Iron County Progressive


Weekly News From Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair










Trump Eyes Early 2024 Announcement as Jan. 6 Scrutiny Intensifies

He's absolutely shameless – despite the House Select Committee exposing his actions related to the events of January 6th, he’s not slowing down his lies and scheming. On Friday, he'll hold his FOURTEENTH MAGA rally of the year.

Trump is hosting these rallies in critical states like Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan, where he’s endorsed state Republicans with MASSIVE power over election rules. Why? Trump knows exactly how huge an impact state legislators have on our elections. By stocking statehouses with his extremist allies, he could bend the rules in his favor and force his way to victory in 2024.

It’s vital that we mobilize now to elect Democrats to state legislatures who will fight back against Trumpist state Republicans in this year’s midterm elections.

Even as the Jan. 6th Committee continues to reveal shocking new details about Trump and the deadly Capitol insurrection, Trump remains laser-focused on his political comeback. With Trump potentially preparing to announce his campaign any day now, we’re working around the clock to ensure state Democrats have the resources they need to defeat Trumpist state Republicans in this year’s midterm elections.

Electing Democrats to state legislatures is vital to defending our rights, our values, and our democracy against Trump’s hateful, extremist agenda.

These rallies rile up Trump’s base like nothing else. His Republican cronies will flood his PAC’s account with donations to back him and his endorsed state Republicans, so we need the full strength of our grassroots movement standing with us right now.



Good Advice from Kirk Bangstad

"Hit Them Where It Hurts"



So for anyone who can see clearly and whose mind hasn't been clouded by a steady diet of Fox News or alt-right AM radio, Wisconsin's Senator Ron Johnson and our Congressman in Northern Wisconsin, Tom Tiffany, sold their souls to Donald Trump a long time ago.

In June, we learned that Ron Johnson tried to hand off the fake electors from Wisconsin and Michigan to Vice President Mike Pence just minutes before he was to begin counting electoral votes on January 6--putting him SQUARELY into the conspiracy to overthrow the presidential election.

And we must not forget that Tom Tiffany was the ONLY Wisconsin Congressman to sign onto a Texas lawsuit AGAINST HIS OWN STATE to overturn the election in Trump's favor. Taken to its logical end, Tiffany joined an effort to overturn the very same votes that got him elected--an utterly absurd scenario but no more absurd than the "Big Lie" he still champions as a willing actor in this attempted coup.

As I said, anyone who hasn't been brainwashed knows these men, at best, aren't fit to lead, and at worst, should be in prison.  That being said, there are still many rich people in Northern Wisconsin that have continued to donate money to their campaigns to help get them re-elected.

Why would they do that when it's so obvious that these guys lied and would choose authoritarianism over democracy if given the chance? 

Why? Because when democracy dies, the rich often get richer--it's as simple as that.

So how do you stop the rich from supporting traitors by donating to their campaigns, which allow them to buy more TV ads that spread more lies? 

You hit them where it hurts--their businesses.

And that's why we're publishing the lists of the top companies who have donated to these two politicians, aggregated by the donations made by the rich individuals at those companies.  It is my view that there is nothing more un-american than to continue to donate money to a politician who has aided and abetted an insurrection against his country, and I think it is incumbent upon all of us who care deeply about the health of our democracy to tell these companies that we refuse to spend another dime buying their products until they publicly denounce these two men and stop donating to their campaigns.

Why penalize a company for the actions of its management?  Well, the terrible Citizens United Supreme Court case concluded that corporations were people and thus had the 1st amendment right to donate money to politicians, which flooded our country with "Dark Money" and is arguably the #1 reason the U.S. is so sick today.  

If corporations are people, then the people who own those corporations and the management who decide the directions those corporations take ARE THE CORPORATION.  So their individual political contributions, especially to traitors, are ABSOLUTELY FAIR GAME in making a decision to boycott the companies they lead.

So here's a bit of commentary about Johnson's graph above. We'll discuss Tiffany's next

Trig Solberg own's Trig's Grocery Stores, and while he's been selling them off to other grocery store chains, as long as these stores are named "Trig's," they're part of the problem.  Go to another grocery store to buy your food.

Uline is of course owned by the infamous Uihlein family--top donors to the insanity--and they have a warehouse in Hudson and own a lot of property in neighboring Manitowish Waters, including a restaurant called Smokies.  So just know, if you buy anything from their ubiquitous catalog, or eat at Smokies, you're indirectly contributing to a "cold insurrection."

