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Derick Dirmaier

Derick Dirmaier is the Director of Product and Creative Development at TPM. Contact him at derick@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Monday blocked President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, after five transgender service members filed a lawsuit against the President’s orders.

Trump announced his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military in “any capacity” in a tweet in July. He made it official with a memorandum in August, saying it was unclear whether transgender troops serving openly would impact “military readiness and lethality” and claiming any medical needs of transgender individuals, like gender reassignment surgeries and hormones, would be too expensive for the Department of Defense to pay for.

President Barack Obama’s administration lifted the ban on transgender individuals serving openly in the military in June 2016. The Obama-era policy was supposed to go into full effect in July 2017.

At the end of June, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he wanted to push back the enlistment date six months so the Department of Defense could further review the policy. After Trump announced his ban, Mattis said his department was still reviewing the policy.

In October, the D.C.-based Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction that would force Trump to allow transgender individuals to enlist openly beginning Jan. 1. The second injunction was issued Monday to clarify that the Department of Defense cannot defer the Jan. 1 deadline for allowing enlistment any further, according to court documents.

Kollar-Kotelly isn’t the first federal judge to rule against Trump’s ban. In a parallel lawsuit, Maryland-based federal Judge Marvin Garbis last week temporarily blocked Trump’s directive and called his tweets about the policy change “shocking” as well as “capricious, arbitrary and unqualified.”

Garbis’ order will not only temporarily allows transgender troops to openly enlist in the military, but also allows current service members to receive any scheduled transition-related medical care, according to court documents obtained by NPR.

“President Trump’s tweets did not emerge from a policy review, nor did the Presidential Memorandum identify any policymaking process or evidence demonstrating that the revocation of transgender rights was necessary for any legitimate national interest,” Garbis wrote in his directive last week. “Based on the circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement and the departure from normal procedure, the court agrees wit the D.C. court that there is sufficient support for plaintiff’s claims that ‘the decision to exclude transgender individuals was not derived by genuine concern regarding military efficacy.”

Both cases are still pending in federal court, but the injunctions released in recent weeks indicate the Garbis and Kollar-Kotelly believe the plaintiffs are likely to win their suit.

Read Kollar-Kotelly’s Monday injunction here.

In an unusual letter to Congress this week, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general says a report he submitted more than six weeks ago on the chaotic implementation of President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order has gone down a bureaucratic black hole.

“I’m very troubled by this development,” wrote Inspector General John Roth, warning that the Trump administration is likely to invoke various executive privileges to avoid releasing some or all of the report, a move he says will “significantly hamper” his ability to hold the department accountable.

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After almost two weeks of ducking questions on whether he still backs Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, President Trump made it clear Tuesday that he stood by his endorsement.

“We don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat,” Trump said as he exited the White House Tuesday. “We don’t need a liberal person in there.”

And Trump defended Moore, who like Trump has faced accusations of sexual harassment and assault from numerous women.

“Roy Moore denies it. That’s all I can say. And by the way, he totally denies it,” Trump said when asked if he believes Moore or the nine women that have accused Moore of inappropriate sexual actions, many of them when they were teens. “And I do have to say, 40 years is a long time.”

Trump told reporters that he’ll announce “next week” if he’ll campaign for Moore ahead of the Dec. 12 special election.

Trump’s decision to stand by Moore — who he heartily endorsed after he defeated Trump-backed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in the GOP primary — comes after heavy lobbying from top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway as well as former top Trump adviser and Breitbart News head Steve Bannon.

It marks a major split with other Republican leaders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and a number of other top Republicans have called on Moore to drop out of the race, though the Alabama Republican Party has stuck by Moore. Even Trump’s daughter Ivanka came out to say she believed Moore’s female accusers and said “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children” — comments that are being featured in Democratic opponent Doug Jones’ campaign ads.

As Trump was defending Moore at the White House, Moore’s embattled campaign held a press event attempting to poke holes in the stories of two of the women accusing Moore.

They went after Leigh Corfman, who has said Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was just 14 years old, claiming court documents they found showed she had “disciplinary problems,” while trying to knock down details in the accounts of both Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson, who has said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old.

They refused to take questions while attacking reporters during the so-called “press conference.”

“You’ve got to understand, Alabamians, that the world is watching you,” Moore ally Dean Young said during the event. “The question is can you be tricked, can you be tricked, because all hell is coming to Alabama against Judge Roy Moore. … We have to show the world that we’re not a bunch of idiots, we’re not a bunch of sheep.”

And Young accused Jones for supporting transgender people, using an interesting line of attack given the allegations that Moore molested teenage girls.

“[Jones] is for transgenders going into little girls bathrooms, boys pretending they’re girls going into little girls’ bathrooms in the school,” he said.

“We believe Judge Moore, we don’t believe these women,” he continued.

The 2020 U.S. Census will determine which states gain or lose electoral power for years to come, and President Donald Trump is leaning towards appointing a pro-gerrymandering professor with no government experience to help lead the effort.

Politico reported Tuesday that Trump may soon tap Thomas Brunell, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Dallas who has no background in statistics, for a powerful deputy position that doesn’t require congressional approval.

