Doing the Wave

Newark

It’s only two days after the 2018 midterm elections and Trump is dismissing the blue wave, taking a “war-like posture” with the new Democratic majority in the House, and likely using unconstitutional means to replace the Attorney General in a transparent move to interfere with the Mueller investigation.

There are still a bunch of undecided races, including 11 House seats and governorships in Georgia and Florida. But despite that, and the distractions of Trump tantrums, it is worth taking a step back to assess what happened Tuesday.

First, obviously, the Democrats gained control of the House. They flipped a net of 31 seats and have a majority of 222 seats with more likely to come once the vote counting is done. But getting much less notice is what happened at the state level. At this point, Democrats have flipped seven governorships and went from seven to 13 states where they control all branches of state government.

Trump can deny it all he wants, but we did see a blue wave on Tuesday despite falling short on some high profile races (looking at you Texas).

In New Jersey, for example, Democrat Andy Kim seems poised to unseat Tom MacArthur in the state’s last undecided congressional race (Kim has now declared victory though no official confirmation yet). Politico reports that two years ago the NJ delegation was evenly split between six Republicans and six Democrats. If Kim has indeed won, the breakdown will 11 Democrats to one Republican.

To celebrate the blue wave, with a nod to the NJ blue wave, have a Newark cocktail. From Meehan’s Bartender Manual, the story behind this variation on the Brooklyn cocktail (and all the Brooklyn neighborhood variants it inspired requiring the need to look across the river) is worth a read.

The Newark is:

2 oz Laird’s 100 proof apple brandy

1 oz sweet vermouth

.25 oz Fernet Branca

.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur

Stir, strain into a chilled coupe, no garnish.

Cheers!

Going Bananas on Election Eve?

Worry

Going bananas with anticipation on this election eve?

It is quite understandable. Will patriotic Americans turn out to vote against the anti-democratic forces controlling our government? Will they vote in enough numbers to overcome all the Gerrymandering and voter suppression that has helped put this minority view in power?

Will the Russians interfere as much as they did in 2016? What happens if the election is widely seen as manipulated?

All of these worries will either be eased or exacerbated when the results come in tomorrow night.

So tonight, ease your mind with the Bourbon and bananas of the Years of Worry cocktail.

Via Kindred Cocktail, the Years of Worry is:

2 oz Bourbon (100 proof)

.75 Giffard Crème de Banane

.25 oz Cocchi Americano

1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters

Stir, strain into a rocks glass containing one large rock.

Cheers!

D-Day for Liberal Democracy

Liberal

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you…

…Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, 6 June 1944

On 6 November 2018, liberal democracy may face its most important challenge since that day 74 years ago on the beaches of Normandy.

Yes, I know, I am not really prone to hyperbole. I have worked in politics and seen plenty of times how any given election was over exaggerated as the most important of a lifetime. But, when the president* calls for the illegal use of the military on American soil to stir up his voting base while also suggesting he can change the Constitution by Executive Order, all with the full support of his legislature-controlling party, then things really are different.

Additionally, it is not just an internal US thing, either. We know there has been Russian influence in our elections, as there was in the Brexit vote in the UK. And just last week we saw the right wing come to power in Brazil. The threat to democracy is more global than at any time since at least the end of the Cold War, if not the defeat of Nazi Germany.

This global trend was addressed the other day by Max Fisher in The New York Times where he suggested that the weaknesses and tensions inherent to liberal democracy itself can, in times of stress, pull it apart. He said:

When that happens, voters tend to reject that system in all but name and follow their most basic human instincts toward older styles of government: majoritarian, strong-fisted, us-versus-them rule.

We can see that here in the US, where Trump’s authoritarian tendencies are applauded by his base, and actual Nazis are running for office as Republicans. This is why Max Boot’s call to vote against all Republicans in The Washington Post the other day is so important.

I have actually been telling that to a number of relatives for some years now. At the risk of hyperbole, I have tried to explain how the GOP no longer represented conservative views, but had become enthralled to radical right wing thinking that had as its central tenet (if it had one at all) opposition to Democrats. Republicans had begun putting party before country well before Trump, which just made it easier for them to side with him.