Incredible Bank made the list again because no matter what, it seems like at least one member or another of their ownership or company management continues to drink the Trump Cult Kool-Aid.  This one hits close to home, because they were my bank until the Super PAC started doing this research. The president of the bank used to drink beer at my brewpub.  I reached out to him privately to ask them to stop donating to Johnson/Tiffany so that I wouldn't have to put their names on this graph and keep my money in the bank.  He wouldn't take my call and responded with an email full of corporate-speak. 

So I pulled out all my money and put them on the graph

The Marshfield Clinic is last on this list, meaning that at least 1 doctor working there donated to Ron Johnson.  We know its tough to penalize an entire health system because of the actions of a few doctors, but just know, some of your doctors are donating to a man who told Wisconsin women needing reproductive healthcare to simply "go to Illinois" after Roe was overturned.  This is also true of Aspirus, the other main healthcare system in our area.  Many doctors there donated to Tom Tiffany, who just last week voted against protecting access to contraception.

County Materials, Lincoln Wood Products, Greenheck Fan, Rand's Trucking, and McMillan Electric Company are all a little harder to do anything about.  They are seemingly not really consumer-facing businesses, but rather sell their products to other businesses. We encourage you to contact them nonetheless



Next, here's our graph of the Top Ten Companies whose leaders have donated to Tom Tiffany. This group has some repeat offenders--namely Trigs and the Marshfield Clinic--but it does have a few more businesses that consumers can actually boycott.

If you're in the New Richmond area, there MUST be a few other plumbers you can take your business to instead of Bird Plumbing.

If you're going fishing or need a place to stay while vacationing in Ashland, you should avoid River Rock Inn & Bait Shop.  It's pretty crazy that this owner, who depends on anglers to to make a living, supports a man who authored a bill making it easier for out-of-state mining companies to pollute our lakes and poison fish.

And those of you in Wausau who care about democracy and have a cavity--there's got to be a few other dentists out there besides Szmanda Dental who care more about their country than their pocketbooks.  Time to switch over to them.

And last but not least, I was REALLY DISAPPOINTED to see Hsu's Ginseng on this list. This ginseng farm near Wausau is one of the largest in the U.S. because its product is highly regarded by Chinese and Chinese-American consumers.  They obviously need political help to ease ginseng trading barriers with China, but donating to Tom Tiffany crosses a line, and we hope their ownership see's this graph and thinks about the bigger picture before donating again.

Here's our list folks.  We hope it helps like-minded people who want to vote with their dollars.

As an aside, the work of compiling political donation data is quite difficult and confusing because our state and federal compliance laws are weak--on purpose.  Why would politicians create laws that force them to be more transparent?  The database contains numbers reported by the campaigns themselves, and the data can be wrong unless it is challenged by outside groups.  For example, many people write "retired" as their occupation, when in fact they own or have interest or influence in large companies. Similarly, people often donate through their spouses, who can write "homemaker" as an occupation even though their donations come from family company profits.

We do the best we can in compiling this
data by hiring political analysts to do this with the Super PAC money that you've donated, but we are NOT investigative journalists--just a brewing company trying to make Wisconsin a more "just" and "fair" place to live.  We NEED to support the real journalists and watchdog groups that do this sort of thing, not just a brewery who does this in their spare time.

That being said, we wouldn't be able to do this type of work if you weren't buying our beer, t-shirts, and donating to our Super PAC.

So please take these graphs and send them to anyone you know in Northern Wisconsin, and thanks for supporting us. We still believe we can make Wisconsin a democracy again, one beer and political graph at time.

Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC.




Trump’s Threat to Our Democracy

Last night’s primetime Jan 6th hearing just revealed some shocking new information about Trump’s actions (or lack thereof) on that day:

  • Trump was told about the riot within 15 minutes of returning to the Oval Office – but he didn’t call law enforcement or military officials. Instead, he tried to persuade senators to delay the certification vote.
  • While he watched his mob storm the Capitol, he tweeted out an attack on Mike Pence – putting a target on the back of his Vice President and encouraging the mob.
  • He ignored the pleas of multiple advisors – and even his own children – to condemn the violence and tell his mob to back down.

Trump’s cronies take orders directly from him – and this November, more than 400 insurrectionist enablers could be on the state legislative ballot. Trump knows that if his state Republican allies win in November, he can count on them to bend the rules in his favor ahead of his all-but-confirmed presidential run. So it’s critical we do everything we can to stand up against Trumpism this fall.



