Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Ralph E. Stone and other idiots

This week the e-mails have been about an idiot named Ralph E. Stone.  We ignored him as he worked his way through various publications with the same fact-free column.  But then Salem-News decided to publish it.

Ralph E. Stone is a complete idiot.  Worse, he's a complete liar.  An e-mail noted that they tried to straighten him out in the comments.

Stone writes, "Finally, now that the U.S. has left Iraq, Iran has a market for its goods which is helping to relieve the U.S.-European Union boycott against Iraq."

The US has not left Iraq and Stone is a liar.  Not just an idiot -- who thinks he can get away with lying -- but a liar.  When his piece appeared at Fog City or some site, we got an e-mail from a person who left a comment explaining how wrong Stone was and how they referred him to the Congressional Research Services Iraq report for April.

Stone has not corrected his lies but he now includes a link to the June report on Iraq from CRS.  Which he's apparently too lazy to bother to read.  From that report:

Heightened AQ-I and other insurgent activity has shaken the Iraqi leadership’s confidence in the ISF somewhat and apparently prompted the Iraqi government to reemphasize security cooperation with the United States. On August 19, 2012, en route to a visit to Iraq, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said that “I think [Iraqi leaders] recognize their capabilities may require yet more additional development and I think they’re reaching out to us to see if we can help them with that.”39 Iraq reportedly has expressed interest in expanded U.S. training of the ISF, joint exercises, and accelerated delivery of U.S. arms to be sold, including radar, air defense systems, and border security equipment.40 Some refurbished air defense guns are being provided gratis as excess defense articles (EDA), but Iraq was said to lament that the guns would not arrive until June 2013. Iraq reportedly argued that the equipment was needed to help it enforce insistence that Iranian overflights to Syria land in Iraq for inspection.
After the Dempsey visit, reflecting the Iraqi decision to reengage intensively with the United States on security, it was reported that, at the request of Iraq, a unit of Army Special Operations forces had deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence, presumably against AQ-I.41 (These forces presumably are operating under a limited SOFA or related understanding crafted for this purpose.) Other reports suggest that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) paramilitary forces have, as of late 2012, largely taken over some of the DOD mission of helping Iraqi counter-terrorism forces (Counter-Terrorism Service, CTS) against AQ-I in western Iraq.42 Part of the reported CIA mission is to also work against the AQ-I affiliate in Syria, the Al Nusrah Front, discussed above.
Reflecting an acceleration of the Iraqi move to reengage militarily with the United States, during December 5-6, 2012, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller and acting Under Secretary of State for International Security Rose Gottemoeller visited Iraq and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with acting Defense Minister Sadoun Dulaymi. The five year MOU provides for:

• high level U.S.-Iraq military exchanges 
• professional military education cooperation 
• counter-terrorism cooperation 
• the development of defense intelligence capabilities 
• joint exercises 

The MOU appears to address many of the issues that have hampered OSC-I from performing the its mission to its full potential. The MOU also reflects some of the more recent ideas put forward, such as joint exercises.

There is nothing in the above that we haven't covered repeatedly.

The forces sent back in?  Tim Arango broke that news for the New York Times in September and we have repeatedly noted that over and over here.  The Memo of Understanding?

We're the only ones who covered it real time.  Here are links to that coverage and one of our many mentions of Arango's report from the April 30th snapshot:

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

We covered the MoU on December 6th, on December 10th and on December 11th.  Ralph E. Stone is such a blatant liar that he links to a Congressional Research Report he's too lazy to read (or maybe just too lazy to make it to page 37) and keeps his lies in his column.

And Salem-News prints this nonsense?

I'm not interested in Tim King anymore.  We've been very kind and linked to them, when they've been under attack, I've defended them.  All they've ever had to do was e-mail and I was happy to help.  Not anymore.  I don't support propaganda.  We call it out.  And for Salem-News to carry the lie that all US troops are out of Iraq is just unacceptable.

Other idiots?  NPR.  There are so many others but I need to get this entry up so we'll just go with NPR.

I don't ask NPR to cover the arts.  If it chooses to, it needs to be factual.  There are no excuses -- the way Newsweek tried in the 90s of, 'It's only TV, no one cares.'  No, you choose to cover something, you better be accurate.  Susan Stamberg took a look at books yesterday on Morning Edition.  One is about The Mary Tyle Moore Show.  Susan acted on air like the world's biggest fan.  But she's clearly not and she's not even intelligent enough to cover this subject nor was her guest the idiot Daniel Goldin.  See if you can catch the mistakes.  There are two.

STAMBERG: That spunky girl is the subject of the book "Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted," a compilation by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong of oral histories from folks who worked on the show. Daniel Goldin learned that at first audiences didn't like Mary's best friend and neighbor, Rhoda Morgenstern.

GOLDIN: She was a brash New Yorker. She spoke her mind. She started out arguing.

STAMBERG: The writers added a simple line to the script for a cute little girl.

GOLDIN: Mary's landlord Phyllis had a daughter named Beth. And they decided to just, as an aside, have Beth say to Mary: That's Rhoda. I really like her. And it totally changed how the audience felt about her.

Phyllis (Cloris Leachman's character) didn't have a daughter named Beth.  The daughter's name was Bess.  Lisa Gerritsen played Bess on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and she played the part on the spin-off Phyllis as well.

And don't give me the crap that it's not Susan's fault that a man she chose to interview made a mistake (twice) and she didn't correct it.  It is her fault.  She should have corrected it.  But making that mistake twice isn't the only mistake.  Stamberg states, "Daniel Goldin learned that at first audiences didn't like Mary's best friend and neighbor, Rhoda Morgenstern."

