Friday, December 21, 2018

NO XMAS NOSTALGIA JUST GENERAL DISASTER FROM TRUMP

By Dominique Paul Noth

Sweet retired general Dean Jagger (with Mary Wickes) in "White Christmas"
“What do you do with a general when he stops being a general?” Irving Berlin asked the musical question back when fondness for generals could be the plot centerpiece for a holiday movie perennial, “White Christmas.”

Marine General James Mattis (who hates the nickname “Mad Dog” that Trump loves) was 4 years old and Donald was at his permanent age of 7 when the film broke at Christmastime in Radio City Music Hall 64 years ago, setting box office records.  Composer Berlin was a Jewish √©migr√© and devout patriot who loved the army and fashioned in musical salutes the nostalgic vision of a patriotic America that we still haven’t outgrown – even while we have soured on wars and generals (“We’ll follow the old man wherever he wants to go”) as a way of life to emulate. But while we’ve grown suspicious of the draft and military service, we continue to concede that the discipline and service represented by generals is something to admire. 

Warts and all, we regarded the generals Trump surrounded himself with as the wise old men who would keep him in check. Okay, so it is not the blind adoration those “White Christmas” GIs felt for nice old Dean Jagger, but at least the White House presence of those generals brought tons of experience to prevent a wrecking ball novice from swinging wildly.  We thought.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Mattis’ announced resignation took away the last of those generals.  Michael Flynn lost his way to become a now convicted felon.  Lieutenant General H.R. McMasters wore himself out in months as Trump’s chief of staff and John Kelly, after exposing his mean chauvinistic streak, is also departing.  

None of the generals enhanced their image in civilian service – in fact, they saw their reputations disintegrate.  As did ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson who plunged into disrepute after serving as secretary of state.  Tom Price, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Jeff Sessions and on and on till the crack of doom.  It is a parade of people who “have left in dismay or disgrace,” noted future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On Dec. 20, a date that will live in chaos, Trump engaged in more “end of times” meltdown.  He pulled out of Syria, ignored a plunging stock market, forced the government into closure because he was denied his toy train (a $5 billion start on his useless border wall, with his new concession that he would settle for “steel slats” – hopefully not Chinese steel) and fought the reality of 17 separate investigations of his empire and presidential campaign over obstruction of justice, fraud, bribery and Russian collusion. 

His excuse for this continuing descent into chaos was that he was keeping campaign promises (the wall, pulling out of Syria) – but that is an unending pledge of continuing disaster given how many things he promised that “I alone can fix it.”

Nothing distinguished Mattis as much as the way he left office, with a resignation letter that confirmed his reputation within the Pentagon as a rigorous intellectual. 

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours,” he wrote, “I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed.”

But he nailed those differences in ways that by mere contrast and elegant protest confirmed how working for Trump has shallowed out his influence. This is no Hollywood general.

"One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies."

Slap one: Trump was disrespecting allies.

“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.”

Slap two: Why are you cozying up to the bad actors?

Observers believe Mattis was incorporating several disagreements in these remarks -- Syria, North Korea, Russia, NATO, a space force, arming troops at Mexican border.

Trump has now torn himself loose  from all anchors the nation once respected, leaving us with the likes of John Bolton and Stephen Miller to advise him.  His bullying ways may keep Republican followers in check for a few more weeks but eventually most of them will be forced into awakening.  Time is running out. The consequences for the nation are almost too extreme to contemplate

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 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 milwaukeelabor.org.  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.  


Monday, December 17, 2018

GOP GROUCHES EMERGE WHEN POLITICAL POWER TRANSFERS

By Dominique Paul Noth

Among the traits Assembly majority leader Robin Vos
shares with Richard Nixon . .  .
In national politics, there is a pattern of the incoming Republican administration seeking to unravel successes of the departing Democrats.  Wisconsin at the end of 2018 is seeing a wrinkle in the playbook -- departing Republicans trying to foul the landing field for the incoming Democrats.

. . . is a profound disdain for the US
democratic transfer of power.
It all makes curious reading for history buffs about how our supposedly normal transfer of power from one party to another can be turned into a period of audacious mischief-making.

Democrat Lyndon Johnson was desperately but promisingly working on a deal among South Vietnam, North Vietnam and the US to halt the war in 1968 and bring the issues to the Paris bargaining table. Richard Nixon the Republican candidate was anxious to wrap up presidential victory in a year when the Democrats had fought among themselves yet were still giving him trouble at the polls.  He keenly feared an LBJ success in Vietnam could tip the scales.

