NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Thursday, March 23, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Supreme Court candidate Judge Janet Protasiewicz says she’s considering a lawsuit over accusations made by her former stepson alleging abuse during her first marriage and the use of the N-word decades ago.

The unverified accusations have run on the conservative website Wisconsin Right Now.

The Journal Sentinel didn’t publish the claims earlier because they originated from a single source with a checkered past and some inconsistencies in his story. The news organization is addressing them now that the candidate discussed the allegations on the record, misinformation about them has circulated widely on social media and a second individual has stepped forward with similar claims.

Protasiewicz, a liberal, is squaring off against former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, a conservative, in the April 4 election. The winner of the increasingly testy contest, marked by the influx of national money and outside TV ads, will determine the ideological direction of the state’s seven-member court.

“It’s an absolute lie, 100%. It smacks of some type of desperation by any media outlet that works to promote that,” Protasiewicz said during a meeting with reporters and editors at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Asked if she planned to sue, she responded: “My family and I have been discussing that, and right now my focus is on winning this election. On April 5, we’re going to pivot and make a decision about that.”

Protasiewicz said she plans to contact an attorney on that date. She did not specify if she is considering litigation against her former stepson, the right-wing website or both. Wisconsin Right Now has openly promoted the Kelly campaign in this race.

“These claims are completely false, devoid of proof, and are only being made by a bitter, discredited, drug-dealing felon who will say anything to get attention,” said Sam Roecker, spokesman for the Protasiewicz campaign.

Michael Madden, Protasiewicz’s former stepson, has been convicted of two drug-related felonies, including one for conspiring to distribute 220 pounds of marijuana.

Reached Wednesday, Madden said he had no fear of any litigation.

“I invite her to sue me,” said Madden, the original source for the claims. “I’m an eyewitness. That’s not secondhand information. It’s not hearsay.”

In response to the candidate and her campaign, he said he has not sold drugs in three decades and has a clean drug history.

In a joint statement, Jessica McBride and Jim Piwowarczyk of Wisconsin Right Now said Protasiewicz was trying to keep these “serious allegations” from being made public.

“Janet Protasiewicz’s threat to sue is a tactic to intimidate the news media into continuing to censor these stories, which voters have a right to know about and which she is desperate to hide,” McBride and Piwowarczyk wrote. “She said in the debate yesterday that voters have a right to know her ‘values.’ These questions directly speak to her values.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Bills that would significantly increase the penalty for reckless driving in Wisconsin will be sent to Gov. Tony Evers after passage Wednesday in the state Senate and Assembly.

The first bill would increase the fine for reckless driving to as high as $400. The minimum penalty for reckless driving currently is $25.

The other bill will allow law enforcement officers to impound a vehicle if it’s used by a reckless driver who has previously been convicted of an offense.

Under current law, the penalty for reckless driving increases after the second offense if the second offense happens within four years. Under the new law, the four-year time period would be removed.

Evers said Wednesday he would sign both bills into law.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The City of Milwaukee will be suing automakers Kia and Hyundai over the damage inflicted by thefts of their vehicles, Milwaukee leaders announced Wednesday.

“It is my hope that not only do we curb the thefts but that the City of Milwaukee recovers some of the damages for police, fire, (Department of Public Works) and any other costs that we’ve had to incur as a result of the negligence of Kia and Hyundai,” Ald. Milele Coggs said at a news conference Wednesday in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Milwaukee.

Coggs said about two years ago she and Ald. Khalif Rainey started to highlight the automobile thefts and began asking the City Attorney’s Office to look at possible legal remedies.

Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer described the city as “ground zero” for the thefts that have hit cities across the nation. He said the city would be filing the lawsuit Wednesday.

“Today is the day that we will be filing, getting things moving,” Spencer said.

The city does not have a specific sum it is currently seeking in damages, he said.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Administration Committee, has raised the possibility of Congress pulling federal funds away from local district attorneys if lawmakers determine that those DAs are using their prosecutorial powers to go after political foes.

“Often the federal government is funding and providing resources to prosecutors across the United States. The purpose of that is to make our cities safer,” Steil said in an interview with Just The News on Monday. “If we find out through this investigation that instead those are being used to weaponize DAs across the country with a purpose of grinding a political axe rather than making our communities safer, we’re going to have to go back into the funding model.”

