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Montana Politics

Rehberg on Drones, 9/11 Truthers, and Your Civil Liberties

Just when you imagine that Dennis Rehberg couldn’t make more of a fool of himself and the state, he manages to lower the bar.

A few weeks ago, he claimed that the Environmental Protection Agency was using drones to spy on Montana farmers and ranchers.  Today, Rehberg used a press flack to admit that he was wrong—and then blamed President Obama for his own lie.

According to Rehberg’s personal reporter in the Billings Gazette, Rehberg’s spokesman claimed that Mr. Rehberg merely asked about the program:

“In this case, Denny heard from concerned Montanans, saw reports in the media and took the responsible first step — asking the EPA about it.”

Unfortunately, that’s not what Rehberg’s own Congressional site says. He didn’t “ask” about the program; he demanded that it be shut down:

I am writing out of concern regarding the use of drones by the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor farmers and ranchers.  Many of my constituents are rightly upset about this abuse of power and I urge the EPA to abandon this practice immediately.

In simpler terms, Rehberg’s office lied when they had to cover up his earlier lie.

Just where did Rehberg get his hot news tip? Well, his mouthpiece wouldn’t tell the press which specific right wing news site Rehberg used to do his “research,” but the story initiated with rightwing nutjob Alex Jones, who has accused the U.S. government of being responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks.

One would hope that a member of Congress would, before accusing the President of the United States of using drones to spy on farmers, actually research the issue, perhaps call the President, or even just assume that something on fringe right-wing media probably just isn’t true.

But not Dennis Rehberg. Not someone who thinks he’s ready to be a member of the Senate Like he so often does, Rehberg fired off a wild accusation, based on nothing more than innuendo and right-wing paranoia…and he doesn’t even have the ethics or decency to acknowledge his mistake.

Perhaps most tellingly, Rehberg’s drone reversal comes just as the House is considering a bill he has championed (H.R. 1505) which would absolutely restrict the rights of Montanans while giving the Border Patrol unprecedented power on Montana’s border.

Here’s some helpful advice for Representative Rehberg. Rather than fighting fantastic and false right-wing rumors about government intrusion, perhaps he should stop pushing for legislation like the Patriot Act (which received his vote five times), REAL ID, and HR. 1505—all of which truly threaten our civil liberties.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • “The Obama Administration rarely reveals its secretive plans to anyone but its closest allies. Since Denny doesn’t vote with the President 95 percent of the time, he must often rely on news reports and constituent input,” wrote Jed Link, Rehberg’s spokesman. “In this case, Denny heard from concerned Montanans, saw reports in the media and took the responsible first step — asking the EPA about it.”

    One of the most troubling paragraphs I have ever read.

    • Good call HI. I never knew that blatant fear mongering was the “responsible first step”.

      Just as an aside, how many times has Dennis Rehberg voted *for* the Patriot Act?

        • Nah you are just trying to make Rehberg and his friends look goofy. I don’t think you are a real twoofer at all. 🙂

          • its pretty easy to make both parties look goofy
            goofy as in puppet show goofy .

            When will the sheep wake up to their non-representative govt ?
            How many rep puppets or dem puppets does it take ??

                • None, Kenny/Moorcat. I’ve been watching this guy, though, wondering if there is life there. My criteria are that he, unlike you, does not draw his opinions from authority figures and group consensus. He’s a little less coherent than I like, and uses an alias, so that’s two strikes.

                  I wrote today about the underlying cowardice that you exhibit here, along with Don. You’re not courageous, fear ridicule, and are easily rustled back into the herd. And then I remember that you are afraid to go into the backwoods without a gun, and it all makes sense.

                  You’re a coward, my son. So is Don. There is objective reality that exists apart from the group and leaders. You must be your own man. Start there. You’ve miles to go, little man. Miles.

                • “You’re a coward, my son. So is Don”

                  You’re a bold man, Mark. Not brave, but bold. To come here and call the proprietor of this blog a coward without knowing him personally takes a certain amount of bluster, or sheer ignorance.