So Nixon gave lip service to LBJ’s peace initiative but behind the scenes through emissaries like power broker Anna Chennault -- and today we have it on tape – tricky Dick was assuring the South Vietnamese they would get a better deal if he got elected.  

LBJ discovered the deception, branded it treason in private but felt revealing it to the public would destroy the nation’s self-image.  So Nixon got away with that maneuver, the war lingered seven more years and even expanded during his terms. The seeds of Watergate deception were planted – he had proof that high-handed interference worked.

Something similar was parlayed by candidate Ronald Reagan when he was ahead in the polls in 1980 but feared one setback that could elevate Jimmy Carter – success in Carter’s quiet backstage work with Iran on a deal to release the hostages.  So Reagan, turning to his campaign manager and future CIA leader William Casey, negotiated with Iran to wait for him -- assuring there would be no hiccup in his win.  Carter’s administration succeeded but the hostages release was announced by Reagan on the date of his inauguration – fooling America to think he’d done it, fostering a myth that has endured.


With Trump, we don’t yet have a total picture of what sabotage was worked with Russia or social media to lead to his election.  It’s starting to look like no one involved was convinced their shenanigans would have such positive results in 2016, but we do know there were shenanigans and collusion – just waiting for investigators to establish how high up and intimate they went.   

We have clear evidence, though, of how Trump sought to sabotage the departing administration its last two months in office – to undercut Obama in more ways than campaign rhetoric where he could. One way was to make sure the Russians knew he would weaken the sanctions Obama had leveled, while also working ahead of time to undo other Obama’s initiatives.

Wisconsin Republicans picked up the same pattern of behavior – but in this case after losing, not winning every statewide race. The GOP could do that  because the courts have not yet solved the gerrymandered district maps imposed by Republican lawyers in 2011. The GOP still held firm in deformed legislative maps seven years later while statewide every office turned blue

Wisconsin and Michigan have that legislative underclass in common and are the two states the GOP could show its ugliest colors in the transformation – or flat giving up – of power.

Wisconsin was even more grotesque in how the Republicans sought in their final bills to undo campaign pledges that clearly helped Tony Evers win, such as economic development and Medicaid expansion.  Evers won voters with a campaign promise to replace a Walker concoction, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation,  with a well managed Commerce Department. The legislature has now locked him out of any say in the WEDC for eight months.

Urban Milwaukee editor Bruce Murphy speculates that the GOP had been planning for a long time to pull this lame-duck trigger once it was assured Walker would lose, and I for one believe Walker was a willing participant in this idea, so easily did he approve all three of these bills weakening incoming Democrats, putting his powerful partial veto pen to one side.  Even a partial veto would criticize his longtime allies for not thinking deeply enough or draw a road map for the inevitable lawsuits.

But Walker’s final trickery was shrewder. The entire lame-duck session was pretense to
lay $100 million or $78 million in tax incentives on Kimberly-Clark, but even GOP legislators balked at that amount of corporate welfare, particularly after hearing the public’s anger about the billions of dollars given to Foxconn. So before he signed the new bills preventing any such economic deal by Evers – shrewd timing this -- he established $28 million in tax incentives for Kimberly-Clark, a healthy chunk of what he wanted in the first place.

The frustrated lame-duck GOP turned instead to bills that strengthen the legislature’s hand over the new governor and particularly over the new attorney general.  They almost force Josh Kaul to play backseat to their own legal hires in   every case where the public objects to legislative overreach.

The attacks on the governor were notably  in regard to the WEDC, which the GOP has openly used to give tax incentives to companies that supported them politically. WEDC represents seven years of scandal and financial waste, much of it before the noxious Foxconn deal.  

The lame-duck bills lock Evers out of the WEDC for eight months.  By that time, the damage by an unfettered CEO with new freedoms may be  too severe to unwind.  The new law raises membership on the board so that the legislature, not the governor, has the controlling voice.  It makes the state’s Foxconn point person report to the board, not the governor. The legislature gets to choose the CEO and the CEO can make more deals with less data (verification of new jobs created) than before. And while previously WEDC was limited to making deals with 30 companies (it only got up to 26) the cap is now gone and the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has a passive voice of approval in the decisions.  In other words, if you view the original setup as inviting corruption, these changes practically beg for corruption.

The Republicans know these bills are a last gasp effort because they no longer can triangulate: Senate blames Assembly blames Walker and round and round we went trying to figure out who was doing the most damage.  The governor is now out of the picture.  The ugly stuff is coming from the legislature and if the public gets angry about which good ideas are bollixed, the finger-pointing is only at the legislature – and all the lawsuits will be aimed at them.  The GOP may hang on to stubbornness for a few months but the price for continued obstruction could quickly become too costly.