Steil made those comments amid reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg may pursue felony charges against former President Donald Trump over a 2016 payment he allegedly facilitated to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to dissuade her from going public with claims that they had an affair. Legal scholar Jonathan Turley has said Bragg’s office may argue the payment should have been classified as a campaign expense but was wrongly classified as a business expense by the Trump Organization, in violation of Section 175 of New York law, which can classify the falsification of business records as a Class E felony.

Turley has said the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has already declined to prosecute the payment to Daniels as an election law violation.

Bragg has yet to file charges, but Trump and other critics have already begun challenging the grounds for such a prosecution. Several critics have noted Bragg’s office has dismissed cases and lowered punishments for local criminal cases, including some robberies, while the office is now reportedly seeking to treat a campaign finance issue involving Trump as a felony.

“We continue to see DAs across the country engage in political behavior. That sure looks like it’s the case in this situation,” Steil told Just The News, referring to the case involving Bragg and Trump. “What we want our DAs to do is actually go and work in the judicial system in an unpolitical way to actually hold criminals accountable and put guilty criminals behind bars the way it used to work.”

—The Epoch Times

Twitter was flooded Wednesday with AI-generated deepfake photos of former President Donald Trump resisting arrest and trying to run from police ahead of his potential New York indictment this week.

The fabricated images — which had been viewed more than 4 million times — appear to show Trump yelling and fighting off at least five NYPD officers.

In others, he’s depicted breaking free from cops and bolting as Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. shout in protest of his arrest.

Many of the disturbingly realistic-looking images were shared widely by Twitter users, who falsely claimed they were legitimate.

The fakes come as a Manhattan grand jury is weighing whether to indict Trump in connection to hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative group Bellingcat, tweeted out the deepfakes and said they were created with the artificial intelligence text-to-image generator Midjourney.

Another deepfake created by a Twitter user known as O’Keefe Reborn also claims to show a mugshot of Trump while others show him behind bars in an orange jumpsuit.

Trump has not been arrested.

The Manhattan grand jury didn’t reconvene Wednesday as scheduled due to a witness who was not available to appear, sources told The Post.

—NY Post

Three-out-of-four U.S. voters said they support requiring schools to have parental consent before assisting in a student’s gender-identity change, according to a new poll.

Nearly the same percentage of voters also support legislation requiring schools to tell parents whether their child wants to change their gender identity – with 71% in favor of this requirement, according to a poll published Tuesday by Parents Defending Education.

The group says it fights classroom indoctrination and promotes the restoration of a non-political education.

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support requiring teachers or staff to inform parents if their child wants to use a different name or pronouns while at school at 86% to 69%. Black voters are also more likely to support this policy at 78%, compared to 77% of white voters, the poll show.

“The numbers speak for themselves: opposition to parental exclusion policies spans racial, political, and socioeconomic lines,” Parents Defending Education President and Founder Nicole Neily said.

“Education officials at the local, state, and federal level have demonstrated a callous disregard for parental rights, highlighting the need for both courts and policymakers to act, in order to end this egregious overreach.”

The poll, conducted from March 15-20 by CRC Research on behalf of Parents Defending Education with 1,600 registered voters, has a 2.45% margin of error.

—Just the News

Cuba on Wednesday slammed Miami authorities and baseball officials for allowing what it called “vile and organized” attacks against its players at the semi-final of the World Baseball Classic last week.

Sunday’s game pit the U.S. team against Cuba at LoanDepot stadium in Miami, a city that is home to the largest population of Cuban Americans in the United States, as well as many of the most vocal opponents to Cuba´s communist-run government.

Cuba´s foreign ministry, in a statement on Wednesday, hailed the performance and professionalism of the U.S. team, which beat the Cubans in a 14-2 blowout, but said hazing of its players had put Cuba at an unfair disadvantage.

“With the clear purpose of destabilizing our players, repeated acts of various kinds were carried out against them, against the delegation that accompanied them, and against fans in the stadium,” the statement said.

During the game, fans behind home plate repeatedly raised banners, including one that read “Down with the Dictatorship,” in reference to the administration of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Three times protesters ran out onto the field, disrupting play before being tackled by stadium security.

Cuba said players and their families were also attacked by people throwing objects at them and shouting vulgarities.

The Miami-Dade Police Department, which assists with security inside the stadium, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. LoanDepot Park could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cuba´s allegations.



Incredible as it may seem, less than one year ago, not a single state offered universal school choice to its citizens. That was then, this is now. Today, four states (Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, and Utah) have universal school choice laws on the books, with several more considering bills that would vastly expand education freedom.

