Weekly News Roundup & Corn ‘N Oil

This week Trump continues to blow through taxpayer money so he can not be at the White House, Trump and the GOP launched, stopped, and re-launched one of the silliest surveys I’ve ever seen, Republican congressmen avoid their constituents because they’re ashamed of their own actions (but not ashamed enough to do something different), and the left has a panicked convulsion over immigration guidance without pausing to think about it first. At least the tone of this week was calmer since Kellyanne went away.

1D: Trump’s Costs to the Taxpayer

Trumps vacations to Mar-a-Lago in his first month as president have cost the taxpayer an estimated $10 million, putting Trump on pace to out-spend Obama’s 8 year total of $97 million in just one year. This is coming from a man who repeatedly criticized Obama for going on vacation, and who stated “I won’t have time to play golf as president,” and now repeatedly plays golf. And this cost doesn’t even factor in the cost of security to Trump Tower in Manhattan, which is estimated to be costing the taxpayer $1 million per day. If only I could cost this much money to my employer and not be immediately fired or sued into oblivion.

2D: The Media Accountability Survey

This week, the Trump campaign published a “Media Accountability Survey,” which received widespread promotion. The campaign then took it down, apparently after getting answers they didn’t like after the survey became widespread, and re-emailed it to only Trump supporters. Results to follow, along with Trump’s tax returns (get it? They’re never coming…).

If you haven’t taken the survey, I highly encourage you to go participate in this glowing gem of unbiased survey construction. Questions include:

  • “Do you believe the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?”
    • Correct answer: no. 
  • “On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply),
    • Correct answer: assuming they speak English. This sentence is a true gem of pompous grammatical inexactitude.
  • “Were you aware that a poll was released revealing that a majority of Americans actually supported President Trump’s temporary restriction executive order?”
    • Correct answer: please define the words “aware,” “poll,” “released,” “revealing,” “majority,” and “actually.”

RD: Republicans Dodging Their Constituents

Congress was on recess this week (seriously, when do they work? honestly asking, if you know, please email me), and normally that means congressmen and congresswomen holding town hall meetings to hear the views of their constituencies.

LOL! Not this year! Record numbers of Republican legislators have cancelled their town hall meetings after videos surfaced last week of a few congressmen who had gone home early (again with the not working) being berated by angry voters who want them to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia and his conflicts of interest as vigorously as they investigated Hillary Clinton’s emails and Benghazi, and explain what their replacement to Obamacare will be, among other issues.

I think it’s important to point out here how spineless this is. My mother always told me that if you’re ashamed to answer for your actions, it means you shouldn’t be taking those actions in the first place. Republicans need to get back to the values they used to espouse about, well, values, and remember that if you’re ashamed to answer to your constituents, you’re not doing your job as a representative correctly

One last “ugh” – Republican congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas, when asked why he wasn’t holding a town hall meeting, cited Gabby Giffords’ shooting at a campaign event as reason to cop out. Giffords, who was shot at an Arizona campaign rally, survived, and is now a vocal gun control advocate, told him to “have some courage.” What a burn. And this Texas legislator is one of the pro gun people. You can’t make this kind of hypocrisy up.

BD: The Left, The Media, and New Immigration Guidance

This week, we received guidance from the Trump administration about what their priorities would be when choosing which illegal immigrants to deport first. Not actually joking here- CBP and ICE are dramatically under-staffed, and it routinely falls to presidential guidance to determine what priorities to impose. The Obama administration actually varied widely throughout its eight years, at first earning Obama the nickname “Deporter in Chief” and, later, causing uproar on the right at how many people he was supposedly letting in the country.

So, I was particularly struck this week when I was listening to The New York Times’ daily podcast on Tuesday (I know, I’m a coastal elite, go complain to my attorney) at how much they were conflating this with the end of the world. It literally sounded like every American, not just every immigrant, was now subject to deportation “without cause,” and the Times was one of many news outlets to overreact this week.

