Weekly News Roundup and a Swamp Water Surprise

One Drink: Changes to Trump’s trust (The Financial Trust, Not The Credibility Trust. That’s Already Gone.)

If there was ever any doubt that Donald Trump is willfully using the presidency to turn a profit for his private businesses, changes to the trust that serves as a barrier between Trump and his business empire serve to emphasize that he intends to use his position for private financial gain (as an aside, this is the definition of an obscure and rarely-discussed term called “corruption”).

Reporting done by Pro-Publica (a non-partisan, non-profit investigative journalism publication, not the left-wing conspiracy blog Sean Spicer has tried to portray it as), found that changes made in February to the trust state that the trustees (his family) “shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request.” What’s really important here is the words “shall” and “principal” – instead of a blind trust that distributes net income on investments to the president to fund his expenses at regular intervals, they must give Trump any of his assets at any time.

So, Trump Junior is reporting the performance of the Trust to Trump Senior every quarter, and Trump Senior can interfere at any time in the running of the trust. This fosters, rather than inhibits, conflicts of interest. This man is a crook.

Two Drink: Blackwater, DeVos, Russians and Nepotism Oh My!

Oh the nepotism! This week we learned of a meeting in the Seychelles, orchestrated by Dubai, between the Eric Prince, founder of the “controversial” private security firm Blackwater (of Iraq infamy), who happens to be brother of Betsy DeVos, the billionaire philanthropist and sudden education expert now running the Department of Education, and Russian diplomats.

We’re at the point here where this is just ridiculous. How many Russian backchannel connections in third party countries by “unofficial” administration spokespeople do we have to find before we just take it for granted that, where there’s smoke, there’s fire? If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably not a Democratic left-wing media conspiracy to defame you, it’s a fucking duck.

Red Drink: Blaming Susan Rice (i.e. The Democrats, i.e. Obama, i.e. Anyone Else)

It’s really shocking to me that the collective heads of the news media haven’t figured out how this works by now. Over the past week, and without any evidence, the Trump administration has been kindling the flames of a story that, according to Trump is “one of the biggest stories of our time” about the Obama administration treating him unfairly. Yet it follows the exact same pattern of the Obama wiretapping story: shocking allegation, widespread condemnation in all but the farthest right wing media, and a week with zero evidence to back up the claim. 

So quick summary. As far as anyone has shown evidence, Susan Rice was doing her job within the framework of the checks and balances in the National Security Apparatus asking for American individuals to be identified by name in transcripts of conversations relevant to her work. Intelligence officials “unmasked” those people to her, which they could have refused to do if they thought it was improper. This all happened after the election. If her investigations had been politically motivated instead of being done in the course of her duties, then this would be a scandal on the magnitude of an American presidential candidate colluding with Russian spies to influence an election, but, again, there is no evidence. You know what there is evidence of? Trump officials lying about taking money and aid from Russian state actors. Let’s focus on that.

Blue Drink: The Nuclear Option and the Government Shutdown

Senate Democrats this week secured the votes to block a yes/note vote on ending debate on SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch. Dems could’ve let debate end and then voted no on the actual confirmation in order to signal their displeasure at this nominee while still keeping the high ground and showing they can behave like adults . Instead, salivating at  to poking the bear yelling “NOT FAIR NOT FAIR” (because of that whole Merrick Garland thing) and placating the ravaging horde that is the left flank of the blue base, Chuck Schumer and co instead decided to filibuster. Perennial schoolyard bully Mitch McConnell has already signalled that he will invoke the so-called “nuclear option”- procedurally changing the rules so that a simple majority will be enough to end debate Gorsuch and all future SCOTUS nominees.

Now you might think this is the blue drink because Dems are forcing the end of a storied Senate tradition which arguably helps the Senators stay above the partisan bickering that the House has descended into. So before you start ranting about how all the blame should land at McConnell’s feet for invoking the nuclear option, may I remind you that the Harry Reid of the Dems was the first to go down this path (for all appointments but SCOTUS) and people in the know didn’t think it would take long for SCOTUS appointments to go the same way.

The reason this qualifies for blue drink is because the Dems just keep circling back to the same indefensible whinings month after month. Anyone who thought they were getting their mojo after the ACHA debacle as the party that might actually give a small damn about the average American has been fooled yet again. Instead of showing that when the chips are down they’re not going to behave in the same disgraceful way as the GOP did, they roll over and let McConnell blame them.

I really believe that America wants people who behave like adults representing them. Every time the Democrats throw a temper tantrum that they know won’t get them what they want (especially when the big playground bully can legitimately say “well you started it!”)  instead of making real arguments with their big boy words, America knows they’re not the adults we’re looking for.

Silver Lining: Draining the Swamp

Finally, the swamp is starting to drain! It just turns out Trump is draining the swamp he created, rather than the one that was already in Washington. Devin Nunes recused himself from the House investigation into Russian connections with the Trump campaign on Thursday, after the deepening controversy over his mishandling of classified information (#lockhimup), and President Steve Bannon was removed from the Principles committee of the National Security Council, apparently precisely because Puppet Trump hates it when you call him President Bannon.

Of course, the spin the administration is now trying to put on Bannon’s demotion is that he was only put on the NSC in order to keep an eye on Mike Flynn, but that prompts more questions than it answers, because a) why would the administration have had the poor judgement to name Flynn as National Security Advisor if he needed a minder and b) it has now been twice as long as Flynn’s tenure on the job since he resigned, so… the timing doesn’t make sense. Anyway, we’ll take both pieces of news for what they are: progress.

Drink of the Week: Swamp Water Surprise

  • 2 oz rum
  • ½ oz blue curacao
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 package Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ¾ cup vodka

Ahead of time, prepare the jello shot mixture. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water, stir and allow to cool slightly, and then stir in vodka – if you add vodka while the water is too close to boiling, you may boil off some of the alcohol, which, after this week, would be no good.  Just before the Jell-O gels up, whip it with a whisk to get small chunks, and let sit for 5 minutes to set.

Then prepare the cocktail by shaking rum, blue curacao, orange and lime juices in a shaker with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and ladle in some of the “surprise.”  Drinking this boozy mixture while reading the news will help the universe give you little bits of jello shot to calm your nerves every time you read a particularly rough article. (source: The Spruce)

Do Something About It

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! Our Take Action! page 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.