Super Spreader

We don’t know for certain whether the President* is still transmitting disease, but he clearly surrounds himself with those who are. The announcement of Tump’s pick of a nominee to ram into the Supreme Court became a maskless super spreader event at the White House, as dozens of staffers and advisors tested positive for COVID 19 following the event. We still don’t know the full extent. Trump himself was hospitalized, encapsulating his whole failed approach on controlling the virus.

Today we have the potential for a continuation of that super spreader event as the Senate Confirmation Hearings get underway for Amy Coney Barrett with maskless Mike Lee, Trump Senator from Utah, in attendance. He tested positive for the virus after the White House event, but today he was in place at the Senate and freely spewing germs.

Mike Lee also provided evidence that Trump is a super spreader of more than just Coronavirus. Lee has also been infected with Trump’s authoritarian disease, saying last week that America is not a democracy, and that is not a bad thing. (I think Mike is in for a surprise come November). A few days later we learned that a still functioning part of the FBI had uncovered a plot to kidnap and potentially assassinate the Governor of Michigan, over lock down restrictions, by domestic terrorists associated with the white supremacists Trump refuses to denounce who want to stoke a civil war. The plot included a plan to kill the governor’s law enforcement protection detail. This news brought nothing from Trump except more denunciation of the democratic Governor of Michigan, meanwhile Trump and his supporters, who love to say “blue lives matter” and call for “law and order” once again show they do not care about anyone they think is in their way.

Trump showed this explicitly while he was “in” the hospital, King Donald would not be denied a car ride around the hospital to feed his narcissistic needs, forcing his Secret Service detail into the enclosed vehicle with him while he was highly contagious. Naturally, many former Secret Service agents called this stunt inexcusable, but there were rumblings from active agents at the time, an almost unheard of event. This extraordinary expression of dissatisfaction from this group of conspicuously non-partisan group of agents may bode well for next January. As long as Trump hasn’t infected all of the white House Secret Service agents by then, if Trump is not leaving the white House to make way for duly elected President Biden, then Trump can expect no sympathy or favor from the people he’s tried to kill.

As you think about that day that Trump exits the White House, raise a Secret Service cocktail, and remember what former special agent Joseph Petro told the Washington Post, “the Secret Service cannot protect the President from himself.”

The Secret Service cocktail is a Negroni variation from Sother Teague’s great book “I’m Just Here for the Drinks” it is:

2 dashes mole bitters

1.5 oz Plymouth gin (a favorite gin of mine, so I’m out, but substituted Dorothy Parker gin, different, but still tasty)

.75 oz Maurin Quina

.75 oz Ancho Reyes

stir over ice and strain into a rocks glass on fresh ice, garnish with an orange twist.

Cheers!

Fear Fest ’20

The latest Trump reelection strategy is not new to Republicans. Fear is what George W Bush used in 2004 with new Terror warnings whenever his poll numbers slipped.

In typical Trump style, of course, the fear strategy is being carried out in a cartoonish fashion by the junior varsity team compared to Bush. At least Bush understood what Americans feared after 9/11. And he never tried to claim that he alone could fix it.

Bush was able to use the fear of “radical Islamic Terrorists”TM so that rural Americans who didn’t live within 500 miles of a legitimate terrorist target would vote for him.

On the other hand, Trump ignores the real fears of Coronavirus that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans on his watch, preferring to stoke the fever swamp fears of his base that Black people might move into their neighborhood and lower property values instead.

Biden rightly noted in Pittsburgh this week that the images Trump is using in his campaign ads of violence and unrest and suggesting this is what would happen in “Joe Biden’s America” but are in fact happening in “Trump’s America.”

Trump has never really understood America, certainly not as well as his Russian handlers, anyway. There are no plane loads of black-clad Antifa thugs deploying around the country. Even trying to turn Antifa into some kind of Bogeyman is about as effective as raising the alarm about impending Sharknados.

America is an Antifa country, we proved that in the 1940s. While there aren’t many veterans left now, across American are people who’s grandparents fought, or worked in the factories turning out the armaments, planes, tanks, ships, etc that helped us win World War II and defeat Fascism.

Ultimately, the more Trump claims Antifa is his enemy, the more people will do the math and realize it must be because he is a fascist.