Let’s be very clear here: if a foreign national is in the United States without a green card or a valid work or tourist visa, they are, and always have been, subject to immediate removal. This is not “without cause,” being an undocumented foreign national is inherently cause for removal. If such a person is fleeing persecution or war at home, they can apply for asylum. If they’re a “dreamer,” a child brought illegally to the United States, they’re granted a temporary exception. But the Trump administration’s enforcement of this policy is not radical, and it’s not new, it’s the law. If you don’t like it, change the law. But the only thing radical about this guidance is that Trump thinks he can deport non-Mexican nationals to Mexico and have them wait there. That’s just stupid.

Now there are two concerns here- we do know that CBP officers have little regard for the constitution, in that they don’t think it applies to them, and that fear of deportation could keep illegal immigrants from calling emergency services when it would serve a public good. Luckily, there are two easy solutions! CBP’s actions were being reviewed in the Supreme Court earlier this week in a cross-border shooting case, and their actions defying court orders during the Muslim Ban fiasco brought them under close scrutiny, indicating their constitution-free days are numbered. And as for emergency services, I, most Republicans, and all Democrats support something called Good Samaritan laws, which allow emergency services and police to look the other way when someone calls to report an emergency, a crime, or to save a life, be they undocumented, drug addicted, what have you, in order to encourage people to call when they need to.

So, really, this should be a sensible, straight-forward debate, not an end-of-the-world hoopla. Clam down, Democrats, and learn how to choose your battles more sensibly.

Pop the Champagne: Kellyanne Conway is off the air!

The senior advisor to Donald Trump and before photo for a conditioner commercial has been under fire (as we’ve discussed before) for her misleading and often downright false statements on national TV. After several shows said they would no longer have her on air due to her credibility issues, the White House has reportedly barred her from TV appearances. Alternative facts state that she hasn’t been barred, she’s just focusing on other things. Okay. But we’re all still living in a state of constant anxiety wondering if she’ll suddenly pop up again. 

Drink of the week: Corn ‘N Oil

Get it? Because Rex Tillerson is in Mexico today. You’ll need:

  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1½ oz. falernum (a delicious spiced syrup, recipe here)
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. black strap rum
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine the dark rum, falernum, and lime in a shaker with ice. Shake out all of this week’s aggression, then strain into a Collins glass. Add crushed ice, then float black strap and bitters over the top. Stir gently before drinking. (Source: Imbibe)

 

Weekly News Roundup & French Bulldog

Setting what may be a long-standing record for shortest Presidential Cabinet tenure (24 days), Michael Flynn resigned as Trump’s National Security Advisor after government agencies indicated he illegally discussed US sanctions with the Russian Ambassador prior to the Trump administration taking over. And then lied to the VP about it. Apparently the former head of US military intelligence forgot that the US routinely wiretaps communications with rival powers. He’s probably hoping people also forget what he said about people who become security risks to the US. Trump’s pick as his replacement said “Negative, Ghostrider”, so the NSC will be flying missing-man for a while.

The Republican Response? Why would we investigate? Also, hide from our voters because we’re “not ashamed of what we’re doing.” In the face of increasing scrutiny and questions from both Congressional Democrats and his own constituents, chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R- UT) pulled a Mariah and declined to open an investigation on Flynn’s alleged ties to Russia and illegal discussions regarding sanctions. When pressed, Chaffetz cited “Executive privilege” like he was in a reading of the Frost/Nixon interviews. The crowd reacted as you might expect.

In a meeting that started with the Eternal Handshake, Trump decided to go full Florida on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. During their response to the North Korean missile test on Sunday the two leaders and their teams conducted their briefing and planning sessions right in the “Situation Patio” of the “Winter White House”, in full view of the dining public. Photos posted to Facebook show patrons posing with security staff members, aides illuminating briefing materials with their cellphones, and laptops being displayed at Trump’s table. Trump and Abe later issued a joint statement, during which Trump did not wear his translation earpiece and was left nodding along to the Prime Minister, cued by his aides. Domo arigato, Prime Minister Shinzo.

The relationship between the US Intelligence Community and the First Customer was never good to begin with, but it appears the IC has decided that Trump and his administration are no longer capable of protecting the most sensitive aspects of US intelligence operations. Add to that the unveiling of records and transcripts of Mike Flynn’s call to the Russian Ambassador, and you have an apparatus that would naturally think twice before disseminating crucial intelligence means and sources. Trump reacted by likening them to Nazi Germany and calling them “un-American”. Unconfirmed reports say that Intelligence officials are preparing for an existential crisis centered around their ability to provide non-partisan intelligence to customers who will make decisions in the best interest of the nation.

