Iron County Progressive



It's Sunday and I'm still feeling pretty upset by the Rittenhouse acquittal, which once again made our state the focus of national embarrassment and outrage.

Some may ask Wisconsinites after continuously making the news for all the wrong reasons, "Why beat your head against the wall?  Come join us on either coast where sanity generally prevails."

Well, maybe it’s our state's Germanic stubbornness or just good old-fashioned midwestern work ethic, but this decision to acquit foolhardy, toxic-masculine vigilantism steeped in racism that resulted in people being shot and killed just make many of us want to swing a little harder at the bullies who got us here.

Last Wednesday when recording the
Up North Podcast before the acquittal, Pat, Sarah, and I spoke to the District Attorney of Portage County, Louis Molepske, and Keith Findley, a UW-Madison Law School Professor, about the Rittenhouse case.

Among other issues, both guests discussed how hard it is under Wisconsin law to prosecute someone who claims self-defense, and just how easy Wisconsin has made it for people to carry semi-automatic weapons (which are completely unnecessary hunting, our state's deeply-loved pastime) around in public.

If we had anything other than one of the most dysfunctional and gerrymandered state legislatures in the U.S., we'd call for them to strengthen laws against vigilantism and pass common sense gun control favored by
2 out of 3 Americans.

But alas, we know they'll do nothing because the entrenched gerrymandered Republican majority doesn't care what their constituents want.  In fact, a
recent Harvard Study compared Wisconsin's lack of electoral boundary integrity to countries not necessarily known for strong democracies: Jordan, Bahrain, and the Congo.

And so you know where that leads us?

All roads to help Wisconsin from driving off a cliff lead to the current fight for Fair Maps and the 2022 elections.

And now for the good news.

Earlier last week, Governor Evers vetoed the Republican majority legislature's gerrymandered Wisconsin redistricting maps.
 He made a video to announce his veto, and we think it's the most important thing he's done as Governor.

This is the first step towards making Wisconsin a respectable state again.  

Hans Breiten-Moser, a dairy farmer in Merrill, Wisconsin, and an EARLY advocate for the Fair Maps movement, almost a decade ago got fed up with the obvious electoral cheating happening at the state level and helped pass a bipartisan county-wide resolution in his deeply conservative Northern Wisconsin county by advocating for what should be obvious but wasn't--fairly drawn electoral districts that make sense to local communities.

That resolution was the spark that inspired 51 out of 72 counties in Wisconsin to pass similar "Fair Maps" resolutions, which amounted to 80% of the Wisconsin's population, and has finally given this complicated political issue the attention it deserves.

We can only make Wisconsin a democracy again by making these maps fair and by electing progressives in 2022.

Why the partisanship Kirk?  Why do we ONLY have to elect progressives and not just fair-minded Republicans in more conservative districts?

Most of us know the answer to that question.  

If you're still calling yourself a Republican after what has happened to our country over the last 5 years, you're either advocating for the destruction of our democracy, willfully blinding yourself to the immense harm being inflicted on your communities through Covid/Vaccine denial, or extremely easy to manipulate.

And none of those qualities should be allowed to lead us out of this mess.

The Minocqua Brewing Company and Super PAC are focused on making Northern Wisconsin more progressive, which hopefully will in-turn hand the U.S. senate one more democrat to offset the gut-wrenching disappointment dealt to us through corporate democrats Manchin/Sinema, remove our sedition-caucus congressman Tom Tiffany, and to build a bench of progressives in local elections.

5% of the profits from our
beer and merch sales are donated to this mission, but you can always donated directly to the Super PAC here.

We're gonna keep fighting for sanity, and we promise not to give up on this state as long as you don't either.

With arms in each others gosh-darn stubborn arms, we're going to make Wisconsin a place we can be proud of again, one beer at a time.

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


 Follow The Money and Vote With Your Pocketbook

By Kirk Bangstad


Hi Folks, 

So for this week’s update, I’m proud to release the results of the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC’s efforts to shine a light on the companies in Northern Wisconsin still donating to our Congressman Tom Tiffany, and share the link to our podcast on the same subject which has been beamed to the voters of Northern Wisconsin. 

Our Super PAC first started “following the money” last March, a few months after both Tom Tiffany and U.S. Senator Ron Johnson voted against confirming Joe Biden as our legitimately-elected president and fomented the insurrection against our country on January 6. 

To me, after watching the events of January 6 on TV and subsequently learning how these attacks were coordinated, there isn’t a question in my mind that my Congressman and Senator have betrayed their own country and should be imprisoned for treason. 

And believe me, a few years ago I could never have imagined myself writing that last paragraph.  It still makes me question my sanity by writing such alarming stuff! 

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how precarious our democracy currently is, and how a vast majority of an entire party seems hellbent on destabilizing our government and installing an authoritarian regime. 

This craziness is almost beyond comprehension, yet here we are, and I don't think I've lost all my marbles quite yet (although beer has killed many a marble). 

