protests. Below is the audio:


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Obama’s Return From Vacation Means More Executive Action Is Coming

Obama’s Return From Vacation Means More Executive Action Is Coming

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President Obama is back from vacation, which means that whether Republicans like it or not more executive action is coming.

The Hill reported,

Obama’s two weeks on Martha’s Vineyard were plagued by dual crises, in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo. But his break was also something of a blackout period for news about actions the White House is weighing on immigration reform and so-called corporate “inversions,” a business maneuver companies use to reduce their tax burdens.

Obama will be in Washington for just one full week before departing on a trip to Estonia and Wales in early September to reassure NATO allies amid conflict with Russia.

Obama announced in June that he would take action on immigration “before the end of summer.”

The president came back to the White House during his vacation for updates on the situations in Ferguson, but also it has been widely assumed to start planning for more executive action. The president has no public events this week and will be in meetings.

With another potential government shutdown looming, Washington could be dominated by the fight over the length of the next continuing resolution. The only way that anything will get done between now and Election Day will be if the president can do it himself. Obama should announce executive action on immigration before the government funding dispute kicks into high gear. Congress is only scheduled to be in session for 12 days over the next two months. The odds of this Congress passing anything beyond a new CR are exactly zero.

The president could throw a wrench into the entire election with major executive action. Over the next few weeks, it looks like that action is coming, and the political ramifications could be huge.

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Ferguson Cop Who Arrested Two Reporters During Protests Also Hog-Tied A 12 …

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

An article posted by the Huffington Post on Sunday evening reveals that Justin Cosma, a Ferguson police officer who arrested two reporters for sitting at a McDonald’s in Ferguson, is currently dealing with a civil rights lawsuit due to an incident where he hog-tied a 12-year-old boy. The lawsuit was filed in 2012 and derives from an incident in 2010, when Cosma was employed by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Cosma had just started working for the Ferguson police department when the lawsuit was filed. It is quite possible that the pending litigation was a contributing factor to him moving jobs.

Per the lawsuit, Cosma and another officer became confrontational with the child and intimidated him. Eventually, they threw the boy to the ground and choked him. The following is from the HuffPost article:

According to a lawsuit filed in 2012 in Missouri federal court, Justin Cosma and another officer, Richard Carter, approached a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway in June 2010. Cosma was an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at the time, the lawsuit states. The pair asked the boy if he’d been playing on a nearby highway, and he replied no, according to the lawsuit.

Then, the officers “became confrontational” and intimidated the child, the lawsuit claims. “Unprovoked and without cause, the deputies grabbed [the boy], choked him around the neck and threw him to the ground,” it says. The boy was shirtless at the time, and allegedly “suffered bruising, choke marks, scrapes and cuts across his body.”

The 12-year-old was transferred to a medical facility for treatment, but the lawsuit says Cosma and the other officer reported the incident as “assault of a law enforcement officer third degree” and “resisting/interfering with arrest, detention or stop.”

Jefferson County prosecutors “refused to issue a juvenile case” against the young child, the suit says.

This is just the latest revelation among many regarding St. Louis area police officers that have come out in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Recently, St. Louis County police officer Dan Page, a 35-year veteran of the force, was suspended indefinitely when video surfaced of him at an Oath Keepers event making extremely inflammatory and offensive statements. Among many outrageous comments, Page said the following:

“I’m into diversity. I kill everybody, I don’t care,” St. Louis Police Officer.

I personally believe in Jesus Christ as my lord savior, but I’m also a killer. I’ve killed a lot. And if I need to, I’ll kill a whole bunch more. If you don’t want to get killed, don’t show up in front of me, it’s that simple.”

Page was in Ferguson during the protests, and there is footage of him forcefully pushing CNN’s Don Lemon back along with a number of demonstrators. Lemon was later the one who brought attention to a YouTube video of Page making his hate-filled speech.

