Unfit At Any Speed

Chaos Monkey

President* Trump is doubling down on one of the most bizarre weeks he’s had in office (King of Israel and The Chosen One being key moments). Today he is busy embarrassing America on the world stage at the G-7 meeting in France, being Putin’s errand boy arguing for Russia to be re-included in the meeting despite its being kicked out for invading Crimea. And he is trying to claim other world leaders are asking him, “Why the American media hates your country so much. Why are they rooting for it to fail?” But it’s probably just all the unborn chicken voices in his head.

Coming on the heels of Trump’s remarks on his trade war with China on Friday that sent markets into a tailspin, the Disruptor in Chief has been even more erratic than usual, prompting James Fallows to write a piece for The Atlantic called “If Trump were an Airline Pilot,” examining how if Trump were in any number of regular jobs of responsibility and exhibited his recent behavior he would likely be removed.

  • If an airline learned that a pilot was talking publicly about being “the Chosen One” or “the King of Israel” (or Scotland or whatever), the airline would be looking carefully into whether this person should be in the cockpit.
  • If a hospital had a senior surgeon behaving as Trump now does, other doctors and nurses would be talking with administrators and lawyers before giving that surgeon the scalpel again.
  • If a public company knew that a CEO was making costly strategic decisions on personal impulse or from personal vanity or slight, and was doing so more and more frequently, the board would be starting to act. (See: Uber, management history of.)
  • If a university, museum, or other public institution had a leader who routinely insulted large parts of its constituency—racial or religious minorities, immigrants or international allies, women—the board would be starting to act.
  • If the U.S. Navy knew that one of its commanders was routinely lying about important operational details, plus lashing out under criticism, plus talking in “Chosen One” terms, the Navy would not want that person in charge of, say, a nuclear-missile submarine.

Unfortunately for America, President Looney Tunes isn’t going anywhere because his Republican enablers in Congress clearly put party over country. Still, you have to wonder if it might sink in with Republicans that this force of destruction could endanger their own reelection prospects. Which also makes it curious why they wouldn’t just remove Trump (impeachment or 25th Amendment) and be just as happy or happier with a less erratic but even more Christian Right-wing President Pence.

While you sit back waiting for the next lunatic thing from Trump to emerge from the G-7 Summit this weekend, have a Chaos Monkey cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktails, the Chaos Monkey (named for the book about Silicon Valley) is:

2 oz Scotch, Monkey Shoulder

.5 oz Creme de banane

.25 oz Amaro Montengro

1 barspoon Amargo-Vallet, or substitute with a dash or two of Angostura bitters and a dash of demerara syrup

Lemon twist

Stir over ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large cube/sphere. Garnish with a lemon peel, expressed.

Cheers!

 

 

King of the Trolls

Storm King

Nominating Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board is what you get when the president is the King of the Internet Trolls.

At this point, Trump has simply said he plans to nominate the certifiable nut-job former Republican presidential candidate Cain. Nevertheless, it has had the desired effect as a storm of distraction has blown up around the idea, displacing stories of leaks from the Mueller investigation team unhappy with Attorney General Barr’s summary of the report.

Is there anybody who still doubts that Trump is basically trolling America? Dominating news cycles is the only consistent policy objective he has. In addition to the Twitter bots, he can rely on the help of Congressional troll minions in the GOP — from the annoying likes of Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Devin Nunes to the truly dangerous impacts of Mitch McConnell — to wear us all down with a flood of nonsense.

Because a good portion of that nonsense is damaging to the US and democracy in general, it gets harder and harder to stay focused on what is important. This may be why MSNBC ratings went down in the immediate wake of Barr’s letter on the Mueller report. Many of us saw it for the BS it was and were too weary to put up with all the pointless talk around it, knowing we’d get to where we are now with confirmation of the trolling.

To deal with Trump’s trolling and frequent tweet storms, sometimes you have to come in out of his Kingdom of Rain. To help dry off, have a Storm King cocktail.

The Storm King is a Rob Roy variant from Damon Boelte (Grand Army, Brooklyn). A good break from the political is also to listen to Damon and @CreativeDrink Sother Teague on Wednesdays for The Speakeasy podcast. The Storm King is:

2 oz Blended Scotch (Black Bottle, which I got from listening to The Speakeasy)

.5 oz Nocino (Nux Alpina)

.25 oz Bénédictine

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, cherry garnish

Cheers!

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!