This is where the Trump campaign use of fear is different that how Biden is using it. Trump is trying to use made up fears, while Biden is pointing to actual events, such as the mishandling of the virus response and the consistent effort to put Russian and Putin’s interests above those of the U.S.

As we head into the next two months of the Campaign of Fear, have a Fear Itself cocktail and make your plan to vote. 80 years ago today, the Japanese signed the documents of surrender on the USS Missouri, officially ending WWII. On November 3 we can celebrate VT Day. But in the meantime, the Fear Itself cocktail, via KindredCocktail is:

2 oz Rye

1 oz Braulio

.5 oz Genepy

Stir over ice and strain onto a large cube

Cheers

Union Victories

Union

Everything Trump touches dies. During a global pandemic, that has mostly not been good. However, because Trump chose to be the second President of the Confederacy, and applied the Trump touch (the same one that bankrupted casinos) we may now – 155 years after Lee surrendered to Grant – finally be done with the “heritage” of  traitorous racist scum.

Trump and Moscow Mitch McConnell – a long-time operative in the Confederate underground insurgency – have been working hard follow their Russian overseer’s orders “divide so we can conquer,” but they overstepped during protests against systemically racist policing.

With many thousands of Americans in the streets of cities and small towns alike, mostly peacefully protesting the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police, Trump and the Republicans pulled out the tried and true appeals to “law and order,” and the thinly veiled white supremacist dog whistle of Confederate “heritage.” In typical Trump incompetence he took the GOP playbook too far and displayed his total ignorance of, and disdain for, the Constitution and norms of American governance.

By attempting to “dominate the streets, and use the U.S. military against protesting Americans, Trump has sparked a backlash that may continue for a while. His use of the National Guard to clear Lafayette Park for his photo op with a bible showed him to be very much the fascist dictator wannabe his critics claim. You just know he wanted to put on a uniform with full Mussolini-fascist regalia for his walk to the church.

Since then, Confederate monuments have been toppled at an increased rate, NASCAR – NASCAR!!!! – has banned the Confederate battle flag from its events, and a serious discussion has begun about renaming U.S. military bases for people other than Confederate generals.

In the midst of all of this there is still a pandemic going on, with more than 100,000 Americans dead and 2 million infected. The second wave has begun with cases spiking in states that prematurely opened, largely around the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend.

With that second wave of virus on the way, it may be time to put aside another historical flag, the Gadsen flag – the Don’t Tread on Me snake popularized recently by the Tea Party Republicans. But now is not the time for thinking of oneself, but uniting to defeat the virus, wearing masks, washing your hands and keeping safe social distance. If we must have a historic snake flag flying, make it Ben Franklin’s Join or Die flag with the sliced  snake to unite the colonies.

At this moment, with the Confederacy fading, and fascists in the White House, Americans need to be united about what this country is supposed to stand for. So pull out your copy of the Constitution and have A More Perfect Union cocktail. Via KindredCocktails from Imbibe magazine the drink is:

1.25 oz Lillet Blanc

.75 oz vodka

.75 oz Apricot liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe, garnish with a grapefruit twist

Cheers!

By Any Means Necessary

Preservation

The 2020 Presidential election is a little more than 23 weeks away, and the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching 100,000 Americans. Preservation is the watchword of the day. This is not only true with regard to preserving health against the virus, which is only made harder by the President* leading his cultto ignore the masks and social distancing that could help preserve health. As always preservation is a guiding principle for Trump, but self-preservation, not the fight against the virus.

As the number of Coronavirus cases and deaths mounted over the past couple of weeks, Trump has been focused on keeping his finances and activities with the Russians hidden from the public now that the cratering economy has forced a change in his re-election strategy. Trump’s focus on preserving his hopes for re-election are at the heart of the impeachment case against him, and now his minions in the Senate will continue that cause for him.

For the rest of us, this points to how the American system and institutions are in need of preservation, if it’s not too late already. The Lincoln Project ad that has really gotten under Trump’s skin, Mourning in America, asks the right question at the end regarding preservation. On this Memorial day weekend, a time originally set aside to remember the Union soldiers who died to preserve the United States during the Civil War, have a Means of Preservation cocktail and make your plans for Nov. 3. From the Boston bar Drink, via Frederic Yarm at cocktailvirgin the Means of Preservation is:

2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz St. Germain Liqueur
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
2 dash Celery Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Cheers!

