Another Republican Candidate Wants To Jail Political Opponents

As a politico, I enjoy the back-and-forth of election season. Our nation has always produced steamy rhetoric that riles the opponents while energizing the base of the antagonist. But there is also the obvious recognition that in a democracy there are lines that should not be crossed. Must not be crossed.

Such as in the case with Scott Jensen, a Minnesota Republican candidate for governor.

GOP governor candidate Scott Jensen told Republicans that “the hammer’s coming down” on Secretary of State Steve Simon for his management of the state’s election system.

Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen took a “lock him up” message on the campaign trail recently, suggesting that Secretary of State Steve Simon deserved imprisonment for his management of the state’s election system.

Speaking April 23 at the Minnesota Third Congressional District Republican organizing convention in Plymouth, Jensen sparked loud cheers from the crowd when he warned that “the hammer’s coming down” on Simon, a DFLer.

“We are not voter suppressors. We have a simple attitude: Make sure that every ballot in the box belongs there. Make sure that it’s easy to vote, hard to cheat, and if you cheat, you’re going to jail,” Jensen said. “And Steve Simon, you maybe better check out to see if you look good in stripes, because you’ve gotten away with too much, too long under [Minnesota Attorney General Keith] Ellison, and the hammer’s coming down.”

It does not require being a Rhodes Scholar to grasp at once that states or countries with the types of laws or reckless behavior that allow for winners in elections to imprison the losers of those elections, or other political opponents, are not ones we can say are democratic. The Republican Party has candidates who have used this idea of imprisoning political opponents since 2016 when Donald Trump stated, that if elected, he would pursue actions to imprison his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Such rhetoric was rancid them. It is equally reprehensible now.

One can say the GOP candidates who mimic such dangerous words from Trump do not have fertile minds, needing to regurgitate old lingo to the base of the party. If the best they can offer are echoes of an autocratic personality, what pray tell, do they offer for today’s electorate?

We know, of course, that what has been unleashed on the nation since Trump took an escalator ride has proven to be toxic for our political culture. So consider for one moment–one paragraph–what could happen if the likes of Jensen were to prevail. How might Allen Drury see the lay of that political landscape unfold in a book?

If Senator Seabright Cooley thought that a lost election would result in physical harm might he not do anything to ensure that the election was not lost? Surely Drury would see where this leads. The candidate who made the threat knows the opponent will now fight harder and the pursuit of extreme and dangerous moves is unleashed. Democracy suffers.

But who cares when there is a Republican rally with angry males waiting for red meat rhetoric like feeding time at a zoo? And make no mistake about itthis rhetoric is aimed at males. Forget the responsibility that comes with a candidate taking a stage, and while wanting to gain support on the one hand, also knowing that larger duties to state and nation need to be upheld.

We know from the evidence what follows when rhetoric like Jensen is used. What follows is an uptick in violent rhetoric being espoused from the base. It is lost on the candidates who sow such anger, and certainly from the demographics who are being played to, that decorum and civility are essential parts of a working democracy.

Republicans like to claim they are for law and order. But what is being demonstrated again and again, as with Jensen, is a large gap between a principle and what is actually being said to their base. Violent and undemocratic speech is harmful.

And so it goes.

Darnella Frazier Is The Person To Thank For Justice In Minneapolis

One person doing what is required, even when the events are painful to watch and seemingly impossible to stop. That is what we can say about Darnella Frazier.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s initial inaccurate and misleading description of George Floyd’s death last May “might have become the official account” of what took place, had it not been for video taken by a teenage bystander, Keith Boykin, a CNN commentator, wrote on Twitter.

The video, taken by Darnella Frazier, emerged the night of Mr. Floyd’s death and drove much of the public’s understanding of what took place. Chief Medaria Arradondo of the police department testified at Mr. Chauvin’s trial that within hours of Mr. Floyd’s death he received a text from a local resident telling him about the video.

Later, Chief Arradondo, who testified as a witness for the prosecution at Mr. Chauvin’s trial, praised Ms. Frazier for her actions.

Time and again, and it is sad to recognize the facts, but the events that are outlined by police concerning events that end in shootings and the death of others are not always accurate. More to the point the police at times lie.

That is why the video that Frazier took of the events leading up to the death of George Floyd was essential to the outcome yesterday when Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges by a jury of his peers.

Such videos, either from witnesses or body cameras worn by police underscore the absolute need to have such evidence. That was very much the case in the highly disturbing bodycam video of a Chicago police officer shooting a 13-year-old boy. The video shows the youth appearing to drop a handgun and begin raising his hands less than a second before an officer fires his gun and kills him. A prosecutor previously had told a judge that the teenager had a gun in his hand at the time of the police shooting.

Such video is essential. The foundation of such evidence is that camera recordings do not misrepresent what actually occurs. With camera footage, we will know what actually occurred. Because a camera captures whatever is in front of it means that there is a completely objective piece of evidence. Obviously, one camera angle can not account for the complete event or incident that is taking place.