Funny thing.  While Democratic Party regulars and much of the public that voted Evers in are gnashing their teeth and anxious to crucify the Republicans for their entrenched gridlock,  Evers is not.  He continues his budget listening tour around the state, picks out an eminent team of advisors, frames proposals the Republicans will be hard to fight and even visits the White House  to lay out plans for state and federal cooperation. 

He has been critical of the lame-duck bills but believes he will be judged on what he tries to accomplish – and what they oppose.  The  orneriness of the legislature could prove his biggest marketing tool.

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 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 milwaukeelabor.org.  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.  


Monday, December 10, 2018

THE CHILDISH POLITICAL GAME FREEZING OUR STATE

By Dominique Paul Noth

Governor-elect Tony Evers  discovering just how futile
it is to appeal to Walker's conscience.
Not just Democrats are stuck in the childhood game of “Statues” – Stop Motion and Freeze! -- because of the lame-duck legislation dropped on Scott Walker’s desk, those controversial new laws that attack the new governor, the new attorney general, voting rights  and basic protections for the citizenry  against  governmental overreach while tangling us in red tape.

It comes in a season dominated by holiday chatter, the Packers after McCarthy, the Bucks in a new auditorium and so forth – but also  shortly after an election where voters spoke out for change in our economic oversight, health care championship and ways of working together. The contrast of what the legislature just did and what the public sought is enormous and normally would lace the season with community protests and media vitriol over the tone and methods of these bills. 

What’s happening instead is anger frozen in midair while even national columnists and past governors from both parties sound the alarm.  There is this strange paralysis because the basic question – “what do we do now?” – isn’t quite real yet. 

The departing governor is stringing out the possibilities of delay and uncertainty to the bitter end, leaving the public hanging in limbo not sure what to attack and what will remain.  Walker is urged by near and not so dear to show his hand, but he seems to enjoy keeping Wisconsin blurry and out of focus.

Even his normally optimistic replacement, Tony Evers, doubts that Walker will protect his own legacy or that of his state. The Republicans scoff and pretend that the new bills aren’t really dangerous or extreme.  But here’s a news flash --- they are. 

As of Dec. 10, Walker hasn’t even formally called for the lame-duck bills to come to his desk – he has until Dec. 20. And then he has a week to play with veto, elaborate partial veto and simple passage. Expect Walker to use the biggest partial veto pen in the nation to nip and tuck the dynamite – and pretend that he is turning a sow’s ear into a slightly better looking sow’s ear.  The best he is likely to do is put lipstick on this pig.

It’s not just how much of the intended consequences of these lame duck laws will be put in place.  It is how much of the unintended consequences will, or slippery consequences that the Republicans never talked about. In their haste they did not realize or even cared as they scribbled rewrites in the dark for several dreadful early December nights. Walker will not so much fine-tune this legislation as decide what to allow that doesn’t expose his own hypocrisy.

In past legislation designed to coerce him, he refused to let the legislature take this much power from the executive or encumber state agencies with the bucketloads of reports and paperwork these law require. Now he seems part of the move to force both the governor and the attorney general to genuflect to the legislature every time they seek a significant action.

In the past Walker tried to limit how the Department of Transportation could whipsaw state and federal funds around, or how much sway the legislature would have over routine executive decisions, or how much it controlled what he wanted to do with Medicaid. Despite his protests of not inhibiting Evers, he is likely to be doing just that.

Intended and unintended consequences are starting to mix together as more people examine these bills ahead of Walker’s decision, underscoring that he really can’t fix stuff the legislature should never have sent him in the first place and that I suspect he knew damn well was coming. It may take months to really understand the traps built into these bills.

The initial  court action – and I anticipate many filings -- is likely to circle in on the limitations on early voting and how deeply the two week time frame flies in the face of previous court decisions – most particularly a 2016 federal decision by Judge James Peterson that spells out how blatant the original bill was in attacking voting rights. 

This all ties in to an existing federal case attacking the gerrymandered maps. Without them, we wouldn’t be going through this current horror show. The hope and fear is the US Supreme Court will deal with either solution or avoidance in the spring.

The Republicans now try to claim that by giving up opposition to evening hours and weekends, their new two-week limit on early voting solves the many legal impediments, but it is a ludicrous argument and frankly an attempt to send Wisconsin voting back to the stone age. 

The Republicans claim, in an insult to rural voters, that this is the group “deeply distressed” that urban voters get to cast ballots weeks before they can.  The only complaint I hear from rural voters is more in the line of “give me some of that” – usually they want the state to technologically move forward into the 21st century with secure voting options that free rather than inhibit the time frame. 

