Wiretap: It’s almost as if Congress doesn’t want you to know what’s in the tax bill

It’s no secret that the tax bill was rushed through Congress from the start to this week’s expected finish. The Senate passed its version of the bill in the middle of the night. The final details of the House-Senate reconciliation bill were announced late Friday afternoon — the traditional bad-news-dumping time. We’re just learning that a provision that greatly benefits Sen. Bob Corker, once the lone Republican holdout, was secretly added to the bill. It’s almost as if Republicans were trying to hide something. Via The New Yorker.

E.J. Dionne: The GOP tax bill is not only a boon for the wealthy and mostly unfair to nearly everyone else. It is also deeply corrupt. Anyone who votes for this bill, Dionne writes in The Washington Post, will be joining a festival of venality.

Remember when Donald Trump was promising that most Americans would be able to file their taxes on a postcard? Turns out, it’s going to have to be a hell of a big one. Via The New York Times.

Your week in politics: In which Republicans have until Friday to get the tax bill passed and strike a deal with Democrats to keep the government running. There are several deadlines involved, including the one that would bring Alabama Democrat Doug Jones to the Senate. Via The Washington Post.

The ever-expanding list of GOP complaints about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian probe now comes down to a feud between Mueller and Trump’s lawyers. Strangely, though, Trump seems far more unhappy with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray than he is about Mueller. Via The New York Times.

Orwellian alert: The Trump Administration has actually banned the Centers for Disease Control from using seven fairly necessary words in budget reports. Among the forbidden are “science-based” and “fetus.” Via Vox.

The big issue in 2018 in California politics will be universal healthcare. CalMatters columnist Dan Walters writes that California could, in fact, do something very much like universal healthcare if the issue is, in fact, no more than ensuring that everyone is covered. Via The Sacramento Bee.

From The National Review, Kevin Williamson makes the case for Walmart, for prosperity, for freedom, but mostly for free trade.

If you want to read about “The Last Jedi,” you’re just going to have to accept that there will be spoilers. If you’ve seen the movie or you don’t mind spoilers, you can read how the sensational Star Wars movie teaches the first rule of keeping franchises fresh — which is to break the rules. Via The Atlantic.

Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson via Flickr: Creative Commons