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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Voice in the Wilderness
Those who knock this book don't understand the point of what Sen. Byrd is saying. In fact, from some of the negative reviews I've read here, it seems that some haven't even read the book at all and are merely throwing a review up in hopes of trashing this work so others won't read it. Well, I've read it, and I strongly advise everyone to read every word of it. It will...
Published on September 26, 2004 by John Sollami

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12 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Partisan Political Attack Job
Byrd begins his book with an explantion of why George Bush was not qualified or experienced enough to become president. He states that his resume "he could claim as his own only a mediocre academic record, a raucous youth, a failed run for the U.S. House of Representatives, less than stellar stints in the oil business". If you enjoy reading information that attempts to...
Published on September 25, 2005 by D. Shane Hanson


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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Voice in the Wilderness, September 26, 2004
By 
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
Those who knock this book don't understand the point of what Sen. Byrd is saying. In fact, from some of the negative reviews I've read here, it seems that some haven't even read the book at all and are merely throwing a review up in hopes of trashing this work so others won't read it. Well, I've read it, and I strongly advise everyone to read every word of it. It will give you an insider's view of how Congress and the Executive branch of government are functioning these days. When George Bush debated Al Gore in 2000, he said he would reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats to unite America in a common purpose. These words are laughable today. Senator Byrd, a long-time senate veteran who has worked with numerous administrations, both Democratic and Republican, speaks from years of experience in stating that he has never seen such callow, arrogant, and ignorant behavior as this Bush administration has demonstrated. Bush's contempt for Congress and crude grabs for power that have set our government's delicate and successful system of checks and balances on its ear for years to come are carefully presented by the senator. Bush's bill to authorize the war on Iraq was filled with language that took away the power of Congress to make war and gave Bush carte blanche permission to attack anyone he perceived as plotting against America. So what mechanism is in place to stop Bush and his hawks should he desire to attack Iran or North Korea or Jordan? The military in this country is supposed to be overseen by a civilian authority, but it seems that things have been reversed in Bush's administration. The military and its inherent need to make war is in charge in America, and Bush is merely an instrument of its will. And the budgeting of all this activity was ramroded through Congress with next to no debate or accountability from the Bush administration. This kind of stonewalling of Congress is not only showing contempt of Congress (an impeachable offense), but it is indicative of a certain hubris and a contempt for the American people. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of American history, American government, and the American people. I can't thank Senator Robert Byrd enough for standing up to this new kind of dictatorial force in America, reminiscent of the McCarthy era. I just hope the American people educate themselves to this force and restore balance and democracy to our beloved land.
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164 of 183 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars stands on its own two feet, August 2, 2004
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
I note that many of the negative reviews have focused on Byrd's biography, particularly his past membership in the KKK. This book does not speak to racial equality or any other issues related to the klan. To bring up the KKK or Byrd's vote on the Marriage Amendment is a Red Herring, raised for the purpose of dismissing the book without considering its actual content.

As far as the book's content, it is about the Constitution's insistence on the separation of powers, congressional responsibility for spending, and the principle of transparency in government. Byrd argues that the Bush administration has railroaded the Senate into turning over much of its legal authority. He points out that the Senate has been cowardly in confronting this challenge. It is not journalism - Byrd is not trying to present the Bush administration's side in the matter. He presents a pretty good case and shows the reader the Constitutional and legal basis for his protest against current Executive branch policy and practice. I'd like to hear how those senators who voted for the October 10 '02 Iraq War Resolution answer Byrd's clear challenge: he states that they are disrespecting the Constitution by turning war-declaring authority over to the President.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good test of one's objectivity., August 13, 2004
By 
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
A good political book to test your ability to rate on its merit and not on whether you share the author's ideology. (We should try harder to judge fairly rather than blindly follow that which supports our own views.)

Example: This book shares many of the same points as John Dean's, 'Worse Than Watergate,' but Byrd get's 4 stars, Dean get's 2. I'm not a conservative trashing Dean nor a liberal praising Byrd.

Byrd raises many troubling issues regarding the deterioration of the Constitution's separation of powers which should concern all American's. More imperialistic power and less accountability in the hands of a President you support may not seem so bad, but they will eventually land in the hands of a President you oppose.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling historical angle to an ongoing debate..., July 23, 2004
By 
AZ Bookworm (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
Senator Byrd offers a great background for the long-term effects from the current administration's policies in light of our constitutional framework and hence adds another angle to the quandaries in which our country currently finds itself.

