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Three to six trillion of these were lost to fraud in Iraq &
Afghanistan. But Denny Rehberg (R-MT) wants to take them
out of school kids' lunches.
Millionaire cashmere rancher Denny Rehberg frequently worries, probably between bites of filet mignon at The Palm with a lobbyist, that some kid who's merely poor-ish is sticking it to The Man for a price break on school lunches:
Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), who’s expected to face Sen. John Tester (D) in the Montana Senate race next year, is worried that some families who receive federally-subsidized lunches may be gaming the system and therefore bilking you out of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

Mmm! School lunch! Can't wait to steal some!

The Billings Gazette covered Rehberg's tour of a local school, where his sister is the principal. Rehberg's big question: "whether families ever dupe the free and reduced-price meal system."

Billings School District 2 K-12 executive director Brenda Koch answered him:

[E]ach year, a random sample of families who sign up and qualify are audited by the district to make sure they meet the income guidelines.

On top of that, she said, the district is audited by the state every year on how its Title I dollars are spent.

But Rehberg needed a target. “I’d like to punish those systems that rip the taxpayers off,” he said.

Would you now, Denny? Because I heard there was $30-60 billion ripped off over in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I suppose it's easier to just hover over the shoulder of poor kids in Montana and pester them between sporkfulls of cafeteria macaroni & cheese about whether their daddies really for serious only made $16,000 shoveling cashmere goat shit last year.

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Comment Preferences

  •  To be fair to the Congressman, he will add to (18+ / 0-)

    his inquiry all the free lunches Iraqi children received form US Aid over the past ten years.

    He will conveniently remain silent regarding the US contractors that overcharged the US Government for substandard food product inefficiently delivered to those same children by those contractors.

    Notice: This Comment © 2011 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:23:28 AM PDT

    •  Also ignored no-bid contracts (6+ / 0-)

      and full payment plus no prosecution for construction so bad it was abandoned and work so poorly done that US soldiers were electrocuted while showering.  

      Penny wise (and poor bashing) as usual, and billions of dollars foolish.

      PS  This guys views are the reason rich people have such difficulty getting into heaven.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:57:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some attack ads just write themselves. (5+ / 0-)

        A smart politician throws the red meat to his base, not his opposition.

        I am here to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party. Roar louder!

        by Josiah Bartlett on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:02:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see a Tester ad: Kids in a lunch line whispering (5+ / 0-)

          to each other (they're middle school age and both kind of emaciated):

          "How much have you taken from the State this week, Ella?"

          "I got three pieces of cornbread and a cup of orange juice, Zack, how about you?"

          "Ha! I got a  whole pizza slice!" (Zack holds up half eaten slice, conspiratorial glances exchanged)

          VO: "Denny Rehberg wants to protect the voters of Montana from these heartless thieves by cracking down on SCOOL LUNCH FRAUD!!!" (scary music over a screen shot of this news item in an online magazine format, followed by Dragnet theme over a video of the two kids being ushered by cops to take their places in a police lineup)  "Now there's a guy who knows who the bad guys are!"

          (Zack leans over to Ella, who's next to him in the lineup ((you can see their heights are between 4'10" and 5'1")) and Billy, in a stage whisper, says: "Ya think they'll feed us while we're here?"

          (Tester's now on camera and standing in front of a Rehberg poster on a dilapidated barn) "I'm John Tester and I disapprove of politicians making tea-party-points off of the hard luck of their fellow citizens. " (points his thumb over his back at Rehberg's face)

          (Takes thumb down an puts his hands in his pockets, shakes his head and starts to walk off camera, stops, turns back to the camera and says) "Oh, and I approve this message"

          I hope the Teabaggers pick him.

          "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

          by nailbender on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 01:31:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  literally taking kids' lunch money? (14+ / 0-)

    Looks like Tester got his Christmas gift early this year.

  •  So what?! So what if someone's kids gets some (17+ / 0-)

    food.

    You either have to deny people who deserve the benefit or allow some that don't.

