The first Bonus Book of the Week is “Life Inside the Bubble, Why A Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away From It All” by Dan Bongino, published in 2013.
This slim, prophetic volume explained how the author came to choose a career in law enforcement, received a political education, and became a cynic about politics.
The author began his 1970’s childhood in Smithtown in Long Island, New York, but his parents divorced when he was nine years old. He, his mother and two younger brothers moved to Queens, and suffered financial hardships. To add insult to injury, his mother’s boyfriend was a mean drunk.
By the mid-1990’s, the author had become a cadet in the New York City Police Department. In summer 1999, he began training to be a Secret Service agent. Training took six months, first in Georgia, and then Maryland. During his law-enforcement career, he witnessed intelligence and investigative failures, due to “…internal and external politics, election cycles,…” inter-agency rivalry, laziness, incompetence, and hubris.
The author, an adrenaline junkie, enjoyed the constant busy-ness and challenge of devising a plan to keep government workers safe in high-threat, unpredictable and chaotic environments– such as at crowded transportation hubs, outside, and at speaking-venues.
Read the book to learn the causes of three major cluster screw-ups of the Obama administration, why the author quit his federal job, and the consequences (hint: more and more terrorist attacks and shooting sprees) the nation faces, if it does not streamline (eliminate redundancies which result in wasted work, inefficiencies and delayed investigations) its law-enforcement agencies and get them to cooperate with each other, and pass ILLEGAL-gun control legislation! It can only help, as statistics on black-market weaponry tend to be incomplete at best, as they are from the black market.
PLUS– Make it illegal for the criminally insane and violent felons to acquire firearms through very thorough background checks for all gun-license applicants. Over time, this will minimize the dangers to the general population, which shouldn’t have to fear getting shot at, in their day-to-day existence.
The second Bonus Book of the Week is “Losing America, Confronting A Reckless and Arrogant Presidency” by Senator Robert C. Byrd, published in 2004.
“Clearly, an administration so obsessed with ‘winning’ and ‘control’ will stoop low, such tactics are truly underhanded and vicious, and they deserve condemnation from us all… The reach of secrecy, manipulation and misinformation lengthens almost weekly.”
This slim, prophetic volume explained the author’s views on the actions and behaviors of a particular presidential administration, which wasn’t all that different from another, more recent one. In Byrd’s fifty-year career (beginning with president Eisenhower’s), he thought George W. Bush’s came the closest to resembling a dictatorship.
As is well known, president Bush, through bullying Congress (by smearing everyone as “unpatriotic” unless they did his will) sent U.S. troops to Iraq in March 2003; beginning a war that resulted in countless, needless deaths and ruined lives.
Bush’s henchmen were even sneaky about repeatedly requesting funding for the war. They omitted estimated war costs in the annual budget, and instead, spent most of the previous round of funding so that they could declare that the troops required emergency funding. This necessitated a supplemental appropriations bill, which allowed them to: a) cut short the time period for Congressional debate by forcing an almost immediate vote, and b) evade having to be specific about costs and consequences of allocating more taxpayer dollars to the war.
The numerous bad actors in the administration got away with the above because the decades-long political cycle in which the opposing forces of:
and greed and power-hunger,
was still favoring greed and power-hunger among too many American government workers.
Sadly, only a small number of Senators was sufficiently courageous to hurt their reelection chances by speaking out against the administration: the author, Tom Daschle, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Paul Wellstone, Ted Kennedy, Carl Levin, Patrick Leahy, Jim Jeffords and Paul Sarbanes, and perhaps a few others.
Most of the above individuals are now retired or dead. So the most recent decade has seen a dearth of this kind of politician: who will propose the unpopular, but right thing to do. Fortunately, communications methods are evolving such that, even if the voices of the moral minority are drowned out by propaganda, there is ample opportunity for the public to tell the government its honest opinions so the government can reform itself to become more democratic again. And the (still democratic, for now) government better listen, or it will end up like the Romanovs, Louis XVI and his wife, or the Ceausescus.
Also fortunately– it may take some years– young, up and coming talented politicians will eventually behave similarly to the great ones who came before them.
Anyway, read the book to learn more about Byrd’s distress at the Bush administration’s activities, how history has shown what such activities lead to, and how the Senator tried to stop them.