THE PSEUDOJOURNALISM RULES: Ways to win friends and influence voters!

MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2015

Part 1—Described as a bombshell report:
In the normal course of affairs, a “bombshell report” in the New York Times may influence many voters.

Last Friday morning, the famous newspaper is said to have published that type of report. The piece began on the Times’ front page, under this hard-copy headline:

“The Clintons, The Russians And Uranium”

Inside the paper, the continuation of the report filled two entire pages—A20 and A21.

In itself, the lengthy report contained 4400 words of text. On those interior pages, it was accompanied by six photographs and one large timeline, along with one additional chart.

As any voter could see, the Times report was voluminous. That said, was it truly a bombshell report? Or was it perhaps the latest example of New York Times pseudo-journalism, a possibility Howard Dean raised last Thursday morning?

Was it really a bombshell report? Or was it pseudo-journalism? All week long, we’ll be exploring that question. We’ll also examine the way the Times report was handled by others in the upper-end press—for example, on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC program.

On line, the sprawling report was published early Thursday. That evening, Hayes described the piece, two separate times, as a “bombshell report.”

In one of his teases, the young performer offered the excited statement shown below. We’d have to say the young cable star was way out over his skis:
HAYES (4/23/15): All right. The Clinton campaign fires back after a bombshell report alleges a major conflict of interest that led to a flood of cash. That’s next.
In truth, the front-page report doesn’t exactly “allege” a conflict of interest at all, let alone a “major” conflict.

Everyone on earth has noted some version of this fact, starting with the Times itself. But so what? Young Hayes was quite excited this night, just as he was in 2012 when he threw Susan Rice under the bus.

Fellows like Hayes don’t challenge the Times, as we’ve endlessly told you.

In our view, Hayes was wildly overstating the shape of the “bombshell report.” That said, his credulous performance that night illustrates a familiar part of the upper-end press corps’ “pseudo-journalism rules.”

In our view, Hayes’ performance that night was just extremely bad. It may have been even worse than the clowning on that day’s Morning Joe, where pundits excitedly discussed a report which, as they were happy to note, none of them had read.

Later this week, we’ll review the terrible analytical work performed by Hayes and many others. For today, let’s consider the ways a report of this type may influence voters.

How will some American voters react to a sprawling “bombshell” report? Consider the letters the New York Times published Saturday morning.

The Times had killed a lot of trees to present its sprawling report. Quite plainly, its massive lay-out gave the impression that bombshells had exploded.

On Saturday morning, four letters in the Times discussed the bombshell report. In the very first letter, a troubled liberal made a very significant statement.

He won’t be voting for Clinton next year, this troubled reader said:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (4/25/15): I am a well-educated professional living in a major metropolitan area. I strongly support Barack Obama’s presidency. I am a compassionate liberal on most social issues. I am invigorated by the idea of a woman as president. I have been a registered Democrat for over 20 years, and I have never given serious thought to supporting a Republican presidential candidate.

Despite all this, I will not vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. I simply don’t trust her. Email records, foundation money conflicts and so on. The list is simply too long, and a vast right-wing conspiracy is not to blame. Presumably the Republican nominee will be loathsome in other ways, so I will likely abstain from the 2016 presidential election.

If people like me won’t vote for Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic Party should be very concerned.

R— J—
Burlingame, Calif.
Let’s be fair. As he started, the troubled liberal admitted that he’s well-educated. Beyond that, he admitted that he’s a compassionate person with quite a few other fine traits, including the fact that he “lives in a major metropolitan area.”

But so what? Despite his many fine traits, the writer said that he won’t be voting for Clinton next year. He even included her middle name in a bit of a throwback.

“I simply don’t trust her,” this voter said. “The list is simply too long.” He cited two examples from this long list. Each example was recent.

What is the nature of the “foundation money conflicts” which led this writer to make this statement? His letter doesn’t say.

He seems to say that the GOP nominee may be even worse than Clinton. But thanks in part to that “bombshell report,” he has decided that he won’t vote for Clinton next year, no matter how bad the Republican may be.

In that letter, we see one possible reaction to that bombshell report. For whatever reason, the Times chose it as the first reaction its readers would see.

Three more letters discussed the report. The second letter also showed the effect a Times bombshell may have:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (4/25/15): Is there just smoke here, or fire? The way money washes around the globe among the rich and the powerful is disturbing, and this article illustrates that very well. But if one reads between the lines, it’s not at all clear that your reporters found any direct connection between the uranium mine transaction and Hillary Rodham Clinton or the State Department during the relevant periods. Either way, the whole thing makes my head hurt.

On the upside, let’s recognize that the Clintons are among the most scrutinized and investigated prominent politicians in American history. Decades of poking into every nook and cranny by their political enemies have produced little. Is it that they’re made of Teflon, or that the stuff thrown at them was not strong enough to stick?

