Good morning Pajiba-land!
+ It’s been a relatively quiet 18 hours or so in politics since the FCC killed net neutrality. Trump has also been relatively quiet since calling the junior Senator from New York a whore. Meanwhile, the tax bill continues to come along. It’s hit a small hitch with Senator Rubio putting his foot down and saying he won’t vote for it unless the refundable portion of the child tax credit is expanded beyond $1100, but they’ll throw in an extra $50 and Rubio will not only vote for it, but he’ll call it a victory! A few unpopular provisions have been stripped from the bill: They’re not going to tax tuition waivers on grad students anymore, and they’re not going to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which would have allowed nonprofits (like churches) to endorse political candidates. Unfortunately, it also looks like they’re going to sunset the tax breaks for individuals a year early so they can afford to bring the top tax bracket down from 39 to 27 percent. It’s a shitty bill, and it seems to hurt middle-class suburbanites in liberal states the most, so, like, 50 percent of all of you! Thanks, Trump!
+ The White House is still trying to discredit the special counsel, but that’s not going particularly well for them. The latest: The FBI agent the White House tried to discredit as politically biased because he called Trump an “idiot” and a “loathsome” human being” in a text message also called Chelsea Clinton “self entitled,” mocked Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, and texted “I’m worried about what happens if HRC is elected.” In other words, he’s not so much biased as he is opinionated, and his opinion that Trump is an idiot jibes with the consensus of Americans.
+ If you haven’t seen this, you gotta. Here’s Republican Louisiana Senator John Kennedy asking a nominee for a lifetime appointment as a federal district court judge basic legal questions that anyone applying to be a judge should know. This guy doesn’t know the answer to a single goddamn one of these questions. Kennedy will vote for his confirmation anyway. Why? I guess because the nominee did answer that last question correctly: “Have you ever blogged about Nazis?”
Re: That viral video of Sen. Kennedy grilling a judicial nominee…— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) December 15, 2017
In this hearing two weeks ago, Kennedy basically admits he's being pressured to vote for Trump's choices.
(And despite initially opposing the nominee in this video, Kennedy later said he'd vote for him anyway.) pic.twitter.com/14avwdNOSv
That’s where the bar for a lifetime appointment to the federal courts is now: If you haven’t expressed support for white nationalists on your blog, you’re in! This is why Trump has confirmed more federal judges in his first year than any other President in history. It’s also why our federal court system will be a goddamn disaster for a generation.
I should also note that these are not hard questions for anyone who’s gone to law school. It’s basically the equivalent of asking a guy applying to a car wash if he knows what a squeegee is.
+ Meanwhile, we’re on Day 3 of “Paul Ryan is totally gonna retire in 2018” and Day 72 of “Trump is going to fire Rex Tillerson any day now,” now with bonus “our allies don’t even pay attention to our Secretary of State anymore because they know he does not speak for the Administration.”
+ Here’s something! The European Parliament is accusing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of insider trading. I guess if you get to be as old as 80-year-old Wilbur Ross, there’s just nothing left to live for except accumulating more wealth than you can spend before you die.
+ OAN, a pro-Trump network once considered a possible vehicle to deliver Trump TV called the race on Tuesday for Roy Moore, and not only that, said he’d won by a wide margin.