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Legislative Branch

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  1. 9.8 hrs • 6/2/2015 • Unabridged

    Why has America stopped winning wars? For nearly a century, up until the end of World War II in 1945, America enjoyed a Golden Age of decisive military triumphs. And then suddenly, we stopped winning wars. The decades since have been a Dark Age of failures and stalemates—in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan—exposing our inability to change course after battlefield setbacks. In this provocative book, award-winning scholar Dominic Tierney reveals how the United States has struggled to adapt to the new era of intractable guerrilla conflicts. As a result, most major American wars have turned into military fiascos. And when battlefield disaster strikes, Washington is unable to disengage from the quagmire, with grave consequences for thousands of US troops and our allies. But there is a better way. Drawing on interviews with dozens of top generals and policymakers, Tierney shows how we can use three key steps—surge, talk, and leave—to stem the tide of losses and withdraw from unsuccessful campaigns without compromising our core values and interests. Weaving together compelling stories of military catastrophe and heroism, this is an unprecedented, timely, and essential guidebook for our new era of unwinnable conflicts. The Right Way to Lose a War illuminates not only how Washington can handle the toughest crisis of all—battlefield failure—but also how America can once again return to the path of victory.

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    The Right Way to Lose a War

    9.8 hrs • 6/2/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 13.0 hrs • 3/17/2015 • Unabridged

    How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick accent become one of the most effective politicians of his time? In this candid and witty political memoir, Barney Frank relates his journey from the outskirts of New York City, to Boston’s City Hall and the Massachusetts legislature, and then to the United States Congress, where he played a vital role in the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness over four decades. With his trademark directness and insight, Frank explores the emotional toll of living in the closet and how he became the first member of Congress to voluntarily disclose his homosexuality. And he chronicles his lifelong struggle against inequality, which culminated in cowriting the most significant Wall Street regulations since the Great Depression. He also demonstrates how he used his rhetorical skills to expose his opponents’ hypocrisies and delusions, and he details the endless favors, grudges, and fears that compose a legislator’s career. From the Clinton impeachment, to the economic meltdown of 2008, to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Frank’s words and deeds mattered, and Frank shows why. Here is a guide to how political change really happens—composed by a master of the art—and a testament to how democrats, if they reject purism and passivity, can rebuild trust in an active government.

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    Frank

    13.0 hrs • 3/17/15 • Unabridged
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    11.3 hrs • 4/22/2014 • Unabridged

    As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and become an elementary school teacher—an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but fifteen years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: Could she come to Washington, DC, and help oversee the effort by Congress to rewrite the bankruptcy laws? Thus began an impolite education into the bare-knuckled, often dysfunctional ways of Washington. She fought for better bankruptcy laws for ten years and lost. She tried to hold the federal government accountable during the financial crisis and was often ridiculed. She invented an agency designed to protect consumers from predatory bankers and was denied the opportunity to run it. Finally, at age sixty-two, she decided to run for elective office and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent political history. In this passionate, funny, rabble-rousing book, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class—and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America’s government can and must do better for the 100 percent.

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    A Fighting Chance

    11.3 hrs • 4/22/14 • Unabridged
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  4. 10.9 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    @font-face { font-family: "Times"; }@font-face { font-family: "Geneva"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: black; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government-driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission-trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress, and that business interests wield control over our legislature. With heartfelt urgency and a keen desire for righting wrongs, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig takes a clear-eyed look at how we arrived at this crisis: how fundamentally good people, with good intentions, have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests, and how this exploitation has become entrenched in the system. Rejecting simple labels and reductive logic-and instead using examples that resonate as powerfully on the Right as on the Left-Lessig seeks out the root causes of our situation. He plumbs the issues of campaign financing and corporate lobbying, revealing the human faces and follies that have allowed corruption to take such a foothold in our system. He puts the issues in terms that nonwonks can understand, using real-world analogies and real human stories. And ultimately he calls for widespread mobilization and a new Constitutional Convention, presenting achievable solutions for regaining control of our corrupted-but redeemable-representational system. In this way, Lessig plots a roadmap for returning our republic to its intended greatness. While America may be divided, Lessig vividly champions the idea that we can succeed if we accept that corruption is our common enemy and that we must find a way to fight against it. In REPUBLIC, LOST, he not only makes this need palpable and clear-he gives us the practical and intellectual tools to do something about it.

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    Republic, Lost

    10.9 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  5. 6.7 hrs • 6/15/2012 • Unabridged

    Acrimony and hyperpartisanship have seeped into every part of the political process. Congress is deadlocked, and its approval ratings are at record lows. America’s two main political parties have given up their traditions of compromise, endangering our very system of constitutional democracy. And one of these parties has taken on the role of insurgent outlier; the Republicans have become ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, and ardently opposed to the established social and economic policy regime. In It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein identify two overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse. The first is the serious mismatch between our political parties, which have become as vehemently adversarial as parliamentary parties, together with a governance system that, unlike a parliamentary democracy, makes it extremely difficult for majorities to act. Second, while both parties participate in tribal warfare, both sides are not equally culpable. The political system faces what the authors call “asymmetric polarization,” with the Republican Party implacably refusing to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, no matter the cost. With dysfunction rooted in long-term political trends, a coarsened political culture, and a new partisan media, the authors conclude that there is no silver bullet that can solve everything. But they offer a panoply of useful ideas and reforms, endorsing some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public at large to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle. Until voters learn to act strategically to reward problem solving and punish obstruction, American democracy will remain in serious danger. 

