Death in the Afternoon

Blood

We have now gone through two Fridays since the Mid-term elections and there have been no new indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. While it is frustrating for most of us, it does seem to be driving Trump a bit nuts.

It is quite clear in the more-unhinged-than-usual behavior from Trump. As Frank Rich noted in New York Magazine, Trump is starting to panic. He is more secluded and ranting in his bunker and not doing much presidenting, with a nearly empty schedule. From blaming the California wildfires on mismanagement and a lack of raking to making note of the sex life of a deceased Supreme Court Justice with his widow at the Medal of Freedom ceremony, Trump is cracking up and clearly somewhat out of his mind.

There was a time when people ascribed great strategic vision behind Trump’s actions, saying he was playing three-dimensional chess and besting everyone. It turns out, however, that this is not a game of chess, but a bullfight — and Trump is the bull while Mueller is the matador.

No matter how Trump charges, Mueller is ready. Fire AG Jeff Session to install a loyalist to oversee the investigation? Seems Mueller may have already filed a number of sealed indictments. Some of those may be against his family members. It seems to be driving Trump a bit insane, but he may also be wearing down.

At this stage of the fight, Trump is moving slowly with a bunch of bright red, white, and blue banderillas hanging from his neck and shoulders. The question is whether Mueller has determined it is time for the final phase, el tercio de muerte. Trump has already done damage to our democracy, aided by the GOP, but Mueller has so far shown himself to be an artistic bullfighter so hopefully we hear something good soon.

As we await the estocada, the final thrust of the matador’s sword, and hope the Trump administration’s death in the afternoon is near, have a classic Blood and Sand cocktail. Named for the 1922 silent film with Rudolph Valentino as a bullfighter, I pulled the recipe for this classic cocktail from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails book.

1 oz Scotch (blended is called for here, I used Black Bottle)

1 oz orange juice

.75 oz Cherry Heering

.75 oz sweet vermouth

Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a cocktail cherry

Cheers!

Breast-feeding, Ecuador, and Treason

Sanctuary

In today’s fire hose news cycle, the story about the U.S. aggressively opposing a U.N. breast-feeding resolution elicited one of those “WTF is up with that?!?” reactions before it was lost in the torrent of corruption, scandal, and crazy.

Yesterday on Twitter, @HoarseWisperer provided a very plausible potential explanation for the story, one that is gaining even more plausibility today. It is well worth the trip to Twitter to get it straight from the “Hoarse’s” mouth, but I’ll provide an overview.

The U.N. resolution encouraging breast-feeding seemed an easy and uncontroversial action until the unexpected opposition by the U.S. The NY Times headline talked of stunning world health officials. The U.S. threatened retaliatory action if the sponsor, Ecuador, did not withdraw the resolution. Even if it was doing the bidding of the infant formula industry, this was a bit over-the-top for the U.S. It ultimately passed after Russia took over sponsorship from Ecuador.

The Hoarse Whisperer explanation looks at the push against Ecuador in light of Friday’s indictments, where it seems Mueller may have Julian Assange and Wikileaks in his sights.

Ecuador, of course, has provided asylum for Assange in its London Embassy for years. The new President of Ecuador seems less thrilled with that arrangement and has expressed an openness to discussing a resolution with the U.K. As @HoarseWisperer put it:

“So, here we have:

1) Ecuador expressing openness to potentially turning over Assange

2) The Trump Admin threatening Ecuador about an unrelated matter; and

3) Mueller indicting an array of suspects on crimes leading straight to Assange

Assange is the middleman in an array of criminal activity related to Trump’s illegitimate election. He is the direct connection between members of Trump’s inner circle and now-indicted Russian intelligence operatives. Assange is directly or indirectly connected to everyone in the Trump orbit from Roger Stone to Steve Bannon to Cambridge Analytica to the Mercers…”

Today, shortly after the @HoarseWisperer thread was posted, The Sunday Times in London published a story that Ecuador is beyond open and actually talking with U.K. ministers about evicting Assange.

While watching to see what happens to Assange, have a Sanctuary cocktail. A Classic from the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930 edition), it represents another London refuge from American law enforcement. The Sanctuary is:

.75 oz Cointreau

.75 oz Amer Picon (Bigallet China-China)

1.5 oz Dubonnet (Cocchi Rosa)

Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass

Cheers!