Weekly News Roundup & Sparkling Pear and Cranberry Cocktail

We’re back from the holidays, and boy is there a lot of BS this week. We’re talking about Megyn Kelly bailing from Fox (good for her! May be bad for us…), Trump siding with Julian Assange against the CIA (living as a fugitive in the Ecuadorian Embassy really underscores Assange’s reputability), Republicans’ attempt to gut the congressional ethics committee and immediate backtrack, and the Obama administration’s Israel policy. All pretty light stuff.

One Drink: Sinking Ship? Megyn Kelly bails from Fox

Confirmed this week: Megyn Kelly is leaving Fox for NBC. What’s disheartening is that Megyn Kelly was a moderating voice at Fox, compared to the very reasonable and totally not shout-ey Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. With her gone, the future direction of the organization is even more unclear, and with millions of Americans using Fox as their primary or solitary news source, whether the channel pivots centrist as a balance to the conservative web, or whether it goes further right and becomes a TV outpost for the Breitbart viewership, has national consequences.

Also, quick reminder – TV presenters are reporters, and you should value them for their ability to conduct good interviews, not on their own personal views. I was struck by some articles I read about Kelly’s transition expressing concern that many of her personal views were conservative, and questioning how she could betray the left in such a way. Kelly is a conservative, and always has been. If you’re a far-left hippie, of course her personal views are not going to appeal to you. But that doesn’t mean she can’t do her job, as clearly demonstrated in her scathing questions for Trump during the presidential debate she moderated, and the grace with which she responded to all of the vitriol from Trump and his supporters afterwards.

Nobody should be looking to TV presenters as leaders of political movements, unless you consider Trump a TV presenter. Or Oprah. Oh wait…

Two Drink: Assange & Putin are totally trustworthy, right?

Despite initially disagreeing, the FBI, the CIA, and the rest of the 12 US Intelligence Agencies (why do we have that many?) are now uniting and doubling down on their accusations of Russian hacking and interference in the US elections.

And Trump? Wait for it… Trump is now praising Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks and Russian puppet who is living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to escape child rape charges in Sweden and potential extradition to the United States. The swamp gets ever swampier. So now, on one side, you have Donald Trump, Julian Assange, and Vladimir Putin, who all seem to think that Russia had nothing to do with the DNC hacks or any other election interference, and on the other side, you have 12 US Intelligence agencies and Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate, who have evidence that Russia was behind the hack.

Assange is now claiming that the Russian hacking is a smokescreen, and that the Obama administration is jumping on it to try to “delegitimize” the upcoming Trump administration. Poor Donald Trump, wouldn’t being delegitimized be so nasty? Karma sure is a bitch.

Trump’s continued ignorance on Russian hacking displays an alarming willingness to trust universally discredited arguments to get Russia off the hook. He’s either doing some bizarre negotiation tactic and doesn’t realize how much it’s backfiring (unlikely), or he’s compromised by debt or some other blackmail to the Russian state. At this rate, who knows? Wouldn’t you vote for a Putin Assange ticket in 2020 from the Fascist party for President.

Red Drink: Ethics Schmethics

The first action the newly sworn in Republican congress took on Monday, before even officially convening for the first time, was to vote in a closed-door meeting to approve rules changes that would gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent watchdog established in 2008 after ethics violations sent three congressmen to jail in one term. This joke writes itself. These people are so emboldened by their election win that they thought they could follow in the president elect’s footsteps and become petty kleptocrats themselves. If he does it, why can’t they?

Even Trump thought this was a step too far. You know you’ve made a serious mistake down the path of moral decay when the king of conflicts of interest says that your actions fly in the face of ethical decency (even if he was saying that just because it took the spotlight away from him for five unbearable seconds).

Well, the people were having none of it, and Americans called their representatives in such large numbers to express their outrage that within 24 hours the Republicans had backed down. All of this before the term even started. We’re in for a doozie.

Blue Drink: Obama’s Israel Move: Burning Bridges

What was initially pitched as one of the most hand-holding transitions of power between administrations has now turned into an all-out grudge match between Obama and Trump.

Last week, the US abstained from U.N. Resolution 2334, condemning Israeli settlement activity in a unanimous vote for the non-binding resolution aimed at calling Israel out for allegedly violating international law and stalling the peace process through settlement building (reminder: Israel and Palestine have both wrenched the peace process, and this is not new). Rumors from Israel seem to imply that the US was working behind the scenes to promote the resolution, a direct contradiction of US policy to date regarding Israel.

Whatever your thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and settlement growth are, this was bad form from the Obama administration. While Netanyahu and Obama have never had a good relationship, Obama appeared to put his personal beef with the Israeli government aside in favor of bilateral ties with the only stable democracy in the Middle East that are popular in the US and Israel. Indeed, the Obama administration conducted the largest arms deal with Israel to date last year, totaling $38bn over the next 10 years. So why is Obama ending his term with a petty slight against a long-time ally? It would seem Obama is stooping to Trump’s level just to spite him before leaving office.

Congress has already come out in bipartisan condemnation of the resolution, as have Trump and Netanyahu, who says he’s hoping for a more friendly administration under the new President, which he’ll no doubt get.

Silver Linings: Scraping the Barrel: Nobody Will Perform At The Inauguration

As we get closer to the inauguration, the epic b-list of celebrity performers planning to join the show begins to come to light, and an obvious theme has come forward: nobody who values their career will come anywhere near the inauguration roadshow. It’s heartening to see that celebrities realize that most fans in and outside of the US see an association with Trump as a major negative (except Kanye, but then, I said celebrities, so…).

If Trump doesn’t pay his taxes, happy January, ‘cause I’m not payin’ mine either!

The Bartender

 

Drink of the Week: Sparkling Pear & Cranberry Cocktail

Start the New Year off on a boozy note with the leftover Champagne from your New Year party (or, if you’re like us here at RDBD, go buy some more Champagne, because there’s none left).  You’ll need:

  • Cranberries
  • Pear Nectar
  • Champagne
  • Sprig of Rosemary for garnish

Soak the cranberries in a small amount of hot water until cool, then combine a couple of cranberries and a spoonful of pear nectar into a champagne flute. Fill with Champagne, and garnish with a rosemary sprig. From Martha Stewart.

 

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