That is wrong.


Wow.  Thank goodness after six or seven episodes, someone thought of a fix, right?

Wrong.  This is the first episode.  And the episode in syndication (the same one broadcast) contains the line from Bess.

So what happened?  That episode was taped on Friday, the first episode of the series.

They did a Tuesday run-through in front of a live audience (in part to test a new filming technique CBS was then interested in -- that technique was never used on any episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show).  The test audience didn't laugh at Valerie Harper's lines.  They also didn't laugh at Ed Asner's first scene -- the one Stamberg uses a clip from in the report.

In this run-through, Asner went over the top and was menacing, not playful.

In terms of Valerie's character Rhoda, script supervisor Marge Mullen suggested that Bess be given a line. ("Aunt Rhoda's really a lot of fun.  Mom hates her.")  (Mullen went on to work on many other TV shows.  She did 76 episodes of Murphy Brown as technical coordinator.)  That was used when the first episode was taped before a live audience on Friday and it fixed everything, audiences loved Rhoda.  (Not noted in the report by Stamberg, Rhoda isn't just aggressive, we've had Phyllis insulting her -- "That dumb, awful girl that lives upstairs that Bess likes." --  before we see her.  Without Bess' line, audiences were under the impression that Rhoda wasn't a nice person.)

A run-through audience saw a performance of the first episode that was never planned to be aired.  The taping for broadcast was always going to be Friday.  One audience becomes "audiences."  No.  Get your facts right.  You don't have to cover the arts.  No one twists your arm.  But if you do cover them, you have to do it accurately.  You're not allowed to claim to be a journalist and then to argue that your mistakes and errors are okay because it's not 'real news,' it's 'just the arts.'  Added five minutes after this went up: And there's actually three mistakes.  I've quoted Bess' line correctly.  I didn't even catch that until a friend called.  He asked, "So who's right about Bess' line?"  Huh?  He said I quoted the line ("Aunt Rhoda's really a lot of fun.  Mom hates her.") and so did Goldin in Stamper's report, "That's Rhoda.  I really like her."  I'm correct.  Bess says, "Aunt Rhoda's really a lot of fun.  Mom hates her."

The following community sites -- plus The Diane Rehm Show, Susan's On the Edge, Black Agenda Report, Chocolate City, ACLU,, Pacifica Evening News and NYT's At War blog -- updated last night and this morning:

 Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budge Committee and she serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  She and Senator Kelly Ayotte are the sponsors of "Combating Military Sexual Assault (MSA) Act of 2013."  Their offices issued a joint-statement today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        CONTACT: Murray Press Office (202) 224-2834

Tuesday, June 04, 2013                                                    Ayotte Press Office (202) 224-3324


Bipartisan Murray-Ayotte legislation would expand Air Force program and provide trained military lawyers to victims of sexual assault in all service branches
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today focused on efforts to stop sexual assaults in the military, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh praised the success of an Air Force pilot program that provides victims with a military lawyer to assist sexual assault victims through the legal process.  A key provision in the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act, introduced by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) on May 7, would expand the successful Air Force program to all service branches by providing victims of sexual assault with a Special Victims’ Counsel – a trained and certified military lawyer to assist the victim throughout the process.

In response to a question from Senator Ayotte, General Welsh testified that responses from victims regarding the Air Force’s Special Victims’ Counsel pilot program have been “overwhelmingly positive.”  He testified earlier in the hearing that he intends to recommend the continuation of the program.

Senator Ayotte stressed the need to ensure that victims of sexual assault are able to report incidents without fear of retribution and urged the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, to provide Special Victims’ Counsel to victims in all military services.

“I want to make sure that every victim of sexual assault gets the support that they need in the system….there’s a group of people that are not coming forward because they fear how they are going to be treated in the system.  So I think knowing that there’s a representative that represents them, and will represent their rights and respect their rights within the system…is very important,” she said.

“It’s a very encouraging sign to hear General Welsh highlight the successes of the Special Victims Counsel program, which is at the heart of  our bill,” said Senator Murray. “Our legislation builds on these successes and affords victims in the other branches with the protections they deserve through a dedicated counsel that is with them every step of the way through what is without question a deeply personal and painful process. Sexual assault among our men and women in uniform is a tragic epidemic that seems to get worse by the day. Up until this point, we have not taken meaningful steps to give victims a place to turn. We need to create a system where the protection and safety of victims is unquestionable.”


The Murray-Ayotte Combating Military Sexual Assault Act (S.871) takes additional steps aimed at reducing sexual assaults within the military and helping the victims of these crimes.  The legislation would address a number of gaps in current law and policy and would build upon the positive steps the Pentagon has taken in recent years to address this problem. The Murray-Ayotte bill currently has 37 bipartisan cosponsors.

·         Provide victims of sexual assault with Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) – a military lawyer who will assist sexual assault victims throughout the process. 

·         Enhance the responsibilities and authority of DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Office so that it can better oversee efforts to combat MSA across the Armed Forces and regularly track and report on a range of MSA statistics, including assault rate, number of cases brought to trial, and compliance with appropriate laws and regulations within each of the individual services.

·         Refer cases to the general court martial level when sexual assault charges are filed or to the next superior competent authority when there is a conflict of interest in the immediate chain of command.

·         Bar sexual contact between instructors and trainees during and within 30 days of completion of basic training or its equivalent.

·         Ensure that Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) are available to members of the National Guard and Reserve at all times and regardless of whether they are operating under Title 10 or Title 32 authority.



Meghan Roh

Press Secretary | New Media Director

Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

Mobile: (202) 365-1235

Office: (202) 224-2834

The e-mail address for this site is

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