The BBC reports that Russian media has turned skeptic on Trump’s agenda, policies, and nominees, in light of “many contradictory and incompatible statements” coming from Trump and his administration. One source even says the Russian government has ordered state media outlets to scale back their coverage of Trump, apparently in order to reduce public expectations of the presumed detente between the two administrations. It seems that Putin is feeling first-hand what it’s like to be in an abusive, gaslighting relationship. Oh, the irony.

Congress has repealed a late-term Obama law protecting streams and waterways from coal waste dumping under an obscure and little-used (‘til now) Congressional Review Act. Fiji water not looking so expensive now, is it? But if you’re a real New Yorker, you know Boxed Water Is Better.

Trump held a 77 minute long press conference Thursday afternoon, ostensibly to announce his nominee for Labor Secretary after Puzder withdrew his nomination. While he (barely) managed to stick to the script long enough to introduce Alex Acosta, he rapidly descended into his now infamous blithering stream of failed sentences. Some sad-lights include insinuating that all black people know each other, calling a Jewish reporter a liar when asked a question about the rise of anti-Semitism in the USA and simultaneously blaming the leaks regarding Russia (see above) on the media and saying that they were false. In the words of the man himself, “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done”. True but probably not in the sense he means.  

Lastly on the Trump front, in uplifting news, Trump is held his first campaign rally for 2020 re-election on Saturday in Melbourne, Florida, while also making up a terrorist attack in Sweden. The fact that the 2020 election cycle is starting less than a month after Trump took office makes me want to move to the real Melbourne.

So, how are we holding up? One month in and it seems like it’s been ages since anything good happened. Is comedy over? Can SNL really lead the TV resistance against Trump? A) No, and B) No, leave it to Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers. But we get it. Sometimes you need a break. Have some good news:

Rhonda McCoy worked to prove that public school lunches can be healthy, appetizing, and affordable in one of the most unhealthy school districts in the country.

In a continuation of their trend of increasing acceptance and inclusion, Joe Maldonado was welcomed as the first openly transgender Boy Scout with his Cub Scout Pack in new Jersey.

In further Jersey news, a 5th Grade basketball team voted unanimously to keep two girls on their team, in spite of forfeiting their chances at a playoff run.

Parker Brother’s announced it is retiring the thimble from its Monopoly lineup of game pieces. Hear from the Thimble “in its own words”.

None of that helped? Really? OK. You’ve given us no choice but to release the hounds. Have some Westminster Kennel Club photos to remind you that no matter what, there are always Good Dogs, Brent. Even if they get distracted. Or are cats.

(Stories and collections can be found at New York Times)

As always, we at Red Drink, Blue Drink encourage you, our devoted readers, to not only have a good drink, but to put that subsequent energy spike and loosened inhibition to good use! Below are some links to organizations we believe can help those affected in our stories above (especially victims of non-existent terrorist attacks), and we encourage you to be active in your own way to support causes that are important to you.

  • ACLU
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • DonorsChoose.org
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Lambda Legal
  • NextGen Climate Action
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Reporter’s Committee For Freedom of the Press
  • Southern Poverty Law Center

Drink of the week: French Bulldog

Get it? Because of the Westminster Dog Show. You’ll need:

  • 4 oz. Bulldog Gin
  • 1 oz. Elderflower liqueur (we use St. Germain)
  • 3/4 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. crème de cassis
  • 2-3 sage leaves

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add in gin, elderflower liqueur, and simple syrup. Stir, and strain into a martini glass. Carefully add in crème de cassis and garnish with sage leaves. (Source: Petcha)

Weekly News Roundup & Moscow Mule

Gurl…. At the beginning of this week, I thought it was going to be relatively easy compared to last week. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. I was mistaken. This week, the list is categorized by branches of government, to remind you they exist.

The Executive Branch

Trump’s first phone call with Vladimir Putin went well – Trump says that the “New Start” treaty limiting nuclear proliferation between Russia and the United States, an underpinning of the peaceful end of the Cold War, was a “bad deal”.