W— S—
Mount Pleasant, S.C.
This writer doesn’t think it’s clear that the Times found Clinton doing anything wrong! (That said, he’s already hedging his bets when he says that Times reporters found no direct connection.)

To this voter, it isn’t clear that Clinton has done something wrong. But so what? “Either way, the whole thing makes my head hurt,” he says.

There’s a familiar term for that malady. For many years, it’s been known as “Clinton fatigue.” The first letter writer won’t vote for Clinton. The second will be less enthusiastic about her, as he’ll explain to his friends.

In what other ways can a Times report influence American voters? The third letter writer says the report “raises troubling questions.”

He doesn’t say what those questions are. But he says he now hopes, all over again, that Elizabeth Warren gets into the race.

Finally, the fourth letter writer says he’ll be sticking with Clinton. Clinton is forced to “bend the rules,” he says, thereby seeming to assume that she has actually done so.

Those letters are intriguing. Obviously, they don’t represent a scientific sample of voter reaction. The New York Times chose to publish those letters, selecting them from the many others they surely received.

For today, we’ll note two points:

First, those letters help us see the ways a bombshell report may influence an array of voters. Second, none of those letters challenge the journalism performed by the New York Times.

Neither did Hayes, last Thursday night, on The One True Channel. Dearest darlings, it just isn’t done! For decades, that simply hasn’t been allowed by the rules of a largely invisible game.

Those rules were on display in the New York Times’ sprawling report, which was a journalistic mess. Those rules were also on display in Hayes’ pseudo-analysis.

Those rules have guided American life for a very long time. Within the guild we still call the press, everyone who plays for large pay knows to obey those rules.

Just as Howard Dean suggested, that bombshell report by the New York Times was a journalistic mess. Tomorrow, we’ll start to show you why we say that.

It’s what Hayes should have done.

Tomorrow: The anatomy of a pseudo-report


  1. Of course nobody can get inside Hillary Clinton's brain to know her motives. However, the appearance of Conflict of Interest is obvious, and appearance is all one can prove.

    I know this: As an executive in a private company, if I had made a major business deal that included this sort of donation from the counter-party, I'd have been summarily fired.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Where's the beef?

      "The State Department’s role in approving the deal was part of an extensive bureaucratic process, and the chapter offers no indication of Hillary Clinton’s personal involvement in, or even knowledge of, the deliberations. State has just one vote on the nine-member committee, which also includes the departments of Defense, Treasury and Energy. Disagreements are traditionally handled at the staff level, and if they are not resolved, they are escalated to deputies at the relevant agencies. If the deputies can’t resolve the dispute, the issues can be elevated to the Cabinet Secretary level and, if needed, to the President for a decision. The official chairman of CFIUS is the Treasury Secretary, not the Secretary of State.

      Before purchasing a controlling stake in Uranium One, the Russian conglomerate also had to get approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency outside of the State Department’s purview, as well as Utah’s nuclear regulator. It also received the sign-off of Canada’s foreign investment review agency. The deal itself was the outgrowth of a diplomatic initiative launched by the Administration of George W. Bush to expand trade opportunities between Russia and the U.S., including in the area of nuclear power.

      One official involved in the process said Clinton had nothing to do with the decision in the Uranium One case. Jose Hernandez, who as former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs was the State Department’s principal representative on the committee, rejected the notion that Clinton’s foundation ties had any bearing on the deal. “Secretary Clinton never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter,” he told TIME. A spokesperson for Hillary for America, Josh Schwerin, also attacked the suggestions made in the book. The transaction “went through the usual process and the official responsible for managing CFIUS reviews has stated that the Secretary did not intervene with him,” Schwerin says, “This book is twisting previously known facts into absurd conspiracy theories.”"

    3. I don't believe that Hillary had nothing to do with so major a decision. Was it just a coincidence that a big donation was made to the Clinton Foundation at this time.

      However, if this allegation were true, then Hillary would be shown as an incompetent manager. She darn well should have been on top of this matter.

    4. The article clearly states that the decision for the uranium mining deal was made well below the level of the Secretary of State and there is no evidence that HRC had anything to do with it or that anything abnormal happened with the approval process. If you believe otherwise, what is your evidence?

    5. Well, if you don't believe it, then I guess that's the be-all, end-all of this discussion, and Bob doesn't have to go on to parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 and beyond.

      But then again, if Hillary denied drowning puppies in a rain barrell and Time wrote that there is no evidence that she had, you wouldn't believe that either.

    6. Evidence? Hadrindr, do you really believe David in Cal needs evidence?

      Remember the old "Clinton Rules"? You get to say anything you want about the Clintons, and people like David will lap it up.

