'Here & Now' Highlights: Ruslana Westerlund, Mark Copelovitch, Shawn Johnson, Ed Fallone

Here's what guests on the March 11, 2022 episode had to say about what it's like to have family in Ukraine amid war, what U.S. sanctions on Russia mean to the global economy, the status of any U.S. Supreme Court action on Wisconsin's redistricting and why Milwaukee banned no-knock search warrants.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

March 14, 2022

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From left to right, a split screen with Frederica Freyberg and Ruslana Westerlund in different locations

Frederica Freyberg and Ruslana Westerlund (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

A Cross Plains resident who immigrated from Ukraine said it’s traumatizing to see what’s happening as the nation is attacked — Ruslana Westerlund checks in with her family there every day and worries for their safety. UW-Madison political science and public affairs professor Mark Copelovitch said he believes U.S. economic sanctions will hit Russia hard. How might the U.S. Supreme Court respond to the Republican challenge to redistricting maps approved by the Wisconsin Supreme Court? Wisconsin Public Radio’s Capitol bureau chief Shawn Johnson discusses that possibility and fact-checks former President Donald Trump on his statements praising Assembly special counsel’s election inquiries. The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission’s chair Ed Fallone describes the city’s decision to ban no-knock police warrants.

Ruslana Westerlund
Ukrainian immigrant and activist

  • Despite feeling anguish over watching Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, Westerlund maintains resolve that people in her native nation will prevail. It doesn’t surprise her that they have put up such a good fight.
  • Westerlund: “We are resilient people. We’re strong people. We’re independence-loving people. We have never been part of Russia. … We have been dragged into the Soviet Union, but we have always been independent people in our spirit. … We will win. We will win. And I don’t care what happens to Russia. But Ukraine will win. It will cost us more lives, and the unthinkable atrocities will continue because Putin won’t give up easily. But we will win. We just need support, continued global support to help us win.”


Mark Copelovitch
Professor of political science and public affairs, UW-Madison

  • Copelovitch is watching the impact of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including how they affect Russia’s war effort by way of crippling its economic engines.
  • Copelovitch: “One of the major things in the last week has been the coordinated economic sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union, the Japanese and the world’s major democratic economies. They’re targeted at Russia’s ability to sustain its economy, which ultimately is related to Russia’s ability to sustain the conflict. … The most important ones have been these financial sanctions to block the Russian central bank and government, and Russian banks from participating in the global economy. Basically, the financial flows in the world economy are the oil that keeps the engine running. If you cut off the oil, the Russian economy basically can’t function. So that’s much more important [than the U.S. ban on Russian oil imports]. I think the hit to the Russian economy of cutting off oil exports is something that happens over the next month to a year or two. The financial sanctions are already hitting them very, very hard.”


Shawn Johnson
Capitol bureau chief, Wisconsin Public Radio

  • When it comes to redistricting Wisconsin’s voting maps, all eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court, which may or may not take up a challenge to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s approval of maps submitted by Gov. Tony Evers in a state-level lawsuit. Wisconsin does have election-related timelines to consider – namely the April 15 date when candidates begin circulating nomination petitions, Johnson said. He also discussed former President Donald Trump’s erroneous comments about the extension of 2020 election investigator Michael Gableman’s contract with the state Legislature. “In addition to announcing they will stay in session and take action to get rid of ERIC and WEC, I would imagine that there can only be a decertification of electors,” Trump said in a statement.
  • Johnson: “So there’s a lot to unpack in that statement. There are four assertions in there that are either false or they need clarification. One, this idea of decertification is the big one. There’s not support in the existing Legislature to do that, which is to basically erase Wisconsin’s election results for the 2020 presidential election. Also, the Legislature’s nonpartisan attorneys say it’s not legally possible, which is a view that’s widely held in the election law community. If you go through the rest of the former president’s statement, as far as we know, the Legislature held its last session day of the year this week. They can always come back through the Legislature, but they’re not planning on it. And as far as ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center, a multi-state database of government records, that is something that was initiated by Republican lawmakers under former Republican Governor Scott Walker. They have not talked about ending it. Republican candidates for governor have talked about getting rid of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, so that’s something that could happen, but it’s not going to happen this year. GOP leaders in the Legislature have said they don’t want to do that. Gov. Tony Evers definitely doesn’t want to do it.”


Ed Fallone
Chair, Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission

  • Over the past year, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has banned the use of police chokeholds and no knock warrants while requiring community-oriented policing. The numbers of no-knock warrants have gone from 72% of warrants being executed in 2019 to just 2% in 2021. The Milwaukee police union has expressed concern for the safety of police officers without the use of surprise entries.
  • Fallone: “We’re very concerned about officer safety, and really in this entire process of examining no-knock warrants, it was a matter of weighing risk to the safety of officers versus risk to the public. There’s no way to get to zero risk on either side of that equation. I think what your viewers should understand is, in Milwaukee, we have high-density residential neighborhoods, high multifamily situations inside, even detached homes. We have residential properties with multiple units in them. And so any time there’s a serving of a no-knock warrant, there’s a lot of people nearby. A lot of innocent people – next door neighbors or even in the same building. And so we’re trying to reduce the risk to officers, but we’re also trying to reduce the risk to other residents nearby if violence breaks out – and there’s no way to get to zero on either equation. And so we felt ultimately that the no-knocks created an unacceptable level of risk.”


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