Review: Losing America–Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency

5 Star, Congress (Failure, Reform), Democracy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Spine of Iron,Brain to Match–Voice Against Theft of Power,

July 28, 2004
Robert C. Byrd
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links.

This author has a spine of iron and a brain to match. What I see here is a unique combination of Senatorial seniority (seen it all), an acumen with regard to Constitutional history, a deep burning angst over the failure of the Senate to honor its heritage in the run up to the unjust and unjustified war on Iraq, and a relatively careful documentation of specific lies and misdeeds carried out by the Executive in its evidently unprecedented campaign to rob Congress of both the power of the purse and the power to declare war.

The book offers up some real gems, including a devastating “character” analysis of George W. Bush (p. 19, p. 107, p. 146), a useful comparison between Herbert Hoover who helped bring on the Great Depression, and George W. Bush (pp. 30-31), a helpful comparison of how Congress tries to balance the Executive while having only 31,033 employees versus 2,673,100), a brutally accurate comparison of how John Ashcroft chose to spend his time, avoiding testimony, substituting news conferences calling on Congress to pass the law without review (p. 47), the return of the multi-billion dollar Presidential slush fund (p. 68), the importance of independent information to Congress in confronting deceitful Executive officers (p. 70), a troubling catalog of the billions in funding for homeland security that the Executive has refused, seemingly wanting to “starve the beast.” (pp. 10-114); special reference to Eisenhower, his warnings of the military-industrial complex, and a very troubling page of what the trade-offs are, such as buying a single destroyer versus building new homes for 8,000 people (pp. 141-142), an examination of Don Rumsfeld’s prevarication when being questioned about the bio-chemical weapons that Rumsfeld helped supply to Iraq during the Reagan Administration (p. 149), and an absolutely BRUTAL, RIVETING comparison of the billions the current Administration has asked to spend in Iraq, where Halliburton can steal it, versus in the US for the same kinds of things: $4.6 billion for Iraqi water and sanitation, only $3.1 billion for the USA–the list goes on and it is DAMNING (p. 202).

Despite the author’s clear fury over the misbehavior of the Executive, he gives George W. Bush credit where credit is due, and particularly in relation to the inaugural and the national appearances in the immediate aftermath of 9-11.

The end of the book offers several speeches from the eighty that were delivered on the floor of the Senate, and I remember watching them on C-SPAN and thinking to myself that this was one of the only real men left in the Senate–truly a man of integrity and gravitas.

The book is well put together, and integrates in a very important fashion a deep understanding of the separation of powers and how the Constitution relates to our liberty; a deep understanding and ability to articulate and document the “shell game” that has been placed by the Administration with its tax cuts for the rich, deficits for the poor and unborn, and “transfer authorities” for stealing money approved for one thing in order to do another, and finally, a devastating dissection of the naked boy that would be Emperor yet in comparison with ten other Presidents known to the author, the senior Senator from West Virginia, is but “ineptitude supreme” (p. 107).

Senator Byrd saw the future. The other Senators were cowards and fools.

See also, with reviews:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy
Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq

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