Friday, December 1, 2017
Let's Talk about General Flynn, the Kate Steinle Murder Trial Acquittal, and the American Sense of Fairness
IT'S SATURDAY -- LET'S TALK. About Fairness. • • • FAIRNESS. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." That comes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. But, Confucius and Buddha offered similar advice. And the ancient Greek Athenians made it part of their idea of the Golden Mean -- not being excessive in any endeavor or thought. • Today, in America, there is a raging debate about what is fair. Americans, from the Pilgrims on, have had a special relationship with fairness and often, if we scratch beneath the surface of political dialogue, often Fairness is the root topic. • During the Obama years when morality was cast aside for political identity politics, Americans were often silenced about their political views at variance with the Obama Progressive agenda. Now, with a President who is williing to talk about fairness and who offers Christian leadership, the Fairness issue has re-emerged in American politics. This week, several examples of fairness-based situations made headlines. • • • MICHAEL FLYNN CHARGED. The latest came on Friday, when Michael Flynn was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with one count of lying to the FBI. Not much to show for all the media noise that has whirled around Flynn for a year. Fox News reported that Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about Russia. The false statements charge pertains to Flynn's interactions with the Russian ambassador in late December 2016 -- specifically, discussions about sanctions and other matters Flynn apparently claimed never happened. According to the document, those false statements were that : "On or about Dec 29, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Government of Russia’s Ambassador to the United States...to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and FLYNN did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request." And that "On or about December 22, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described to FLYNN Russia’s response to his request.” Flynn is accused of "willfully and knowingly" making the “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador, while serving on the Trump transition team before Trump was inaugurated. General Flynn was fired by President Trump based on leaks of US surveillance revealed in February showing that Flynn had misled Vice President Pence about the contents of his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, saying that sanctions were not mentioned -- an account Pence then repeated to the American people. • A Flynn plea deal had been rumored ever since his attorneys informed President Trump's legal team they could no longer discuss the investigation. The move prompted speculation Flynn might be cooperating with Mueller's investigators and discussing a deal. • The calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak hit the Fairness nerve because they appear to be a potential violation of the Logan Act, an obscure and likely unenforceable 1799 law prohibiting private citizens from engaging in foreign policy. No one has ever been successfully prosecuted under that law. Flynn said on Friday : "I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions." A source close to Flynn said financial and emotional pressure helped lead to the decision to plead guilty, rather than endure a drawn-out court battle. • Flynn's statement about pleading guilty being "in the best interests of my family' certainly refers to the fact that Mueller used family-as-hostage tactics, implicating Flynn's son in the affair, to pressure General Flynn to plead guilty. • Fairness is also an issue in the Flynn indictment, as it was to a lesser degree in the Paul Manafort indictment, because of the Unfairness of the Obama administration's illegal use of surveillance of the Trump team for political purposes -- whereas the NSA surveillance imbedded in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (the FISA Court) is meant to authorize oversight requests for surveillance warrants against foreign spies inside the United States. Collecting data -- surveillance -- against US citizens is illegal under FISA, except under extremely precise situations. But, Obama and his securty team seem to have scooped up much of the Trump team's communications under the pretext that they were somehow related to the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election -- a pretext now seen as Fake because the Dossier used to get the FISA warrants was a political hack job paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the FBI under Obama. • What Flynn did is almost certainly not illegal -- he was asked by a Trump team official to contact foreign governments about a UN vote. He did just that. But lying about it to the FBI was illegal. Howver, it is NOT FAIR to bully Flynn by using a Fake Dossier to get surveillance warrants and threatening his son with prosecution. And it is not fair to use the 1799 Logan Act that has never led to a conviction to trap Flynn. The American people have seen through Mueller's political witchhunt goals. So, that General Flynn has pleaded guilty is not the issue -- FAIRNESS is the issue. General Flynn has been treated unfairly by special counsel Mueller, and America knows it. • • • KATE STEINLE. Fox News broke the news last night that Kate Steinle’s accused killer was found not guilty of murder. A San Francisco jury reached the verdict in the murder trial, finding Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of murdering Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015 in a case that sparked a heated national debate over illegal immigration and so-called sanctuary cities. Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He also was found not guilty of assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was found guilty of possessing a firearm by a felon. The jury had deliberated for six days. Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend in July 2015 when she was shot, collapsing into her father's arms. Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation. • The FAIRNESS issue here is different because a jury -- supposedly of one's peers delivered the verdict, although we might argue as to how a jury of "peers" could be found to sit in judgment of a man who is an illegal immigrant felon deported five times from the US before re-entering the US, each time illegally, and who was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in 2015. • A big part of the public furor over the case involved the fact that San Francisco is a sanctuary city, with local law enforcement officials barred from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding to cities with similar immigration policies, BUT a federal judge in California permanently blocked his executive order last week. • Following the verdict, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced late Thursday : "ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country." ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan added : "San Francisco's policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets." • Fox News reported on Friday that the not guilty verdict sparked shock from political and media figures. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted : "Jury convinced that illegal alien killed Kate Steinle accidentally. She would still be alive if we had a wall." Former congressman Joe Walsh, in response to the verdict, tweeted : "America, 2017: Illegals are protected and Americans are left to die. America is lost. The next time you hear a Democrat talk about protecting illegals or defending Sanctuary Cities, remind them that it's because of an illegal and Sanctuary Cities that Kate Steinle is no longer alive today." Conservative radio host Mark Levin tweeted that the verdict was a "shocking disgrace." Actor James Woods tweeted : "If this worthless Congress doesn't pass #KatesLaw now, there is no hope for this nation. Kate Steinle will leave an enduring legacy. The stunning depravity of her murderer’s acquittal will be a turning point in American history. The lines are drawn. #BuildTheWall." Sarah Palin, the former Republican candidate for the vice presidency, wrote on Twitter that the verdict was "outrageous," and said "The illegal alien who shot her was just given more rights, grace and favor than the devastated Steinle family. San Francisco is NOT a safe place. - SP" Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement Thursday, stating that San Francisco's position as a sanctuary city "led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle." He added that the Justice Department "will continue to ensure that all jurisdictions place the safety and security of their communities above the convenience of criminal aliens." Senator Ted Cruz tweeted : "I am disappointed and angry at the not guilty verdict for Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an illegal alien who had several felony convictions & was deported from the US five times. Justice must be served for Kate Steinle." • President Trump called the not-guilty verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial "disgraceful" amid growing outrage over jurors' decision : "A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.” US immigration officials said they will deport Garcia Zarate, who was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in 2015. Defense attorneys argued the shooting was an accident. Prosecutors said the killing was intentional. Steinle's killing sparked a national debate over sanctuary cities like San Francisco and illegal immigration. • FAIRNESS? Most shockingly of all, Garcia Zarate’s criminal background wasn’t considered during the trial and jurors were unaware that he had been deported five times, had been in federal prison for re-entering the country illegally, and had been charged with selling marijuana. Three months before the shooting, Garcia Zarate was released before immigration officials could deport him for the sixth time. He is now a free man -- again. While Zarate's immigration status brought the case into the national spotlight, jurors did not hear evidence about that, and it was not a factor in the trial. Other lawyers may argue the merits of withholding this evidence of prior conduct, but I have to wonder why the prosecution lawyers did not try to attack Zarate's statement that the gun fired accidentally, ricocheting and killing Kate, in order to bring Zarate's character into the trial, so that his past could have been used -- depending on local judicial rules of evidence -- by the prosecution as 'proof' of his unsavory character, suggesting that it had perhaps led him to lie about how and why the gun discharged and killed Kate Steinle. Just a thouight -- will the prosecution address this? I doubt it. California is drifting farther and farther form the norm insofar as American justice is concerned. • And, that raises the Fairness question in the minds of most Americans. The facts in the case were that the gun belonged to a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger and was stolen from his parked car a week earlier -- we do not know by whom. But, the gun was in Zarate's possession -- either because he 'found' it in the park as he stated, or because he stole it from the parked car. Zarate was holding the gun and it discharged and the bullet ricocheted on the pier's concrete walkway before it struck Steinle, killing her. Zarate has admitted to shooting Steinle, but says it was an accident. The prosecution painted a very different picture, telling jurors that Zarate deliberately shot the gun towards Steinle while "playing his own secret version of Russian roulette." • Following Steinle's death, Congress took action to pass new legislation called Kate's Law. The law -- passed by the House of Representatives in June -- increases the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States and are caught. The Senate has not acted on the House bill. • Now, the Justice Department has told Fox News it is considering bringing federal charges against Zarate after his not guilty verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial. The undocumented felon could spend three years in prison for the firearm charge but has already been behind bars for over two years as the case has made its way through court. • The consideration of federal charges comes as President Trump calls the verdict “disgraceful” and uses the case to rally support for a border wall : “The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL!” • FAIRNESS? One of the reasons Americans voted for Trump was that he promised to build a wall to keep illegal felons and drug runners out of the US. But, Congess has refused to fund the wall, and the ProgDem lapdog media calls the wall a joke. America does not agree, and the Kate Steinle murder by an illegal immigrant felon already deported 5 times was beyond even the American sense of "state rights' -- especially when the state -- California -- is using its "'rights" to protect illegal felons by preventing federal ICE officials from detaining these illegals when they are being released from jail. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said : “When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk. San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle. While the State of California sought a murder charge for the man who caused Ms. Steinle’s death -- a man who would not have been on the streets of San Francisco if the city simply honored an ICE detainer -- the people ultimately convicted him of felon in possession of a firearm.” • And, in LATE-BREAKING NEWS, Fox News reported late Friday afternoon that the Department of Justice unsealed an arrest warrant Friday for Jose Inez Garcia Zarate, the illegal immigrant acquitted Thursday in Kate Steinle’s murder trial. The arrest warrant was originally drafted in 2015 and amended this week to include violations related to the charges of a felon in possession of a firearm, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon, all of which were filed after the defendant's initial arrest, according to Friday's warrant. Officials at the Department of Justice told Fox News that there is an existing federal detainer that requires Zarate to be remanded into the custody of the US Marshals to be transported to the Western District of Texas pursuant to the arrest warrant. • The American people have seen through the goals of sanctuary cities and states -- yes, California is by the recent enactment of a statewide law, a sanctuary state. So, whether Zarate was guilty -- that is, whether the prosecution did a good enough job of convincing the jury to find him guilty -- is no longer the issue -- FAIRNESS is the issue. Americans want to be safe in their states, cities, neighborhoods and homes. They do not want to have to worry about illegal felons robbing, beating or killing them, and then having those illegals being protected by state and local governments intent on having undefended open borders, no matter what the vast majority of Americans and their government want. Americans also see through the political agenda in California, where the Progressive government machine is working 24/7 to destroy the Trump presidency and install Progressive govenrment. THAT IS NOT WHAT Americans want. • • • DEAR READERS, Americans are enraged about General Flynn and Zarate's verdict because they see Kate Steinle's murder as preventable and the result of government run amock. FAIRNESS applies to law and the judiciary as much as it does to personal relations. It is instilled in Americans as part of their culture -- indeed, fairness is part of the culture of Western Civilization. No matter how hard ProgDems try to eradicate Fairness from America, it will remain to remind everyone that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and one of the most ingrained of those principle is FAIRNESS. • A corollary of the rage over Kate Steinle's murder is the sense of Americans that a Progressive federal judiciary is twisting the Constitution to protect and advance ProgDem political goals. When US District Judge Court Judge William Orrick, ten days ago in California, blocked President Trump’s executive order to cut funding from sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate with US immigration officials, there was much conservative hand-wringing. The Kate Steinle not-guilty verdict has turned that hand-wringing into outrage. Judge William Orrick issued the ruling in lawsuits brought by San Francisco and Santa Clara counties. According to Judge Orrick, Trump can’t set new conditions on spending approved by Congress -- that is, the President cannot withhold funds from local governments even if they disobey federal law. But, federal law enforcement grants are given out on the assumption that recipients are going to use that money to enforce federal law. They are not provided out of the goodness of taxpayer hearts. And, they are not given out to be used to create and develop sanctuary cities and states that refuse to follow federal law. Title 8 U.S.C. 1324 is explicit -- harboring and concealing from detection illegal aliens is a felony, whether committed by individuals or sanctuary city officials : "Harboring -- Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) makes it an offense for any person who -- knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation." It is time to prosecute local and state elected officials who operate sanctuaries for illegal felons. • Worse from a Fairness perspective is the fact that Judge Orrick reportedly bundled hundreds of thousands of dollars for President Barack Obama. And, Orrick is the same judge who issued a restraining order in 2015 against the advocacy group responsible for undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood employees plotting to sell baby organs. • Another aspect of Fairness is the drumbeat of Progressive black leaders that "the System" is innately not Fair. Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington got it 100% right when he blamed fatherless homes, not ‘The System,’ for the mass incarceration of black Americans, while the black Progressive leadership always blames Unfairness. Instead of raising a black power-fist and blaming “the System,” Washington points the finger to the exact spot most Progressives do not want to hear : “It starts at the home. It starts at home. It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So, you know, I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.” Washington used the example of his own upbringing : “I grew up with guys who did decades [in prison] and it had as much to do with their fathers not being in their lives as it did to do with any system. By the time we got to 13, 14, different things happened. Now, I was doing just as much as they were, but they went further...I just didn’t get caught, but they kept going down that road and then they were in the hands of the system. But it’s about the formative years. You’re not born a criminal.” But, Progressive leftists insist 'the System' is rigged by systemic racism which disproportionately punishes minorities. There is NO “System” making anyone pull a trigger, sell drugs, or carjack their neighbor. Denzel Washington understands -- but Hollywood Progressives and California do not. That is why they see the Zarate not guilty verdict as defensible. It is not defensible and it is not FAIR. President Trump has started to appoint judges to the federal bench who will uphold the Constitution. Support him by telling your Congress Member to vote for the approval of these Trump nominees. • President Ronald Reagan said of Fairness : "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." • And, the Declaration of Independence once again says it best : "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.---That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ---That whatever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." Thomas Jefferson and the Founders always got it right.