As Max Boot put it: Vote for Democrats on Tuesday. For every office. Regardless of who they are. And I say that as a former Republican. Some Republicans in suburban districts may claim they aren’t for Trump. Don’t believe them. Whatever their private qualms, no Republicans have consistently held Trump to account. They are too scared that doing so will hurt their chances of reelection. If you’re as sick and tired as I am of being sick and tired about what’s going on, vote against all Republicans. Every single one. That’s the only message they will understand.

By doing this on Tuesday, America can once again take a leading role in saving liberal democracy, and we can turn the tide on the authoritarian forces darkening the globe. So tonight, the cocktail to have is The Liberal.

Via Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh’s classic book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, The Liberal is:

.75 oz 100-proof Wild Turkey (Buffalo Trace)

.75 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)

3 dashes Torani Amer (Bigallet China-China)

1 generous dash orange bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Cheers!

Call the Exorcist!

Host

While the president* tries to stoke fear ahead of the midterm elections with ridiculous claims of “invasion by the migrant caravan,” it is actually our body politic that has been invaded by something alien.

Clearly, some kind of demonic possession has brought the nation that once led the fight to defeat fascism to the brink of succumbing to its own homegrown version. How else can we explain why the once conservative defenders of the Constitution would now so willingly allow a single person to dictate whatever changes struck their fancy. The 14th Amendment is no less important (and quite possibly more) to this country than the 2nd Amendment! Perhaps through a Vulcan mind meld we can determine what is now controlling the Republican Party.

Sigourney Weaver never saw anything as ugly and scary emerge as we have these past weeks with the violent thugs feeding off the bloodstream of Trump/GOP/Fox News rhetoric.

The most frightening thing you can do this Halloween is look back across 102 weeks of the list kept by Amy Siskind of the ways our authoritarian demon has changed things and realize how we have normalized so many un-American behaviors.

Next week we have an opportunity to bring about an exorcism to begin the process of ridding ourselves of this unwanted possessor. It will, however, require a vast cooperative  effort, ensuring the number of voters overwhelms all of the obstacles placed by the minions of the Evil One.

On this All Hallows’ Eve, to fortify for the coming exorcism by exercising your right to vote, have a Host Body cocktail and tell the GOP to Get Out!

Via Kindred Cocktail, the Host Body is:

1.25 oz Jamaican rum, Smith & Cross

1 oz Sherry, Lustau East India Solera (Oloroso)

.5 oz Amaro Nardini

.5 oz Campari

Stir over ice, strain onto one large rock, one orange twist, one grapefruit twist.

Cheers!

Flash Flood (of BS) Warning

Bamboozled

The Category 5 storm of bullshit emanating from Trump and the Republicans is expected to continue sweeping across the nation until at least November 7, when it may weaken slightly.

The amount nonsense and crazy is hitting new heights in the final approach to the midterm elections. Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief for the Toronto Star summed it up nicely this evening. His lede:

Democrats will kick seniors off their health insurance. Democrats will end insurance protections for people with health problems. Democrats will destroy the Social Security retirement system. Democrats will give illegal immigrants free cars. Democrats will abolish America’s borders. Democrats are behind the latest migrant caravan from Latin America. That caravan includes people from the Middle East.

False, false, false, false, false, false, false.

At the time Dale was likely filing that piece, Trump was already on to a new lie, claiming Congress would pass a 10% middle class tax cut before the election. The fact that Congress is not in session between now and the election does not matter to Trump.

To paraphrase Capt. Willard in Apocalypse Now, the bullshit piles up so fast with Trump you need wings to stay above it.

Meanwhile, House Republicans who voted 70 times to kill Obamacare are now running as the defenders of a key ACA provision that won’t let insurance companies deny coverage over pre-existing conditions.

That there are many people who are still susceptible to this con game run by Trump and the GOP is human nature (though you still can’t fool all of the people all of the time). But it is imperative for the rest of us to make sure they don’t constitute a majority when the votes are counted.

