Weekly News Roundup & Brandy Milk Punch

Join us this week as the Trump campaign whines about delegitimization, interference in the election cycle seemingly goes unresolved, North Carolina continues to be a national disgrace (shocker), and the Electoral College vote goes exactly as expected, seemingly to everyone’s surprise.

One Drink: Delegitimization, Pots, Kettles, and the color Black.

This week, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, most visible surrogate, and case study in the importance of conditioning your hair, blamed the left for attempting to delegitimize Trump’s presidency before it began, even as Trump’s electoral college victory was being confirmed. Conway clearly doesn’t understand the concept of irony, after Trump spent eight years relentlessly attempting to delegitimize Obama’s presidency by claiming he was unfit for office because he was born in Kenya and wasn’t actually an American. To be clear: Trump’s claim was absurd and disproved, the left is raising legitimate concerns about Russian hacking and Trump’s conflicts of interest. Political dissent legitimizes our process, and Trump’s advisors should get used to it, because it’s either going to get a lot worse as the cabinet nomination hearings get underway, or the President-Elect is going to have to repeal the first amendment.

Two Drink: Election Interference

We wrote earlier this week about how potentially damaging the politicization of the National Security Apparatus is, but what’s equally concerning is how dismissive Trump has been about CIA intelligence regarding Russian hacking into political institutions and efforts to help the Trump campaign, and how many red flags have come up in the FBI’s handling of both the Russian hacking investigation (where the CIA came to a conclusion quickly, the FBI was more hesitant) and potential interference in the election process itself by dissenting elements within the New York bureau and James Comey in the Clinton email investigation (which, if true, should meet the definition of an attempted coup).

The prospect of any interference in our elections, from Russia or FBI agents, should unite the entire political establishment in calling for a full investigation into what happened, determining the appropriate response, and figuring out how to prevent it from happening again.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world of upstanding decency, we live in the twilight zone.

Some Republicans have joined Democrats and Obama in calling for an immediate investigation and response. Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to deliver to him before he leaves office on January 20th. But a surprising number of Republicans and Trump supporters, who until recently were fiercely calling essentially for a purge of all foreigners and foreign influence in our country, seem not to be concerned about any of this.

Let’s be clear: involvement in or acquiescence of foreign or military interference in our country’s elections should be treated as treason, full stop.

Red Drink: North Carolina. Again. It Gets Worse.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina state senate convened another one of their special sessions, which have such a great track record, to repeal HB2, the “controversial” (read: universally panned) knee-jerk homophobic spasm by Republican lawmakers to impose a statewide ban on LGBT protection ordinances after Charlotte passed a totally reasonable non-discrimination ordinance to ensure the safety of gay, and particularly transgender people living and working in the city.

The special session was convened after Charlotte agreed to repeal the nondiscrimination ordinance that “started” the whole HB2 fiasco, on the understanding that the state senate would then repeal HB2, leaving the situation in North Carolina the same as before any of this started (no non-discrimination ordinance, but also no HB2). But instead of repealing HB2, the North Carolina Republican party changed the deal at the last minute, adding a six-month sunset clause to HB2, which would essentially leave it fully intact, and then blamed Democrats for not abiding by their original agreement (which the NCGOP had changed at the last minute).

Meanwhile, Governor McCrory and the NCGOP severely curtailed the Governor’s power in a blatant power grab to weaken the incoming Democratic governor, and HB2 is still on the books. This is beyond ridiculous.

Blue Drink: Faithless Electors

In Monday’s Electoral College vote, more Democrats defected from Clinton than Republicans defected from Trump. The lack of dissent within the Republican party over Trump has been a concerning trend throughout the last campaign, but what’s potentially more concerning is the lack of cohesion in opposition to Trump from Democrats.

Admittedly, five is a relatively small number compared to the 538 total electors who voted in the Electoral College on Monday, but it’s a sign of deeper rifts within the party. One elector voted for Bernie Sanders, one voted for Faith Spotted Eagle (a surprise vote for a member of the Sioux tribe for President- it would be spectacular to see a Native American president, but that’s a discussion for another day), and the three “Hamilton Electors,” who voted for Colin Powell in a Democratic effort to unite Republicans against an alternate candidate (which received only Democratic support).

All of this serves to emphasize the fact that the electoral college system is a joke. If it had worked as designed by the founding fathers, the electoral college would have had more power to select and elect a presidential candidate regardless of the popular vote or state pledges. If our system worked on the will of the people, Hillary Clinton would have won the presidency by the largest margin in recent history. Instead, we get the worst of both worlds.

Silver Linings:

I’m late to the party here, but this week I read a really fascinating article in Forbes magazine about Jared Kushner’s data-driven approach to helping Trump get elected, his running the campaign from behind the scenes as a scrappy start-up, and the apparently grounded, rational tone he brings to Trump’s inner circle that is obviously lacking in Trump himself. While it’s concerning that Kushner has been doing so much in the shadows rather than in the open, it’s a small silver lining that one seemingly-rational person, at least, has the president’s ear.

Merry Christmas (because there are no other holidays this time of year and I will not succumb to the war on Christmas).

The Bartender

Brandy Milk Punch

I love a good eggnog, but store-bought eggnog is never as good as you wanted it to be, and home-made eggnog is a serious labor of love. Luckily, a New Orleans classic can give you the creamy goodness of eggnog without all of the hard work! It can be made for one, or in a large batch, just adjust according to how many you want to serve.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz good brandy
  • 2 oz half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Drop of vanilla extract
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Ice cubes

Combine the bourbon, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly until the mixture is cold and frothy. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, and top with a grating of nutmeg. (via Garden and Gun)

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