      I bet he still believes Bill was directly involved in cocaine smuggling and is responsible for masterminding the murders of at least the 50 people on the old "Clinton Death List."

  2. Freddie Gray's rap sheet

    1. Justifiable homicide: the decedent had a rap sheet.

    2. A law abiding black mother in Baltimore with a teen son might be relieved a drug dealer can no longer threaten her kid's life but we don't have the facts. It's possible Gray refused to sell to minors.

    3. He could have done better in middle school math thanks to Bob Somerby's contribution to education in Baltimore.

      And thanks to Bob Somerby's contributions to our culture I won't characterize your off topic droppings with any letters of our alphabet.

    4. Shorter 11:32 & 2:51 - "We don't need no stinkin' trials."

    5. Savages setting Baltimore afire. Seven officers injured, one nonresponsive.

    6. March 20, 2015: Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance

      March 13, 2015: Malicious destruction of property, second-degree assault

      January 20, 2015: Fourth-degree burglary, trespassing

      January 14, 2015: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute

      December 31, 2014: Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute

      December 14, 2014: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance

      August 31, 2014: Illegal gambling, trespassing

      January 25, 2014: Possession of marijuana

      September 28, 2013: Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, second-degree assault, second-degree escape

      April 13, 2012: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, violation of probation

      July 16, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute

      March 28, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance

      March 14, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to manufacture and distribute

      February 11, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance

      August 29, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, violation of probation

      August 28, 2007: Possession of marijuana

      August 23, 2007: False statement to a peace officer, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance

      July 16, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance (2 counts)

    7. John Angelos said it best:

      "My greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state."

      But you keep looking up people's criminal records.

    8. Two wrongs don't make a right. Most poor people are not criminals. It is an insult to them to suggest that being poor excuses criminal behavior or that we as a society, not individuals, are responsible for what criminals do.

    9. Gray's father was gone and his mother was a drug addict. Freddie sold drugs, likely to other neglected and abused kids at risk for ending up just like Freddie and his parents. All a function of culture, not lack of jobs, but you'll determinedly avoid these realities.

    10. Leftist defense of lowlife behavior and culture is responsible for the early deaths of Trayvon, Brown, and Gray and the perpetual misery in places like Baltimore.

    11. With examples like that why would he choose the same path? Many kids learn from bad examples. He ran from cops the same way he avoided the work needed to make a better life. We aren't responsible for those who take paths of lesser resistance. Even kids in unfortunate circumstances know right from wrong. He picked wrong, repeatedly.

    12. Baltimore is what happens when you replace the two-parent family with a welfare check & union-run public schools

    13. Don't be silly.

    14. Two parent family? That's civilization. Civilization is White Man's values.

    15. No, throughout human time kids have been raised in family clan hunter gatherer groups, so it takes a village. Non-extended nuclear families are an aberration. They represent affluence not civilization. Civilized people take care of grandma and support needy relatives and consider themselves connected to neighbors. That doesn't happen in gated communities. So shut up with this ywo-parent garbage.

    16. An extended nuclear family includes a nuclear family. That libs reject the two parent family, the foundation of civilization, shows how far into the cultural cesspool they've gone. They loathe the concept because they hope to justify their own anti-social behaviors or hope to justify deviations such as the gay couple plus surrogate which selfishly deprives the child of one of his natural parents.

    17. Isaac Newton came from a single parent household.

    18. This is what you get with a corporate-owned media. They only focus on protests when their is violence, then the violence becomes the story.

    19. Don't know where you live, but here in the United States, the whole Freddy Gray incident has been covered quite extensively for some time now, including the non-violent protests.

    20. Many fine children come from single parent households but everyone who made it past 8th grade should understand that this is not evidence that the two-parent nuclear family is insignificant. Marriage, rule of law and other civilizing institutions established an order that works to the benefit of every member of a society on an individual level, and the society at large. Baltimore represents an uncivilized society where law and the nuclear family are irrelevant. Libs call this condition "progress" which is only true if one's idea of progress is returning to a social order resembling the apes'. It is unclear what perverse outcomes are sought by embracing that form of "progress" but all data demonstrate that it creates misery for both individuals and society.

    21. If Baltimore is "uncivilized" it is for reasons other than family structure.

      Why not call for a law making divorce, death, or abadonment by parents illegal?

    22. Laws about marriage exist so that when there is divorce and abandonment there will be consequences. In secular law, marriage is about obligation and incentive toward fortification of the nuclear family because of a recognition of its necessity in stabilizing societies. It was not established so that the state could sanction a couple's romantic love and the purpose for legally obligating two heterosexuals to each other is for the benefit of their potential offspring. Ensuring their protection and care benefits them and the rest of society. Secular law is less concerned with the benefit to each other than is religion. If offspring were not produced by heterosexuals, there would never be an institution of marriage.