Fight the flood of BS and lies with a Bamboozled cocktail. This is another from the Cocktail Virgin archives of Frederic Yarm, this one from October 3, 2013. The Bamboozled is:

1.25 oz Amontillado Sherry (Lustau Los Arcos)

1 oz Cocchi Americano

.5 oz Ford’s Gin (Dorothy Parker)

1/8 oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur

1/8 oz Demerara Syrup

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

The nuttiness of the sherry and the walnut liqueur is perfect for these next two weeks.

Cheers!

What Have We Become?

Power

The president* of the United States is complicit in a cover up by the Saudi Arabian government for its gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (a permanent U.S. resident) because of deep financial ties between his family and the Saudi royal family. Trump says he isn’t taking a hard line because the Saudis are buying $100 billion in arms, as though that makes it better.

Meanwhile, more evidence has come out on the depth of Trump’s personal involvement in the relocation of the FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. Since the plan to move the HQ to a much more secure new suburban campus would very likely have turned the current location into a luxury hotel, Trump appears to have killed the plan to keep a competitor from opening across the street from his hotel.

Over in Congress, the GOP refuses to look into any of the Trump family’s shady dealings, as it continues to try to dismantle the investigation into the Russian influence in the 2016 election, all while packing the courts with ideologues.

The court packing may come in handy for the Republicans as they have gone into voter suppression overdrive for the 2018 elections, targeting Blacks in Georgia, Hispanics in Kansas, and Native Americans in North Dakota. It seems that Republicans in Congress are so confident these efforts will be successful that they are saying out loud how they will dismantle Social Security and Medicare after the elections.

In Russia, Putin is now saying the downfall of the U.S. as a global leader is almost done. And yet, our reputation as a beacon in the world has not completely faded yet as refugees still try to come to America. The Honduran migrant caravan that is drawing such an outcry from Trump is one example (though we have reached the point where the possibility Republicans are behind the caravan as an election ploy can’t be ruled out).

However, once migrants and asylum seekers get here, Trump is ripping apart families and deporting people, except the kids that are put in detention camps or sold into the adoption system. In the past week it was reported more than 200 kids separated from immigrant families remain in detention.

Underneath all of this is a network where money and favors change hands, while a propaganda apparatus of unprecedented scale in the U.S. operates unimpeded to distract from the operation of this network. Not just the Trump TV of Fox News, but Sinclair Broadcasting (again recently under fire) and shadowy social media actors.

While polling seems positive (and the memory that Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 3 million votes helps) that the direction Trump and the Republicans are taking the country is not desired by the majority, it will take a major effort on November 6 to overcome the most corrupt government the U.S. has ever seen.

As you think of the stakes and make your plan to vote, have a Power, Corruption, & Lies cocktail, truly the cocktail for our times.

The Power, Corruption, & Lies comes via Frederic Yarm @CocktailVirgin and was named for the 1983 New Order album with that title. The drink is:

1.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac

.75 oz Aperol

.5 oz Velvet Falernum

.5 oz Lime Juice

1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice, strain into a coupe

Cheers!

Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Purgatory

Just a few weeks out from the election and the anxiety is intensifying. What direction will America be headed on November 7?

Polls go back and forth, including one today that says a low turnout could mean Republicans hold the House by one seat. Reports of GOP voter suppression activities are now a part of each news cycle. Voting systems across many states are so insecure that children have hacked them in minutes, and Congress has done nothing to strengthen our defenses while the Russians are up to their same tricks from the 2016 election.

It does seem the anti-Trump part of the country is more motivated to vote, and there are many people working to get out the vote in big numbers for Democrats. Still, the waiting for election day won’t be easy. This is particularly true as the propaganda from the right has been turned up to 11.

No matter, how the election goes, there will be a lot of work to do when it’s over. Whether it’s Congress getting back to normal oversight duties if Democrats win or potential reactions that might come as a result of interference or corruption, November 6 is more of a beginning than an end.

As we face the final three weeks to the midterm elections, now would be a good time for a Purgatory cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktails, the Purgatory is:

2.5 oz Rittenhouse Rye

.75 oz Bénédictine

.75 oz Green Chartreuse

Stir over ice, strain into a chilled coupe, lemon twist garnish

Cheers!