Although there are many factors that have led to the school choice movement gaining more momentum than ever before, one should not discount the behavior of public school leaders and teacher union officials during the pandemic in moving public opinion decidedly in favor of school choice.

According to recent polling, school choice is more popular than ever before. And, more significantly, school choice is one of the rare issues that receives widespread support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents as well as across racial, socioeconomic, and even generational lines.

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the widespread shutdown of public schools throughout the country, under the guise of the pandemic. Of course, as most Americans witnessed with bewilderment, while most public schools refused to offer in-person learning throughout the duration of the pandemic, the overwhelming majority of private and charter schools remained open for in-person learning over the same period.

On top of this, as government-run schools refused to offer in-person learning and opted for inferior remote learning, droves of parents were absolutely shocked at the radical curriculum that the public schools were pushing on their children. From critical race theory to explicit sexual content, parents finally got a first-hand account of what public schools are up to these days.

Moreover, as the months went by and the public schools kept moving the reopening goalposts, parents became infuriated that their children were falling behind academically as well as becoming increasingly isolated, depressed, and dysfunctional after months of being stuck at home in front of a screen for eight hours per day.

Needless to say, most parents were at their wits end with the education industrial complex, which exists to serve adults, specifically teacher unions and public education bureaucrats, not students.

So, as would be expected, a major exodus from public schools began. While parents were pulling their children from failing public schools, they chose to enroll their kids in private, parochial, and charter schools. This trend was exacerbated when public schools refused to drop mask mandates and required vaccinations, even though the evidence showed that both of these policies were misguided at best and downright harmful to most children.

Yet, even as the writing was on the wall, public school officials and their partners in crime ignored the pleas by parents to address, or at least consider, their valid concerns. In fact, for the most part, these unaccountable bureaucrats doubled down on their position, berating parents for having the audacity to question their omnipotence over the education system.

In one classic example, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said during a debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

And so, this is where things stand today. Among the general population, school choice is a commonsense policy that places parents, not education bureaucrats, in charge of their children’s education. As we continue to see, education choice is being embraced in red states, which are offering parents education savings accounts so that they can choose whichever school their child should attend. Yet, most blue states remain obstinate, reluctant to heed the wishes of the parents who prodigiously advocate for more school choice.


Remember when the federal government told you masks were effective against COVID-19?

Yeah, they’re not.

Remember when the government told you vaccines will keep you from getting the virus?

Yeah, they don’t.

And remember when the federal government told you COVID didn’t come from a lab in Wuhan, China? Well, it did. Who says? The federal government.

The narrative laid out by the administrations of both former President Donald Trump and President Biden has rapidly fallen apart in the past couple of weeks.

The New York Times published a piece last week headlined “The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned?” It was penned by Bret Stephens, an opinion columnist with the Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013.

“The most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses — including Covid-19 — was published late last month. Its conclusions, said Tom Jefferson, the Oxford epidemiologist who is its lead author, were unambiguous.”

“‘There is just no evidence that they’ — masks — ‘make any difference,’ he told the journalist Maryanne Demasi. ‘Full stop.’”

“But, wait, hold on. What about N-95 masks, as opposed to lower-quality surgical or cloth masks? ‘Makes no difference — none of it,’ said Jefferson.”

“Mask mandates were a fool’s errand from the start,” Mr. Stephens wrote. “They may have created a false sense of safety — and thus permission to resume semi-normal life. They did almost nothing to advance safety itself. The Cochrane report ought to be the final nail in this particular coffin.”

Also this week, researchers examined the efficacy of local COVID-19 vaccine mandates implemented across the United States in 2021 and found they didn’t work.

“These mandates imposed severe restrictions on the lives of many citizens and business owners,” the researchers said in a study conducted by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “Yet, we find no evidence that the mandates were effective in their intended goals of reducing COVID-19 cases and deaths.”

“Most supporters of the mandates claim that the associated increase in vaccination rates, and its implied reduction in the spread of COVID-19, outweigh the cost of the disruptions. However, we find that the effects of the mandates on their intended outcomes are not statistically noticeable in any of the cities they were implemented in all empirical strategies used,” the report said.

So now we know that the government didn’t know a thing about COVID-19.

They told us things to make us do what they wanted us to do, but none of it was based in science.

And that should scare the hell out of you.

—Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1775 Patrick Henry, a major figure of the American Revolution, delivered the well-known speech featuring the phrase “give me liberty or give me death” at the second Virginia Convention, at St. John’s Church, Richmond.

BELOW: AI-generated deepfake photos of former President Donald Trump mentioned above.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s