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Rather writes: "On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour."

Dan Rather. (photo: WNYC)
Dan Rather. (photo: WNYC)

Watergate: The Biggest Political Scandal of My Lifetime, Until Maybe Now

By Dan Rather, Reader Supported News

15 February 17


atergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.

When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.

This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?" New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn's speech from the Republican National Convention - "Lock her up!" in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn't just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?

The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies - can't we finally all agree to call them lies - long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration's assertions for far too long.

We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice. your social media marketing partner


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+24 # WBoardman 2017-02-15 15:48
With all due respect to Dan Rather, for whom Watergate
was a peak experience, it was NOT the "the biggest political scandal," or the worst Constitutional crisis of our lifetimes.

Watergate was political grand guignal, but ultimately it was a
triumph of principled people defending the Constitution.

The Reagan presidency was a worse political scandal, not merely for Iran-Contra, or leading the world's largest creditor nation to being the world's largest debtor nation, or any of the other specific Reagan horrors – but mostly for initiatiating the attack on constitutional government that has led us to now and whatever is to come.

The Clinton presidency slowed that erosion, perhaps, but neither confronted nor reversed it.

The greatest political scandal of Dan Rather's lifetime happened in plain sight when the Supreme Court said, in effect, we don't need to count no stinking votes, we don't stand for no stinking principle beyond partisanship, we don't need no stinking Constitution.

And for the most part the country either cheered or said, in effect, oh, all right, if that's the way it is, let's get frightened out of our wits (quite literally), let's go to war somewhere, everywhere, let's not resist....

NOW there's resistance, 17 years late, but maybe not too late.
-18 # CDMR 2017-02-15 16:24
I wonder what Rather understand of the Watergate spisode? He seems to have the same view of it as he clearly has of the JFK assassination -- that is, a lone nut caused a hell of a lot of problems. In the JFK case, the lone nut was Oswald, and in the Watergate episone, it was Nixon.

To me, both JFK and Watergate are parts of the CIA coup d'etat. The Watergate buglers were all CIA agents and they were all in Dallas and operatives at the JFK killing. The evidence against Nixon was supervised by Ben Bradlee of the WaPo who has long been identified as CIA.

If there is a scandal about Watergate it is the role of the CIA in driving a US president out of office. When Ford took over, he immediately brought into controlling position of his administration George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and a few more of the gang leaders of the neo-cons. They have all been key players in the Deep State.

What Nixon actually did was very minor. He misused campaign funds and made some minor corrupt relations with businessmen.

For me, a much worse scandal is US politics is the fabricated war against Iraq. Colin Powell's performance at the US was the worst scandal in US history.

Trump has really not done anything yet. Give him time. He will be terrible, but not yet.
-1 # Caliban 2017-02-16 01:53
You vastly overrate the CIA and its powers. The agency is an instrument, not the boss.

Want to give Trump and the GOP a free pass? Blame the CIA for doing what they are told to do by the executive and legislative branches of government.
+23 # nickyus 2017-02-16 02:29
I think Trump has already caused plenty of pain, but otherwise I think you're right. The real story is why this is being blown up into such a big story, while far more important travesties--lik e the one you mentioned, and and Nixon's obstruction of peace talks (both leading to huge numbers of deaths), and Reagan's interference with the hostage release--all outright cases of treason, and nobody says anything.
+1 # Observer 47 2017-02-16 09:47
From my reading, some of which was produced by former CIA insiders, I've come to the conclusion that Nixon was a fall guy (same as Oswald, per your observation). He was not a likeable personality to begin with, so the more the scandal exploded, the worse he appeared. I remember those days, when it seemed the entire country hated the President, and eventually, his own party turned on him.