In response to a USA Today piece comparing Steve Bannon to ISIS, Fox News published a helpful chart comparing Bannon and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In case you were wondering, Steve hasn’t beheaded a journalist, used chemical weapons on Kurds, employed child soldiers, executed christians, or declared a Caliphate. Yet.

A series of arrests in Russia, including of KGB/FSB officers, appears to support the theory of Russian interference in the US elections made public after a report from a former British intelligence officer.

Donald Trump said this week that he thinks Barack Obama likes him. Coupled with Melania’s facial expressions and the company he keeps, this emphasizes the fact that he’s a terrible judge of character.

Sean Spicer has said that the Judge who blocked Trump’s travel ban “went rogue.” While issuing a nationwide injunction is unusual, so is issuing a Muslim ban without consulting any relevant federal agencies or departments. The White House needs to learn how to check itself before it comes for other people.

Following Kellyanne Conway’s example, Sean Spicer invented a terrorist attack in Atlanta, saying “What do we say to the family that loses somebody over a terroristic (sic), to whether it’s Atlanta or San Bernardino or the Boston bomber?” The best part? He did this three times, two days in a row. We assume he meant Orlando, but, then again, who knows?

It’s ok, because Sean Spicer doesn’t have much time left in the White House – insiders are leaking that he’s already being set up as a fall guy. Because he’s obviously single-handedly responsible for all of the Trump administration’s woes…

Speaking of who is calling the shots, Donald Trump says it’s him! If you’ve ever heard anyone shouting about how they’re calling the shots, you know that if he feels the need to say it, it’s not true.

Trump’s conflicts of interest continue to widen as the Pentagon says it is now looking to rent space in Trump Tower so it can have the immediate access it needs to have to the President at all times. You know what would give them that access? Him living somewhere that’s designed for it. Like maybe The White House. What are the odds you think Trump is going to give them fair market rent? Any takers for 0%?

It turns out that Trump’s proclivity for nepotism does in fact edge out his professed commitment to free enterprise.  In yet another scathing tweet on Wednesday, our President lashed out at Nordstrom for discontinuing Ivanka’s clothing line.  In any other circumstances, Nordstrom’s decision would have seemed fairly routine: sales performance did not meet corporate expectations.  However, in the age of our new Royal- lol oops  I mean First Family, it seems daring to suggest anything other than a success for Trump or those close to him is unacceptable.  The issue was so important to him that he sent the tweet while he should have been in an intelligence briefing.

In what is perhaps an astounding coincidence, Nordstrom stock started to rise at 10:52AM Wednesday following the 10:51AM tweet.  Stock prices closed Wednesday after an increase of 4.85%.  Even the fickle machines of Wall Street have a sense of humor.

Melania Trump, absentee first lady, is claiming in a lawsuit against the Daily Mail that insinuating she was a prostitute ”cost her “the chance of a lifetime” to make millions. Ridicule in the press obviously hasn’t stopped her husband or her stepchildren from lining their own pockets; one fails to see how one bad report in the press is holding her back from doing anything, especially since she has the most ridiculous nude pictures literally everywhere. Also, for the record, being the first lady is not traditionally viewed as an entitlement to make money. Can you imagine Michelle Obama or Laura Bush claiming that? Good Grief.

Trump’s pick for the Labor Department admitted to hiring an undocumented maid. The double irony here being that, as Labor Secretary, his job would be to enforce laws that prevent people from doing just that, but also that Trump has a history of doing the same thing.

A reporter from Newsweek is suing the government to find out how it vetted Trump’s cabinet appointments for their required security clearances. Traditionally, being convicted of a crime, say domestic violence (Steve Bannon), or having extensive ties to foreign businesses (Trump’s three children, Rex Tillerson) complicate or prevent one from attaining clearance. It’s almost as bad as sharing classified information on a private email server. Oh wait, no, they’re doing that, too.

Kellyanne Conway potentially committed a felony by endorsing Ivanka Trump’s clothing line that Nordstrom dropped this week while on TV. And this one isn’t an “oh, maybe she did, maybe she didn’t, it’s a complicated law” one, this is a “there is a law specifically designed to stop people from doing exactly what she did” kind of a thing.