      An absolute prohibition against divorce or abandonment is unenforceable. Measures to make them more difficult have been incrementally abandoned as more members of society, particularly the poor and uneducated, develop an anti-social apathy and decide their right to live free of obligation to their children is more important than their children's or society's right to expect them to plan and provide for children they produce.

      The legitimacy rate among blacks is 75%, poor whites 40%, two educated parents is 4%. The divorce rate for the poor and uneducated is 60%, for two educated parents is 11%.

      Ultimately laxity or strength of laws governing marriage are irrelevant in comparing outcomes between intact families and those that are not. Libs oppose the standard not because it doesn't yield benefits but because they consider it "too hard" compared to complaining and making excuses.

      There is nothing more pathetic than negligent parents trying to justify a parade of stepfathers and poverty in their kids' lives.

  3. So let me see if I got this right. Bob is going to devote an entire week to discrediting this report as a "bombshell" while only producing one person who called it a "bombshell" -- Chris Hayes, in a "That's next" teaser before a commercial break.

    Now as for me, I really don't care for this alleged "bombshell" because it looks an awful lot like "swiftboating" to me.

    But at the same time, Hillary has serious questions to answer as to how she and her husband went from "dead broke and in debt" to becoming multi-millionaires while building a foundation that does do a lot of good all over the world.

    Looks like that not all the book deal money and speaking fees went to the foundation.

    1. Which of course is exactly what the rumor mongers want you to believe without proof. You have become a victim of their scheme to discredit HRC without having to actually provide you with any evidence that their claims have *any* truth to them. You can believe that the moon is made of cheese if you want, but that does not make it true. There is no reason (other than these unsubstantiated rumors) that the Clintons were involved in any "shady" dealings. Where is the beef?

    2. I see. I've lost my credentials as a good, loyal Hillary person because I dare ask how she got to a net worth of multi-millions in a few short years, while drawing the pay of a Senator and Secretary of State and running an expensive campaign for president in between.

      We must never ask tough questions about our designated favorite.

    3. Didn't you hear about all those speeches she was giving for large fees?

    4. Yes, but I was told repeatedly on this blog by Bob hisself that all those fees went to the Clinton Foundation.

      He wouldn't just make that up, would he?

    5. You weren't told that here. You were told that fees for speaking at university and charity fundraisers were donated to the foundation.

  4. Shorter Your Howler Readers:

    "Is the NYT again spinning much out of very little? Are some of our liberal thought leaders riding shotgun? Well, we couldn't care less."

    1. More Perceptive Bob BelieversApril 27, 2015 at 12:34 PM

      We know that journalists, to fatten their wallets and advance their careers, follow rules which create a conspiracy of silence around the transgressions of guild members.

      Therefore it is fair to assume anything they write about politicians fattening their wallets and advancing their careers
      is to fatten their wallets and advance their careers.

  5. "It’s what Hayes should have done."

    How about Bill O'Reilly? What should he have done with this "journalistic mess"? After all, he's opposite Chris Hayes and draws a much bigger audience.

    You'd think that if O'Reilly had an ounce of integrity and wasn't a shill for the right wing, he'd see right through this "journalistic mess" and tell it like it is.

    Of course, O'Reilly's behavior never seems to catch the eye of our media watchdog.

    1. Bill O'Reilly clearly has an agenda and nothing Bob (or you) can say would sway his plans. Complain all you like. Chris Hayes is another story. Why would Chris play up this phony scandal? Is he working for Bill O'Reilly? Does he care about progressive issues? Is he a journalist, or just saying whatever will get him the most attention? Those are things that Bob is commenting on.

    2. I see. Bob has no influence over O'Reilly, but he has great influence over Hayes.

      My guess? He has exactly the same influence over both. Which is zip,

      I also don't know that Hayes is playing up anything, or what effect that will have on the election in general. But you and Bob go ahead and pretend that Chris Hayes matters.

      At least this week, it will give him something new to write about instead of combing letters to the editor and online comment boxes from places other than his own.

    3. He has influence over Chris Hayes's potential audience.

      All media matter. Getting votes is a process of persuasion using a wide variety of means, culminating in a majority by election time. Everything counts towards that, efforts large and small.

    4. A blog with under 500 unique hits a day doesn't have much influence over anybody. Especially when 400 are laughing at him.

    5. One or two trolls and a couple of conservatives don't add up to 400 unique laughers. If you measure the worth of a blog by traffic you are definitely in the wrong place. Go away.