We at the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC can’t fix what’s happening in Washington D.C., but we sure can try to help fix Northern Wisconsin, a deep red area in one of only 9 swing states that decides our presidential elections. 

So we’re not going to go lightly on the business owners and doctors who are willfully blinding themselves to the events of January 6 and have continued to donate to our treasonous Congressman.  

We’re going after their companies and clinics. 

If the disastrous Citizens United SCOTUS decision defined corporations as “people,” then those corporations should have to take some heat if the people who run them donate to traitors. 

So if you live “Up North” and you see a company with whom you do business on the graphs above, call them up and give them hell.  

And then vote with your pocketbook. 

We raised money last July for an organization called Wisconsin Progress to hire an organizer in Northern Wisconsin to help recruit progressives to run in county board elections in order to “build a bench”  at the local level. 

Thanks again for donating to support this effort. 

The good news is that we found a great candidate to do this important work.  The bad news is that it took us longer than expected to find this candidate and only have about two months to go before nominations papers have to be turned in to get on the ballots for these super important but often overlooked spring elections. 

We’ve still got time to make a difference, but we’d like to also encourage progressives who live "Up North" to contact their county Democratic Parties and offer to a) run for your own county boards, or b) help find/recruit your awesome progressive neighbors to run. That one phone call of encouragement to your neighbor could be the spark that eventually leads to a vote to keep your local drinking water safe, or a great state assembly or senate candidate. 

And last but not least, here’s a little bit of fun.  

We’re releasing a new beer in December called AOC IPA.  

Although Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted against the Infrastructure Bill that gave us a glimpse of hope that our party can pull itself together to get things done, we’re assuming she only did that because there were already enough votes in the House to pass the bill, and she wanted to prove a point that the bill didn’t go far enough, which is arguably true. 

Regardless, AOC fights the way we think we have to fight in order to get out of this mess…HARD.  And for that we’re honoring her with a beer.

We’re proud of this label and think it speaks for itself, so please take a look

And that’s our weekly round-up folks. We run a progressive business that also raises money for political action, and I try to keep things as transparent as a Super PAC that raises “dark money meant for good” can.  

I maintain that Super PACs should be made illegal, but until they are, we can’t bring knives to a gun fight and must raise money to get the truth out to the hinterlands of Wisconsin, where most of our "news" is misinformation. 

Thanks for sticking with us and "Making Wisconsin Great Again, One Beer At A Time." 

Kirk Bangstad

Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company

Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC 


YouTube temporarily suspends Ron Johnson's channel over COVID-19 misinformation

Chris Mills Rodrigo 20 hrs ago

Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-Wis.) YouTube account was suspended for one week starting Friday for uploading content violating the platform's policy against COVID-19 misinformation.

The video that triggered the suspension was a roundtable discussion in which the lawmaker falsely claimed that coronavirus vaccines are unsafe.

"The updated figures today are 17,619," he said. "That is 225 times the number of deaths in just a 10-month period versus an annual figure for the flu vaccine. These vaccine injuries are real."

Johnson was citing numbers from the self-reporting database the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that reports in the system, which can easily be gamed by activists hoping to prove a point, "do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem."

"Once again Big Tech is censoring the truth," Johnson said in a statement. "Why won't they let the vaccine injured tell their stories and medical experts give a second opinion? Why can't we discuss the harmful effects of mandates? Apparently, the Biden administration and federal health agencies must not be questioned. How many more lives will be needlessly destroyed?"

Another participant in the roundtable said that coronavirus vaccines do not prevent death, independently violating YouTube policies, which bar content about COVID-19 that poses a serious risk of egregious harm or spreads misinformation that contradicts the guidance of health authorities.

The video of the roundtable was removed by the platform, a YouTube spokesperson told The Hill, although a shorter version of the discussion was allowed to stay up.

"We craft our policies to reduce the risk of real-world harm, updating them as official guidance evolves, and we consider the context of a video to make exceptions that balance open discussion of people's experiences with preventing the spread of harmful misinformation," the spokesperson said.

Under the platform's three-strikes rule, if the account violates the policy again within a 90-day window, a two week suspension will be applied. If a third violation were accrued in the same timeframe, the channel would be permanently removed.

This is the second time Johnson has been temporarily suspended under YouTube's coronavirus misinformation policy. His channel had uploading privileges revoked in June for posting a video about alternative therapies to treat COVID-19. He also slammed the application of the platform's clearly stated policy as "censorship" at the time.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) received a strike in August for falsely claiming that masks were not an effective tool to prevent the spread of the disease.



Monday afternoon, Senate Republicans passed their gerrymandered maps, which are somehow even worse than the current gerrymandered districts. On average, they would permanently tilt the senate 21-12 in our 50/50 state. They took the worst maps in the country and put them on steroids

The Assembly is set to take them up this Thursday, setting off a certain veto and a drawn-out legal process to determine what our actual congressional and legislative districts will look like for the next 10 years.