Trump is actually making 3am phone calls. While we support his key advisors for guidance on major decisions on whatever schedule it is that he keeps, this one raises concern, because he asked Michael Flynn, his national security advisor, about whether or not a strong dollar was good for the US economy. You would think that, as the great businessman he claims to be, he would already know that. Most high schoolers do.

The Legislative Branch

Republican lawmakers in the senate introduced a bill targeted at reducing legal immigration. While the US immigration system is in desperate need of reform, reducing the annual green card issuance from one million to 600,000 is not the answer. Typical Republican response, though – instead of addressing the underlying concern and proposing a real solution, let’s just slash it by half and see what happens!

Another Republican lawmaker introduced a bill to eliminate the Department of Education. While I don’t want Betsy DeVos in charge of education, either, eliminating the department is certainly not the answer. The US has some of the worst schools in the developed world. See the above commentary.

Senators did do something useful this week, introducing a bill requiring Trump to notify congress of intention to lift sanctions on Russia tied to the invasion of Crimea. Little Marco finally grew a backbone.

Mitch McConnell silenced Elizabeth Warren on the Senate Floor for reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions in the 80s. Since the letter was already on the record, it looks as though the only motive was to get her to shut up. Some say it’s a ploy to hand her a microphone because Republicans know they can beat her in 2020. If they think an unelectable candidate without popular support can’t get elected president, their memory is shorter than I thought.

Despite the attempts of Senator Warren and other Democrats to prevent it, Jeff Sessions was confirmed Wednesday as the United States Attorney General.  With a voting record that would make your racist uncle blush, his categorical opposition to civil rights has been a cause of concern to many.

Senator McConnell, in an effort to appear consistent in his disconnection from the American people if nothing else, told an interviewer in his Capitol office that he sees a “high level of satisfaction” with the new Trump administration.  He also reassures that the “country doesn’t need saving” as a reminder that if you are hoping for someone to reign in the new White House, it will not be the Senate.

Betsy DeVos was finally confirmed as the Secretary of Education after a tumultuous debate over her qualifications.  Namely, the Republicans struggled to demonstrate that she had any at all.  DeVos is a wealthy benefactor of the Republican party and a long-time supporter of private schools.  During her senate hearings, DeVos failed to prove she had any but the most cursory understanding of basic education metrics.  Vice President Pence was called in for an unprecedented tie-breaking vote for a cabinet confirmation.  The vote for confirmation was split almost exactly down the middle with the exception of two Republican defectors, showing once again that party unity is more important to the Republicans than ethical decision-making.

The Judicial Branch

Neil Gorsuch, nominee to the Supreme Court, called Trump’s attacks on federal judges this week “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” Good for him. However, these comments were leaked from a “closed-door” meeting with Senator Blumenthal (D-CT). Apparently the White House isn’t the only building leaking like a sieve these days.

The Supreme Court has accepted a case on partisan gerrymandering, which has the potential to redraw congressional district maps nation-wide. The case comes out of Florida, however North Carolina and Wisconsin have also been ordered to redraw congressional districts due to unconstitutional rigging of elections by drawing inherently uncompetitive districts.

A federal appeals court unanimously voted to uphold the original stay on Trump’s travel ban, pointing to the administration’s complete lack of evidence for the necessity of the ban and lack of precedent for its claim that the ban was unreviewable by the judiciary. This made President Trump ALL CAPS ANGRY, a sure sign that something has finally gone right.

Drink of the Week: Moscow Mule

Get it? Because Moscow. You’ll need:

  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 4-6 oz. ginger beer
  • Ice cubes
  • A Russian with blackmail on you

Squeeze lime juice into a collins glass, then drop in the rinds. Add ice into the glass, pour in vodka, and then fill with ginger beer. If you fill with ginger ale, the FSB knows where you live, and will not be amused.

