A Moment’s Hesitation for the GOP

Hesitation

For a brief moment this morning it appeared Republicans might be growing a spine in response to Trump’s over-the-top racist comments about four Democratic House members. Trump himself even seemed to be walking things back by disavowing the “send her back” chant at his North Carolina rally.

Writing in The Washington Post, Greg Sargent’s article “New GOP Panic About Trump’s Racicism Reveals an Ugly Truth,” noting: “You can locate a zone of plausible deniability, in which one can claim support for such policies on pragmatic, economic or “cultural” grounds, and not out of any desire to make the United States whiter. It’s precisely this zone that Republicans now seek to inhabit.”

Even while this was happening, some GOPers had already been trying to twist the racism into some kind of Love it or Leave it approach. This now seems to be the official party line as Cheeto Mussolini himself has now come out and said “that while he’s president any criticism of the United States is unacceptable and they ‘can’t get away with’ it.

This of course stands a fundamental principle and value of the United States on its head; the right of free speech and the ability to criticize the government.

The Republican Party gave us a glimpse that maybe there is still a glimmer of GOP life in this Trump possessed shell of  a Party. Those racist attacks gave the GOP pause despite the infiltration of white supremecists. Now we’ll see if there are enough so-called Libertarian elements left in the Republican Party to push back on an assault on free speech.

There can be no impeachment of Trump without at least some portion of the GOP holding on to the principles they say they once believed in. As we wait to see if Trump’s latest outrage causes any hesitation in Republicans, or do they just keep going along, have a Hesitation cocktail. From an old blog post from Doug Ford (that I found via Kindred Cocktails), the Hesitation cocktail is:

2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye

1 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)

.25-.5 oz lemon juice

Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist.

Cheers!

Demolition Man

Wreck

Trump and his GOP minions are once again working to end the Affordable Care Act. This continues to be one of the overriding goals of the Trump presidency. Since his installation as president, Trump has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement and pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement. This is all part of Trump’s attempt to erase the legacy of President Obama (in fact, it is now being reported that Trump did indeed scrap the Iran deal to spite Obama), but to say this is simply part of his white supremicist fantasy belittles his role in Putin’s grand vision to dismantle the post-World War II Order established by the U.S. and Western Europe. Trump’s attacks on NATO are well documented. But his TradeWars are aimed squarely at the economic order that was being formed 75 years ago right now. The Bretton Woods Agreement that laid the foundation for global economic cooperation was negotiated in July 1944 in New Hampshire.

Trump’s racism was on full display over the weekend, from telling several U.S. Congresswomen to go back where they came from, to his Deportation Force raids targeting overnight action against immigrant communities from Latin America. (I’m sure there are no people from Russia in Brooklyn who overstayed their visas.) These raids are much less about law enforcement than fear. Not that there was any doubt, but it must be abundantly clear even to the thickest skulled “journalist” trying to “understand” Trump supporters that MAGA is about the racism, not economic anxiety.

For a Republican who wants to “Make America Great Again” and has the economy on their mind, it would be hard not to look back at the Post-War period, when the U.S. was the economic engine of the Free World, and the rules governing the international economic order where largely prepared by America, as a Golden Age, but it’s precisely this order that Trump has taken a wrecking ball to. While Cheeto Mussolini separates families to fill his for-profit concentration camps with contracts held by his buddies and his unAmerican fixation on tariffs keeps new appliances like washers and dryers too expensive for most Americans, have a Home Wrecker Cocktail and make your plan to vote against Trump and everyone who supports him. Via Cocktail Virgin, the Home Wrecker is:

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt Rye
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Cheers

