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Corruption In Context

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News media portray today’s politics as incomparably corrupt, focusing on endless scandals to tarnish politicians in general and the Trump administration in particular.

But in historical perspective, corruption is far less rampant than in the past: prominent officials in the Johnson, Nixon and Reagan administrations faced criminal prosecution and a hundred years ago political bosses at every level enriched themselves with public money.

Around the world, top leaders in Brazil, France, Israel, South Africa and many other countries faced criminal charges for abusing public office; in lists of “most corrupt governments,” the US never scores among the worst. But media here love to dwell on scandal because it’s lurid and dramatic, and also mislead the public with acclaimed entertainment series like “House of Cards,” “Scandal” and “Veep.”

The reality of our politics today is less exciting, but it’s also far less sordid.

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Comments (15)

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  1. Jim Bird  •  Aug 1, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    I haven’t listened to Michael in at least 6 months and he never changes it seems. No crimes committed by the Deep State, get on with life, shut up, appease Leftists, deal with it, don’t vote for Trump, Hillary and BO are nice people and love their country, “what’s wrong with you” we’re better than Brazil. wtf, over! Americans are sick of paying for a government that WILL NOT CUT EXPENSES. Both sides of the aisles are corrupt. The Left manically screaming, threatening death if taxes are not raised every yearly budget cycle. The GOP weeping sheepishly at the podium “we had to sign the tax bill or the Dems would shut govt for a day or even a week—the horror!!!” Americans hate the GOP establishment and the Left. We love Trump and Freedom Caucus, Tea Party and the middle class which have to destroy to overthrow the government. Michael wants to do nothing but apologize. Very sad for the only person I ever used to listen for many years – I’ve given up trying to understand his positions on so many issues now.

    • Camille  •  Aug 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm


  2. Michael Martin  •  Aug 3, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Great column. I think you are right Mr. Medved. While there is an investigation going on or a "witch hunt" as it has been called, this isn't amounting to something like Watergate. One thing is clear: President Trump beat Hillary. Clinton won the popular vote, but not the presidency.

  3. suretylink  •  Aug 4, 2018 at 2:05 am

    The Obama administration, the Clintons and other Democrat leadership is horribly corrupt and has been for years. It is obvious that both of Obamas AGs blocked scandals against either themselves directly or others, including Hillary Clinton and her aides. It is obvious that the Justice Department, FBI and the IRS were weaponized against political opponents. It also seems that the FBI and Justice Department used immunity as de facto pardons for Clinton aides and shielded, not only HRC, but her subordinates, from what would have been just criminal prosecution in many instances.

    Trump may be a loudmouth, amoral, nepotistic clown. However, he is much better than what we had in Obama and what we would have had in HRC or even Kerry or Gore. The Democrat Party simply can't be trusted to do anything than augment federal power and turn our country into a giant banana republic.

    These things all voters should remember EVERY NOVEMBER!

  4. RICK ROSSI  •  Aug 6, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I live in Rockford, mich. are you on radio here?. if so let me know.
    here is my comment,
    TRUMP was elected because He is a business man , the United States is the largest business in the world.
    We need a business person to operate this huge machine.
    Here are some statistics. Clinton Administration cabinet employed about 38% with business experience
    Bush cabinet about 68% business experience, Obama cabinet 9% experience.
    You need business people to run a Business not politicians who have no Business experience.
    The other important point necessary , all those in charge have proven success in business and
    have proven decision record , simply put, the mark of a good business is making good decisions.
    Trump and his co-patriots were succesful because they were good business people.
    Politicians who never were in business ie. Obama , lack business knowledge on how to improve the economic possibilities in this Great Country .
    If you lack the knowledge ,you should surround yourself with the best possible people
    .Obama surrounded himself with light weights no knowledge of how to run this country, other than he directed the department of currency to print 1 Billion dollars each month ,without the backing of taxes
    necessary to cover the expenses which led to the highest national Dedt.of any 8 year term President.
    I've had the pleasure of seeing you and hearing your inspiring words in Grand Rapids, much. RIGHT TO LIFE EVENT ,KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND SUPPORT THE UNBORN.

