Friday, March 30, 2018


By Dominique Paul Noth

Mueller memes like this are flooding the Internet
How curious that in writing columns about trickery and extremism in politics, there was enough stuff in local confusion and state elections to not even mention Donald Trump and the national Republican disaster.

But admit it, they are making Lewis Carroll proud.  The author of “Alice in Wonderland” described how the lemmings marched over a cliff following their leader.  Many Republicans know the doom they are pursuing and pursue it anyway – even as their leader flails more and more.  When Roseanne is his most convincing defender, the public realizes what a cartoon this is. The cruel reality  he took advantage of (unhappiness with government) cannot hide how bad he is at governing and how he has dragged the rest of his party with him.

The death wishes are so infectious down to  state and local politics that even the supposedly non-partisan April 3 election has become a test of our national temperature. 

Trump’s latest moves failed to deter Congress from its joy in having a president of the same majority party.  The Republicans have rushed to the cliff’s edge as he hires and fires  lawyers, hides  from the students’ massive anti-violence marches, tweets about everything else, agrees to a meeting with North Korea and then picks a national security adviser who wants to bomb the country out of existence, threatens a trade war while Wall Street ducks for cover, lets China seem more peace-loving than the US  and isolates his few remaining military advisers who once brought strange comfort to the nation.

Media insiders have actually begun betting pools about what Trump will tweet next time to distract from his Russian woes, his policy failures and international loss of US reputation. The press has amusingly noted that every time a real revelation is about to take hold, or an embarrassing interview with a sexual playmate is about to air, he hits the “look what I did”  button  on his desk, which seems immensely larger than his nuclear button.  Most recently it has been constant announcements of staff changes or how  infrastructure is just another “easy” lift being blocked by those durn Democrats.

The New York Times recently summed up the consequences of his  staff disarrangements: “The incoming national security adviser (John Bolton) has called for the swift takeover of North Korea by the South. He and the newly nominated secretary of state (Mike Pompeo) have urged withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The pick for CIA director (Gina Haspel) once oversaw interrogations in which terrorism suspects were tortured.”

Mustache famous John Bolton
It is a hard shift to the hawkish right, particularly disturbing in the choice of Bolton (whom “Game of Thrones” fans have taken to calling Night King Stache) to succeed Gen. H.R. McMasters. With his decision on steel and aluminum tariffs,  even those who like the idea express the same fears as one of Paul Ryan’s opponents,  Randy Bryce (the real IronStache),  who commented on TV that whatever the value of tariffs, this is precisely the wrong president to implement them.

No wonder many  pundits are suggesting the only solution to keep the nation out of war (Bolton in the past has recommended pre-emptive strikes against North Korea, Iran and even Cuba) is to pray that  the talkative Bolton can’t keep his mouth shut in a job where he is supposed to give Trump multiple security options.

If he says something outrageous ahead of Trump saying something outrageous, he will get fired as the president has usually done in the past. Don’t step in front of the Donald.

We are reduced to the strange game of reverse psychology to save the nation, since we doubt that Trump on his own hook has any idea how and could plunge us into despair and war.

Don’t laugh. The power of reverse psychology is also forcing the media to look at new methods of covering the president.  Many of them argue that Trump is eating up a lot more airtime (with less effect) than either Bush or Obama because of the past concept of the president as a significant, even godlike presence in American culture – what he decides bears massive impact on domestic and foreign policy. So they hang on every word – but should they with Trump?

It’s even a dilemma for the opposition party.  Democrats are not just torn between moderate and left,  they are torn in how loudly they should be pointing out Trump’s failures.  They don’t want the country to fail, since some of the blame will inevitably attach to them. But if unintentionally or not he does something they think good for the country, should they support that and hope the electorate is smart enough to discern that exception is their  reason?

The media has been lurching around trying to pretend there is good reason to suffer through – and put endlessly on the air – the meaningless press conferences Trump suddenly calls after a nasty tweet, the diatribes he rambles through, the useless series of White House press conferences where stone-faced Sarah Huckster will duck every bullet and send it back as a thoughtless sarcastic bomb.

Advice from Rachel Maddow
Reverse psychology suggests the president should be ignored or that the traditional politeness attending his presence may need some shaking up.  Some in the media are already considering that. MSNBC’S Rachel Maddow has bluntly said the media should pay attention to what he does and what is circling in around him rather than what he says. In her philosophy, ignore his claims and focus on the happenings.

The  other options to reverse  psychology are protest and vote. The young people demonstrated the power of protest in the mammoth marches for life. The youth raised a lot of positive expectations about the future, both by their actions now and their threat to vote later.

The voting doesn’t have to  wait for August primaries  and November election  to start correcting America and force the president and his minions to listen to the masses.

Ostensibly the April 3 election is non-partisan, but no one believes that.  What happens in Wisconsin  will reveal a lot about the future.

The entire state has only two contests to be concerned about.

Justice candidate Rebecca Dallet
One is electing Rebecca Dallet to the state supreme court.  She is the only acceptable  candidate, demonstrated by the desperation of the ads against her (arguing not that she let anyone go but followed the family and  prosecution’s advice in sentencing). 

She is also the first step in restoring balance to the court. 

In 2019, Shirley Abrahamson’s seat is up, and though she has not announced if she is running again, her legendary distinction will carry liberal weight.  In 2020, before the next presidential election, it is the unknown justice under the gun – Daniel Kelly, appointed by Walker to fill out David Prosser’s term.  He has never faced the voters at any level, serving mainly as litigator and conservative hired gun on gerrymandering. Dallet will be the start on turning the high court back to normalcy.

The other important vote is No on eliminating the office of state treasurer. This is simply a power grab by the executive against the state’s banker, who should be examining in a watchdog role billions of dollars in common aid to schools and libraries while also serving a key role on the commission for public lands.

The problem is the duped public thinks that eliminating any elected office, particularly one that has attracted few voters in the past, is somehow a step toward saving money. Actually it’s a step toward letting corruption loose.  Ignore the Republican stooge who has been in the office, Matt Adamczyk, who saw his job as undercutting the reasons for the office.

In better hands, the state treasurer will oversee important fiscal duties that shouldn’t be at the whim of any governor or legislature. Keep the office and elect someone who will do the job.

About the author: Noth has been  a professional journalist since the 1960s, first as national, international and local news copy editor at The Milwaukee Journal, then as an editor for its original Green Sheet, also  for almost two decades the paper’s film and drama critic. He also created its Friday Weekend section and ran Sunday TV Screen magazine and Lively Arts as he became the newspaper’s senior feature editor. He was tapped by the publishers of the combining Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for special projects and as first online news producer before voluntarily departing in the mid-1990s to run online news seminars and write on public affairs and Internet and consumer news. From 2002 to 2013 he ran the Milwaukee Labor Press as editor. It served as the Midwest’s largest home-delivered labor newspaper, with archives at  In that role he won top awards yearly until the paper stopped publishing in 2013. His investigative pieces and extensive commentaries are now published by several news outlets as well as his culture and politics outlets known as Dom's Domain.  He also reviews theater for Urban Milwaukee. 

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