    When I was working for the SS bureau, I knew that we were gate-keepers. Either you allow a few too many people benefits in assuring you don't leave anyone out, or you deny benefits to folks that deserve them, to make sure that no one is "gaming" the system.

    And therein lies the difference between repukelicans and democrats. Most of us would rather someone get benefits they might not quite deserve to ensure that everyone who deserves them receives them. Whereas the repukes would rather deny the worthy to ensure that those that don't deserve them don't get them.

    It's just a different philosophy of life. One is more human and more humane.

    "Say little; do much." (Pirkei Avot: 1:15)

    by hester on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:33:04 AM PDT

  •  But going after contractors isn't mean enough (4+ / 0-)

    How does recouping billions from shifty contractors in Iraq teach a social-darwinistic life-lesson to mooches and layabouts? That would be a total waste of time!

  •  Walking over dollars to get to dimes: (14+ / 0-)

    A favorite Republican exercise.

    Coburn just found a Billion over 10 years in government payments to dead people!  OMG!

    Meanwhile, whole SKIDS of actual cash go missing in Iraq, and I don't seem to recall hearing a peep out of any of them.

    They will expend any amount of money and time, though, to make sure no American citizen gets one thing dime he didn't "earn".  It is the way of the Aynus Randians who have taken over the party: Fiscal responsibility has given way to fiscal aynal retentiveness.

    •  Are You Saying That It Is OK... (0+ / 0-)

      To send dead people checks for years?

      Can't we stop fraud and mistakes everywhere?

      •  No, obviously I am NOT saying that at all. (0+ / 0-)

        But, there is such a thing as "priority", and when it comes to government expenditures, it certainly seems to me that the place to start is the larger ones that pertain to spending on elective wars, as opposed to the smaller ones where an American kid might get some free food.

      •  I don't read that as saying the dead people were (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JC from IA

        receiving checks for 10 years, I read it as saying over the course of 10 years, the total amount of money spent was $10million.  We also don't know if that amount was actually checks cashed, or was merely the amount issued for a few weeks until the social security dept. was properly notified.

        I suspect that number to likely be in the same category as John Kyl's claim that Planned Parenthood spent 90% on abortions, when the actual number was less than 3%--one of those misremembered things. . .

  •  Please God. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stroszek, luckylizard, Matt Z

    Don't let that drunk-boating fatcat assclown become my Senator.

  •  It's always the fault of the indigent (5+ / 0-)

    This coming tax season, expect to see lots of warnings of "Billions of dollars" in Earned Income Tax Credit fraud. It pales in comparison to the amount of fraud perpetrated by the Financial Elites.

    When I worked for H&R Block several years ago, there was lots of training to help us "red flag" potential EITC fraud, but very little training to help spot fraud from any other filers.

    School Lunch.
    Earned Income Credit.
    Sub Prime Mortgages.

    Altogether, I bet we're talking less than the GWoT fraud you cited in this diary.

    The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

    by Egalitare on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:42:19 AM PDT

  •  Really! (9+ / 0-)

    Guess what.  Some people lie and cheat and steal.  One of the things I hate most about the anti-government crowd is that they single out 1 out of 100 people who are gaming the system, and blame the entire sytem.

    They are the ones who want to spend $1.40 per person to make sure some kid's parents somewhere aren't cheating the government out of $0.15.  And then they get all moany and complainy about how 'inneficient' it all is, because of the audits they put in to catch the small amount of cheaters.

    Fuck 'em.

  •  Code for "brown people eating your food" (5+ / 0-)

    You know he's worried about the wrong sort - you know, those people always cheat. It's part of their culture.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:42:57 AM PDT

  •  It is indeed comforting (4+ / 0-)

    to know that my tax dollars are being scrutinized, oh so carefully by "Mr. Need to make a name for myself."

    What a true American hero.

    Ah screw it. I am so done with these clowns going after the minutia. The only people this impresses are the troglodytes that vote for asshats like him.

    Ooooh look, something shiny. Yeah there big feller, go after those people trying to hoodwink the guvmint.