The author is open and honest in reflecting his arguments as his subjective perspective. Senator Byrd certainly earned my respect for his candor when he acknowledged that Democrats need to own their part of the responsibility in enabling a preemptive rather than collaborative war, as well as letting the Patriot Act pass without the due diligence it deserved.

In conjunction with Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack" this book offers one of the best analyses of the impacts of the Bush administration's strategies and a compelling insight into some of the root causes for the heated bipartisan debates that I have had the pleasure to read recently.

Although, it is a bit slow to build up momentum within the first few chapters, it is still an eloquent account. I would highly recommend reading it.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sense of history, July 25, 2004
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
When I moved to West Virginia a few years ago, I thought that Senator Byrd was a joke, the ultimate pork-barrel senator. After watching his behavior post-911 and reading this book, I am proud that he is my senator.

Byrd has been in Congress since the Korean War. He isn't a liberal firebrand like Michael Moore- he has been willing to work with people from across the political spectrum (especially to bring money to West Virginia). What comes across in this book is a profound sorrow that our time-tested system of government is being destroyed for short-term political advantage.

Byrd says that the real threat to our way of life is internal. Democracy is easy to subvert: the collapse of the Roman republic, is a classic case. Our Founding Fathers knew this, and the reason that our federal government seems so inefficient is that they designed it to be inefficient. They knew that leaders in the future would try to establish a dictatorship, and they feared that certainty more than the possibility of destruction from outside.

Byrd was one of the few politicians who stood up to the Bush administration when they demanded complete control to combat terrorism. He tried to stop the Democrats from swallowing the lies that led us into the Iraq war. He asked for straight answers to simple questions and was ignored. Now Byrd is asking more simple questions. Why are we giving up our liberties? When is the terrorism crisis going to end? We need to come with answers before it is too late.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars America Lost, May 1, 2006
By 
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
The attack on this senator having once been a member of the KKK is a 6 year-old's argument used to attack the messenger and ignore the charge by claiming that others have done much worse. This is totally irrelevant by any reckoning. In "Losing America," Senator Byrd makes certain charges that require discussion and above all, answers.

His writing and message are almost poignant in his declaration that we are living under a reckless and arrogant president, a president who thinks nothing of donning a flight suit and landing on a carrier at the expense of the sailors and marines who had to spend extra days at sea. (The carrier was within sight of port, and had to turn around to go out beyond the horizon.)

If that were all the president did wrong, it might be forgiveable, but Senator Byrd catalogues other mistakes and broken promises that qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors.

The President of the United States used September 11, 2001 to attack a sovereign nation that was not a threat, did not have weapons of mass destruction, and did not have an association with al Qaeda.

According to Senator Byrd this is the most secret administration in US history. The president has signed executive orders that have allowed him to maintain secrecy of presidential papers, doctored the intelligence given to the American people, forced out advisors who disagreed with him, raised our debt to an alarming amount and still growing, cut funding from even his signature education program while claiming that it needed more money. This president has successfully manipulated the media and spoke through them rather than with the congress.

Senator Byrd not only sees an administration run amuck, but also a complacent senate that has abrogated its congressional obligations by not holding the president accountable. Instead, it has given him anything he asked without debate, investigation or discussion.

The senator is also concerned with public apathy. He compares this with the fall of the Roman Empire when its citizens were no longer concerned who was governing, or how it was done.

At the end of this book he recalls a conversation between an American officer and Herman Goering. The officer claims that what happened in Germany could not happen in America because of our people speak through its representatives and only Congress has the right to declare war. Goering fires back: "Oh that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Food for thought, and so is this book.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awakening call from a hyper-vigilant watchdog, November 18, 2004
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
Armed with over half-century of legislative stewardship, heightened vigilance, and global stature, Robert Byrd squeezes a fascinating synopsis of modern American history in formidable mere 200 pages of lucid and fluid narration.

The INTRODUCTION describes how 9/11 has transformed a visionless president into a global leader, unquestioned by the media and by members of either party, whose false bravado ill serves our country. It also describes how the Congress's ambivalence is endangering our constitutionally enshrined freedom from tyranny, which could only be preserved by the aggressive and vigilant maintenance of checks and balances and separation of powers of the three branches of the government. The pandering media drummed the patriotic tone to hike its profit, sanitized the news, opponents disappear, glossed over the harsh realities of war.