    6. Yes, only wise Bobfans know the inherent worth and vast influence of a blog that virtually nobody reads.

    7. A blog that nobody reads (in your dreams) yet has its own Wikipedia entry.

  6. Here's a topic that might make a series for the host beyond what MSNBC hosts are saying and the NYT is publishing.

    We are watching the death of the "cable news show" before our very eyes. Fox has managed to hold its own with its ratings propped up by older viewers, but all three -- Fox, CNN and MSNBC -- have been bleeding younger viewers in the key demographic for quite some time.

    That's because the format at all three networks is exactly the same -- low budget and a host talking to the same guests, night after night after night, and younger viewers are apparently getting bored with it.

    He also might want to note that cable and satellite dish subscriptions are falling because younger viewers in particular own "smart" TVs, with Internet streaming capabilities built in.

    They no longer see the need to subscribe to 200 channels they won't watch, and that includes cable news networks.

    I read an interesting article after the NBA signed its humongous TV network deal that live sports are the last bastion of cable and dish companies. They pay big bucks to lock that in because it is the only reason left that people will subscribe to their services.

    ESPN/ABC and TNT will gladly pass those costs along to cable and dish services, knowing that they have no choice but to pay it.

    1. This.

      Also include the Sunday morning bobblehead shows.

    2. That.

      Add mention of the fact old people can't Tweet or even operate "smart"phones and if we can break them of the habit of voting who cares what they read.

    3. Of course old people can tweet and use smart phones.

  7. The article's main pont was that when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State Obama had her sign a memorandum of understanding promising that she would would disclose all donations, including ones to the Clinton foundation. The MOU also stated that the Clinton foundation wouldn't take foreign donations while she was Secretary of State.

    A) It appears they DID accept donations from a foreigner, which they never reported (HRC hasn't denied it). B) That foreigner then had a favorable determination from the State Department on a business transaction.

    It really doesn't matter if B was a result of A, the appearance alone is enough, especially since it appears HRC did not live up to the requirements of the MOU.

    Now Bob and his gang will spend the week discussing how the mean old press hates HRC, that Jo Becker is a wealthy hack, that there's not PROOF (proof i say) of a quid-pro-quo between the donations and State Dept decision.

    What they will not discuss is why Obama insisted on the MOU and why HRC did not follow it.

    My guess Obama wanted it to avoid real or apparent conflicts such as this.

    I have no idea why HRC decided to ignore the MOU. Maybe she has a reason, i'd like to hear it.

    1. "What they will not discuss is why Obama insisted on the MOU and why HRC did not follow it."

      Bingo! And for the same reason Somerby boils down the 2000 election to "invented the Internet" rather than the multiple errors Gore made, not the least of which was the selection of Joe Lieberman as a running mate.

    2. The Clinton foundation could accept foreign donations, they just needed to be reviewed by the State Dept.

      Reuters reports (and Clinton confirms) that the clinton foundation accepted foreign donations, but they were not reported and did not go through the review.

    3. No, they did not have "to be reviewed by the State Dept.," which would have been really handy, right?

      What they had to be was reported. Which the Clinton Foundation somehow failed to do.

    4. According to Reuters they had to be reviewed, and weren't (nor were they reported).


      The Reuters inquiries also raised questions about a second assurance Hillary Clinton made to the Obama administration: that the State Department would be able to review any new or increased contributions to CHAI by foreign governments while she served as the nation's top diplomat. The Clintons said the pledge was intended to defuse accusations that foreign governments might use such donations to earn favors.

    5. Increased contributions to CHAI (Clinton Health Access Initiative, not the entire foundation) by foreign governments, not corporations and individuals.

      The contributions to Uranium One were made not by a foreign government and they went to the Foundation, not specifically to CHAI.

      But . . . Hillary agreed that the Clinton Foundation would publicly report any and all donations to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

      Somehow the Foundation failed to report the donations from Uranium One people.

      Bob can call that a nothingburger if he wants, and at least he is being consistent ran to the defense of Christie and Ultrasound, over "nothingburgers." After all, it could still be a legitimate traffic study and a governor accepted tens of thousands in "gifts" is no big deal, is it?

      But I think even Hillary supporters have some questions.

    6. If you read the reuters article, it lists several foriegn gov'ts who "seemed" to have donated to the CF. These were not reported, nor reviewed.

      So, it's not simply the Uranium One people.

    7. Anon 12:52, what is the one and true definition of Memorandum of Understanding, and if there is more than one definition, what were the terms of the Obama/Clinton MOU?
      Did President Obama request the MOU, or did Secretary Clinton offer it?
      BTW, did you read that Clinton said she would report only "substantial increases" in donations from a given foreign country?

    8. Gravy, excellent questions. Here, read it yourself. See if you can find anything in it which limits the reporting to "substantial increases" only? No? Me neither.