Give and Take

Manhattan

Senate Majority leader Moscow Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said a lot of dumb things in his years in Congress, but his comments the other day about the lack of money for state and local governments in the most recent bill for pandemic relief, and saying the federal government shouldn’t do a “Blue State bailout,” likely take the prize as the dumbest.

NY Gov Andrew Cuomo has efficiently and effectively ripped Mitch over the comments. It is worth watching and here it is even in the Trumpy NY Post. Besides just how much more money NY gives the Federal government than it takes out — in contrast to Kentucky — Moscow Mitch’s divisive comments also help highlight the inequality of our “democracy.” While Mitch sits in the leadership of the United States Senate, controlling legislation and generally taking stances on the legislation taking actions highly unpopular with the majority of Americans, and stuffing the courts with judges who positively view opinions with which a minority of Americans agree, he was only elected to the Senate by a state with barely the population of just two Boroughs of New York City, Brooklyn and Queens.

That representational issue is a bigger deal in the House of Representatives, however, and I don’t have as much issue with it in the Senate because that is how it was designed. But our Federal system was also designed that states in need received help from the Federal government regardless of partisan makeup. Republican Senators, especially those from southern states prone to be hit by hurricanes, should be concerned by the kind of precedent Mitch is pushing.

In response to Mitch’s comments, show your solidarity with New York and have a Manhattan cocktail tonight, preferable made with rye not Bourbon. I even made mine with Chicago-based (technically Evanston-based) Few Spirits Rye, one of my favorites. This is as classic as cocktails get, but if you’re interested in the history, I highly recommend The Manhattan: The Story of the First Modern Cocktail with Recipes by Philip Greene

2 oz Rye (or bourbon)

1 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with cherries (don’t skimp, I always use at least 2 Luxardo Maraschino cherries.

Cheers!

 

Professor Trump’s Medicine Show

Snake Oil

For all of the appropriate criticism directed at Trump’s daily Coronavirus press briefings as nothing more than re-election campaign rallies, one important thing everyone is overlooking is that (at least for now), Trump still believes there will be an election in November that he has to campaign for. Otherwise, these briefings allow Trump to be the one thing he’s ever really wanted to be: a TV star. The largely fact-free daily episodes essentially take over evening newscasts, allowing him to pretend to be in charge and to rant about fake news (which of course is truer than ever as they carry whatever nonsense he is blathering about from the podium that day). But Trump knows how to entertain his supporters the way any good Medicine Show Perfessor knew how to draw a crowd no matter what town they rolled their wagon into.

The only thing really missing from those daily briefings is someone standing up and saying, “I used to have COVID-19, but after just one teaspoon of Trump Brand® Patented Chloroquine, I am virus free. Being able to siphon legitimacy from the real doctors and scientists standing next to him on the podium, is even better than having a shill in the audience, though.

Tests of Chloroquine are being halted due to fatal heart complications, but that is not stopping some of his supporters from believing there is an effective treatment, so why not open the economy back up? In typical Trump Grifter fashion, however, Trump figures that he will have gotten what he wants (cash from whatever financial ties he has to the drug, a reopened economy, etc) well before the bodies pile up enough to be noticeable.

While you are doing your patriotic duty and staying home and practicing social distancing, have a Snake Oil cocktail to remember why you’re not watching the Trump briefings.

From Kara Newman’s great book Night Cap, the Snake Oil is:

2 oz 100-proof Bourbon (115-proof Old Forrester)

.25 oz sherry (Lustau Amontillado)

1 mini bottle Underberg bitters

1 dash Bad Dog Bar Craft Fire & Damnation bitters (Scrappy’s Firewater)

1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir, strain into a Nick and Nora glass, no garnish

Cheers!

Dust, Wind, Dude

Arbitrary

Whether your Governor has issued a Stay at Home order or not, many Americans are staying at home to socially distance themselves during the pandemic. Some are “fortunate” enough to work from home, or as one twitter wag put it: stuck at home during a crisis trying to work. Others are trying to use this time to learn a language or learn how to bake bread. To these folks, I would remind them of Bill’s immortal words, “Dust, wind, dude.”