    As they say, tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.

    "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

    by wxorknot on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:44:01 AM PDT

  •  I've heard the actual figure is 50 to 100x (0+ / 0-)

    higher than this:

    Because I heard there was $30-60 billion ripped off over in Iraq and Afghanistan
    .
  •  It would be my guess that what (4+ / 0-)

    Rehberg sees as a potential campaign issue is the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act which was passed in the lame duck session of Congress in 2010.

    I've written some about it here

    http://likethedew.com/...

    In addition to trying to revamp the school lunch program to cut out empty calories and junk foods and try to get soda machines out of the schools (there's a requirement that there be safe drinking water available), there's an experiment in determining eligibility for free lunches on a neighborhood or community basis, rather than having individual families provide all kinds of documentation to prove they are poor.  If this experiment works out (1200 schools are in it), then the children of rich parents living in poor neighborhoods will get a free lunch along with everyone else.  That will leave a bunch of accountants and record keepers with nothing to do but maybe educate the kids.

    Our deprivators often rail against bureaucrats, but they're the ones that want to collect tons of useless data before they make the decision they wanted to make in the first place.

    There's always an ulterior motive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

    by hannah on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:46:53 AM PDT

  •  We need an investigation! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JC from IA, Thinking Fella

    Rehberg and his farm need looking into lest this wealthy man ever received money from the government by way of subsidies that he didn't need.

    And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

    by tobendaro on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:47:03 AM PDT

  •  Would that Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo

    like this amoral asshat worry as much about the innocents who are executed by lethal injection in this country in order to protect the $$ death industry in the penal system.

    I am pretty sure that parents who can afford to pack lunches prefer not to put their children through the humiliation of a free lunch or carton of milk.

    Bastard.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:55:58 AM PDT

  •  That quote really got to me, too... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wxorknot
    “I’d like to punish those systems that rip the taxpayers off,” Rehberg said during the visit, according to the Gazette.
    Yeah?  How about you start with the goddamn douchebag fund managers, you goddamn douchebag? Or your corporate-people pals with all the expatriated profits, maybe?

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 11:57:47 AM PDT

  •  Typical GOPer. They are sooooooo concerned (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wxorknot, Thinking Fella

    with the "who deserves what" thing. It's like they think Gawd or Jeebus or Karma won't do the job right, so they've got to step up to the plate on the Deservingness Jury!

    I've been wanting to make this concept into a bumpersticker, but I can't get it down short & snappy enough. Does anyone have a suggestion?

    •  Hmm. Try these for bumper stickers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight

      Vote Republican - because the Devil can't send America to Hell all by himself!

      No Republican can enjoy Heaven without someone burning in Hell.

      Republicans - Hating the Sin AND the Sinner.

      Hey GOP - That brown-skinned guy you hate who wants to heal the sick; Did you mean Obama or Jesus?
      (paraphrased from an Occupy Wall Street Sign)

      When Jesus said "Suffer the little children to come unto me." all the Republicans heard was "Suffer, children."

      The Austin Lounge Lizards have got their number but good.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 03:43:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's a big touche. (0+ / 0-)

    Well done, sir. Well done indeed.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:05:33 PM PDT

  •  Let 'em! (0+ / 0-)

    I say anybody brave enough to scam a lunch of fish sticks deserves 'em.  Say, do they still serve fish sticks?  

    GOP Legislators; surprisingly affordable - Trudeau

    by BurningFeet on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 12:14:28 PM PDT

  •  Well that's what bullies do- (0+ / 0-)

    steal kids' lunches. And Republicans are  bullies, the very worst kind.

  •  There are some people that need a dog to kick. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Take a walk on the Wall Street (0+ / 0-)

    “I’d like to punish those systems that rip the taxpayers off ...”  

    We know some banksters that REALLY need punishing.

  •  As a Montanan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JC from IA

    I'm not surprised.

    He also is suing fire fighters for not protecting his real estate developments view.  