Besides Page, we’ve seen another officer suspended due to his pointing a gun at protesters and cameramen and telling them, “I’ll f***ing kill you!” When protesters asked his name after he said that, the officer said, “Go f*** yourself!” The officer was later identified as Lr. Ray Albers, a 20-year veteran with the St. Ann police department. Albers was suspended without pay and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. The suspension came on the heels of a YouTube video showing the altercation. You can see the video here (I am not embedding it due to profanity in the title and throughout the video).

At the same time Page was suspended, another St. Louis County cop, Michael Pappert, was also put on leave after hateful Facebook posts he made about Ferguson protesters were made public. Per Raw Story, a sampling of his Facebook posts featured the following:

I’m sick of these protesters. You are a burden on society and a blight on the community,” wrote Michael Pappert, in one of at least five posts that have gone up since Sunday.

“These protesters should have been put down like a rabid dog the first night,” he added.

In a reference to the Boston Marathon bombing, he also wrote: “Where is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them.”

The revelation of Cosma being involved in a civil rights case alleging he abused a minor is sadly unsurprising at this point. In the wake of Brown’s killing, a bright light has been shone on St. Louis area police departments, and the results have not been pretty. However, it would be naive to think that these issues are only affecting St. Louis County and that other metro-area police departments are free of bad actors or racial disparity. The fact is, only because of the media spotlight focused on Ferguson are we aware of these underlying issues and abusive officers in the county.


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Days After Jim Foley’s Brutal Murder, An American Journalist is Released By …

Days After Jim Foley’s Brutal Murder, An American Journalist is Released By Terrorists

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Peter Theo Curtis is finally on his way home after what had to be a terrifying two year abduction.

The American journalist has been held for almost two years by Al Qaeda in Syria after being kidnapped near the Turkish border in 2012, but he is safely outside of Syria and on his way to meet loved ones this Sunday. This is welcome news in the wake of the tragic and disgusting execution of American journalist James Foley. Curtis was released to a UN representative, as reported by Al Jazeera and now confirmed by the White House.

The White House released a statement from National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice:

For two years, we have kept Peter Theo Curtis, a U.S. citizen held hostage in Syria, in our thoughts and prayers. Today, we join his family and loved ones in welcoming his freedom. Theo is now safe outside of Syria, and we expect he will be reunited with his family shortly.

Just as we celebrate Theo’s freedom, we hold in our thoughts and prayers the Americans who remain in captivity in Syria. Notwithstanding today’s welcome news, the events of the past week shocked the conscience of the world. As President Obama said, we have and will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to see that the remaining American hostages are freed.

Today, the American people share in the joy and relief that Theo’s family feels, and we look forward to his safe return home. We will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all Americans who are held overseas so that they can be reunited with their families as well.

President Obama vowed to be vigilant and relentless about the return of American hostages. CNN reported that Curtis was held by the al-Nusra Front, a less extreme Al Qaeda group than the ISIL, which brutally murdered Mike Foley.

Today’s release is but one in many, but it’s welcome good news for the country and his family and friends. A reported 67 journalists have been killed in Syria since the uprising in 2011, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Ms. Jones is a Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Since joining Politicus in February of 2009, Sarah has been quoted by Talking Points Memo, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, The Richard Dawkins Foundation and more. Sarah co-hosts Politicus Radio with Jason Easley and is the political correspondent for KPTR 1450′s California Woman 411, hosted by Dee Jae Cox. Sarah is an award-winning producer with a background in TV/Film (TV host, news anchor, producer writer) and a member of the Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA and SPJ. Sarah graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a major in Psychology minor in Latin. She spends her free time dancing (ballet) and horseback riding (English).

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John Boehner: House speaker, or noisy monkey?

Sure, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds one of the most powerful jobs in the world, steering the House of Representatives and sitting second in the line of presidential succession.

But when it comes down to it, he says, he’s really just a monkey clanging his cymbals together.

In a video posted Thursday on YouTube entitled “The Monkey In the Room,” Boehner reflects on one of his favorite office props — an animatronic stuffed monkey, complete with cymbals and a silly grin.

“This sits in my office on the coffee table, because this is me,” he says in the video.