    • Rizzo  •  Aug 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      In SWITZERLAND…. Ya complete Mo-Ron!

      According to documents filed in the case, to account for their criminal conduct, Bank Leumi Group will pay the United States a total of $270 million. Of this total payment, $157 million represents a penalty for U.S. taxpayer accounts held at Leumi Private Bank in Switzerland.

  5. Armand  •  Aug 10, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Yes the stupid Israelis not only got caught, they got caught not keeping the money in their own country.
    The Wharton educated, Golani Brigade officer Amber Mendelson has to sign the damn agreement, the stupid crook

  6. Armand  •  Aug 10, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    How am I a moron? You’re the moron you can’t read the economist!
    The Israelis got caught, they’re socialist crooks
    Avner Mendelson who had to sign is a Golani brigade officer.
    Why do you keep calling me the moron when you can’t read OECD-PISA results “Africa is not members, they don’t take the test, idiot moron” no, you’re the idiot Moron(always wrong and calls others names….like the democrat commies in the dying USA

  7. Rizzo  •  Aug 11, 2018 at 9:27 am

    You ask why I keep calling you a moron.

    Moron is a term used in psychology and psychiatry to denote mild intellectual disability.

    That's why. What is your preferred term. A moron, such as yourself, by any other name is still a moron.

  8. Rizzo  •  Aug 11, 2018 at 9:36 am

    You're not bright. You literally obsess on shit, which was discussed 3 months ago.
    You tried to use blasphemy laws as a way to prove that Israel was some uniquely backwards, low-IQ country. I used the economist to point-out that your favorite country, Switzerland, also has blasphemy laws. So, to criticize Israel on that basis, is to criticize your favorite country, Switzerland. That's it…. get over it. Your dumb-ass point was destroyed…. just like every hate-filled point you try to make regarding Israel.

  9. Armand  •  Aug 13, 2018 at 8:59 am

    No your dumb ass point was destroyed. You stated “Switzerland ranked higher on the list.” You said that you’re the dumb ass.
    My pint was that Israel was a terrible country, and the reasons why were listed.
    Israel’s prime minister just stated “Israel is not a nation of its citizens” reason enough to hate Israel. It’s a nation of what and for whom?
    Any country that has no trials by jury, but has religious courts is a country to hate….let’s add Iran and Saudi to that list of places to hate.
    You were wrong about the economist data. And you lied; because that’s what you do

    • Rizzo  •  Aug 14, 2018 at 8:47 am

      As of 2008, only the code of criminal procedure of the Canton of Geneva provides for genuine jury trials. Several other cantons – Vaud, Neuchâtel, Zürich and Ticino – provide for courts composed of both professional judges and laymen (Schöffengerichte / tribunaux d'échevins). Because the unified Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure (set to enter into force in 2011) does not provide for jury trials or lay judges, however, they are likely to be abolished in the near future.

  10. Armand  •  Aug 13, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Your blending the no true Scotsman fallacy with your own psychotic egomania
    Using the facts to prove Israel is terrible doesn’t mean Switzerland is terrible. Switzerland has trials by jury, a constitution, no capital gains tax, private insurance health care, and a flat tax for corporations. The blasphemy laws were just added to show how much Israel sucks.
    You always get t wrong because you can’t even read your own examples(you could t even read the economist) and you were wrong.
    I am bright, you’re not.if you’re a conservative why aren’t you calling for the Republicans to end mandatory arbitration for bank accounts, federally licensed medical industry for more cross state competition, have Medicare replaced by a Swiss cross state insurance program to negotiate with the drug companies(owned by banksterism)?
    You’re a moron and an illiterate fool

  11. Rizzo  •  Aug 14, 2018 at 9:17 am

    So, now we know…. in Adolf’s world, both Israel and Switzerland suck, because both have blasphemy laws, and neither have jury trials.
    Check! Got it!
    What’s next?

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