                  Courage isn’t denying the importance of what you can observe, or retreating to opaque theories when the world doesn’t behave the way you want it to. It can be wise to look for a good theory to explain the world, but that’s not what you are doing. You latch on to Chomsky’s theories and your own, but you cling to them even when they fail to predict future events or make sense of the current situation. You are coherent, but that’s natural – you worship a linguist. You are not courageous. If the world worked the way you think it does, your blithely accepting it is cowardice in the extreme. If the system is as evil as you say, you ought to be taking up arms against it, or removing yourself from it. You do neither – therefore, I’m forced to conclude that you cling to your theories not because you believe them but because they remove you from agency and thus, from responsibility.

                  You admit you don’t understand everything, even in the world you created in your head. There is a courageous way to deal with a world you don’t completely understand. You can change your life to avoid active complicity with the system you believe to be oppressive. You can continue to fight to improve the lives of those in your community in small ways. And you can encourage others, both those who agree with you and who disagree, to join you in pursuing those tasks. I’ve seen Don do all of that in the several years I’ve known him, and I think he’d be the first to agree that he’s made substantial progress in the time I’ve known him towards reading those goals. That’s being brave, even in a confusing or frustrating political and social situation.

                • The Polish Wolf, I do not mean to muddy the conversation. But I’ve written the obvious, which you allude to here. Mark Tokarski is delusional.

                • human beings are delusional. there are limits to consumption. we’re going to learn the hard way.

                • Indeed. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough effort being made by any groups, including conservation groups, to limit consumption. Minus that, all the protections and restrictions in the world will be of little use. But that’s another matter entirely.

                • Mark,

                  You’re certainly welcome to continue writing your nonsensical comments on my site, but please understand I won’t be wasting any energy reading or responding to them.

                  If you need to lash out at other people to deal with your own profound guilt for your destructive consumption, I’m happy to give you a virtual location to do it. I just hope it leads to your processing some of this dissonance–and actually changing your behavior.

                  While I suspect you imagine that you are some kind of Internet Socrates, the online gadfly leading us all to truth, you’re not. You’re just a sad little hypocrite, waging personal wars that no one cares about.

                • That’s quite a sermon, PW, Especially dragging Chomsky into it, who does not truck in anything surrounding the things that Axiom is talking about. My line of inquiry is not so much world events, which are shrouded in mystery and deceit, but the nature of the human animal. He is 90% submerged, not a thinking being, but a submissive one. He even allows his perceptions to be governed by others.

                  Individuals are smart, generally, but are governed by group consensus. Groups patrol their perimeters and discipline any who wander too far. Membership in a group is usually more important to individuals than pursuit of truth, so that they allow themselves to be hornswaggled into believing any kind of nonsense even as their senses tell them otherwise. This is why the human is 90% submerged.

                  As I see it, maybe 10-15% of the population can rise above the group. They endure ridicule from groups. Look at Nader, fer chrissakes! Look at how your group has demonized, ostracized and crucified him for defying group consensus. Don’t tell me I’m not on the right path here.

                  BTW, I emailed you yesterday about Libya’s violence, far worse than that in Syria, and not covered here in the land of the free. That would conform to my world view, where we are directed to observe certain events in a certain manner and ignore others. You are following the pattern PW. You’re not inquiring where you should not inquire. You’re a good citizen/group member.

                  Me? Yes, I’m a gadfly. All who eschew group consensus are called such names. Am I courageous? A little more than anyone here, but not much more. I’m self-employed and able to make a living without a boss determining my pay. That’s the first step towards liberation. As a teacher, you don’t have a prayer of breaking free. It would cost you your livelihood.