That one is so obviously silly that Walker is likely to step in with his partial veto pen.  

But that doesn’t begin to touch the real damage the bills do to the operation of the government.

Republicans have created brand new sections of law that put the majority leaders of both chambers and the chairs of the joint committees (also Republicans) on par with the attorney general any time someone in the public dares challenge the constitutionality of a law they passed.  All these GOP insiders now have the authority to appoint legal counsel at taxpayer expense and the attorney general is merely “consulted.”

This is more than a slapdown of the new AG Josh Kaul. It deliberately chills the public from complaining unless they have such deep pockets they don’t care that the taxpayer will be paying the opposition counsel whatever the legislators involved require.

The AG is the highest law enforcement official in the state. He or she can’t directly strike down a law as unconstitutional.  But the current process requires input from the AG when the public does challenge, and the citizens naturally turn to their top elected officeholder for an evaluation, not expecting some wishy-washy legislator who wrote the bill to be given equal weight.  It sure makes you wonder what sort of behavior these legislators want to protect.  

Mandated intervention by legislators is the operative phrase in the many new sections in the laws.  The legislature can interfere anytime a court becomes interested in what it does, which seems a warped vision of checks and balances.  State agencies, with the exception of educational ones already protected by court decisions, can’t move an inch without a legislative okay and must prepare quarterly reports as detailed as if agency leaders were merely Bob Crotchet working for Scrooge.  Even the commissioner of insurance has to ask before he or she can give waivers. Legislature spanks if executives don’t curtsy deeply enough.

On and on the fine print runs, blocking in passing any effort by Evers to limit firearms at the Capitol or attract people to government who want to do important work. 

Independent analysts are beginning to take apart the tax legislation to demonstrate that, despite promises, it is not aimed at middle class relief or smoother operation but to help corporate partnerships and those households with a quarter of a million dollars or more in annual income. There is apparently a Republican definition of the middle class that is foreign to most Wisconsinites. 

The entire tax section is a muddle even for the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau in its formal analysis, which uses “indeterminate” a lot to describe the impact of a complicated law.

It isn’t so much that the legislators didn’t miss a trick, but they imposed so many tricks they themselves don’t even know what the legislation requires.

Apparently Evers most scared the willies out of them with his pledge, endorsed by the voters, to dissolve the WEDC (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation) and create a better Commerce Department.  The new bills treat that as an open threat to the oceans of gimmes and giveaways that have rewarded the Republican top corporate donors through this Walker created shell game, which has been stalked by millions of dollars in scandals.

In the new laws, the CEO for WEDC is nominated by the legislature, not the governor; the board members from the legislature are expanded while quorum level is reduced, and the board can give the CEO broader discretion.  The WEDC on its own can lift the current restrictions on deals it makes with companies – in other words the entire legislative approach protects the WEDC and invites corruption.  Foxconn has been given looser job assurances to require and the governor’s point-person on Foxconn now reports just to the legislature.

You can start a good fistfight anywhere about the value or lousiness of the Foxconn presence in the state. But there is now universal agreement – except apparently in the GOP legislature -- that the looseness of the WEDC mechanism led Wisconsin to pay way too much for a promised job-land of milk and honey now curdling into lawsuits from other states and environmental groups
  
The WEDC protection in these laws is being advertised by the GOP as a testing period for the new governor, suggesting neither he nor the voters had a clue about economic development but that the mighty legislature did.  This advertised shakeout cruise imposed on the governor bans him from any meaningful say in the WEDC until after September 1.  Examine this from the pragmatic side.  The legislature has put itself in charge for most of 2019, defying the governor to make changes to their choice of CEO and operations if he is still unhappy next fall. They are telling the governor and the voters that their opinions about WEDC don’t really matter.

My personal feeling is that the attorney general is the most aggrieved party in the lame-duck bills and the least likely one for Walker to save, since that directly confronts the legislature and the GOP’s biggest donors. These attacks on the AG are one of the most blatant examples of revisionist history in memory – and with Trump occupying the White House, that is saying a lot.

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 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 milwaukeelabor.org.  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.  


Sunday, December 2, 2018

STATE REPUBLICANS KEEP MAKING AN ASP OF THEMSELVES

By Dominique Paul Noth

“We have scotched the snake, not killed it!”  So worried Macbeth that his foes had not been destroyed but driven into secret nests, or wherever snakes come from.  This was Shakespeare on an evil man’s overriding fear – that the powers to defeat him were just lurking, ready to strike.