But the footage from even one camera can lead to stopping a police department from further undermining the facts and truth itself, such as in the Floyd case and can, in time, bring about justice. As happened at the end of the jury proceedings in the Chauvin trial.

So today Caffeinated Politics gives a robust salute to Darnella Frazier for being the person who knew what needed to be done in a most painful situation.

And so it goes.

Humanity Lifted Up By Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

The news from Minneapolis is simply dreadful.  Simply nauseating to witness.  In 2020 this should not be happening.  That it does happen, over and over in America, alerts us all to the unfinished work we have to do with fundamental issues in the nation.  There is no way to not understand why there is collective trauma within the black community today.

The Minneapolis police statement was a sick joke.  It was not honest.  With their short and overly sanitized wording the department looks detached from humanity.  The report speaks of a man, who was wanted for suspicion of trying to pass a fake $20 bill at a convenience store.  The report stated he seemed to be “under the influence,” and “physically resisted officers” and he appeared to be “suffering medical distress.”

But then there is that pesky damn video that shows so much of the report to be false.  And thank God folks have the ability to record such news events so to demonstrate to the nation what is happening with these cases.

The video is sickening in both the scope of the behavior of the police officers at the scene but also as it undermined the brazen lies in the report about the death of a citizen.  A death caused by an officer who pressed his knee into the neck of someone alleged to have passed a fake denomination.  As the victim lay on the ground stating  “I can’t breathe” again and again the officers did nothing.

George Floyd later died at a hospital.  The shocking and deplorable actions of these officers, and the department trying to sanitize their report, is another reminder of how some seriously flawed individuals work in some police departments in our nation.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired the officer as well as three others who were at the scene.

But what stands out tonight is the leadership from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.  It was a tough day for him.  But what he demonstrated was what lacks so much in our nation when it comes to our elected class.  Emotion and honesty and courage and conviction and mid-western sensibilities in his words and eyes.  He was not reciting some trite response but what he said clearly came from his gut.

Frey allowed our nation to find some humanity today with not only words but his demeanor which spoke louder than anything he said.  We do not see that from those politicians who make the headlines over the past years.

“Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.”

I firmly believe most police officers in this nation are of the character of which we all can be proud.  But there are also too many in the profession who are not wedded to the code of conduct their job demands.  As we see in the video not all in uniform appreciate the gravity of their actions.  One of the fired officers stood by as witnesses pleaded with the police to let Floyd up and to check his pulse.

The full legal implications of the actions taken, and not taken, by these officers must be fully exercised by the city and family. These despicable officers absolutely must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.

I Applaud GOP For Standing Up For What Is Right In Minnesota

There are many reasons to take Republicans to the woodshed concerning policy decisions.   I do that often on Caffeinated Politics.  But when the right thing is done it deserves credit and respect.  Such is the case for the GOP in Minnesota who understand and appreciate the gravity of drunk driving.

I know that for far too many in Wisconsin drunk driving is not taken seriously.  First offenses are treated so politely in this state that is does nothing to sober someone up to the realities of the situation.

In 2004 Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager drove off the road while drunk outside of Madison.    She lost my support at once.  I have consistently advocated for tougher drunk driving laws and support politicians who have the spine to say and act like the majority of the citizens want concerning this issue.

That is why I am supportive of the actions from Republicans in Minnesota who place doing the right thing above political calculations.    I happen to think, as does the GOP in Minnesota, that severe character flaws are not acceptable for those who wish to oversee the laws of the state.  Peg  Lautenschlager  was not acceptable in Wisconsin and Michelle MacDonald  is not fit to serve in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Republican Party’s endorsed candidate for Supreme Court is watching her support from the party erode.

Party officials passed a resolution banning Michelle MacDonald from the GOP’s booth because of a pending drunken driving case. And the Republican nominee for attorney general on Thursday endorsed MacDonald’s opponent, longtime Democratic attorney and current Justice David Lillehaug, saying he can’t support her.

MacDonald defied party leadership by showing up at the party’s booth on the fair’s first day Thursday. She was asked several times to leave before she finally did.

She says she isn’t trespassing and plans to return every day unless the party takes legal action against her.

MacDonald was endorsed at the GOP state convention in May. Party officials say they didn’t know about MacDonald’s 2013 arrest.

Minnesota Newspapers Agree: Vote NO On Discriminatory Marriage Ban

From the Red Wing Republican Eagle comes this perfectly worded VOTE NO endorsement.

Most Minnesotans define marriage as between one man and one woman. Most churches do, too. State law, in fact, defines marriage this way. Traditional marriage is the societal norm.

But the Nov. 6 vote on the proposed “marriage amendment” isn’t about society, religion or personal conviction. The vote is about amending the Minnesota Constitution to deny rights to citizens who aren’t heterosexual.