At the lone public hearing they held regarding these maps - arguably the most important pieces of legislation most of us in the legislature will vote on in our entire careers - 100 members of the public lined up early on a Thursday and waited hours to speak out against the GOP lines. Of those that showed up, not a single person from the public testified in favor

In fact, the only people who spoke in favor were the bills’ Republican authors Robin Vos and Devin LeMahieu. Maybe it’s because it’s more focused on protecting politicians than on protecting voters?

Despite this, senate Republicans unanimously approved them on Monday and, to add insult to injury, they even claimed they had the public’s support. 

If there’s one thing you need to know about the current GOP legislature, it’s that they value power above all else, and they will do just about anything to maintain it. In conditions like these, it would be easy for those on our side to just give up - good game, democracy, see you next century.

I’m wired a bit differently. I refuse to back down, and will continue to fight for the people of Wisconsin as long as I’m in office.






Coming off his first three months in the race that saw Mandela out-raise Sen. Ron Johnson and all the other Democrats in the race (combined), Lt. Governor Barnes continues to build momentum and has established himself as the candidate to beat in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race.

Big Endorsements from Congressional Leaders

Yesterday, Mandela was officially endorsed by U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the highest ranking Black lawmaker in Congress. Mr. Clyburn’s endorsement has been a critical factor in Democratic races around the country, and his support was widely seen as a turning point for President Biden’s campaign in 2020. The Majority Whip called Mandela "hands-down the best candidate to defeat Senator Ron Johnson."

The Journal Sentinel called this “a big boost” and said the Lt. Governor is “gathering momentum.” Jacob Rubashkin from Inside Elections called it “a big get for the Progressive Lt. Governor,” and said “Barnes is establishing himself as the clear front runner in a crowded field.”

Along with the Majority Whip, Mandela was endorsed on Monday by Congressman Mondaire Jones, who has been recognized as a rising leader in Congress and a champion for Progressive values and policy. They join Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representatives Gwen Moore, Nikema Williams, Eric Swalwell, Ro Khanna, and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC in their support for Mandela.

Mandela is the only candidate in this race to be endorsed by sitting members of Congress.

Over 100 Wisconsin Local Elected Leaders Across the State Support Mandela

Throughout his time as Lt. Governor, Mandela has traveled to every corner of the state, from Beloit to Bayfield, listening to the needs of Wisconsinites and local elected officials who have been dealing with crisis after crisis. These local leaders know they can count on Mandela to fight for every single part of Wisconsin, so it’s no wonder that so many of them have come out and endorsed his campaign.

Just last week, over 100 local elected officials from all across the state announced their support of Mandela - more local support than the rest of the Democratic field combined.

Protecting our Democracy and the Right to Vote

With our democratic rights under attack like never before, Mandela has been a leader in the fight to protect our fundamental rights as Americans. He’s come out strongly in favor of abolishing the filibuster, passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act. He’s also been a leading voice for expanding voting rights - including automatic voter registration, universal mail-in ballots, increasing times and locations for ballot drop off, and making Election Day a national holiday.

Mandela has been recognized by the top organizations in the country who are leading the fight to clean up our elections and protect and expand the right to vote. These endorsements include End Citizens United, Let America Vote, and Vote From Home - the organization led by Washington Governor Kate Brown.

Learning from the 2021 Elections

While the pundits continue to debate and place blame for last Tuesday’s disappointing results, we know two things for certain:

  • This election will come down to mobilization, and we need a nominee who can inspire and turnout Democratic voters. 
  • We also need a candidate who has earned the trust of voters in every corner of this state, and who can build real bridges to working class people struggling to get by in areas that some Democrats have long abandoned.

Mandela has proven he can do both. Recent polling shows he is the most popular and well-liked Democrat in this race by a huge margin. That’s not surprising when you consider that he won 71 out of 72 counties in his last election! Polling also shows him tied with Ron Johnson, and the only candidate in the race with net favorable ratings statewide.

Put simply, the poll shows what we all know: Mandela can connect with voters from every corner of Wisconsin, while turning out Democrats in a way that no other candidate in this race can.

While other crowded primaries have seen messy inter-party battles, here in Wisconsin Democrats and voters from all across the political spectrum are coming together to support Mandela. They’re doing it because they’ve seen first hand the kind of leader he is, and they know he’s the one candidate who will work to turn his bold ideas - and the American dream - into an American reality for everyone.

Kory Kozloski Campaign Manager 

Mandela Barnes for Wisconsin


In less than a year in office, Biden has delivered on a game changing infrastructure package that the previous administration couldn't achieve in 4 years. This is his second major delivery in his short time in office which also includes the $1.9 trillion Amercian Rescue Plan.  

 On top of this, Governor Tony Evers has gotten to work providing 300,000 homes and businesses with new or improved broadband service while fixing over 1,000 miles of highway and more than 800 state and local bridges BEFORE this federal bill passed.




Democrats deliver! And we're going to keep delivering! Spread the word!