Donnie and His Droogs at the G20

Clockwork

Friday at the Buenos Aires milk bar and Donnie and his Droogs Vlad, Xi, and Bone Saw are trying to decide how to spend their evening.

No doubt Donnie wants to rage tweet more about how Mikey is giving away all the secrets of the tower he tried to build in Moscow with Vlad’s help during the presidential campaign. Now Donnie has to go around pretending to ignore Vlad while they’re in Argentina.

He says it’s because of Vlad’s attacks on Ukraine, but the fact that MBS dismembered a US resident hasn’t kept them apart. Donnie is undoubtedly jealous. He hasn’t gotten to kill and chop up any reporters, and tear gassing women and children at the border just isn’t the same as using your military to take an opponent’s naval vessels. Now he has cancelled many of the official meetings he was supposed to do at the G20 gathering. He really just wants to get on with the ultra violence and maybe some of the old in-out, in-out.

In the meantime, while we wait on the special counsel, have A Clockwork Orange cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktail, A Clockwork Orange is:

2 oz Bourbon (Bulleit is called for, I used Four Roses Small Batch)

.75 oz Cynar

.75 oz Aperol

5 drops orange flower water

Stir, strain into a chilled coupe, small orange zest

One note, I had trouble with only getting 5 drops of orange flower water. I definitely had more than called for and it overpowered the drink. It was still good — probably better than Milk Plus — but clearly, less is more on the orange flower water.

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!

Before the After

Max

For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war, and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They’d built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled… — “The Road Warrior” (1981) Opening Narration 

Every great (and not so great) dystopian movie or book sets its stage, providing background for how society, civilization, or the planet came to the state in which the story takes place.

This is often some time in the future, and works better in some stories than others. We are now only one year away from the Los Angeles of 1982’s Blade Runner. However, it is worth remembering that Roy Batty and his gang of Replicants all had incept dates in 2016. Coincidence?

Today, as every single person Trump picks for his administration seems chosen for their ability to dismantle the agency to which they are appointed — and Trump himself works to dismantle the world order that has existed for at least the past half century — it does feel as if we are living through the backstory of the next dystopian blockbuster.

The construct of “for reasons long forgotten,” like that in The Road Warrior, is often used for that backstory. However, it has me wanting to shout “No! The reasons were important. Don’t forget about us!” In a sense, though, Amy Siskind’s The Weekly List is documenting those steps toward wandering in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

So before America is entirely the dominion of corrupt oligarchs, with our cities in dust, make time for one more kiss and have a Mad Max cocktail.

Just like Roy Batty, 2016 is the incept date of this cocktail, from Kingfish in New Orleans. Although I don’t recall having a Mad Max, I had a great time at Kingfish in July 2016 while in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. The food and the drinks were terrific.

Via Kindred Cocktail, the Mad Max is:

1 oz rye

1 oz Cynar

1 oz Aperol

orange twist

Stir, strain, twist

Cheers!

Old Enemies and New Friends

Friend

It is amazing to see just how much the GOP has changed in less than 10 years.

Heading in to the 2008 presidential election, John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin was trying to make hay out of Barack Obama’s association with William Ayers, co-founder of the 1960s radical group Weather Underground. Palin, as awful as she was, tried to play the patriotism card saying Obama “is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

Now, however, it is the republicans who seem to see America “as being so imperfect” that they’re willing to pall around with authoritarian leaders of foreign adversaries. Roy Moore, Alabama GOP Senate candidate, became the latest example the other day.

Saying that the U.S. was a “focus of evil” in the world – largely due to same sex marriage – he admired Vladimir Putin’s “morality.” The accused pedophile was not new in this line of thinking, echoing Trump from last year.

Denigrating America and praising Putin now seems to be the Republican Party policy. To honor this budding relationship, I suggest the New Friend cocktail. It’s not as bitter a drink as would seem appropriate, but they’re just palling around for now.

This variation on the Old Pal is from Serious Eats:

1 oz rye

1 oz Aperol

1 oz Cocchi Americano

orange twist

Stir over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an orange twist.

Cheers!

The Paper Trail

Trail

Cracks have begun to open and expose structural problems for the Trump presidency.

That is not to say that the structural damage the Trump presidency has caused to democracy in the United States isn’t clear and profound. But Trump’s Reign of Error has never been in more jeopardy. All coming since he fired FBI Director James Comey.

The latest crack to open up is the appointment of former FBI chief Robert Mueller as Special Council to oversee the DOJ’s Russia investigation. This supersedes the crack that had opened a couple hours earlier with the markets experiencing their biggest drops of the year. The so-called “Trump Rally” is toast, and so is a fair amount of good will Wall Street and the investor class afforded to Trump while returns were high. This will not sit well with Republicans in Congress, either.

The market was reacting to last night’s news that Comey had written a memo shortly after a meeting with Trump, documenting Trump’s request that investigation into the just-resigned National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and ties to Russia be dropped.

This provided the clearest suggestion yet of Trump’s obstruction of justice. It has prompted an increased discussion about impeachment. In fact, shortly after the news broke on Tuesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the GOP chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the FBI turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Trump and Comey, according to the NY Times.

While there is an element of “hear no evil” on the right as many conservatives act more concerned about prosecuting the leaks than the fundamental problems behind them, even right-wing nut job Erick Erickson is taking issue with the White House. Politico reported this morning that Erickson said:

“What sets this story apart for me, at least, is that I know one of the sources. And the source is solidly supportive of President Trump, or at least has been and was during Campaign 2016. But the President will not take any internal criticism, no matter how politely it is given. He does not want advice, cannot be corrected, and is too insecure to see any constructive feedback as anything other than an attack. So some of the sources are left with no other option but to go to the media, leak the story, and hope that the intense blowback gives the President a swift kick in the butt. Perhaps then he will recognize he screwed up. … I am told that what the President did is actually far worse than what is being reported.” 

We may not need to rely on leaks soon as Comey has been invited to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. At this point even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there needs to be a public hearing with Comey.

Last Thursday, former DOJ spokesman Matthew Miller predicted what was coming in a Tweet saying Comey “leaves a protective paper trail whenever he deems something inappropriate happened. Stay tuned.”

While we watch the cracks begin to undermine the foundation of the Trump “presidency” we can sip a Paper Trail cocktail in honor of Comey’s documentation.

The recipe from the Cocktail Virgin calls for:

1.5 oz bourbon

1 oz Aperol

.75 oz Salers Gentiane

Grapefruit twist

Stir over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Cheers!