 The so-called marriage amendment could more appropriately be labeled the “constitutional divorce” amendment: Citizens are being urged and even incited to go violate their state Bill of Rights.

The state Bill of Rights Article 1, Section 2 begins: 

No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers. 

Therefore a “yes” vote on Election Day will be a rejection of equal rights. And passage would be a tragic break in this state’s tradition of amending its Constitution to extend or confirm rights. Instead, we would limit rights or take them away.

The Star Tribune had one of those tone-perfect endorsements urging a VOTE NO.

We’d urge voters to think about the gay or lesbian friend and coworker in the next cubicle, the nice same-sex couple down the street, or the beloved gay family member. They have the same hopes and dreams as heterosexuals, and for many that includes the desire to marry and form a family with the person they love.

In our hearts and souls, we Minnesotans are basically fair people who believe in human rights. That fundamental sense of humanity should lead to a “no” vote on the marriage amendment

Also, constitutions don’t change, generally speaking, so Founders are careful about what to include in them.

Minnesota voters on Nov. 6 can be just as careful with the state’s constitution. They can vote “no” on a pair of ballot questions that aren’t as constitutional as they are legislative, as they are matters more appropriate for our lawmakers’ careful deliberations and decisions.

Changes to the constitution should be rare and under special circumstances. They’ve been made that way since Minnesota’s constitution was adopted in 1857.

Neither the marriage amendment nor the voter ID amendment rise to the level of constitutional consideration.

New Poll Shows Shift In Minnesota For Gay Marriage Rights

Good news to report from that land with all those lakes.

A new poll indicates Minnesota voters are turning against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Public Policy Polling’s newest sampling indicates that with 49 percent of voters are opposed to the measure and 43 percent support it.

That’s a dramatic shift from four months ago when 48 percent supported the amendment and 44 percent rejected it. That was still shy of the 50 percent needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

“Today’s poll shows there is a conversation happening across this state about what marriage means and how this amendment would limit the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples,” according to a statement from Minnesotans United for All Families, which is the lead group opposed to the amendment.“The more people talk about this, the more likely they are to vote no in November, and this poll demonstrates that more and more Minnesotans are coming to the conclusion that this is not the right thing to do for our state.”


Married Anti-Gay GOP Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch Resigns in Sex Scandal

I thought it was ‘the gays that wanted to get married’ who were undermining traditional marriage.

Seems in Minnesota all it takes to undermine the institution of marriage is a middle-aged woman with a thing for young men.

This story is just a reminder of the sham that is conservative politics when it comes to the morality play they want to star in when it comes to gay marriage and civil rights.  Listen to what we say, and ignore what we do.

Before we get to the guts of this story let me make clear that Amy Koch, who is is married with one child, was one of the proponents of Minnesota’s shameful and utterly disgusting 2012 anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.

Oh, and she likes to mess around on her husband.

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch resigned her post Thursday after she was confronted by GOP Senate leaders about allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a Senate staffer, according to high level State Capitol sources.

Those sources confirmed that four Republican Senators held an emergency meeting with Koch Wednesday night, after multiple Senate staffers reported the possible improper conduct.

“Not fun, but we did what I think all of us feel is necessary and appropriate give the circumstances,” said Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dave Senjem

GOP leaders won’t name the male staffer alleged to be involved with Senator Koch, but said he continues to work at the Senate. Because it is now a legal matter, they’ve turned over the complaints to the Secretary of the Senate for review.

“We don’t want the Minnesota senate to have that kind of work environment for our employees,” said Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Geoff Michel. “And so that’s why we felt we had to act.”

In a letter to Senate Republicans Thursday, Koch resigned as Senate Majority Leader and said she will not run for re-election next year.

Minnesota Shuns Anti-Immigration Anger

Glad to see some people know about civility when it comes to immigration.

It is also a sign of Minnesota’s more general embrace of immigration. According to a 2010 report from the Saint Paul-based Wilder Research, 6.5% of the state’s population was foreign-born in 2008. That was well below the national figure of roughly 12%. But the rise in the number of foreign-born people in Minnesota has been dramatic; between 1990 and 2000 the immigrant population increased by more than 130%, compared with a 57% rise nationwide.

The difference may be partly because, when it comes to immigration, Minnesota is more like Canada than the rest of the United States. Being far removed from Latin America, the main source of immigrants to the country in general, Minnesota has little cause to worry about unauthorised migration.

But it is also a matter of policy. The state has been a national leader in refugee resettlement programmes since the 1980s, and its main metropolis, the twinned cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, has adopted a series of initiatives aimed at supporting refugees of all kinds as well as regular migrants.

Both are sanctuary cities, for example, meaning that police are barred from asking about migration status during the normal course of business. They have also spent money on integration. Mr Samatar’s centre, for example, specialises in helping African immigrants who want to start small businesses.