Today we flip the bard on his head.  The fear should be from the good guys, the heroes, the progressive forces who thought they had killed the snake in the election of 2018.  They had barely scotched (scorched) it. In Wisconsin, the snake is alive and more than lurking among the Republicans because of their own special serpent, gerrymandering.

A chart  created for Internet use that clarifies
 how  many more votes Wisconsin Democrats
got with poorer results.
This snake left the state legislature intact Republican despite what the electorate clearly wanted.  The charts breaking down 2018 voting truths reveal a majority of state legislative voters wanted change. It is these voters now being denied by blatant GOP manipulation.

The lame duck GOP includes members defeated handily for larger office like Leah Vukmir.  But they are scrambling to do massive damage to the incoming Democrats who swept the state offices.  They fully trust one of the defeated, Scott Walker, will go along with their duplicity.

Rep. Chris Taylor
The short time before January 7, 2019, is their shrinking window to do huge damage in an extraordinary legislative session that Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor rightly describes as “only extraordinary in the sense it reveals the depths Republican leaders are willing to sink to expand their own political power in direct violation of the will of the voters.”

Study the bills. There may be some red herrings in there so blatantly political and unconstitutional that they can’t survive previous court opinions on early voting hours or moving an election in 2020 to favor a conservative pet for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.   But maybe the GOP is hoping to deflect the outrage with obviously extreme bills it actually won’t pursue – fooling the angry public into thinking it was victorious while the real horrors are hidden in the legalese sausage-making of bills on boards, waivers and taxing powers. 

The main thrust of those bills besides elevating the GOP legislature is to limit the powers of the incoming governor and attorney general in ways that border on constitutional abuse but are much harder to take to court.

The Democrats are both angry and a bit mystified about which ways to counterattack. Legal niceties don’t seem to much bother this Republican crew. They expect to be saved by the tilted Republican judicial system that has ignored constitutional realities in the past.  

If the legislators themselves don’t stop this,  only public outrage can – rallies and phone calls, particularly by citizens reaching both inside and outside their own districts to shake up the pliant Republican legislators.  

I and other members of the media have actually made this point to many Republican legislators who are not what you would normally call blind Trump people. But out of fear of losing power or speaking out in defiance of their leaders, they seem to have amnesia about how representative democracy is supposed to function.

This lost-memory behavior by once responsible Republicans has perplexed Democrats, independent and even many traditional Republican voters. What is happening to these people?  In conversation these officials seem to understand there are problems with Trump’s circular firing squad of an administration and with never saying you’re wrong.  But they justify going along because of the few things he does they like, such as supreme court nominations.  But sell your soul to this kind of refusal to accept a changing world? Lose an election and refuse to concede? There is no nobility of belief here, just malice.

Optimistically, I look at the national polls  suggesting  38% approval of Trump as president  (a bad number to begin with) as boiling  down to 18% diehard support of anything he says or does and 20% who like his general policy direction but not his personality.  I also think there is a subset that so embraces respectful treatment of any president that they take the opposition to him as more un-American than his own behavior. And the Trump diehard group may well include people so dismayed by our slow checks and balances democracy that they see Trump as the agent to blow the whole thing up whether they like his policies or not.

But still with all that,   there clearly ought to be a good percentage who can be talked to.  Democrats and social scientists sure keep trying.

It’s hard to throw cold water on the Democrats who are luxuriating in the most sizeable House victory since Watergate -- and likely bigger than 60 years before that. The party has flipped some 40 seats and is re-electing the most proficient Speaker of the House in modern political history, Nancy Pelosi. But the Republicans sit there like stone reminding us why that is not enough, particularly in Wisconsin.

In the US Senate the GOP picked up one seat, a lot less than they hoped for but still retaining a majority. The GOP House losses were massive, but only for two year terms and the clock has already started on the flippers and whether they will maintain and expand in once red districts. How many Democrats of the 40 gained can be reassured re-election in 2020? Is Wisconsin an indication of how ugly the fight will be elsewhere?  

There are special circumstances in Wisconsin that led to this deformed legislative effort to reduce or reverse the results of the 2018 election. But perhaps we are a prelude – and a warning – of what the GOP really intends everywhere beneath the surface. Rather than looking for ways to get things done for this country, too many are seeking to retain control or force their opinions about poverty and wealthy income on the unsuspecting public.

It would be remarkable if the citizens of Wisconsin can stop them. It would be fierce resolution at the end of one backwards year for a productive two years ahead. If fact, this ugly partisan behavior should lead the Democrats to more forcible actions to empower a new governor, Tony Evers, than they originally intended.


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 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 milwaukeelabor.org.  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.