 

 

 

Weekly News Roundup & Penicillin

After the overwhelming abnormality of last week, we’re back to being snarky this week, but keeping the list thing. So here’s a list of all of the things that happened this week that made us say “ugh, I need a drink…”

Random Trump-Related Bullshit:

  • Emperor Palpatine I mean Steve Bannon, who may be our actual president, is doing his best to eliminate a paper trail after also being appointed to the National Security Council in an unprecedented move for a schlub Nazi who is totally unqualified. We may be at the order 66 stage, Obi-Wan, you are our only hope. Especially since Carrie is dead.
  • The White House is leaking like a sieve, abnormally for this early in an administration, as reports are that the West Wing is being run like the Lord of the Flies. 
  • A federal judgement was issued against Donald Trump’s Jupiter National Golf Club for nearly $6M in refunds due to former members that Trump refused to pay back once he bought the club. Shocker.
  • Trump made a speech commemorating Black History Month at a “listening session” in the White House in which he hijacked attention to talk about how evil the media was, how big his crowd size was, his “movement,” blah, blah blah. The usual talking points, no listening, little related to the topic at hand.
  • Trump threatened to further erode the separation of Church and State by ”totally destroying” a law prohibiting Churches from endorsing political candidates and causes or risk losing their tax exempt status.
  • During the same speech he berated Arnold Schwarzenegger for his low ratings as the new host of Celebrity Apprentice, the show of which Trump is still Executive Producer, saying “I want to just pray for Arnold, for those ratings.”
  • Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch of Colorado to fill Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court in a made-for-TV event at 8PM on Wednesday night. The extent to which the event was inspired by Trump’s Apprentice past (a show being totally ruined by Arnold, we’re praying for him on the President’s request, the ratings are bad) that he flew in the runner-up solely for appearance’s sake to confuse the media.
  • Meanwhile, Democrat activists began protesting Trump’s court pick before he was even announced. While the seat was stolen by unprecedented obstructionism from Mitch McConnell, Gorsuch represents a more moderate court pick than expected, having no record on guns, abortion, or gay rights. Democrats should swiftly confirm him. He’s the best they’re going to get for the next four years.
  • The page about the Judicial branch of government was removed from the White House website, which, for a time, indicated the only two branches of government were Congress and the Executive. The page for the Judicial branch is back now.
  • Trump is confirmed to be taking a hair growth drug by his doctor, who is beyond a doubt qualified to discuss hair growth drugs. This explains the bird’s nest look.
  • Trump instated a 2-for-1 rules policy for all federal agencies, requiring two regulations be repealed for ever one new regulation implemented. Still no word on a federal 2-for-1 bourbon policy. Buy American. 
  • Trump’s tax plan could preserve millions of dollars in savings for his businesses. But we should trust him that there’s no conflict of interest.
  • CIA director Mike Pompeo will also be added to the National Security Council, perhaps a response to the backlash over Emperor Palpatine being granted a permanent seat on the body.
  • Trump banned HHS from any marketing related to the Affordable Care Act, which threw the agency into such chaos that the ban was lifted 24 hours later.
  • Trump dropped his plan to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers after meeting with lobbyists from drug companies. This comes as the manufacturer of Evzio, used to administer naloxone, a rare example of a true antidote that can reverse an opioid overdose in seconds, plans to increase their prices over six fold amid a national opioid epidemic. #draintheswamp.
  • Protests erupted at UC Berkeley at the prospect of a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing troll and editor at the neo-Nazi platform Breitbart. Berkeley canceled the speech, after overreaction by both protesters and police. Yiannopoulos, who was banned from Twitter for life after inciting a hate mob against Leslie Jordan for appearing in the all-female Ghostbusters remake movie, was painted as the victim.
  • Because of the protests, Trump threatened to pull federal funding for UC Berkeley. While I support dragging the hippies into reality, sadly that’s illegal, and would defy the first amendment.
  • Sean Spicer continued to commit crimes against sartorial humanity by wearing a series of truly awful ties and suits that were tailored almost as badly as Donald Trump’s, probably in an attempt to horrify the press corps into silence.