Trump’s failures on that day endangered our democracy – and his actions since have proven he has no regrets, and he would do it all over again to be back in power.

Trump didn’t draw the line at lying, violence, or manipulation. So it stands to reason that he’ll be just as ruthless in his attempts to build power in state legislatures ahead of his next presidential run. So we need to be ready.

We can’t let Trump’s state Republican allies gain any more momentum, Richard – the fate of our democracy rests on defeating them. It’s essential that we mobilize now to give state Democrats the resources they need to secure victories in this year’s midterm elections.




Weekly News From Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair 

Our state party is built around a set of values—Fight, Include, Respect, and Empower—and a big idea: organizing matters. 

Study after rigorous study has measured and documented what our own experience tells us—that in close elections, and Wisconsin elections are close over and over and over, person-to-person conversations make an irreplaceable difference. 

It’s somewhere in our brain wiring. Humans are social animals. A huge amount of our neural circuitry is built to observe, react to, and interact with other people. When you knock on a door—and to a lesser extent, when you talk to someone on the phone or interact online—you’re tapping one of the most powerful neural machines that evolution has created. 

This July 23 and 24 will be a Weekend of Action, a critical moment to knock on doors in every corner of the state. Some people won’t be home. Others won’t want to talk. But at other doors, you’ll meet people who are ready to engage. Take the time to connect with them. Show them that you hear and respect them by reflecting their words back to them in your answers to their questions. They may not remember what you say. But they’ll remember how you make them feel. 

It can sometimes feel like we’re hit by one political catastrophe after another. It can be a roller coaster. But even in times of chaos—particularly in times of chaos—it’s critical to hold strongly to what we know. And we know that engaging with people, respectfully, inclusively, can move the needle. It’s our best way to cut through the din of right-wing propaganda and misinformation. It’s our best way to pull people out of hardened frames of perception and engage in the here and now. 

It’s the bedrock of democracy. 

 In solidarity, 



Gov. Evers Joins WisDems for “Defend Choice” Event to Outline Stakes of 2022 Election

This week, as part of a national “Defend Choice” week of action, Gov. Tony Evers, Rep. Lisa Subeck, and Dane County Supervisor April Kigeya spoke with Wisconsin voters to call out Republicans’ ultra-MAGA attacks on abortion access and outline the stakes of the November elections. 

Speakers underlined that reproductive rights are on the ballot in 2022 and that Democrats are energized to elect pro-choice candidates like Gov. Evers who will continue to fight for safe, legal abortion access in Wisconsin.

Ron Johnson Touts His Role in Taking Away Reproductive Health Care from Wisconsinites

In a new interview this week, Ron Johnson bragged about his role in stripping reproductive rights from Wisconsinites, saying “I’m fully supportive of what the Supreme Court did. I obviously confirmed the justices that handed down that correct decision.”

Johnson has long advocated for overturning Roe v. Wade, knowing full well that doing so could trigger Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban. 

Tim Michels Refuses to Rule Out Overturning Election Results

At the first stop of his “Freedom Tour” this, Tim Michels refused to rule out signing legislation as governor that would attempt to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election results. Michels’ comments came just days after Donald Trump called on Wisconsin Republicans to decertify the 2020 election. 

WKOW reported that Michels said only “he needs to see the details”:

This all comes after Michels would not say Biden won Wisconsin after receiving Trump’s endorsement. Tim Michels has also said that “President Trump probably would be president right now if we had election integrity” and minimized January 6 as merely people experiencing “frustration over the election results.” He also would not say whether as governor he would certify Wisconsin’s 2024 election results. 


“All we need is fifty percent of the vote plus one,” the [Republican] lobbyist told [Dale] Schultz and his colleagues [Republican legislators].  “If we get any more than that one vote, then we didn’t push the state far enough in the direction we want to push it [to the right], because we had votes to spare.”
“He [Former Governor Scott Walker] fulfilled a promise to one of his wealthiest donors that he would use “divide and conquer” against Wisconsin’s working class to break the power of their unions.  His devastating success has allowed for the transformation of Wisconsin into a laboratory for corporate interests and conservative activists, a process that continues unabated.”

These passages are from the book “The Fall of Wisconsin,” by Dan Kaufman.
They explain the strategy Republicans have used for the last 12 years--not to govern the state of Wisconsin--but to gain power and erode our institutions enough to embed their power over Wisconsin in perpetuity.
Here’s the playbook.