      Regardless, here's the donations levels.

    9. " ,,, what is the one and true definition of Memorandum of Understanding ...?"

      From Business Dictionary:

      A document that expresses mutual accord on an issue between two or more parties.
      Memoranda of understanding are generally recognized as binding, even if no legal claim could be based on the rights and obligations laid down in them. To be legally operative, a memorandum of understanding must (1) identify the contracting parties, (2) spell out the subject matter of the agreement and its objectives, (3) summarize the essential terms of the agreement, and (4) must be signed by the contracting parties. Also called letter of intent.

    10. How exactly would HIllary Clinton know about contributions to the Foundation that were not reported? She was working at the State Department, not the Foundation. If she had no contact with the decision involved, how would she have influenced it, even if she had known about any contribution?

      Given the demands of the job, I cannot see her having the time or interest to follow this stuff that closely. Contributions to the Foundation do not personally enrich either Clinton, so what is their motive to get involved in something that might jeopardize future political plans? This just makes no sense as a conspiracy.

    11. 5:07. There's a million ways to answer that, but perhaps the clearest is: If she is not cabable of ensuring that the MOU's requirements can be met, perhaps she shouldn't have signed it.

      "Yeah, i signed a document agreeing to something, but c'mon you can't expect me to really do it." Not sure that excuse will fly.

    12. The fun thing about these phony Clinton "scandals" is that they are like zombies, they never die. Even when perfectly reasonable explanations are put forth to explain unintentional and inadvertent oversights, the zombies continue to insist there are "questions" that need answering.

      It's so much fun to simply say, "Donations from foreign governments" without any explanation. It's so much more titillating and exciting and really gets the rubes going.

      In 2008, the Clintons agreed that existing government contributors that wanted to "materially increase" their commitments during Hillary Clinton's tenure would be reviewed by State. Australia almost doubled its support between 2009-2012, to $12.2 million, while the United Kingdom nearly tripled its support, to $11.2 million.

      CHAI did not report these increases to the State Department because the new money was for "expansions of existing programs," Daley said.

      Daley also provided a number of explanations for why other governments that appeared on a donor list provided to Reuters did not need to be reviewed by the State Department. Swaziland and Papua New Guinea, which gave small grants for AIDS programs, were not submitted for review because the money they gave originated from other sources, including existing donor Australia and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, she said.

      In the case of Sweden, its International Development Cooperation Agency has given CHAI $7.2 million since 2012 to train health workers in Zambia, but nothing in at least the previous three years. This did not need State review because Sweden had given to the foundation prior to 2009, Daley said.

      Rwanda, which CHAI listed as a donor, gave the charity $200,000 in 2012. CHAI considered this a fee for medical work it did in the country, not a grant or donation, and so did not tell the State Department about it, Daley said.

      Money from all of these governments amounted to about 1 percent of CHAI's total budget, she said.

    13. "Rwanda, which CHAI listed as a donor, gave the charity $200,000 in 2012. CHAI considered this a fee for medical work it did in the country, not a grant or donation, and so did not tell the State Department about it, Daley said."

      That's pretty lame. So this guy is saying that CHAI charges Third World countries "fees" for its charitable work?

    14. Just for the sake of transparency, even if this were some sort of "fee" that CHAI routinely charges to countries like Rwanda, wouldn't it have been a good idea to report that, given the Memorandum of Understanding?

    15. A: "In 2008, the Clintons agreed that existing government contributors that wanted to 'materially increase' their commitments during Hillary Clinton's tenure would be reviewed by State."

      B: " Australia almost doubled its support between 2009-2012, to $12.2 million, while the United Kingdom nearly tripled its support, to $11.2 million."

      C: "CHAI did not report these increases to the State Department because the new money was for 'expansions of existing programs,' Daley said."

      So, tripling funding is not "materially increasing" committment? Interesting... bullshit, but interesting.

    16. What the fuck are you worried about? The Secretary of State selling out her office and country to the United Kingdom and Australia? In order to get rather modest donations from these countries to a global charitable foundation? Everyone knows about them now. They've been in all the papers you see. So what the fuck was the quid pro quo to the United Kingdom and Australia? Jesus Christ, as we speak a parade of Republican candidate are on bended knees begging for money from one of the most disgusting greedy individuals on the face of the earth.

    17. What I am worried about is that Memorandum of Understanding was negotiated and signed by all parties, and the Clinton Foundation looked for every loophole they could find to avoid reporting donations from foreign countries.

      That is hardly the "transparency" that was the purpose of this MOU was it?

      No, I am not worried in the least about Hillary selling out to the UK and Australia. So why on earth wouldn't the Clinton Foundation report those donations?