Was it all engineered? I believe so. Just as the current "scandal" is being manufactured for the consumption of the masses. Again, as you touch on, the real debacle is the continuing build-up of the MIC. That, added to the campaign against the 99% and the assault on truth and the democratic process, may bring the downfall of the US. The country has already sacrificed any moral high ground it ever had, and is now openly reveling in exceptionalism and bigotry in the form of the current occupant of the White House, who most certainly was put there by the Deep State. The "why" behind Trump's installation is simply not evident yet, but I'm sure we'll find out. Unfortunately.
+28 # kyzipster 2017-02-15 23:50
I think Iraq was a much bigger scandal than Watergate but by the time that happened, our media had already died along with any check and balance provided by Congress and the Justice System.
+11 # Glen 2017-02-16 08:48
The scandals make a long list. Each one has contributed to destroying a system that should have worked. There can be no designating which is/was the worst. Too bad human beings are in control and too easily corrupted and disturbed.

Although, please notice the size of this country, the huge population, the corporations, the military, the aggression, and you just might see that a true democracy is not possible now. There won't be an alternative any time soon, however, even if provinces and a parliament would be preferable.
+9 # kyzipster 2017-02-16 10:41
Good point. I'm only comparing two scandals and I think Iraq was far worse than Watergate considering the death toll and the aftermath that is still playing out in the Middle East today.

It's not considered a scandal of the same magnitude because it was never investigated. I heard a conservative Constitutional scholar argue that impeachment didn't even have to be on the table, simply censoring Bush and Cheney could have sent a strong message to future administrations .
+6 # Glen 2017-02-16 17:01
Yes. And good point for you. The attacks in the Middle East have caused thousands of deaths and radiation illnesses, which also includes U.S. military.

Bush, Cheney, Rove, Kissinger, Bush I, the list is long and ugly. Little investigation will be done except by private citizens and honorable journalists. Nothing to be proud of here. And no prison sentences.
+31 # grandlakeguy 2017-02-15 23:57
Yes this is certainly a major scandal
That said, in my opinion, the greatest scandal that this nation has ever seen and the one that truly threatens the survival of our constitutional republic is the abomination that we call "elections".

Election theft has become the order of the day and the orgy of fraud and deception was kicked off by the 2000 Presidential Judicial coup d'etat and followed with the swift passage of HAVA (which placed unverifiable computerized voting machines and optical scanners in our polling places) the theft of democracy was perfected.

BOTH parties have been complicit in this, the Republicans largely control the "counting" of our votes and the spineless Democratic Party has consistently looked the other way and allowed the practice to continue. Last summer we saw the DNC adopt the practice of election tampering when they decided that the most transformative and electrifying candidate in many decades was to be torpedoed to make way for a corporate hawk with the highest disapproval ratings of any Democratic Party Presidential candidate in history!

Shame on both parties and shame on the media for the constant coverup of this treasonous theft of the freedoms that the Constitution attempts to bestow upon "we the people".

The myth that American elections are the most honest in the world is absolute BS!

What we now haves election theater to fool the masses.

THAT is the biggest scandal in our history and why we are in this mess today!
-13 # tgemberl 2017-02-16 12:44
If Gore had won his own home state of Tennessee and Bill Clinton's home state, Arkansas, he would not have needed Florida. I supported Gore but don't think he was cheated. He was just less lucky than Bush.
+1 # lfeuille 2017-02-16 20:06
Tennessee was already too red for Gore to win by 2000. It was to his credit he lost it. Florida was still a swing state so he was right to concentrate on it.
+1 # tgemberl 2017-02-17 12:23
Bush didn't win Tennessee or Arkansas by a landslide. It was fairly close.
0 # ericlipps 2017-02-16 23:07
Evidently you haven't read much about the goings-on in Florida even before the Supreme Court got into the act.
+19 # bubbiesue 2017-02-16 00:08
Having lived through it in 1974, and having had nothing to do but watch TV, it was chilling to see the office of President of the United States shamed by Nixon. He knew he was lying when he was caught. The current occupant will be another story and this will be a 9.1 at least. Give it time to percolate. The filth will rise to the top and we'll identify it for what it is.

Whew! I must be angry, to see the office of President shamed twice in my life. Once was enough.
+9 # mashiguo 2017-02-16 10:32
Presidents are people.
The office is not sacrosanct.