    No fire damage to the houses...just ruined the view...

    um...why sue firefighters just in time for election season?

  •  Denny Rehberg, "Man of the People" (0+ / 0-)

    Denny Rehberg made a big fuss about voting against the Ryan plan to "save" Social Security, but don't believe it for one minute. This career millionaire politician just puts on an "aw shucks average Joe/Denny" fake act. He claims he is pro-envirnonment, yet has a terrible record there. Rehberg voted against support for veterans and against  giving them mandatory rest between deployments. He voted against the minimum wage and for radical health care cuts and is antii-choice. Michele Bachmann  came to the dinner where he kicked off his Sen. campaign in Helena. He votes with  the G"NO"P 90% of the time. His attack on "fraud" in school lunches is oh so typical for this "compassionate" extremist. For more on why Rehberg is too extreme for Montana, read     this  

  •  My Wife's School (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, Thomasina

    We live in rural America.  Small towns, simple folk, hard workers, low pay.  My wife teaches 2nd grade and has taught for about 20 years.

    At her school, the problem with free and reduced price lunches are the families that refuse to apply.

    There are funding programs that the school gets based on the percentage of families accepted into the free and reduced price lunch program.  

    In this area, many view the lunch programs as "charity" and have definite views on charity -- it's something you give, but never accept.  As a result many who would qualify, don't apply.

    Not only do these families fail to benefit from the free food, but the school misses out on additional funds they should qualify for.

    This all comes back to how the rich view the poor: as parasites.  When my experience has been the opposite.  Many of my friends, neighbors and family qualify as "poor."  But there is a resistance to being labeled as such and accepting the aid offered.

  •  Reading this, kos? (0+ / 0-)

    You still don't want to lift a finger for John Tester? Just hope your kids never need to sign up for school lunches.

  •  We Got This. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Allaneous, xaxnar

    I like to think we Montanans are smart enough to keep a D-bag like Denny out of the Senate.  It bothers me to have outsiders trying to influence Montana's electoral landscape. Still, if it looks like we are screwing it up and about to lose Tester's Senate seat to this idiot, SEND HELP!!!

    The person who defines reality wins.

    by Taylorbad on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 02:42:45 PM PDT

    •  after 2010 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar

      I have so little faith in we Montanans.  We have two Democratic Senators and a Democratic Governor and I've never been more freaked out.

      Our legislature wasted the session bitching about drunk driving laws, fearmongering about inmates who use blow darts to give prison guards AIDS, effectively repealing MMJ and inviting crotchedy old bigots to testify aqainst gays.  Not to mention trying to roll back every environmental protection we currently enjoy.  

      I don't know what the state is coming to, really.  Hopefully to their senses, but it seems like every bumper sticker I see is gleefully advocating that somebody blow our heads off.

  •  The cons have such a racket (0+ / 0-)

    The economy's in the shitter and the majority of americans are broke.  So, they extrapolate that to say that the government is broke too, just like you!

    It works.  Why can't people fucking understand that the rich have plenty, that the government has plenty.  And even after the poor swindle the good taxpayer out of bad pizza and meatloaf, there will still be plenty of money to go around.

    Dammit these people can be so fucking stupid.  When will they wake up??

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 02:42:45 PM PDT

  •  free lunch? (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone who works in schools will tell you that it is more likely that people who qualify for free and reduced lunch are more likely to not apply for it than to fraudulently attempt to qualify for it. This is especially true for kids in middle and high school. They are very sensitive about the stigma.

  •  No Republican is happy without a target (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans don't define themselves by their own virtues (big surprise) - they do it by finding someone or something to blame/scapegoat to make themselves look better by contrast.

    After the Soviet Union broke up, the Republicans were adrift for years until they changed their focus to making the U.S. government - when in the hands of Democrats - the new Evil Empire.

    Without someone to hate, they got nuthin'.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Oct 01, 2011 at 03:13:50 PM PDT

  •  I'm so Angry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    All I can offer are violent thoughts. It doesn't help I'm watching Gladiator as I type this.

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