    18. What, me worry?

      So it went from "that all was debunked in 2008." To "it was only an expansion of the program, no big deal" to "it's only the UK!"

      And all these years I thought the UK was a foreign nation, with their own agendas and polices, ones which may not always jibe with ours.

      Or maybe I simply missed the part of the MOU that excluded the UK and Australia.

    19. Don't forget the "You can't expect Hillary to oversee the Clinton Foundation" excuse.

      True. But both she and Bill knew how important that Memorandum of Understanding was, and they should have made that crystal clear to whomever they delegated the responsibility of reporting.

      Which was probably, and this is just my guess, not some minimum-wage intern fresh out of college.

    20. "Mistakes were made."

      Hey, it worked for Reagan when his merry band of criminals got caught selling weapons to Iran.

    21. How well did it work? Several very high-ranking members of Reagan's Administration were indicted for crimes relating to the sale of weapons to Iran and diverting that money, in direct violation of the Boland Amendment, to the contras in Nicaragua.

      It took a pardon from George H.W. on his way out of town to get them off the hook.

    22. "Mistakes were made" wasn't Ronnie's excuse. His excuse was "I don't remember."

      Now before the right wing noise machine over time was able to canonize him, it became quite apparent that Reagan was just an actor playing a role with little knowledge, regard or oversight of what the people working for him were doing.

      He took a pummelling in the 1986 mid-terms over it.


    23. In his State of the Union speech in 1987, admitted to missteps in the Iran-Contra Scandal, President Reagan told the nation:

      "We did not achieve what we wished, and serious mistakes were made in trying to do so."

    24. Yes, he read exactly the script he was given. Now go read his deposition.

    25. What the hell is your point? Reagan made that statement in early 1987 while still POTUS.

      His deposition was taken three years later when he was clearly showing major signs of degeneration due to his Alzheimer's disease.

      The bottom line here is you aint' got shit. Some measly donations from friendly nations to a global charity that have now all been publicly revealed. The UK is practically the 51st state for god sakes. \

  8. Bob is right. The pseudo-bombshells, one after another after another, may get another Bush elected. Deja vu all over again.

    1. Jeb first has to out-crazy the rest of the GOP field to win the nomination. Then he's got Mitt's "Etch-A-Sketch" problem with the general presidential election voting population, which is far less crazy than the GOP right-wing primary base.

    2. Bob is always right. From the archives 10/29/2007

      "BARACK DOES BILL BRADLEY: Awful! This report in Saturday’s Post is so awful for Democrats that we’re going to focus on it today—even though we will not, in the main, be critiquing the work of the press corps.

      Instead, we’ll be talking about Candidate Obama. More specifically, we’ll be talking about the threat captured in that report’s headline: “Obama Ratchets Up Criticism of Clinton.” (For the record, here’s the sub-headline: “New Yorker ‘Ducking’ Social Security Issue.”)

      If you don’t want a President Giuliani you should consider what is described in that report."

      Never a better reason than solid prognostication skills to trust a teacher/comedian/blogger for your journalism and political analysis.

    3. Or this from Jan. 23, 2007:

      "Sadly, we know of no reason to think that liberal leaders have the brains—or the instinct—to fight against this. Readers, say hello to President McCain, the virile saint who will stage your next war."

  9. More like this please.

    I am a well educated semi professional living somewhere. I strongly support preserving our intellectual culture from tribal meltdown. I am a true liberal with compassion for views held on all sides of an issue. I am invigorated by the idea of somebody's wife beating another guy's second son for President, which may be a metrosexual trait. I don't know.

    That said, as a blog commenter nothing makes my day better than posts which analyze what a letter to the editor or blog comment might seem to say about things which are not explained in sufficient detail but give us possible, though unscientific, ways other dumb life forms such as myself might react.

    In my view this is a positive new development which, after several similar efforts, I find Bob takes a liking to. So shall I.

  10. The decision required the assent of at least nine different officials and agencies. Not mentioned in the article. Alluded to but not specified in one sentence. The undersecretary who made the decision says Hillary was not involved and exerted no pressure. Not mentioned.
    Clinton received 750k speaking in Hong Kong and was offered 500K by the Israeli organization that controls most of Israels land. Reagan received $2million for 2 speeches in Japan. The article ignores that context. The Russian bank that paid him had nothing to do with negotiating the deal. It merely assigned a buy rating to Uranium One stock. The article creates a more explicit and darker relationship. Hackery If I can find all this out in a few hours of morning time, the NYT is not doing its job. Maybe the next chapter will have more substance...but for now this is 'Unfit for Duty 2" in my evaluation....

