Weekly News Roundup & Port Toddy

We’ve made it through the first year, and it’s offered some perspective

  1. The world hasn’t ended
  2. The job hasn’t changed the man (surprise)
  3. Trump and his agenda are not popular to the majority
  4. This year is going to be a roller coaster, between the Russia investigation, the shifting values of the Republican Party, and impending midterm elections, we might be on the verge of some major political upheaval. Buckle up.

One Drink: Manafort Grasping at Straws

Paul Manafort’s legal defense team took an interesting step this week of suing the Justice Department to try to have a court restrict Mueller’s Russia probe by arguing that indicting Manafort for money laundering was outside the purview of the investigation.

While this aligns with the Freedom Caucus’s increasing clamor that the Russia investigation needs to be reigned in, it could really blow up in their faces if the Supreme Court confirms that Mueller is legally entitled to be looking into money laundering, and would make any action by Trump to interfere with the probe even more clearly obstruction of justice.

But can you really blame Manafort? If I were in as much deep shit as that man, I’m sure I’d be grasping at straws, too.

Two Drink: The Book

An excerpt of a book called “Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House,” originally to be published next Tuesday by Michael Wolff was run in New York Magazine on Wednesday, and if the Trump administration’s reaction to the excerpt is any indication, it’s a must-read.

CNBC published a brief summary of ten key takeaways, but the long story short is that the Trump campaign was planning to lose, totally unprepared to govern, and details how Trump acts like a child. Why is this news, you might ask? Because this book features interviews with high level advisors and former administration officials.

The reactions so far? Bannon and Trump have had a spectacular falling out, with Trump posting a statement saying Bannon has “lost his mind,” trivializing his part on the campaign (he wasn’t trivial, neither was Paul Manafort), and sending a cease and desist letter to Bannon demanding silence and threatening a lawsuit. If it sounds like these are contradictory reactions, it’s because they are.

The administration is now suing the publisher, demanding they halt publication and issue a public apology. But then, we already knew they didn’t understand the first amendment (but it’s detailed again for you in the book). It’s backfired, the book is now going on sale early.

Red Drink: Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

Trump finally dissolved his voter fraud commission this week. The widely-panned witch hunt was compelled by a court to include its Democratic members in discussions, and share paperwork with them and invite them to meetings. Instead of comply, the administration decided to give up. The commission found no evidence of voter fraud.

Trump’s statement blamed states for not sharing data with the commission that it needed to investigate Trump’s spurious claims of millions of illegal votes. This wasn’t some resistance success, most states are legally barred from sharing the information the commission asked for.

The good news, Trump finally seems to care about wasting taxpayer money! His statement said “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission.” If only he cared about how much he wastes on travel.

Blue Drink: Crackdown on (Still Ill-)Legal Pot

Jeff sessions announced Thursday that the Justice Department would reverse Obama-era rules instructing the Feds to not interfere with marijuana-friendly laws in states that had decriminalized or legalized the drug.

As a quick reminder, even though prosecutors were instructed to look the other way on pot distribution, it has been and remains a federal crime to grow, possess, distribute, and use marijuana, and that federal law supersedes state law.

While the booming marijuana industry in states that have legalized the drug demonstrate the best of American ingenuity, small business proprietorship, and capitalism, these business owners understood going in that what they were doing was illegal at the federal level— indeed, they still can’t open bank accounts, although that may be changing.

History is on the side of legal marijuana, but if this move by the DoJ upsets or surprises you, you should pay better attention. Given states were bucking the federal government, a crackdown was all but inevitable. Change can begin at the grassroots, but it has to be canonized into law, and we’re not there yet with pot. Just don’t complain that this is all Sessions’ fault, because, at least here, it’s not.

Silver Lining: Side-Eye for Pence

We’re no great fans of Mike Pence and his homophobic vitriol. So the memes of the sone of Doug Jones, newly sworn in Democratic Senator from Alabama, who is gay, giving Pence the side-eye during his father’s swearing in ceremony.

Cocktail: Port Toddy

Swearing in Doug Jones, the Senate has listed slightly leftward this week, and a Port-based cocktail seems appropriate. For those of you on the east coast, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the warmth.

In a mug, stir three ounces ruby port, one teaspoon brown sugar, one teaspoon lemon juice, and one teaspoon orange juice with a cinnamon stick, and fill with hot, but not boiling water. Recipe from the NYTimes.

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.

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