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Monday Quick Hits: Rehberg, Feaver, Plato, Blogs in Papers. Oh My!

Representative Rehberg seems not to understand what the word transparency means. That, or he is only an advocate of it when it doesn’t apply to his campaign. After filing one campaign report late and another with missing information, Rehberg issued his latest campaign report with 1of 7 donors not disclosing their profession. One of Rehberg’s donors is actually named William Clark (no, really)—and he has donated $6,000 to the campaign, despite a legal limit of $2,500. Well, I guess Representative Rehberg has never let legal limits stop him in the past.

It gets worse for Representative Rehberg, whose accounting is so bad the Federal Elections Commission sent him a warning. Rehberg certainly sounds like someone who should have even more power, doesn’t he?

MEA/MFT President Eric Feaver has been making the rounds, pointing out just how flawed the Montana Policy Institute’s database of alleged state compensation is.
It seems apparent that the Montana Policy Institute is far less interested in providing accurate data than in promoting the idea that state employees are overpaid. Their initial sloppy work, which doesn’t reflect promotions, transition from one position to another, or even people who went from working a few days at the end of a year to full employment the next, gives a terribly misleading picture about compensation for state workers. It’s hard to take an organization devoted to transparency very seriously, when they don’t mind presenting transparently false information to the public.

Those radical socialists at Bloomberg News are reporting that the world’s wealthy elite are hiding as much as $32 trillion in offshore accounts across the world. McKinsey & Co. economist James Henry said that this is creating “a huge black hole in the world economy. The lost tax revenue implied by our estimates is huge.”

I noticed last week that the Great Falls Tribune has been posting material from statewide blogs in the Sunday edition of the paper. It’s an interesting idea (and they’ve made some fascinating choices for inclusion), but how about throwing a link in the direction of the people whose content is being used? That’s basic netiquette, no?

In its ongoing coverage of the ethics of drone warfare, the New York Times philosophy corner The Stone offers a fascinating discussion from Plato, in his story of Gyges of Lydia. In the story, Gyges finds an invisible ring, ultimately using it to seduce the Queen and murder the King to gain power. In the words of John Kaag and Sarah Krepps, “the technological advantage provided by the ring ends up serving as the justification of its use,” a fair comparison to contemporary arguments in support of drones.

Because it can’t all be good stuff, I thought I’d include a truly terrible argument. In what seems an almost transparent effort to get traffic for a terrible argument, Jonathan Merritt argues in The Atlantic that people really shouldn’t boycott businesses for moral reasons. He writes, “I don’t care how my dry cleaner votes. I just want to know if he/she can press my Oxfords without burning my sleeves.” I guess I prefer Martin Luther King’s argument: “"The purpose of … direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”

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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  • Did you see this one Don? From GFT?

    Montana Watchdog, posted by Frank Keegan of State Budget Solutions, July 12:

    Consider Montana. Official numbers put the total unfunded actuarial accrued liability (of Montana public pension plans) at almost $3.9 billion in a state of about 1 million people. The real pension debt is about $10.5 billion when accounting tricks are factored out. It just keeps growing faster than any earnings, economic growth, tax increases and spending cuts ever can pay. What’s the solution? One effective but painful remedy is to convert defined-benefit pensions plans to 401k-style defined contribution. Obviously the handful of politicians, contributors, placement agents, cronies, double dippers, spikers and others skimming fortunes off betrayal of public workers oppose any such solution.

    I’m advising my sis to take her $200K and run.

  • I agree. The GFT, which has posted excerpts from my blog, without ellipses, needs to start adding links back to the original material (which, the GFT might be surprised to learn, is copyrighted).

  • They have posted a couple of things from my blog and didn’t link back. I am curious about the legality of what they are doing though. Blogs are copywrited material.

    • It probably constitutes fair use, but it’s discourteous as hell. And sort of contemptuous of bloggers. I’m not sure that’s the intent, but that’s how it comes across to me.

        • Don, you need to contact the Spitoon and TELL them that y0u want to write a column. I called the Spitoon to complain about their inclusion of one of the biggest dipshits to EVER get a weekly column in a state daily, Col. Klink V. Dumbschmit, and before they hung up on me, they mentioned that they were looking for someone to write an opposing column from the lefty side. I suggest you or Rob Kailey or James Conner, etc. write one. Call down to the Spitoon and ask to speak to Jimmy Strauss balls (like mouse balls only smaller) and let them know that you would like to write a weekly column.

          You see, the REAL problem is that the left (0r sane people as I like to call them) are never given an equal opportunity to respond. Why should this idiot col. dumbschmit get a weekly column? The man is a complete gubmint-suckin’ Teatard moron who has never had a real job in his life! But he called down and begged for a column in order to present the “military conservative” viewpoint. Col. Klink wouldn’t last TEN SECONDS in a real debate with Pogie or Rob. They would dustin hurst his ass quicker than you can say lifer maggot teatard gubmint sucker!

          Please do call. They made the offer. So take them UP on it. Offer yourself as the alternative opinion to col. klink v. dumbschimt. That would be fun to see the lifer maggot boy get his comeuppance!

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