1.   Teacher’s union too strong?  Foment hate against teachers, gain power, and break their union.

2.   University system too progressive? Foment hate against professors and academia in general.

3.   Private sector unions (like iron workers) too strong?  Tell them that the public-sector unions are lazy, that they steal your tax dollars, and that if you support Republicans, we’ll screw them but save you….only to screw private sector unions 2 years later. 

4.   Education too good in Wisconsin?  Schools actually teach media literacy so that we know when we’re getting manipulated?  Cut funding dramatically, and give public school funding to corrupt private charter schools that can exclude any kid with special needs.

5.   School Boards stopping you from gutting schools entirely?  Create a boogeyman no one understands, like Critical Race Theory, and compel an uneducated, ignorant, and kinda-racist-but-don’t-know-it-because-your-town-is-all-white-mob to overrun schoolboards.

6.   Pushback from voters who think this is all way too heavy-handed?  Gerrymander the districts so their votes don’t count.

7.   Lawyers sue because gerrymandering should be illegal?  Stack the Wisconsin Supreme Court with right-wing hacks with millions of dollars of out-of-state campaign money.

8.   Appeal to the federal courts?  Stack the U.S. Supreme Court with right wing hacks by jamming through Trump’s nominees (Amy Barrett) and refusing to proceed with Obama’s (Merrick Garland).

9.   Do ALL OF THIS and STILL LOSE to Democratic Governor Tony Evers?  Create a sham investigation with circus-clown Gableman purporting Trump election fraud, undermining future Wisconsin elections to the tune of now $1 million Wisconsin tax dollars.

10.                Polls STILL showing Evers is gonna win?  Ban voting by proven-safe drop boxes to suppress voting.

It goes on and on…
…and guess what?  Wisconsin isn’t really a democracy anymore. 

Our state is an absolute mess, but somehow progressives are still hanging on. But if we swing back to the right and get another Republican governor and/or U.S. Senator, America takes a step closer to the abyss.


Minnesota reported wages and salaries totaling $11.9 billion more than Wisconsin in the first quarter of 2008. By first quarter 2018, that total wage gap had nearly doubled to $22.4 billion.
But WHY, WHY, WHY can’t Republican voters see this? 
After 12 years of deep manipulation, Wisconsin has fallen dramatically compared to our more progressive neighboring state of Minnesota.  We’ve seen increases in child poverty, non-existent wage growth, steeps cuts in public education, decline in water quality, etc.


It’s all about FEAR. They keep fomenting fear through the culture wars (guns, gays, abortion), crime (blame Antifa but not Jan 6 insurrectionists or white supremacists), pseudo-economics (inflation is Biden’s fault), and people forget ALL ABOUT the fact their country is being stolen from them right before their eyes.
It’s actually biological. Multiple scientific studies have shown that conservatives tend to focus on the negative, have a stronger physiological response to threats, fear new experiences, and their brains are more reactive to fear. 


The drumbeat of fear is actually the drumbeat that conservative minds are biologically attuned to, and that’s a powerful thing.
So how do we get them to forget their fears and see how they’re getting manipulated and screwed?
Through beer, of course!
It’s actually true.  The Minocqua Brewing Company tries to reach them when they’re not watching Fox News or reading conspiracy theories on the internet.  We reach them at the grocery store and when their progressive friends bring them a cold one after they get done fishing.
Where else can we reach them? Well, because we’re not millionaires, we’ve chosen to do it through social media and with billboards.


We spend $500 a week beaming the Up North Podcast to all of Northern Wisconsin through our Facebook page, and just took out $20K worth of billboard space through the November election reminding people that their Senator and Congressman have lied to them, and by doing so, are aiding and abetting a “cold insurrection” than can only be put down by removing them from office forever.


But we need a little more help paying for that $20K of billboard space. Last week, 360 of you helped us raise $15,236 with an average contribution of $42.32.  That’s almost what we need.  If another couple hundred of you throw in $50, we might be able to buy a few more signs


Also, we’re getting requests from other progressive groups to put our signs in their cities.  This one just went up on Hwy 63 just south of Hayward.  If you have a place you want to put a sign and can help pay for it, reach out to us and we’ll deal with the sign people—we’re good at that by now.


That's all I got for you today, folks.

I'm asking for donations again, but we're putting your money to good use and these elections coming up in November are crucial for Wisconsin and America.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for believing in us, and thanks for chipping in so we can ALL do our part in Northern Wisconsin to get our democracy back, one beer at a time.  

Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC