Republicans in Congress fumed about impeachment, but the know-nothing legal firm Trump, Giuliani, Hawley, and Cruz incited a mob to violence, even murder, and some in Congress were involved.

Image for post
Image for post

Many Republicans decried the fact the second impeachment of President Donald Trump was happening so quickly. Evidence wasn’t brought; no one had a chance to testify, they complained.

Why did it happen so quickly, and with 10 House Republicans joining all the Democrats in voting to impeach?

“It happened quickly because there’s footage, and then just to help the case a little bit more the president said you shouldn’t impeach me because there might be violence, which was as if he was trying to help them by adding more evidence of how he was inciting violence. It was an attack by the leader of the executive branch on the legislative branch. It’s a pretty open-and-shut case. And if it wasn’t just the fact that he incited the insurrection, members of the first branch called him on the phone, including Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, and said, ‘Please say something and stop this.’ He didn’t do it. …

He’s endlessly proven himself a monster, but don’t ever call him a tragic figure. He even lacks the class of Mary Shelley’s horrific creation.

Image for post
Image for post

Writers have attempted to liken Donald Trump to characters in literature, most often in tragic terms, as, say, a maybe Macbeth or a kinda King Lear. For the past 4 years this has been a bit of a parlor game among the reading public (i.e., those libs).

As it happens, the far right created its own Parler game (which has been interrupted after the right-wing attack on the U.S. Capitol), but that’s just in keeping with their desire to remain reality-free denizens of this country at all times.

And now poor Donald faces a second impeachment. …

The champagne punch we serve on New Year’s Eve

is not our own; we drink a borrowed tradition.

To 3 cups each of brandy and sauternes,

add bitters, sugar, lemon, pineapple juice;

mix, refrigerate 8 hours to meld flavors.

I made a practice of pouring this base

over an ice ring (formed in a Bundt pan

and fancified by fruit if I’d remembered)

set in a classic old-fashioned punch bowl.

Top it off with a bottle of champagne.

As I assemble the punch this year, I think

of Jean, who lived for years in a house across

the street. (Memory being partial to…

Photo of a black yard sign with colorful progressive believes stated.
Photo of a black yard sign with colorful progressive believes stated.

Out running with my wife before the election, we passed some of the “We Believe” signs posted in yards in our town.

The signs, with some variations, run so:

In This House, We Believe:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
  • No Human Is Illegal
  • Science Is Real
  • Love Is Love
  • Kindness Is Everything

Half-jokingly (and, yes, somewhat snarkily) I wondered aloud what the signs of Trump supporters might say, were they to address the same themes in their yards.

Now, being a social liberal/progressive, and having been raised a Christian with the original Jesus (the vastly better eye-of-the-needle one), I happen to agree with all those things on the sign. …

Image for post
Image for post

Although the tradition goes back to the Pilgrims celebrating their first harvest in 1621, and President Washington made a 1789 thanksgiving proclamation asking God “to pardon our national and other transgressions,” historian Heather Cox Richardson reminds us, our federal Thanksgiving holiday is all about the Civil War.

As she noted today in her “Letters from an American,” official days of thanksgiving were first proclaimed, in November and December 1861, by governors in 17 states in the early stages of the conflict, when things did not look good for the union forces. …

Sculpture of Pegasus, the winged horse, at courthouse in St. Louis. Photo by Amy Buxton.
Sculpture of Pegasus, the winged horse, at courthouse in St. Louis. Photo by Amy Buxton.
“Pegasus,” Soldiers’ Memorial, St. Louis. (Photo © Amy Buxton. Used by permission.)

On the Sunday before the U.S. election, I walked out in the predawn to watch the Space Station cross over our city.

My sister, Chris, had told me about these passings, how you can sign up at the NASA website to get texts alerts about when the Space Station will pass over where you live. I had woken my wife up a week or so previously to watch it, for our first time, cross the sky, at a fairly high angle relative to the horizon, from the southwest to the northeast for the advertised 6 minutes of visibility.

Awed by the preciseness of the passing. I muttered that it was a bit eerie. But Jyll said she thought it was comforting. …

Image for post
Image for post
President Trump during the last debate with Joe Biden.

Just other night, I found myself in a Walgreens. I had just returned from getting a root canal in a molar and had to replenish my pain medications.

As I stood at the counter being checked out, an older man walked in, paused, and asked in a loud voice if it was okay if he didn’t have a mask. The checker said masks were mandatory. For a moment, I thought we were going to have an issue with a mask denier, but the man, looking disappointed and a bit disoriented, turned and shambled back out.

I asked if they had a supply of masks for customers. No? So I ran around looking for masks by the counter, and the checker pointed me to a display at the end of an aisle. By the time I made the purchase and got outside, the man was putting on a paper one-use mask I think he had just pulled from a trash can. I cannot prove that because I didn’t actually see him do it. But it seemed to be the case. I told him these were washable. He thanked me. As I walked away I saw he had left on the dirty one, and I realized he likely had no place to wash the ones I had given him. …

When the president is leading a disinformation campaign, what’s the press to do?

Image for post
Image for post
“Welming” by Richard Knight. (Used by permission of the artist.)

The First Amendment protects free speech but, as is said, does not allow one to cry “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Should people be allowed to cry “Election fraud!” in a crowded democracy?

Well, that famous quote about falsely crying fire in that crowded theater, from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, has been somewhat misinterpreted. It was an analogy he used in a case concerning censorship, an analogy that is still pertinent in saying that the First Amendment is not absolute. In the actual case, it was determined that the First Amendment held unless speech “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” …

When Donald Trump and his enablers falsely bray election fraud, they are speaking to their own dark plans.

Image for post
Image for post
A Biden-Harris 2020 sign seen in Webster Groves, Mo. (Photo by author.)

The fraud Donald Trump speaks of is his own.


That is invariably the case for this lifelong conman. Beyond dividing people and appealing to the worst in their natures, perpetrating fraud is a key performance indicator for all con artists. In fact, “Committing Fraud Daily” could very well be the motto of the so-called Trump Organization.

Trump is playing from the 2000 “Stop-the-Recount-in-Florida” playbook, which, apparently, he felt made America great again. Certainly, the Republican bully boys who staged their riot to shut down the count in Miami-Dade county looked really sharp in their Brooks Brothers, suitably dressed for the business of fascism. …

Image for post
Image for post
MSNBC’s Katy Tur interviews Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Dear Wisconsin, about that recount. Better ask Donald Trump to pay up front, don’t you think?

The Trump campaign asked on Wednesday for a recount of the Wisconsin vote, even before it was completed. In an interview with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said that the state has a “safe, secure and reliable” process but that a recount can happen if the vote is within a 1% margin. He noted that if the vote is within .25%, the state pays for the recount; otherwise, the campaign requesting the recount must pay.

Wisconsin was called for the Biden/Harris Democratic ticket Wednesday afternoon, with more votes still outstanding expected to lean toward Biden from the Milwaukee area. The Trump campaign immediately called for a recount. …


Kirk Swearingen

Kirk Swearingen is a poet and an independent journalist. His work has appeared in Salon and The American Journal of Poetry.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store