Foreign Policy:

  • Over one thousand State Department employees used an internal dissent channel memo to state objection to the Executive Order on immigration.
  • Spicer says that State Department employees need to get onboard with the Trump Administration plan or quit. I’d quit.
  • Trump threatened to invade Mexico while on a call with the Mexican president.
  • Trump abruptly ended a call with the Australian Prime Minister after giving the PM a condescending performance review saying it was “the worst call of the day – by far!” apparently not understanding that the man he was talking to was the head of a sovereign state, not someone seeking employment.
  • Iran conducted a missile test after being placed on the Muslim Ban list, Trump tweeted they had been “formally PUT ON NOTICE.” What that means is anyone’s guess.
  • Theresa May managed to get the better of Trump during her press conference with him, getting him to commit to NATO, if halfheartedly. She also learned he has a fear of stairs. Achilles heel? Theresa as R2D2, heroically bringing news of the weakness to the rebel base? Hopefully the Queen will use this knowledge to her advantage in Trump’s upcoming state visit.
  • Rex Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of State. Maybe he can offer another moderating voice in the administration. He at least is someone who understands the necessities of a public business to hide its true intentions in innocuous language to stabilize markets during shareholder meetings I mean public statements.
  • The Pentagon released results of a report into whether senior officials manipulated analyst data to paint the Obama administration’s efforts to defeat ISIS in a better light. They didn’t.
  • On the other hand, Trump’s attempts to fight terrorism are already off to a bad start.  He approved an attack in Yemen with incomplete intel that resulted in the death of a navy SEAL and an 8 year old girl (along with many other women and children, as promised).
  • Trump took the first step in easing sanctions on Russia by allowing US companies to make payments to the KGB/FSB.
  • After Trump’s unpredictable phone calls and actions, Foreign leaders are now describing facing “a normal Trump tantrum.”
  • Trump says don’t worry about his tough phone calls with foreign leaders. We’ve all stopped worrying and now feel very relieved. Thanks Mr. President!

Congress:

  • Jason Chaffetz, the most punchable face in Congress, introduced and then withdrew a bill this week indicating its fixing to sell federal lands in the West. While selling lands in the west could be a good thing, if done right, given the controversy massive federal landholdings have caused in many Western states, Chaffetz’s bill would have been revenue negative, an interesting policy for a “fiscal conservative.”
  • Democrats boycotted a Finance Committee vote to advance controversial and unqualified candidates Steven Mnuchin Tom Price for Treasury Secretary and HHS Secretary for full Senate vote. Committee rules prevent a vote to advance without a quorum of at least one member of each party. Republicans suspended the rules and rammed through the nominees anyway. Both candidates have pending unanswered questions from Democrats about extremely questionable financial dealings.
  • Betsy DeVos’s confirmation for Secretary of Education may be in question after two Republicans confirmed they would not vote for her. She has no background in school funding, tweets with obvious grammatical mistakes, and blamed a clerical error for two decades of donations to homophobic groups. Obviously she took her own education seriously. 
  • Mitch McConnell says the American People won’t tolerate political antics during the supreme court nominee hearing process, despite having done just that less than a year ago.
  • Rumors surfaced of a bill being drafted to completely eliminate the EPA.
  • Jason Chaffetz (ugh) proposed cutting off part of DC and giving it back to Maryland. Unsurprisingly, neither DC nor Maryland wanted this.
  • The State Congress of South Dakota voted to repeal voter-passed anti-corruption measures, because they would be an inconvenience. Screw the voters, #draintheswamp.
  • Hawaii minority leader Beth Fukumoto is considering leaving the GOP after being bullied by the party for disagreeing with Trump and joining the women’s march, as the party says she should be more partisan and stop working across party lines. Apparently, Trump isn’t the only sore winner in the GOP.

It’s been a long second week, but the snark is back. We’ll talk more about the entire immigration ban kerfuffle in a couple of days, it was too long to fit here. In the meantime, here’s a good Drink to still your nerves. Drink it now while you can, since two cases case of measles, an entirely preventable disease, were reported in New Jersey this week. Thanks anti-vaxers!

Penicillin:

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. blended scotch
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. honey-ginger syrup
  • ½ oz. Islay single malt scotch, preferably Laphroaig 10
  • Candied ginger to garnish

Make honey-ginger syrup: combine honey, ginger, and 1 cup water in a saucepan on high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Chill overnight and strain to remove solids before serving. Will keep in the fridge.

Combine blended scotch, lemon juice, and syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake it like a polaroid picture (who here even knows what that means?) until the shaker is too cold to hold. Strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube. Top with Islay scotch and garnish with candied ginger. (from Saveur)