Good morning. You want the good news or bad news first? Let’s start with the bad so that you get out of the morning briefing feeling good. The worst news is that the FCC is going to repeal net neutrality today. What this will ultimately mean is anyone’s guess. No one supports this. Even 3 out of 4 Republicans don’t support this. There’s no reason in the world to trust the telecom industry, and now they’ll have us over a barrel. The most likely scenario will see something like this: Comcast will start offering “exciting new Internet plans!” Maybe you’ll only pay $49.99 for the “social media plan,” which is perfect for surfing the web and checking Facebook! But if you watch a lot of Netflix, that’ll cost you $74.99, and if you’re an avid gamer, maybe you purchase the “gamer plan,” which goes for $99.99. Everyone is gonna ultimately end up paying more, and honestly, that’s the best case scenario.
The worst case scenario will see a company like Comcast giving preferential treatment to, say, NBC streaming while Netflix gets clogged, and we all end up watching Will & Grace all goddamn day because Stranger Things keeps giving us the spinny wheel, or maybe Verizon slows access to sites that are critical of the company, or critical of their preferred political candidates. I mean, given the divisive political climate, the last thing anyone wants is for our goddamn WiFi service taking sides.
Meanwhile, here’s a goddamn FCC Commissioner promoting the repeal of the net neutrality by doing the Harlem Shake with a literal pizzagate conspiracist because even with the victory of Doug Jones, we are still living in the worst timeline.
Here's Ajit Pai, FCC chairman hoping to kill Net Neutrality today (tomorrow pacific) celebrating it's demise with a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist (via: https://t.co/NzIsVS6JPr) pic.twitter.com/K9LCf3ksjh— GEOTRILL🌐🔥 (@delmoi) December 14, 2017
More bad news? Maine Senator Susan Collins has apparently said that Doug Jones should NOT be seated before the tax bill is voted on, which probably means that Susan Collins is going to vote for the damn thing even though the House refused to give Collins what she insisted upon when she agreed to vote for the tax plan. In other words, Collins is rolling over on this.
And look: We don’t really know what’s in the tax plan yet, because the Republicans refuse to let even the Democrats in Congress see it, but it’s bad. But it’s not bad because, on the face of it, poor people are going to get screwed. In the short term, unless you live in a dark blue state (CA, NJ, NY) and are accustomed to deducting a lot of state and local taxes, you are probably going to get a tax cut. But rich people are going to get the lion’s share of that tax cut — like 40 percent is going to the top 1 percent of earners. It’s shit policy because the people who need it the least are going to save millions of dollars while the people who need it most are gonna get an additional $10 back at the end of the year. It’s not gonna mean a hill of beans for them.
The biggest problem with the GOP tax plan is what’s to come. It’s in how they pay for it. Because, by getting rid of the individual mandate, a lot of healthy people are going to stop paying for health insurance, which means that health insurance premiums are going to go up. Moreover, the plan is going to drive up the deficit, and in order to ameliorate that, the Republicans are going to start passing entitlement “reform,” which is just another word for gutting Medicare and Social Security. So, you know: Fuck your retirements, Millennials. And for poor people suffering from economic anxiety/racism, they’re going to lose a lot of their social safety net. Fuck ‘em right? Well, yes, except that there are a lot of people of color, a lot of single parents, and a lot of genuinely good people that are gonna get screwed, too.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post has dropped a massive feature on Trump and Russia’s meddling with our election, and the gist of it is this: Trump still refuses to concede that the Russians interfered because to do so would mean that he didn’t earn the Presidency, and by refusing to concede the point, that also means that he’s not doing anything about the Russian threat. The key point is here:
The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.
Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and he has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.
OK. Anyway, I promised you people good news, so I am going to deliver on that. The Times took a look at the state of things for the Republicans in the midterms, and post-Alabama, things don’t look great. The gist of their problem is this: Steve Bannon is not backing down. He’s going to continue to run nativist candidates, which has discouraged moderates from running, which means that the general elections are increasingly likely to pit reasonable, moderate Democrats against far-right wing populists, who remain popular with the party’s base but not popular with general election voters. This is going to particularly affect Senate races next year in Nevada and Arizona and maybe even Mississippi. I might actually like to see what would happen in Mississippi in this climate if the Republican ran a Roy Moore type in a state with a 37 percent African American population.
Also, I still don’t understand why no one is really talking about Ted Cruz. How in the world can that seat be safe, especially because Ted Cruz’s favorability ratings in Texas are underwater, especially considering what 538 is reporting, namely that — in the 70 special elections this year — “the Democratic margin has been 12 percentage points better, on average, than the partisan lean in each race.” In other words, in practice, Democrats are actually gaining that 12 point theoretical advantage expressed by polls between generic Democrats and generic Republicans. The Trump backlash is real, and now that his favorability rating is down to a dismal 32 percent, Republicans are going to be even more divided. I saw a poll earlier this morning that said that even among Fox News viewers, Trump’s favorability is only at 58 percent now. Trump’s state run television is dropping the ball!
Here, however, are my favorite things this morning: Angela Rye being “petty” about Omarosa’s exit from the White House on CNN!
Meanwhile, here is Robin Roberts on Good Morning America sneaking in a “bye Felicia.” I’ve watched this half a dozen times already. It’s glorious.
Robin Roberts said “Bye Felicia”to Omarosa. Wow. pic.twitter.com/r1u9sD0Qli— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) December 14, 2017