We Raised over $28K to Stand Up To a MAGA Bully

Hi Folks,
 
Happy Holidays to you all. I hope the joy of this season outweighs the inevitable stresses of over-commitment.
 
The Minocqua Brewing Company is furiously selling beer and merchandise during this all-important holiday season of mirth and gift-giving, but I wanted to quickly follow up on the email I sent out last Thursday which you can read in its entirety here.   
 
In short, our right-wing local newspaper’s publisher, Gregg Walker, filed a frivolous lawsuit against us for defamation. It’s beyond ridiculous that a newspaper would ever sue to suppress the very same first amendment rights that allow newspapers to exist in America.  To wit, we’ve heard it’s the first defamation lawsuit filed EVER in Wisconsin by a newspaper against a private citizen.
 
Our right-wing county judge didn’t dismiss this un-winnable, meritless, and illegal (in many states but not Wisconsin) Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), which ultimately forced me to sit in a deposition and answer completely un-related and deeply personal questions while the General Manager of the Lakeland Times, Heather Holmes, was present.

The most egregious question asked of me under oath was to name the mother of the child I had 15 years ago before I met my late wife. I think 100% of the population would agree that this question has NOTHING TO DO with whether or not the strong language I used against the paper was defamatory and hurt its sales.
 
If you think about this more deeply, you’ll realize a partisan propaganda rag was able to use our near totalitarian (1-party rule) local government and judiciary in Northern Wisconsin to “legally” extract private and painful pieces of my past in order to hurt me down the road.
 
No newspaper--even if it was ethical, non-partisan, or even left-leaning--should have the power to do that. 
 
What happened in that deposition room should be illegal and should be appalling to any Wisconsinite and American, liberal or conservative, who cares about their own right to privacy.

I announced last Thursday that I wasn’t going to stand for it and decided to countersue the Lakeland Times for harassment and defamation, and asked the public to help me raise the money to do it.
 
658 of you responded by donating an average of $43 to raise $28K for the Minocqua Brewing Company’s new “Legal Offense Fund.”
 
While it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars in this day and age to sue for defamation, because these lawsuits can last years and the amount of “discovery” demanded by the bullying party is DESIGNED to chew up months of expensive lawyer hours, this is enough money for us to get started and engage a lawyer for the long haul.
 
All I can say is thank you.
 
Wisconsin just elected a Democratic (with a big “D”) Governor, but our legislative and judicial branches of government are no longer democratic (with a little “d”). This lawsuit is yet another example of how politicized and corrupt our state’s justice system has become.
 
We have the opportunity to change ALL OF THAT next April if we can elect a progressive judge to Wisconsin’s Supreme court, which in turn can give us back a modicum of confidence in the impartiality of our judicial system, but even more important, allow us to re-litigate all the damage the “Party of Disinformation” has wrought upon Wisconsin over the last decade.
 
The most important outcome of unscrewing Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is to FINALLY abolish Wisconsin’s hyper-partisan gerrymandered maps that have essentially rendered a large swath of Wisconsin voters powerless to affect change in their own lives.
 
Because you donated to help me finally stop the Lakeland Times from bleeding my company, I can, through the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC, better help educate Wisconsinites about how important this upcoming Supreme Court election is to their daily lives.
 
So thanks again and Happy Holidays.
 
It may not seem so at times, but truth is winning. Georgia reminded us of that last week. We need to keep speaking truth to power and standing in front of the tanks of government corruption and manipulation, no matter how small the town or how big the tank.   
 
Thanks for sticking with us.  Together we will continue to beat back the “Party of Disinformation” and finally relegate it to the dustbin of history, one beer at a time.
 
Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC