McGahn Instructed Not To Testify

I have so many questions about this, so I’m hoping some of our legal folks can weigh in.

If he doesn’t testify and they find him in contempt, is he arrested? Will he need a lawyer to defend him, and if so, who will pay for it? I would think legal fees would be the biggest deterrent.

#impeachthemotherfuckeralready

Anyway, discuss.








Friday Morning Open Thread: Not So Fast, Squash Boy

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
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And, of course, there’s this side note:








John Roberts says “Hold My Beer”

Justice John Paul Stevens:

District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right to possess a firearm under the Constitution, is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Supreme Court announced during my tenure on the bench.

The text of the Second Amendment unambiguously explains its purpose: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” When it was adopted, the country was concerned that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several states.

***

That’s cold comfort. I have written in other contexts that an amendment to the Constitution to overrule Heller is desperately needed to prevent tragedies such as the massacre of 20 grammar-school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, from ever happening again. But such tragedies have indeed happened again. In the course of writing the chapter of my memoir that discusses Heller, on October 1, 2017, a gunman fired from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500 more who were attending an outdoor concert. I had not yet finished the chapter when another mass shooting occurred, this one involving the death of 26 people—including three generations of a single family—at a church on November 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. More shootings have happened since.

You ain’t seen nothing yet.








Pence Administration Cracks Down on Nefarious LGBT Plot to Have Children

As you are no doubt aware, same-sex couples cannot conceive children the same way opposite-sex couples can. While many choose to adopt, others choose to make what my husband and I call Science Babies. For male* couples, this usually involves one partner’s sperm and a surrogate; for female* couples, one provides the egg (and often womb), and then there is a sperm donor.

In a small but nasty administrative decision, the Pence wing of the administration has combined forces with the Trump wing to begin challenging birthright citizenship for gay couples who have Science Babies overseas:

Last summer, the State Department issued new rules unilaterally changing the department’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a 1952 law that, along with the 14th Amendment, codifies eligibility for U.S. birthright citizenship.

“The U.S. Department of State interprets the INA to mean that a child born abroad must be biologically related to a U.S. citizen parent,” the State Department’s website says. “Even if local law recognizes a surrogacy agreement and finds that U.S. parents are the legal parents of a child conceived and born abroad… if the child does not have a biological connection to a U.S. citizen parent, the child will not be a U.S. citizen at birth.”

Under the policy[…] children born via gestational surrogacy and other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are considered to be born “out of wedlock,” in the State Department’s words—even if their parents, like Roee and Adiel, are legally married.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that these new rules only seem to apply to children born to same-sex couples.

For parents of non-traditional families, the policy change has been a disaster, leaving them to navigate the labyrinthine immigration legal system with little guidance from the State Department and, at the moment, little recourse for appeal. Children of U.S. citizens are put at risk of deportation or even statelessness—despite no textual legal basis for the policy.

[…]“Assumption of parentage,” as the State Department calls it, now seems to LGBT parents to be reserved solely for heterosexual married couples.

Indeed, friends of ours recently had a Science Baby who was born in Thailand, and they had to jump through a number of hoops, including several genetic tests, to get the kid a passport. The whole article shows just how much of a mess the administrative state is for same-sex couples right now. The pretzels we had to twist ourselves into pre-Obergefell and Windsor have ramifications that will echo through our lives until this is cleaned up by actual laws. Which will not happen any time soon. In the meantime, administrations which decide that they can reinterpret the law to their liking, since nobody is likely to stop them, will do so.

What’s most galling for me is that this is not a large number of people. Many of these people are servicemembers. There is no legitimate reason to do this. I can’t even imagine what they’ll cook up in court to make it seem like there is. In the Trump era, they don’t even have the goddamn courtesy to give us a pretext any more.

*Chromosomal sex








Floriduh! Man & Woman: Easily Triggered and Not Very Bright Edition

Oy vey…

From NBC News:

A Florida man called police to report a comedian of Middle Eastern descent who he believed had told a joke that showed support for terrorism.

Standup comic Ahmed Ahmed, who is of Egyptian descent, poked fun at negative stereotypes of Muslims during a set at Off The Hook Comedy Club in Naples, Florida, on Saturday night.

“Clap if you’re from the Middle East,” Ahmed said, according to a clip posted on the club’s Facebook page.

After a smattering of cheers, Ahmed slyly responded: “All right. We got a handful of us in in here, nice. But, hey, it only takes one of us … to tell a joke.”

At least one member of the audience didn’t get the punchline.

The man called the Collier County Sheriff’s Department and told a deputy that Ahmed was organizing people of Middle Eastern descent to possibly commit terrorism.

“He said, `That’s great.’ He said, `We can organize our own little terrorist organization,’ and I don’t think that was right. I mean it really bothered me,” the caller said, according to audio of the call released by the sheriff’s department. “And I yelled out, `And the paddy wagon is going to be outside to get all of you.’ “

The man added: “My wife and I looked at each other and we felt very uncomfortable.”

The caller told authorities he was only at the club because he was given free tickets.

Ahmed told NBC News on Wednesday that the “it only takes one of us” line is in his regular act and it’s never sparked any blowback.

“I’ve told that joke about 1,000 times around the world,” Ahmed said. “Whatever he heard and what I said are two different things.”

The comic said he stuck around after Saturday’s show to meet with any fans who wanted to speak with him or snap pictures.

“Terrorists don’t do meet-and-greets,” the comic said. “We don’t say, `Death to America!’ and then, `But wait, let’s do selfies first.’ “

Deputies showed up to the club Sunday before Ahmed’s set that night, briefly interviewed him and left without incident.

“They couldn’t have been nicer,” Ahmed said of the responding deputies. “One of them said, `Don’t change anything, keep doing what you’re doing.’ That was refreshing to hear.”

Club owner Brien Spina said he’s been booking Ahmed to his club for more than a decade, and won’t stop now.

“For me it was a great joke. I stand behind him,” said Spina, who booked Ahmed for another gig, on Wednesday of next week. “His show is great.”

The comic said he has no ill will toward the caller. If anything, he wants to shake his hand.

“I want to say, `Thank you,’ to him,” Ahmed said. “He got more publicity for me in that one phone call than ever. You want to talk about a blessing in disguise.”

Given that this took place in one of the more reactionary portions of the Gunshine State, Ahmed is lucky that this guy just called the cops.

You just gotta laugh. At the morons.

Open thread!