    1. I'm guessing you didn't bother to read the article.

  11. I am trying to get a deal with the NYT after my extensive research this morning. Ronald Reagan made 2 speeches in Japan after his Presidency. He was paid $2 million dollars for 2 speeches. Afterwards George Bush 41 approved and promoted a major trade deal with Japan that many saw as a lopsided giveaway to Nippon. There is no evidence of a connection but that didn't stop them from their current story. We could just bury it in one line as they did with the Clinton story. Sometimes real journalism isn't determined by the facts you put into a story...but by the facts you purposefully leave out.

    1. I didn't know Bush married Reagan after Nancy divorced him as part of her agreement with George H.W. to appoint her Secretary of State.

    2. Yes, that happened right after GHW Bush pardoned all the treasonous criminals in Reagans administration right after he had his ass kicked by William Clinton.

  12. It might be helpful to review the words of Sen. Richard Lugar ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, concerning the importance of that Memorandum of Understanding in his opening remarks during Clinton's confirmation hearing back in Jan. 2009.

    All members of that committee share the same concerns, as well as the same confidence that the Clinton Foundation would live up to the Memorandum:


    "The main issue related to Senator Clinton's nomination that has occupied the committee has been the review of how her service as secretary of state can be reconciled with the sweeping global activities of President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.

    "To this end, the Obama transition and the Clinton Foundation completed a memorandum of understanding outlining steps designed to minimize potential conflicts of interest.

    "I share the president-elect's view that the activities of the Clinton Foundation and President Clinton himself should not be a barrier to Senator Clinton's service. But I also share the view implicitly recognized by the memorandum of understanding that the work of the Clinton Foundation is a unique complication that will have to be managed with great care and transparency.

    Continued . . .

    1. "The core of the problem is that foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state. Although neither Senator Clinton nor President Clinton has a personal financial stake in the foundation, obviously its work benefits their legacy and their public service priorities.

      "There is nothing wrong with this, and President Clinton is deservedly proud of the Clinton Foundation's good work in addressing HIV/AIDS, global poverty, climate change, and other pressing problems.

      "But the Clinton Foundation exists as a temptation for any foreign entity or government that believes it could curry favor through a donation. It also sets up potential perception problems with any action taken by the secretary of state in relation to foreign givers or their countries.

      "The nature of the secretary of state post makes recusal from specific policy decisions almost impossible, since even localized U.S. foreign policy activities can ripple across countries and continents. Every new foreign donation that is accepted by the foundation comes with the risk it will be connected in the global media to a proximate State Department policy or decision.

      "Foreign perceptions are incredibly important to United States foreign policy, and mistaken impressions or suspicions can deeply affect the actions of foreign governments toward the United States. Moreover, we do not want our own government's deliberations distracted by avoidable controversies played out in the media.

      "The bottom line is that even well-intentioned foreign donations carry risks for United States foreign policy. The only certain way to eliminate this risk going forward is for the Clinton foundation to forswear new foreign contributions when Senator Clinton becomes secretary of state.

      "I recommend this straightforward approach as the course most likely to avoid pitfalls that could disrupt United States foreign policy or inhibit Senator Clinton's own activities as secretary of state.

      "Alternatively, the Clinton Foundation and the Obama transition have worked in good faith to construct a more complex approach based on disclosure and ethics reviews that would allow the foundation the prospect of continuing to accept foreign donations deemed not to have the appearance of a conflict of interest.

      "The agreement requires, among other measures, the disclosure of all the foundation donors up to this point and annual disclosure of donations going forward and a State Department ethics review process that would evaluate proposed donations from foreign governments and governmental entities.

      "All of these are positive steps. But we should be clear that this agreement is a beginning and not an end. It is not a guarantee against conflict of interest or its appearance. And for the agreement to succeed, the parties must make the integrity of United States foreign policy their first principle of implementation.

      "For this reason, the requirements for transparency in the memorandum of understanding should be considered a minimum standard. I'm hopeful the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration will go further to ensure that the vital business of United States foreign policy upon which the security of our country rests is not encumbered by perceptions arising from donations to the foundation.

      "If there is a slightest doubt about the appearance that a donation might create, the foundation should not take that donation. If there are issues about how a donation should be disclosed, the issue should be resolved by disclosing the donation sooner and with as much specificity as possible.


    2. "Operational inconveniences for the foundation or a reduction in some types of donations that have been accepted in the past are small prices to pay when balanced against the serious business of United States foreign policy that affects the security of every American.

      "With this in mind, I have suggested several additional transparency measures that could be embraced by the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration going forward. Because time is limited I will not discuss each one explicitly now, but I have provided a background sheet -- Attachment A -- that outlines these measures. And my understanding is the Clinton Foundation has already accepted the fourth item listed. The willingness of all parties to voluntarily implement these additions would strengthen the commitment to transparency and at least partially mitigate the risk inherent in foreign contributions."