We elect those people.
They are US.
The presidency hasn't been shamed.
US has been shamed.
+14 # dgangsei 2017-02-16 01:09
Iran-Contra was a much more significant criminal operation than either Watergate or whatever turns out to be true about the current situation.
+13 # CragJensen 2017-02-16 01:13
What we are dealing with is a so called President who, some time ago, came under the influence of the Russian regime via his various business dealings in Russia. Putin may be unscrupulous at times but he is, otherwise, a political genius. He knew that Trump was, not only a charismatic and highly accomplished con artist but a man who could be quite easily manipulated. He also knew that his narcissism and insatiable lust for power would be most helpful in the carrying out of his plans. Of course Trump had his various lackies keep in contact with his Russian over-lord's agents during the campaign, being that Trump and his lackies were all working at the pleasure of said over-lord - Vladimir Putin. This is not just a huge scandal - it is treason at it's very worst.
+22 # grandlakeguy 2017-02-16 01:18
On a scale of 10 I personally would put Watergate at a 3 and the current Russian craze at a 5.

What clearly is a 10 in the realm of political scandal is the infliction of fake elections on the electorate.

We are no longer a free people because we no longer have the power to elect representatives of our choosing.

THAT is the ultimate scandal...the murder of our democracy!
+1 # lfeuille 2017-02-16 20:08
Agree except for the current Russian thing which I would put at no more than 1. There are no facts to back up the hysteria.
+1 # Jim Young 2017-02-17 12:51
Quoting grandlakeguy:
On a scale of 10 I personally would put Watergate at a 3 and the current Russian craze at a 5.

What clearly is a 10 in the realm of political scandal is the infliction of fake elections on the electorate.

We are no longer a free people because we no longer have the power to elect representatives of our choosing.

THAT is the ultimate scandal...the murder of our democracy!

Citizens United may eventually become seen as much of a super catalyst for our demise of government of, by, and for the real people, events that lead to the rationalization Judge Janning (portrayed by Burt Lancaster) expressed in "Judgement at Nuremberg." The movie is a fictionalized version of the "Judges Trial" based on a the real life "Katzenberger Trial."

While individual cases can be used as examples, to me the bigger comparison should be between the corrupt Nuremberg Laws and the Democracy destroying corruption enabled by the judges in the Citizens United, McCutcheon, and other such corrupting decisions.

Citizens United seems to have been instrumental in letting Robert and especially Rebekah Mercer outdo the Koch brothers in swinging her political operatives like Kellyanne Conway, and Brietbart's Bannon from Cruz support, into a more effective political operation to salvage the post convention campaign of Trump enough to overcome the worst popular vote loss and "win" the Electoral Vote.
+9 # REDPILLED 2017-02-16 07:43
Trump is an idiot, but the neocons want to escalate their dangerous Cold War 2.0 with Russia, and the Deep State most likely wants a predictable, stable Mike Pence in the White House rather than Trump.

If military conflict with Russia results from this scandal, will Dan Rather and other such pundits be happy?
+7 # librarian1984 2017-02-16 09:24
"Deep State most likely .."

It's being reported Trump wants to bring in a private contractor (Feinburg?) to 'review the intel agencies'! That internecine war continues to escalate.
+4 # mashiguo 2017-02-16 10:38
The largest scandal of the post renaissance world is the fake "russia did it" mania sweeping the country.

Not one US journalist has an ounce of integrity in this food fight. Not one has stood and demanded evidence. Not one has analyzed or questioned the motives behind the madness or the consequences of it. No journalist has a right to feign integrity in this matter.

Time to get out of the way and let US self destruct. There is no future here, the event horizon may well have been passed, and the ctastrophic consequences are well nigh inevitable.
-1 # Spacetrucker 2017-02-18 16:11
You opinion is that it's too late and people should just give up and watch the demise of their beloved country?
Furthermore, the media has demanded answers but are being ignored and delegitimized daily. Their's a war for America underway right now. Hiding is the worst approach possible.

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