Surrounded by children, who are obviously delighted by the noisy toy, Boehner points to the monkey and exclaims, “That’s what I do all day!”

“My staff gave it to me,” the speaker says. “Every 15, 30 minutes, they come in and wind me, up, and I do my thing.”

The joke began in 2011, after Boehner quipped in an interview that his busy schedule sometimes makes him feel like a wind-up toy. “So, as a light-hearted token of appreciation (and a less-than-subtle reminder to not use that metaphor again), Speaker Boehner’s staff brought the monkey to the U.S. Capitol,” a blog post on his website explains.

The monkey has been there ever since, bearing witness to the parade of foreign leaders, congressional bigwigs, and others who have found their way to Boehner’s office on Capitol Hill.

The toy has become such a fixture in Boehner’s office that it even reportedly made its way into an instruction booklet distributed to the speaker’s new interns.

“People will often ask about the monkey sitting in the center of the room,” says one bullet point in the pamphlet, according to Gawker, which obtained a copy. “Shows his sense of humor,” another explains helpfully.

But interning for Boehner isn’t just monkeying around, the booklet emphasizes. Among the “rules for intern success” are such gems as “Don’t talk to the press,” “You are not here to change the world,” and “Nothing is below you.”

Also: “Have fun.”

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US Economic Outlook 2014: Speaker John Boehner Criticizes CBO’s Projected …

The Congressional Budget Office, providing nonpartisan analysis for Congress, predicted U.S. GDP will increase by 1.5 percent by the end of 2014, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, used the news to criticize Democrats and the Obama administration.

The CBO updated the budget and economic outlook forecast, and although the federal budget deficit has “fallen sharply” during recent years and is set for further declines, the federal debt could climb later this decade.

The CBO revealed inflation-adjusted GDP during the first half of the current calendar year increased by 0.9 percent, and stronger growth is projected for the second half of 2014. The CBO blamed bad weather as one reason for the lackluster GDP growth earlier this year, but recent employment figures have indicated economic expansion. GDP will likely increase by 1.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 through the same period in 2014.

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According to Rep. Boehner, the 1.5 percent GDP increase is less than last year’s “anemic” growth of 1.9 percent.

“The continued lack of strong, sustained growth is felt across our country, particularly by the millions of Americans stuck in part-time work,” Boehner said.

Boehner said the House of Representatives passed over 40 job-related bills that would “reinvigorate” the U.S. economy while Senate Democrats have done “nothing.”

“The president and his party are instead talking about ideas that would just send more jobs overseas. Americans deserve better, and the House will continue to focus on solutions that help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all,” Boehner said in a statement. “In the meantime, I again call on Senate Democrats to stop standing in the way of growth and work with us to get our economy moving again.”

Although the economy is forecast to grow by 1.5 percent by the end of 2014, the CBO projected the real inflation-adjusted GDP will “pick up” after this year. By 2016, the annual average rate of the real GDP is projected to be 3.4 percent.

The 3.4 percent growth has been attributed to three reasons, including increased demands for goods and services, business investments, improved consumer spending and fewer vacant housing units with more “rapid formation” of new households.

The CBO’s projections come as the Department of Labor released the latest national unemployment figures for July – 6.2 percent. In regards to the 25.3 million Latinos in the civilian labor force, the national unemployment rate is at 7.4 percent. The CBO projects the overall unemployment rate will decline to 5.2 percent by the fourth quarter of 2017.

“CBO also expects that the greater hiring will encourage some people to reenter the labor force, slowing both the decline in the unemployment rate and the decline in labor force participation that would result from underlying demographic trends and federal policies by themselves,” the CBO report said.

According to the Labor Department, two million Latinos are currently unemployed.

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Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of John Boehner (Video)

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Speaker John A. Boehner reminds us of his love for tans, long hair and monkeys as Heard on the Hill concludes its 2014 look back.



Best of Nancy Pelosi (Video)

Best of Harry Reid (Video)

Best of Mitch McConnell (Video)

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