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Rather writes: "As a citizen, I detest the stench of corruption. As a journalist, I know corruption makes for very fertile investigative reporting. And as a student of history, I have learned that corruption often lays waste to the powerful."

Dan Rather. (photo: Christopher Patey)
Dan Rather. (photo: Christopher Patey)

I Detest the Stench of Corruption

By Dan Rather, Dan Rather's Facebook Page

15 May 18


o man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community." - Theodore Roosevelt

As a citizen, I detest the stench of corruption. As a journalist, I know corruption makes for very fertile investigative reporting. And as a student of history, I have learned that corruption often lays waste to the powerful.

That is why I am stunned by what is taking place today. Over the course of my life I have never seen a level of corruption in the United States equal to that emanating from the Trump Administration. It is the ultimate threat to effective governance. It is morally repugnant and a repudiation of the very ideals of our democracy. It is the rot of power for sale.

Of all the current dangers to the norms of our democracy, and there are many, I worry most that we will become a nation that shrugs off corruption as business as usual. This is not to say that we haven't had corruption in the past. But one thing that has marked this country from others is that, especially at the highest levels of government, our corruption (and our tolerance for it) has been comparatively very low.

The corruption that has already been proven is staggering. But with the latest revelations around slush funds, the money passing through Trump properties, this bizarre story of a "dirty ops" campaign against Obama Administration officials, the daily Pruitt perfidy (and so, so, so much more) one has a sense that we are seeing but the tip of the corruption iceberg. I have long felt that one reason why our global competitors and adversaries like China and Russia would falter was that the corruption that pulsates through their political systems is ultimately destabilizing. And now we are following down that same dangerous path.

I hear many on air and on line invoke President Trump's promise to "drain the swamp" to mark his rank hypocrisy. But I suggest that those who care about this issue drop the "swamp" metaphor as a reference. It is too cute, too passive, and too esoteric for what is going on. This is about hardworking, law-abiding Americans being played for suckers. This is about the very idea of honest government becoming just another partisan divide. There are already many worrisome signs that this mindset is seeping into the candidacies of those seeking lower office.

In the end, however, I trust the American people will not sit idly by and allow the fleecing of their country to take place without a reckoning at the ballot box, and likely in the halls of justice. your social media marketing partner


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-59 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-05-15 09:14
Starting out with a comment from the uber-corrupt Teddy Roosevelt is not a good idea. I recently read Stephen Kinzer's "The True Flag: Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of the American Empire." After that, I wanted Teddy's image blasted off of Mt. Rushmore. What a slimeball this guy was.

Trump has only been in office for less than a year and a half. He's not generated nearly the levels of corruption of, let's say, a GW Bush, Bill Clinton, or even squeaky clean Obama. Hillary's "pay to play" at the State Dept was much worse than anything Trump has done so far. But over time, Trump may surpass them all. Just not yet.

Rather does not seem to be much of a student of history. His school boy fondness for Teddy Roosevelt is just a-historical.

Of course, Trump is not going to drain the swamp. He's lived in a swamp all his life. He knows nothing else. But it is good for professional journalists too keep things in an accurate historical perspective. Otherwise, journalism is just propaganda.
-11 # mashiguo 2018-05-15 12:12
RR: -19, ha! Trump derangement syndrome is a religion.
Facts don't matter.

Personally I am much more concerned about war becoming normal than corruption.
And Rather's words ring echo with infinite emptiness in light of his support of Clinton.

But like I said, facts don't matter.
-11 # Earl1936 2018-05-15 12:59
Rodion, until you read James Bradley's book "The Imperial Cruise" I don't see how you can realize how bad Teddy Roosevelt was. His mug shot in on Mt. Rushmore only because he was president at the time this was started. I will have to read Stephen Kinzer's book. Another outstanding book by James Bradley is the "China Mirage". This book shows the stupidity of FDR and his cronies leading up to WWII and beyond, which resulted in the Korean and Vietnam wars. These guys are a disgrace to our country and should be exposed as such, along with GWB, Clinton, Obama and others. How we get such people into the highest office in the land is beyond me.
+6 # The Ice Maiden 2018-05-17 17:45
When you wrote, "He's not generated nearly the levels of corruption of... ", it was immediately clear to me that you are absolutely in la-la land. I am nearly 66 years old, and lived thru the NIXON years (funny that you didn't include that bum in your list), but at least in THAT situation, both sides of the aisles in Congress did their job. They put COUNTRY AHEAD OF PARTY. It boggles the mind that you apparently do not recognize how different this President is from ANY OTHER PRESIDENT BEFORE HIM. He uses the office to make money, he doesn't read what needs to be read before he acts, he insults people to such an extent that it's grotesque, and the corruption exhibiyef early every single day is off the charts. This man has no moral or ethical compass. He's in a class by himself when it comes to corruption.

Anyone who is still comfortable or happy with this man has no standards of decency. Period. If you still stand by THIS President, it is scary as Hell. Our democracy is at risk. His sad, sad obsessive need to put his image above all else, while talking as if he actually gives a rat's ass about the Average Joe, is as obvious as the sun.