                  Book store clerks? Not so much,

                • Yes, Don, I should not have taken that shot at you. Kenny engaged me and I responded. Why I put you in that sentence – it’s merely a response to your dismissive attitude towards non-group actors. I carry a little resentment inside me towards that demeanor, as if we are wrong about things, per se, because the common wisdom doesn’t support such views. That’s why I did that and should not have.

                  I apologize. I have an attitude about banning, which is learned behavior. If it happens, I accept it without protest. Do as you will. Free country.

                • The question is about courage, Mark. You are more courageous than us because you…go online and oppose (on principle) mainstream beliefs?

                  Our different beliefs do not come from a lack of courage on one of our parts, Mark. They come from a divergence in predictions about unknowable hypothetical outcomes.

                  We can’t know if Gore would have invaded Iraq, or if McCain would have pulled out if he were elected. We don’t know if Gore would have passed the same tax cuts Bush did, or if McCain would have passed don’t ask, don’t tell. We can’t be sure whether Rehberg could have succeeded in de-listing gray wolves nationwide, or if Paul Ryan’s budget had a chance with a Republican Senate and President. It is for this reason that we can’t agree on whether electoral politics matter.

                  We also can’t know some international hypothetical situations: What would Russia have been like under Lvov, or China under Chiang? No clue. Could Gaddafi have kept peace in Libya after defeating the rebellion? Would Afghanistan be better off had the Taliban maintained their (precarious) hold on power after 2001? Unknowable. Again, differing conjectures about these hypothetical questions lead us to different belief systems.

                  Four years ago, we didn’t know if Obama was going to try to privatize social security, invade Libya, attack Syria, and nuke Iran. Well, I had a hunch. But hey, you are welcome to keep answering the hypothetical questions your way.

                  But courage! That’s another story entirely, Mark. Courage is how you approach your belief system. Courage is changing your comfortable way of life to align it more appropriately with your beliefs, maintaining a lifestyle and mindset that you believe will benefit those around you or society as a whole, even when it is difficult to do so. I’ve seen Don do that; I strive to do that. That’s my attempt at being courageous. Now, if I believed as you do, my lifestyle would have to change in a different way to reflect it; I’d probably have to stockpile weapons and stop paying my taxes. Or become an EU resident.

                • In truth, Mark displays no more courage than Axiom does, save that Tokarski self-promotes much better. Axiom’s ‘website’ from which he promotes his deconstruction of the rational is a self serving thread on an Australian Chess forum. No doubts, this is to hide from the black helicopters that surely will hunt him for promoting the truths of Alex Jones. Mark promotes the same exact stuff, but has the ‘courage’ to do so from Colorado while brazenly defying the black helicopters to come for him.

                  Notice please how often Mark wails about the evil forces attempting to silence him. They both rant about the horrors of moneyed interest and their legion of somnambulent ‘sheep’. Axiom pulls the covers over his head and claims bravery against the boogieman. Mark keeps his eyes wide open, waiting for the scaly claw from the closet or from under the bed. I guess there is a certain degree of bravery in boldly facing the fantasy of inevitable overwhelming attack. It’s the same level of bravery the Baptists show against the legion of demonically obsessed D & D players.

                  Mark wants people to be skeptical about message, but is very selective about how skepticism be applied. Tokarski talks a good fight about people who might attempt to silence his righteous voice. Yet the two people he has banned from commenting at his website are the two who have been most effective applying skepticism to his own assumptions and actions. That’s most certainly not ‘bravery’. Again, I commend you, the Polish Wolf, for attempting to reason with Tokarski. Still, I predict your very rational admonitions will fall on blind eyeballs. If as per the will of Tokarski, and Axiom after him, reason itself can be ‘backwards engineered’, then ‘the truth’ comes before the reason and the circular argument begins. Gore would have done the same as Bush because Gore would have done the same as Bush. Money controls government because money has an increasing role in government and money controls everything because money controls government. Bilderburg, Jekyll island, lizard men, Gulf of Tonkin, Operation Gladio, the Illuminati. No one really REALLY knows except Axiom and Mark Tokarski. The MSM never reported that we were lied into Iraq. Servicemen and teachers are all brainwashed. There is no difference between Tokarski and Axiom save that Tokarski uses a better ‘boogieman’ repelling blanket, and blames you for the boogieman’s existence. Oh wait. Axiom does that too …