The Madness & Airpower of King George

PLANE

Trump’s big 4th of July Soviet style military parade turned out to be more Chernobyl than Red Square, melting down as the crowds stayed away and the torrential rains came. After his mail-order escort won the annual D.C. wet t-shirt contest Cheeto Mussolini got up behind his rain drenched bullet-proof shields to read his TelePrompTer and went full retard. Mostly the speech was labeled “inoffensive” as Vox put it with others providing similar characterizations. Slate credited the speech as “not a complete authoritarian nightmare.” But then Trump tried to give a history lesson that bizarrely noted how Americans took over the airports during the Revolutionary War. That produced some of the best Twitter memes in years as the snark got flowing. Trump has also been criticized for not following the standard Independence day script that ties the birth of the United States to immigration. Despite the heavy rains, Trump likely would have spontaneously combusted if he had to talk about America’s greatness deriving from being a nation of immigrants. Trump and his Republican enablers have been very good at projection for years, attributing every nefarious idea they have to democrats or their adversary du jour. I would not be surprised if Trump’s airport comment doesn’t stem from the reaction to his attempted immigrant ban when the Resistance took over the airports when he came to power.

Trumps inability to articulate ideas about the nature of America, let alone long accepted platitudes is just another exhibit in the case that Trump is not a real president. As a reminder that he is no more a real president than those Revolutionary War airports, I suggest a Paper Plane cocktail. Probably my favorite”new classic cocktail” created at Milk and Honey in NYC, via Sasha Petraske’s Regarding Cocktails the Paper Plane is:

.75 oz bourbon (Buffalo Trace)

.75 oz lemon juice

.75 oz Aperol

.75 oz Amaro Nonino

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers!

American Value

Treasure

Notwithstanding the inhumane detention of refugees at the southern border, or Trump’s Soviet-style military parade usurpation of Independence Day, perhaps one of the most unAmerican developments of this era has been the complete rejection of democracy by the Republican party.

As the oldest democracy in the world, how the U.S. conducted its democratic politics was once a model, and the standard against which other democracies were judged. But today, one party, the Republicans, are actively working against the operation of democracy by suppressing the vote. Adding a citizenship question to the census is just one tactic. Despite a court order to remove the question, Trump is now looking to reinstate it as part of the census, in just another show of his disregard for the rule of law. The court order against Trump’s desire comes even as Republicans do everything they can to remove independence from the Judiciary by picking judges to pack the courts with those synpathetic to GOP policies. One place that has worked for them is in their ability to keep picking their voters through Gerrymandering.

The ridiculously partisan Gerrymandering has damaged the structure of our democracy, to the point where votes cast in a legislative election can clearly give a majority to the democrats but Republicans still gain a majority of seats. In a show of force better than Trump’s military parade, both Mother Jones and The Washington Monthly profiled groups fighting back against the GOP Gerrymandering machine this week.

The undermining of our representative democracy is not new, and I have written about it here, here, and here. If we can rebuild representation in our government, then we can rebuild our democracy, restoring the value we once brought to the world. Removing the stain of Trump won’t be easy, but rebuilding our democratic institutions will help. On this Independence day, have a National Treasure cocktail and remember what we have always treasured as Americans (and it’s not tanks on parade). Via Frederic Yarm @cocktailvirgin the national Treasure is:

.75 oz Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
.5 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
.5 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Martini Gran Lusso)
.5 oz Campari
,25 oz Cynar

Cheers!

The Ignominious End of the American Century

1919

We have now unequivocally reached the end of the American Century. The term was coined by Henry Luce, founder of Time, Life and Fortune magazines, in February 1941 as an argument against U.S. isolationism and for American leadership in the world. While Luce was clearly looking at the war that would soon come to be know as World War II, he sought to replace British global leadership with an American model, and in this, he was clearly looking back to Woodrow Wilson and the arguments used in bringing America into WWI. Wilson’s 14 Points and “Making the World Safe for Democracy” had also helped to establish the post-WWI order.

By contrast, the American President today cozies up to the world’s authoritarian dictators who are not interested in safe places for democracy, and Trump’s America First is antithetical to global leadership as Luce envisioned it. In addition, of course, is the situation at the border where the administration separates refugee children from their families and detains them in inhumane conditions. In less than a generation we have moved from going to war with people who “Hate us for our freedom,” to denying freedom to refugees. The Atlantic Monthly had called the end of the American Century shortly after Trump’s inauguration in late January 2017. I mentioned it a little later here, with my favorite WWI cocktail, the Sidecar.