In Washington, we’d all be better off if they were spending their time learning to bake bread. Instead they are spending it thinking up unconstitutional ways to endanger people or enrich themselves and their friends with tax law changes.

The President* is wasting the time he should be leading the country through the crisis with by inappropriately using press briefings as re-election campaign rallies. We are also finding out more everyday about the administration’s ineffective use of time early on in the crisis, and the cost we will pay for that.

Our collective sense of time has gotten weird. But these strange days didn’t have to be this way. A properly functioning democratic government (like we used to have) works to prepare for a crisis. Even the George W. Bush Administration had preparations for a pandemic, but for King Donald I, who believes he alone can fix things, and dismantled those preparations that were in place, the cost of incompetence must be paid by the entire GOP.

As you go through another Blursday, make your plans to vote the Orange Disaster out of office in November, by mail if we can, or start sourcing your hazmat suit to go in person if necessary. Your cocktail tonight is The Arbitrary Nature of Time via Frederic Yarm at Cocktail Virgin, it is:

1.25 oz Wild Turkey 101 Rye (Rittenhouse 100)
1 oz Campari
.75 oz Cherry Heering
1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist.

Cheers!

Remember

Until Donald Trump, George W. Bush was slated to go down in history as the worst President ever. Now, Trump is making Bush look good by comparison. Trump isn’t even as good as Bush at the bad things about the Bush presidency.

Most recently we have sen this with ineffective attempts to use the Memory Hole. The Bush Administration was much more accomplished at making inconvenient facts disappear. To be fair – though –  because of the Bush Administration, people are on much higher alert for this type of activity. So when Jared Kushner took over a recent Virus press briefing and made ridiculous statements about the Strategic National Stockpile, and then went to the website to make changes aligned to Kushner’s comments, people caught that right away.

Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy

Forget MAGA, we need MANA, Make America Normal Again. That desire likely accounts for a lot of the support that has gone to Joe Biden. That desire for normalcy was already strong before the Corona Virus, but now with so much of the country shut down to flatten the curve of new cases, such as New jersey’s Go the Fuck Home and Stay There Order from the Governor, the strains of social distancing are really starting to show as people look for an escape.

The biggest strain is coming from Trump’s desire to go golfing. Since the shutdowns and social distancing is interfering with that, he now wants everything to open up again by Easter. The medical community advises that would be disastrous, but the Trump Cult (one-time “pro-life” Republicans) says the deaths of older people is a sacrifice worth an improving stock market as we head toward the election. Trump has the wrong exit strategy. Instead, make an Exit Strategy cocktail, and dream of sitting in the ballpark with an Old Style beer in your hand, the warmth of the sun on your face as you hear the crowd roar as Kris Bryant sends another ball into the Wrigley Field bleachers.

The Exit Strategy comes via Kara Newman’s great book Nightcap, a cocktail from Natasha David at Nitecap in New York. It is:

1.5 oz Amaro Nonino

.75 oz brandy

.25 oz Meletti Amaro

pinch of kosher salt

orange peel for garnish

stir, strain onto a large cube in an Old Fashioned glass

Cheers!

Endeavor to Persevere

Perseverance

Local and state governments are putting large parts of the country on lockdown. Who knew that being stuck in the house could be so tiring. With no end in sight, it is getting hard to look on the bright side of life. But my inner Terry Jones reminds me I have a fully stocked bar and lots of movie channels, so I shall endeavor to persevere. I have not reached the point where I miss the NJ Transit commute yet, but I can see that day coming. At least Gov. Murphy has allowed us to go out and take walks while practicing appropriate social distancing. That should help keep a level of sanity.

While our “leaders” in Washington look for ways to prop up stock prices, make yourself a Perseverance cocktail, because we may be here a while. Via Kindred Cocktail, the Perseverance is:

2 oz rye

.5 oz Ramazzotti

.5 oz Dubonnet Rouge

.5 oz sweet vermouth

2 dashes orange bitters

Stir over ice, strain over a large cube in a rocks glass, garnish with an orange twist.

Cheers! Stay safe!