      • Lizard is plenty awake, even by your standards. However, he is still coherent, and can still recognize idiotic behavior when he sees it. He’s hardly a party hack – he has no party affiliation and spends far more time criticizing democrats than republicans. So, maybe you can learn two things here –

        Do some basic scouting before you start spouting off. Lizard in many ways believes as you do. Your comment just makes you look sillier.

        Second, if you’re going to go on and on about incoherent conspiracy theories, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. I don’t agree with lizard’s worldview, but at least he’ still ‘plugged in’ – he’s still aiming for a better society. You, on the other hand, are just blathering.

          • You keep bringing up the Gulf of Tonkin as if it is grand conspiracy poorly known. In fact, it’s so poorly known that an online comedy site exposed the sordid truth of it this very day! I submit to you Axiom, sans sarcasm, that when Cracked is exposing the horrors found in your hidden truths, they just aren’t very well hidden, are they?

              • Rob , you really think a comedy site is apropriate in disseminating such “big” information ie. govt lying to enter war ??
                I know those that own the military ind complex and their media think its the best way !

                WAKE UP SHEEP !

      • @ Axiom this site has a resident agitator that at least has a personality. you sound a bit generic, and I can only hope you at some point read Robert Anton Wilson, preferably his Cosmic Trigger series. and if you really want to fuck yourself up with some crazy paranoia, immerse yourself in Philip K. Dick.

        @ The Polish Wolf I also don’t agree with your world view, but you at least put some work into your comments, and have shown me more patience than I have shown you.


        • I suggest you heed Wilson’s words ! :
          “I coined the term irrational rationalism because those people claim to be rationalists, but they’re governed by such a heavy body of taboos. They’re so fearful, and so hostile, and so narrow, and frightened, and uptight and dogmatic… I wrote this book because I got tired satirizing fundamentalist Christianity… I decided to satirize fundamentalist materialism for a change, because the two are equally comical… The materialist fundamentalists are funnier than the Christian fundamentalists, because they think they’re rational! …They’re never skeptical about anything except the things they have a prejudice against. None of them ever says anything skeptical about the AMA, or about anything in establishment science or any entrenched dogma. They’re only skeptical about new ideas that frighten them. They’re actually dogmatically committed to what they were taught when they were in college…”

          ..And you could learn a thing or two from Dick’s “A Scanner Darkly !

  • Where are all those mainstream media TV documentaries on :
    False Flags
    The Operation Northwoods PLAN
    Operation Gladio
    The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
    The Bilderberg Group
    CIA Drug Running
    Bohemian Grove
    Deaths of Dr. D Kelly , Sony Bono , Vince Foster , Danny Casolaro , Gary Webb , ‘DC Madam’ Palfrey , Matt Simmons , Pat Tilman , Sean Hoare
    History of mass compulsory schooling
    The mainstream media is our no.1 frontline enemy as it grossly ill/dis/mis/un and mal – informs us. How can an uninformed populace make informed decisions ? You know like voting in elections for instance !
    Most accept and understand this . But strangely , few stop to ask or investigate what they’re NOT being told about !

    That is where the Reality Analyst steps in ! 🙂

  • Hi Don , appreciate your philosophy on debate .
    I , no doubt like you , believe there is no where near enough public informative debates on important issues .

    I thought a good article you could write could be titled : ” Where are all the Anti-War Lefties These Days ? ” . Including a break down of the concept of ‘cognitive dissonance’ .

  • Good eye, Don: the paranoia of those not involved in the political process expose themselves at every turn. After Ron Paul supporters are jettisoned from the earth hater convention in Tampa expect Gov. Johnson to gain momentum.

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