Even if not for Trump’s dismantling of the world order built largely to U.S. specifications after WWII (as Luce had hoped for), this weekend on June 28, we will see the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that formally ended WWI, incorporating many of the ideals pushed by President Wilson and putting the U.S. into a global leadership role. But that century, chronologically, is up now too.

The Treaty of Versailles is famously not without its faults. Although there is growing dispute among historians about the treaty’s punitive approach to Germany being directly responsible for WWII, we are still living today with the mess it created of the Middle East.

When we get past the time of Trump and Putin’s adventurism and look to rebuild the world order it will look different than it has since the end of WWII. While you sit back to contemplate what that order may look like, have a 1919 cocktail and keep your fingers crossed they can avoid the mistakes of Paris during that summer 100 years ago.

The cocktail comes from Drink in Boston and the recipe via Cocktail Virgin. The drink origins have nothing to do with the Treaty, but another mistake of that year, the start of Prohibition. The 1919 is:

.75 oz Rittenhouse Rye

.75 oz Old Monk rum

1 oz Punt e Mes

.5 oz Benedictine

1 dash Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Cheers!

Paper Chase

Paper Chase

In the current battle between Congress and Trump on the question of oversight, Trump just blinked.

It was reported earlier today that former White House personnel security director, Carl Kline, would answer questions for a Congressional investigation of security clearance issues next week. The White House has blocked, or said it would block, the appearance of administration officials before Congress since the Mueller Report became public, setting the stage for a (another) Constitutional crisis.

One key witness is former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who features in the Mueller Report around a potential charge of Obstruction of Justice. The Washington Post reported, when the report came out that McGahn’s “ubiquity in the report’s footnotes laid bare his extensive cooperation in chronicling the president’s actions,” prompting Trump to dispute McGahn’s assertions and talk of blocking his appearance before Congress. In particular, the Mueller Report points to Trump’s dislike of note taking, as the Post reported:

“Some of the report’s most derogatory scenes were attributed not only to the recollections of McGahn and other witnesses but also to the contemporaneous notes kept by several senior administration officials — the kind of paper trail that Trump has long sought to avoid leaving.”

Another part of the paper trail that is escalating the fight with Congress is the request for Trump’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has refused to turn them over to Congress, as required by law, and the deadline has passed. This action (or inaction) could put Mnuchin in jail for 5 years.

On several fronts, Congress is now engaged in a paper chase with the administration, so join the pursuit with a Paper Chase cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktails, this is a very tasty riff on the Paper Trail cocktail I wrote about a year ago.

1.5 oz Bulleit Rye

1 oz Aperol

.75 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina

Stir with ice, strain onto a large cube and garnish with a lemon twist

Cheers!

The Mueller Aperitif

Premiere

Despite Attorney General Barr’s best impression of Kevin Bacon in Animal House today, all is not well in Trumplandia®.

Barr cannot move everyone along past the Mueller report because its contents — even redacted as they are — will not be easily dismissed.

As details of the investigation filter out, one thing above all is clear: the report is certainly not the end of the Trump/Russia matter. If it signifies the end of anything, it is the end of the beginning in getting to the bottom of what happened in 2016.

There are more questions today than there were yesterday. A key question has always been how so many Republicans could skip their patriotic duty and protect Trump. Some clarity is coming to that (looking at you Sen. Grassley) and bringing new questions.

The revelations of the report will spill out for a couple of days. Then the analyses and interpretations and speculation of what has been redacted will take center stage for a while. Then the hearings — Mueller, Cohen, others — will consume countless hours of air time (before, during and after the hearings).

Since we are just getting started, it is time for an apéritif. I suggest La Première from Rebekah Peppler’s book Apéritif. La Première is, according to Peppler, like taking the Italian aperitivo Americano and dropping it in the middle of France. Bonal replaces the Campari and Italian (sweet) vermouth is replaced by French (blanc, in this case) vermouth. It is:

1.5 oz Bonal

1.5 oz blanc vermouth

2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters (I used Orinoco bitters)

soda water

lemon peel

In an ice filled lowball glass, combine the Bonal, vermouth and bitters. Top with a splash of soda water, stir gently, finish with the lemon peel

Cheers!