Please don't insult all of us by claiming the behaviors exhibited by THIS trash is no big deal, is nothing new or exceptional. That claim is just plain wrong.
+32 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-05-15 10:51
Trump drained the swamp, and moved the rats into the White House. Why is anyone surprised?
-13 # Earl1936 2018-05-15 12:48
Dan Rather has no room to talk. On September 9, 2001 he announced that building 7 had collapsed just like the Twin Towers earlier in the day and yet after that announcement he made no additional reference to this obvious crime. I have to wonder how much he was paid to shut up.
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-05-15 20:51
Earl --- Rather was also one of the very few people that the FBI allowed to see the Zapruder film on Nov. 25, 1963. He then went on TV and said the Zapruder film confirmed the single shooter theory being advanced by the FBI. He gave very detailed description of the film, but at several places he clearly lies. He is accurate on insignficant details, but lying on the important ones. For example, following the head shot, Rather says only JFK's head "went forward with considerable violence." That's false. The film clearly shows JKF's head lurch backwards.

You can see his commentary here --

Rather has been a liar for the ruling elites for about 60 years. I just don't think he knows that is corruption, too.
+34 # tclose 2018-05-15 13:37
Come on, Rody - give it up. Where do you get all these weird ideas?

True, Teddy was no angel, a true imperialist, but to the subject Rather is talking about here, he was very much opposed to corruption. Bill Clinton's admin was relatively clean in spite of Whitewater dalliances and dalliances with women. Hillary's pay to play only exists in the minds of Repub propagandists. Even Geo W sense of ethics is far above the sleaze that we see so far from Trump and his minions.

I think Rather is hitting the nail on the head here. I appreciate and share his sense of outrage.
-5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-05-15 17:48
tclose -- I can tell you Clinton's administratino was not clean. My wife worked for his campaign and transition team. She was an attorney. We figured about about "friends of Bill very soon." They all got very nice rewards for being a friend of Bill. I got two nice grants for non-profits I was associated with, and they were mostly because I was a friend of a friend of Bill

This is how it goes in government. It is all networking and paying friends so they will be loyal. This is exactly what Trump does and he's no different from the rest.
-29 # skylinefirepest 2018-05-15 14:38
Dan Rather doesn't like corruption? Then why was he corrupt? And he dares call himself a journalist...on e day a long time ago but now he's dug his own grave with trying to influence an election! Rather, you're just another slimeball and RSN gives you a platform you don't deserve.
+18 # isaiditdoo 2018-05-15 15:51
Tyranny can only exist when it remains unchallenged! We must stand up to this 'rot' and call it out - warts, stench and all. This is the job of a vigorous fourth estate! That's you Dan Rather, RSN, Chris Hedges, TYT, Matt Taibbi, Intercept, Julian Assange and RT News etc!
I am more concerned with the Democratic Party at the moment. If we are unable to proffer a true foil to the Trump model we must loose the steel grip of the establishment Dems who are comfy with corruption, pro big banks, anti-universal health care, and fail over and over to stand up for the people they represent! Apparently a DEM Mark Warren has put away a damning written argument of Gina Haspel's arguing for the use of torture. So here, a so called Democrat is swaying to approve who the CIA calls "Bloody Gina" for the HEAD OF THE CIA. We are in trouble.
The population will not vote establishment Dem, we want integrity and progress, we want the US to become whole again and look out for the most vulnerable! The poor, the hungry, people of color, the Palestinians etc. We must stand up for what is right what is true and what gives us our values to care for one another. No more greed and rot. No more. We want more than this!!
+15 # MidwestDick 2018-05-15 16:28
Trump was pretty clear, I thought. He said he was paying politicians to do his bidding and that was not fair.
He was going to eliminate the middle man and let he and his cronies govern directly without having to pay off anyone.
So he is simply running the White House on behalf of his other business interests and letting his fellow businessmen do the same.
One more Trump promise given and kept.
+6 # swissms 2018-05-16 10:04
Hmm. I somehow missed that campaign point, but I sure agree that that is exactly what he is doing now that he is in office. And those whose main concern is not having to pay taxes on their gains in order to support others are standing by him, lies, corruption or not. Thanks for clarifying things for me.
+6 # ericlipps 2018-05-17 04:56
Apparently he's also paying some folks here.

All right, I can't prove that, which is why I said "apparently." But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . .

To whom am I referring? Well, naming names isn't really necessary, is it? We all know who they are.
+18 # janie1893 2018-05-15 17:19
Why do we continue to attack each other instead of the point the writer is making? Trump's presidency is leading to the most corrupt, unethical government the USA has ever had. It is happening because we are so busy critisizing each other that we never get to considering the real problem!!

Trump swore to lead the US. Now he is destroying it and picking up a fortune from the crumbling pieces!!
-5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-05-16 07:24
janie -- I actually agree with you. And I would agree that Trump is leading the most corrupt and unethical government in US history. What is needed is what you say -- stop the personal attacks and the Russiagate/Stor my/Avenatti/Fus ion/FBI bullshit attack on Trump and focus only on issues.

Today the senate will vote on Haspel. Many democrats will vote to approve her. Why? The CIA needs to change and change can start at the top.

Trump was willing to deal on the DACA problem. We should have taken him up on that. I don't know why Dems did not.

Trump was for a while saying good things about Syria. We should have encouraged that.

Fighting Trump has driven him farther and farther into the lunatic, neo-con dark cabal. Forget Trump. He's a transitional figure. We need to forget him and concentrate on what we are transitioning to.
+12 # relegn 2018-05-16 06:04
"It is the ultimate threat to effective governance"
Which is the goal of our Supreme Leader and those corporatists who helped elect him and now support him and have been appointed to cabinet level office. The goal of making governance ineffective has been the goal since the election of R. Raygun and is the result of ten years of planning by a small sector of the business community and those politicians who hoped to gain by following their lead.
+6 # chapdrum 2018-05-16 18:36
Too bad 60,000,000 of us don't mind the stench.

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