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    It’s Even Worse Than It Looks by Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein
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  6. 11.3 hrs • 4/24/2012 • Unabridged

    From the author of the New York Times bestseller Dead Certain, the definitive book about the Bush Presidency, a revealing and riveting look at the new House of Representatives, elected in the history-making 2010 midterm elections.

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    When the Tea Party Comes to Town

    11.3 hrs • 4/24/12 • Unabridged
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  7. 8.5 hrs • 9/14/2004 • Unabridged

    Tom A. Coburn, a congressional maverick who kept his promise to serve three terms and then leave Washington, offers a candid look at the inner workings of Congress—why the system changes politicians instead of vice versa. Breach of Trust shows listeners, through shocking behind-the-scenes stories, why Washington resists the reform our country desperately needs and how they can make wise, informed decisions about current and future political issues and candidates. This honest and critical look at “business as usual” in Congress reveals how and why elected representatives are quickly seduced into becoming career politicians who won’t push for change. Along the way, Coburn offers listeners realistic ideas for how to make a difference.

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    Breach of Trust

    By Tom A. Coburn with John Hart
    8.5 hrs • 9/14/04 • Unabridged
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  8. 11.3 hrs • 8/14/2003 • Unabridged

    The 107th Congress faced a time like no other in the life of the nation. This was the era of the first presidential election to be decided by the United States Supreme Court, the fifty-fifty Senate, the horror of September 11, the war on terrorism, corporate scandals that shook the economy, the inexorable move toward war with Iraq, and other dramatic events, all leading up to the historic midterm elections of 2002. In Like No Other Time, Daschle offers a riveting account of his singular perspective on a time when the nation faced deadly and elusive external enemies and a level of domestic political contention rarely seen in American history. Senator Daschle is unflinching in his impressions of the key political figures of our time from both parties. The result is an acutely perceptive assessment of how our government met the challenges of a remarkable era. As it was during the years of the 107th Congress, the United States is once again at a critical and historic crossroads. For Senator Daschle, the first and perhaps most important choice lies with what kind of representation and leadership we want in government. It is a choice between a political party with a core philosophical belief in the power of our collective will to confront these challenges through our government, and one dominated by a group of people who don’t like and don’t believe in government.

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    Like No Other Time

    By Senator Tom Daschle, with Michael D’Orso
    Read by Stephen Hoye
    11.3 hrs • 8/14/03 • Unabridged
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  9. 5.1 hrs • 9/24/2002 • Abridged

    In 1999, John McCain wrote one of the most acclaimed and bestselling memoirs of the decade, Faith of My Fathers. That book ended in 1972, with McCain’s release from imprisonment in Vietnam. This is the rest of his story, about his great American journey from the U.S. Navy to his electrifying run for the presidency, interwoven with heartfelt portraits of the mavericks who have inspired him through the years—Ted Williams, Theodore Roosevelt, visionary aviation proponent Billy Mitchell, Marlon Brando in Viva Zapata!, and, most indelibly, Robert Jordan. It was Jordan, Hemingway’s protagonist in For Whom the Bell Tolls, who showed McCain the ideals of heroism and sacrifice, stoicism and redemption, and why certain causes, despite the costs, are… Worth the Fighting For After five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, naval aviator John McCain returned home a changed man. Regaining his health and flight-eligibility status, he resumed his military career, commanding carrier pilots and serving as the navy’s liaison to what is sometimes ironically called the world’s most exclusive club, the United States Senate. Accompanying Senators John Tower and Henry “Scoop” Jackson on international trips, McCain began his political education in the company of two masters, leaders whose standards he would strive to maintain upon his election to the U.S. Congress. There, he learned valuable lessons in cooperation from a good-humored congressman from the other party, Morris Udall. In 1986, McCain was elected to the U.S. Senate, inheriting the seat of another role model, Barry Goldwater. During his time in public office, McCain has seen acts of principle and acts of craven self-interest. He describes both ex-tremes in these pages, with his characteristic straight talk and humor. He writes honestly of the lowest point in his career, the Keating Five savings and loan debacle, as well as his triumphant moments—his return to Vietnam and his efforts to normalize relations between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments; his fight for campaign finance reform; and his galvanizing bid for the presidency in 2000. Writes McCain: “A rebel without a cause is just a punk. Whatever you’re called—rebel, unorthodox, nonconformist, radical—it’s all self-indulgence without a good cause to give your life meaning.” This is the story of McCain’s causes, the people who made him do it, and the meaning he found. Worth the Fighting For reminds us of what’s best in America, and in ourselves.

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    Worth the Fighting For

    5.1 hrs • 9/24/02 • Abridged
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  10. 1.6 hrs • 3/1/1996 • Abridged

    "They are wrong and we are right and I'm going to prove it to you!" -- Harry S. Truman, Democratic National Convention, 1948 A rousing political manifesto from The New York Times bestselling co-author of All's Fair One of Washington's most prominent Democratic strategists and co-author of the New York Times bestseller All's Fair offers a timely, accessible and entertaining response to the GOP's Contract with America -- just in time for primary season. With the Republican Congress blasting away at the federal government, James Carville, a top advisor to President Clinton, counterattacks. In We're Right, They're Wrong, he uses his trademark mix of pointed argument, homespun wit, and historic lore to deflate GOP claims that nothing is amiss in America that budget-cutting wouldn't cure. Carville staunchly defends a strong government -- one capable of teaching, feeding, healing, defending and sheltering its citizens -- and provides Democrats and progressives with a politically astute program for building upon what's best about our nation. Filled with anecdotes and political myths, We're Right, They're Wrong is a succinct, witty, fact-filled trot for judging the long primary season.

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    We’re Right, They’re Wrong

    1.6 hrs • 3/1/96 • Abridged
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