Chapter 1, "CHANGING THE TONE", discusses the poisonous atmosphere of strained relationships, loss or respect and trust among the people's representatives and how Bush II is amassing power, rewarding friends with extreme cynicism and appeal to greed. Bush's alliance with the neo-conservatives' agenda of "New Beginning" claiming to "give the people back their money" had siphoned $2 trillion dollars to the deep pockets of the well-to-do, without Budget Committee report on the budget. The author draws parallels between Bush II in 2000 and Hoover in 1928 and the Great Depression when thousands of people become destitute by the government policies, tax cuts, and increased deficits caused by the detached ideologue Hoover.

Chapter 2, "AN UNPATRIOT ACT", describes how the Congress was hurried to pass a resolution that gives the executive branch of government unfettered access to intelligence and law enforcement and could allow military tribunals instead of due process and court laws. He cites James Madison's reasoning that aggressive congressional oversight ensured government controls itself and functions in democracy because of the continual grasping and groping for more power by presidents of both parties.

Chapter 3, "WORMS IN THE WOOD", discusses the dangerous changes that are honeycombing the towers of our Constitution in the form of corruption, dishonesty, greed, exit of discipline achievement from schoolroom, apathy of the governed towards the selection of those governing. The usurpation of purse control by the Republican Congress's is evident in rubber-stamping any proposal for defense through perfunctory consultation process. Restricting intelligence briefings to few members of the Congress, stonewalling, and limiting presidential information to the public are signs of clandestine abuses of power.

Chapter 4, "TOUGH TALK AND AFGHANISTAN", discusses the consequences of the Senate Joint Resolution 23 that gives the president the right to declare war to defend national security and foreign policy, against nations and organizations. It contends that the global war on terror so glibly declared is a "slippery slope", "mission impossible", "swampy soil", and "deadly miscalculation", because of lack of intelligence capability to wage global war. It contends that Bush's revenge ran counter to a steady and sober evaluation of just what happened on 9/11 and why, beyond raw simplicities. The author draws parallels with the soviet invasion to Afghanistan in 1978, which had downed the soviet empire and uplifted Al-Qaeda. He fairly and fearlessly discusses Carter's usurpation of power to short-circuiting the Congress during that ordeal with a distrusted superpower.

Chapter 5, "HOMELAND INSECURITY", contends that the White House had embraced the idea of Homeland Security to grab more control over the purse by ensconcing the new department within the authority of the office of the president in order to bypass congressional oversight or accountability. He discusses how the clandestine huge merger plan of homeland security was hastily improvised of 20 agencies, 170000 federal employees for the sake of justifying spending that creates chaos and less security. He likens these clandestine abuses to Nixon's behavior of abuse of power, and Johnson's and Regan's fabrication of information to mislead the Congress, in different situations.

Chapter 6, "CONFRONTING THE "AXIS OF EVIL", argues that the administration had capitalized on the war for political purposes. He narrates CIA blunder in installing the Shah of Iran in 1953 in order to avoid nationalizing Iran's oil resources, which would have served for prosperity for the Iranian people. That resulted in 25 years of turmoil and the emergence of a rogue state seeking nuclear weapons to deter western interference. He then narrates nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956, which led to the rise on nationalism in Egypt and the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq. The West had played the role of "Great Satan" propping tyrants against national interests of their people and the War on Iraq is another blatant repeat of historic plunders.

Chapter 7, "OUT OF BUSINESS", explains why passing the authority of war to the President amounts to eviscerating the Congress prerogative to declare war for the foreseeable future, puts unfettered discretion in the hands of callow and reckless president, and proves that the US Senate unworthy of its great name. The illusion that the freedom loving people of the region will erupt in joy on the streets of Iraq had dismissed the facts of the rise of Arab nationalism, Muslim fundamentalism, and tribal rivalries. The perils of spoiling Israel with favoritism and bias against the Arabs had been discounted. It contends that Bush's doctrine of spreading democracy at "gun point" is more dreadful than the 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution which led to 58,000 killed, 150000 wounded, with vote rested on false claims. He offers solutions such as adding sunset provision, fixing botched intelligence, pooling the world's resources, plugging the holes in homeland security.

