We hear all the time these days about how polarized America has become. One aspect of that polarization was on display when Trump’s lawyers began their defense in the Senate Impeachment trial. They simply denied the existence of the testimony and video evidence the House Impeachment Managers had presented over the previous few days, including provable lies about House depositions and the inclusion of Republicans.
The divide between facts and alternative facts did not start with Trump, though, it goes back roughly 16 years to when George W. Bush declared Republicans would no longer be a part of the “reality-based community.”
The polarization is not simply between Republicans and Democrats, however, and a piece in The New Republic by Tom Geoghagen called “Educated Fools: Why Democratic Leaders Still Misunderstand the Politics of Social Class,” looks at the polarization within the Democratic Party. Geoghagen does offer a potential direction for finding a pass across this great divide that is worth considering.
Still, the reality-free stream of nonsense spewed by elected Republicans and their Fox News propaganda apparatus has earned the label “Earth 2.” While I agree with the sentiment that those making or believing such BS must be on another planet, I think the idea of Earth 2 suggests a much closer association with this world than can usually be found in statements from Trump or Fox News. It would be more appropriate to put a couple billions miles distance between reality and Republicans. That distance puts the GOP on Uranus. Yes, I hear you doing the Beavis and Butthead laugh. I do believe we will have to find the common ground that unites us and at least all get back on the same planet before we can get back together as part of the same country.
To help think about the distance we need to overcome, have The Seventh Planet cocktail (Yes, that is Uranus). Via Sother Teague in his book I’m Just Here for the Drinks. The Seventh Planet is:
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz Blue Curaςao
2 oz Reposado tequila
Combine all ingredients except the Proseccco in a shaker with ice, shake well and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Articles of Impeachment against President* Trump are due to be sent to the Senate so the trial may begin. Since the Articles passed the House, more evidence has come to light of Trumps direct involvement in holding up aid to Ukraine and former national Security Adviser Bolton has agreed to testify. Whether either of those things appear in the senate trial has yet to be determined, but it seems unlikely.
In a separate, but not unrelated development, the Administration is being to provide the evidence (and therefore a legal justification) in the killing of Iranian General Qasem Suleimani. Trump’s aversion to transparency is on full display in the shifting reasoning that is filled with hedging weasel words. “We believe he could have perhaps maybe been imminently targeting four of our embassies, but we don’t know where or when.”
Whether Iran or Ukraine, Trump says he has the evidence and we should trust him. Nevermind that no American politician in history has lied as much as Trump. To fill the gap of the information he is not providing, may I suggest an Evidence cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktail, the Evidence is:
1.5 oz gin (earl grey infused) – or you can take the shortcut like I did and use the Earl Grey Gin from Jersey City distillery Corgi Spirits
1 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
.5 oz lemon juice
1 oz ginger ale
Combine ingredients other than ginger ale in a shaker and shake over ice, then add some of the ginger al and stir, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, add the rest of the ginger ale to top it up. Lemon garnish
Over the past weekend a lot of people on Twitter were talking about the work America has ahead of us to clean up after Trump. I couldn’t agree more, and I have written about it before, first here and most recently in June.
The question of how we rebuild our democracy, our alliances, and our standing in the world in the wake of the Trump presidency will define the opposition to Trump in the election. This Restoration I believe is a key source of Biden’s strength. Even some MAGA-types seem to recognize that now we actually need to “make America great again.”
Much of America’s authority in the world came through “soft power” and it will not be regained simply by removing Trump. With a planet in the midst of a climate crisis, America will not restore its standing while one political party, representing a significant portion of the government, favors superstition over science. For this reason among many others, Joe Biden would be better off choosing Kamala Harris rather than a Republican as a running mate. Beside the fact that she would naturally be better than a republican, It also nicely sets up a successor. Others, such as Elizabeth Warren do seem to understand that before America can move forward with the best progressive plans, we first have to at least get back to where we were in our position in the world. (Or at least stop being a proxy for Russian positions.)
It won’t be easy, but I believe the candidate with the best plan to clean up after Trump will have the best shot at replacing him. As we Officially move into 2020 tonight, have a Crux cocktail. Via Kindred Cocktails the Crux is:
1 oz Cognac
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Dubonnet Rouge
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
As a side note, I began this blog 6 years ago today. It was just as my exploration of cocktails and their ingredients was beginning (more of that story here), and while I wasn’t well versed in the cocktail blogosphere of the time, I thought I’d take it from my business journalism background. That never really went anywhere, so I rebooted Gin & Bitters into what you’re reading now in January 2017. The world is so different now than it was 6 years ago. Hopefully this time next year I will be looking for a new angle for this blog because we won’t need a stiff drink just to watch the news anymore.
Happy New year!
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
Stir over ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large cube/sphere. Garnish with a lemon peel, expressed.
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.
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.
As the debate around impeaching Trump heats up, it is becoming clear even to a few Republicans what must be done as the president* engages in impeachable offenses on a daily basis.
The time has come, not only for impeachment but also an original Gin Bitters cocktail, in this case, a variation on the mint julep recipe found in the Joy of Mixology from Gary Regan. Here, for your drinking pleasure is the ImPeachMint Julep: muddle a couple of mint leaves with 1 oz of demerera syrup in a collins glass, add 1.5 oz bourbon, I used Old Forester 1920 Prohibition style 115 proof because the times call for strong medicine, add 1.5 oz peach liqueur. I also added .25 oz Branca Menta to enhance the mint and cut the sweetness. It is also a reminder to Cheeto Mussolini that impeachment is a better fate than the one his Italian Fascist mentor met. Lightly stir the ingredients and add crushed ice to the collins glass, then garnish with a few fresh mint sprigs.
Trump’s actions have dragged our democracy far from what it is supposed to be, and without holding him accountable through impeachment restoring the rule of law will only be that much more difficult.
Let the Hearings begin!