He authored a 2008 book titled Competitive Elections are Bad for America.

The position has historically been held by a career civil servant who has served many years in the Census Bureau.

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On Monday, the Tax Policy Center released a new analysis of the House tax bill that disproves claims from GOP leadership and the Trump administration that the deep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy will create so much economic growth that the bill will pay for itself. This is an annotation with a link.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently insisted that “not only will this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt.” White House economic adviser Gary Cohn agreed, saying that “we can pay for the entire tax cut through growth over the cycle.”

Yet the new study by the Tax Policy Center finds that while the bill would somewhat boost the nation’s economic output, leading to more revenue for the government, it would not be enough to offset the revenue lost by the tax cuts. The net effect of the bill would be to increase the deficit by $1.27 trillion over 10 years.

The estimated growth would be lower than promised and the impact would diminish over time. The Tax Policy Center estimates that the tax cuts would increase the U.S. GDP by 0.6 percent in 2018, 0.3 percent in 2027, and 0.2 percent in 2037.

The revenue generated by the growth would be about $169 billion over 10 years—a drop in the bucket to the revenue the government would lose over that same period.

This study echoes the findings of other analyses—including one conducted by President Trump’s alma mater, the Wharton School of Business—showing that even when taking growth into account through so-called dynamic scoring, the tax bill would still balloon the deficit.

Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore on more than one occasion cited murderous cult leader Charles Manson’s “family” to argue why gay people shouldn’t be allowed to get married.

Moore, a religious conservative crusader whose Senate campaign is on the rocks because multiple women have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct with them (many when they were teenagers), argued on at least two occasions that legalizing gay marriage would lead to polygamy and allow mass murdering Manson to marry multiple women from his cult.

“It’s not a question of equal protection of law. Every person has the right to marry someone of the opposite gender. That’s always been true, that’s equal protection,” Moore said in early 2015 during a radio interview. “You can’t extend equal protection, say everybody’s got a right to marry anybody they want to, because then you can say Charles Manson had a family and we’ve got to recognize that family.”

Manson, a cult leader whose followers gruesomely murdered seven people including pregnant actress Sharon Tate in 1969, died on Sunday.

That radio interview isn’t the only time Moore used Manson to argue against gay marriage.

During an interview for the 2015 documentary “The State of Being Human,” Moore argued with documentarian David Merriman that gay marriage would lead to Manson-like polygamy.

“You know who Charles Manson was? He had a family didn’t he? Well, it was called Charles Manson’s family, wasn’t it?” he said during a back-and-forth with Merriman. “But could they get married?”

When Merriman conceded Manson would legally have been allowed to marry one of his female followers, Moore fired back: “Why not two of them?”

That’s not the only slippery slope argument Moore made in his interview with Merriman — he also referenced bestiality and father-daughter incest.

“I have horses. My wife has horses. She loves her horse. Should she be able to marry her horse?” he asked.

Roy Moore from Dmi Video’s on Vimeo.

“Some men unfortunately love their daughter. And when she becomes of age, should they be able to get married?” he asked a minute later. “If it’s based on love, why shouldn’t a man be able to marry his daughter, and why shouldn’t a woman be able to marry her son?”

One woman has accused Moore of initiating a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old, while another has accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 16. Other women have accused Moore of making passes at them or taking them out on dates when they were teens, or groping them without their consent.

The Democratic outside group American Bridge found the references and shared them with TPM. Moore’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on his remarks.

Here is what I am thankful for. It’s not the only thing I’m thankful for. It’s not what I’m most thankful for. But it is something I’m very thankful for and it is the thing I’m thankful for that relates directly to this site. So this seems like the place to give thanks.

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We’re seeing a lot of coverage today of reports that US intelligence officials warned their Israeli counterparts to be careful sharing information with Donald Trump because he might be compromised by the Russians. This is not new information. Indeed, it is an example of just how much and how early we’ve known about the crisis in the White House, with still relatively little attention being given to the fact of it.

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We have four editorial positions we’re currently hiring for. But today we’re announcing one that is uniquely important to me and the future of the organization, our first Prime Editor. This isn’t just an editor to help oversee our subscription content. It’s an editor to help oversee and shape a new way of covering the news that we’ll be doing exclusively within Prime. Please see the full listing after the jump. If you’re up for an exciting challenge and want to work in an expanding, vital newsroom, I encourage you to apply.

(Our other three open positions are: Senior Editor, Assistant Editor and a third reporter to join our Investigations Desk team.)

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We now have a basic matter of statutory interpretation determining who is in fact acting director of the CFPB. My sense was that Leandra English had the stronger legal argument here, even if the President has greater powers to get his way in a case like this and likely enjoys more deference from the courts. But the fact the CFPB’s own top lawyer is siding with the President suggests that at a minimum it’s not clear cut in English’s favor. Again, this is a relatively straightforward conflict between two statutes. There are established frameworks judges use to decide which is the controlling law. So, for lawyer readers with experience in this kind of legal analysis, what’s your take? What are the questions we should be asking to help us understand how a judge might rule? Drop me a line at our comments email address linked under the TPM logo at the upper right.

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