Chapter 8, "SELLING THE WAR", citing Herman Goering's statement in the 1947 Nuremberg Diary that patriotism is the ultimate tool in the hands of a ruler to subdue people, the author describes going to Iraq was like following Bush driving lambs to the slaughter. He likens the romanticizing of "Shock and Awe" by the media, with America being seized by militant barbarians whose terrifying hype of mushroom cloud is unprecedented irresponsibility.

Mohamed F. El-Hewie,
Author of
"Essentials of Weightlifting and Strength Training".
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be afraid; be very afraid, September 17, 2004
By 
Jean E. Pouliot (Newburyport, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
A book titled "Losing America" ought to have the same effect on citizens as the sight of flashing blue lights on the road ahead. That the author is a long-standing, respected Unites States Senator, adds the sound of the siren as well.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) has served in Congress for over 50 years, in the Senate since 1958, and since 1959 as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He has written the unthinkable -- a non-fictional Cassandra of a book about what he fears is the imminent unraveling of the American constitutional system. Byrd's book is another in a lengthening string of books by present and former government officials detailing the abuses and ineptitudes of the current administration. Hardly the ravings of a rabid anarchist, "Losing America" is the sober, considered thought of a wise and intelligent man whose appreciation for our government's institutions is deep and abiding. Byrd recounts in sickening detail the attacks on the checks and balances of the US Constitution, attacks that have become a hallmark of the Bush II presidency. Detailing Bush's excessive and unnecessary secrecy, his repeated stonewalling of legitimate congressional requests for information and his attempts to usurp the control over congressional "power of the purse," Byrd makes an effective and frightening case that Bush II's policies are undermining the Constitution's protections against tyranny.

I found Byrd's insertion of autobiographical material fascinating, perhaps a tiny bit self-serving. Byrd tells us about being strong-armed by Lyndon Johnson, about insisting on the red carpet treatment from the Soviets and about visiting Iran just prior to the taking of the hostages in 1978. Byrd's stories often relate his efforts to retain his senatorial prerogatives, not (says he) out of a sense personal entitlement, but in the service of Legislative Branch parity with the Executive Branch. Self-serving or not, Byrd's actions bring home the point that the American system is built on tensions between the three branches of government.

"Losing America" is many things -- autobiography, primer on the US Constitution, exposition of the roots of the American system of government and anti-Bush polemic. Byrd's recounting of the steady erosion of respect for Congress ought to be truly alarming to those who believe in government of, for and by the people. His disgust with and distrust of George W. Bush's administration is palpable on every page. The litany of Bush's rejection of bills to adequately fund homeland security after 9/11 makes Byrd (and the reader) wonder what the President's intentions really are. One can only hope that with an author who is such a highly-respected member of the Senate, "losing America" will prompt readers to reconsider their attraction to the present occupants of the White House and those who share their vision.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our democracy is being threatened as never before., September 17, 2004
By 
Tom Paine (Aberdeen, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
Senator Byrd is a statesman in an era of partisan politics. No one in our government has a greater love of the U.S. Constitution, and no one has done a better job than Senator Byrd in this book of describing how the Bush Administration has circumvented the role of Congress with the support of the Republican leadership in the House and Senate.

Contrary to the President's claim that Congress "had access to the same intelligence that I had" before giving him legislative support to go to war with Iraq, Byrd's detailed account demonstrates that the White House kept Congress in the dark and forced a rushed vote using every real and artificial pressure it could muster.

Byrd, a student of history - and a man whose experience extends back 45 years in the Senate - contrasts the White House's secret and manipulative behavior with that of past administrations, and echoes the feelings of many that the war in Iraq has actually hurt our ability to find and fight terrorists. Equally alarming is Byrd's recounting of his numerous attempts to increase the funding for homeland security, every one of which has been rejected by the White House.

Byrd summarizes the Bush strategy for getting public support for his war by quoting Hermann Goering: "...the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read., September 27, 2004
This review is from: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (Hardcover)
Senator Byrd is the most knowledgable senator about the Constitution of the United States. He brings a perspective about the Separation of Powers based on 50 years of elected experience. When he sees a threat to the Constitution, we, as Americans, should listen or we may lose our country. As citizens, we must be able to say: "WE, THE PEOPLE!" Democracy demands it.
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Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency
Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency by Robert C. Byrd (Hardcover - July 22, 2004)
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