I’m going to take a break from my weekly drumbeat urging Wisconsin's Attorney General Josh Kaul to find his spine and prosecute the “Gang of Three” Wisconsinites who allegedly aided and abetted the insurrection of January 6th--U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, Congressman Tom Tiffany, and Congressman Scott Fitzgerald--because, like you, I’m riveted by what’s happening in Ukraine.
It seems a bit ludicrous to focus on Wisconsin when we seem to be on the brink of World War III.
So while we work behind the scenes to bring accountability to Wisconsin’s insurrectionists, I want to talk about a very powerful thing that can be used for both good and evil: propaganda.
As far as the Ukraine is concerned, I’ve been brought to tears and laughter over the powerfully touching David vs. Goliath stories of Ukrainian courage and defiance. These are my favorites:
- A woman offering seeds to a Russian soldier so “sunflowers will grow after they die.”
- 13 Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island, vastly outnumbered by the Russians, when told to surrender by a Russian warship, responded “Russian Warship, Go Fuck Yourselves.”
- A viral tweet that said the Ukrainian Library Association canceled its forthcoming conference with the following statement: “We will reschedule just as soon as we have finished vanquishing our invaders."
While these stories are wonderful, I still know much of it is propaganda meant to encourage us around the world to unify against a common enemy seeking to destroy a post-cold war world order that has been in existence for 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down.
I’m not cynical about this propaganda because I know it is being used for good to take down Putin--an authoritarian bully who has nukes, may have become unhinged through Covid isolation, and who just backed himself into a corner—YIKES!
But propaganda can also be used for evil.
I spent a couple of hours creating a list of all the times Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson acted as a mouthpiece for pro-Russian propaganda. We discussed this on last week’s Up North Podcast (starting at minute 21.48), and it should be ABSOLUTELY CHILLING TO ALL WISCONSINITES who rightfully believe that Russia is more of an enemy to America than its ally.
- December, 2016: After the CIA publicly released a report concluding that Russia meddled in the presidential election to help elect Donald Trump, Johnson issued a statement saying he “would need more definitive information before drawing further conclusions.” Johnson did not reveal that he had been informed by the CIA back in September about the Russian election interference.
- July, 2018: Ron Johnson celebrated July 4th in Russia the day after the Senate Intelligence Committee affirmed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the election to help Donald Trump.
- July, 2019: Ron Johnson met with alleged Russian Agent Andrii Telizhenko, who was circulating unproven claims that Ukrainian officials assisted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. This was two weeks before former President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump told Zelensky he wanted him to do Trump a “favor” and investigate Joe Biden before he would give him $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid.
- Aug 11, 2020: After Ron Johnson, chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, launched an investigation on Joe Biden’s son Hunter, fellow Republican Senators — including the previous and current Chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr and Marco Rubio — warned Senators Johnson and Chuck Grassley that their Ukraine investigations could aid the Kremlin.
- May 1, 2021: The Washington Post reported that the FBI gave Ron Johnson a “defensive briefing” about Russia, warning that the country was peddling false information, and he might be a target. Johnson rejected that warning, publicly stating that he thought the FBI warning was “useless.”
- February, 2022: Johnson blamed democrats for “weakening Ukraine” when they impeached Trump for trying to extort Ukraine, instead of Putin for invading them.
Thanks for nothing Senator. What the hell does Putin or Trump have on you for you to feel so compelled to do their bidding?
So there’s my example of propaganda being used for evil.
And that leads me to acknowledge that The Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC is 100% invested in what I believe is the “good” type of propaganda: spreading truth to folks in Northern Wisconsin that may only ever watch Fox News, which is the most evil form of propaganda in the U.S. because it has become so mainstream.
We pay for signs, radio ads, television commercials, podcasts, and phone banks to tell the truth to voters “Up North” who overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the last election.
I alluded to the “Up North Podcast” earlier, but what people may not know is that every week this show airs live on 92.7 FM in Madison and 540 AM in Waukesha/Milwaukee, which reaches most of Southeast Wisconsin. The Super PAC then pays to edit the show into a video and beam it up to Northern Wisconsin through Facebook, targeting moderate and conservative voters up here. To date, we have spent about $16K on this effort.
If you think our “propaganda” is good for Wisconsin, meaning it’s good for the U.S. because Wisconsin is a pivotal presidential swing state, then please consider donating to the Super PAC.
And of course, 5% of the proceeds of every beer or t-shirt you buy from us goes to the Super PAC, which makes it a LOT more fun to donate to the cause:)
Thanks for reading folks, and thanks for helping us take Russian propaganda out of Wisconsin, one beer at a time.
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC