Author Archives: Michael Winship

A brutal Trump makes culture war on Iran—and everyone else

Civilization gets sucker punched.

There’s an old joke about how Richard Nixon was the kind of politician who’d cut down an endangered giant redwood, then climb on the stump and make a speech about conservation. Continue reading

Drum Major Trump marches us into the folly of war

I know nothing of war. Unfortunately, neither does Donald Trump and he’s the crazy man in charge. Continue reading

In Trump world, fiction is just as strange as truth

There’s no escape from the maelstrom of lies and transgressions.

As the New Year begins, on the advice of various and sundry, to avoid the constant din of Donald Trump and his wrecking crew, I’ve been trying to read a novel from time to time—just to take a break from the maddening reality of life in these not-so-United States. Continue reading

The women who will save us all

They must pull us from the pyre of political madness.

At last Wednesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, both committee members and the panel of constitutional scholars repeatedly invoked the names of the nation’s Founding Fathers, who, for all their faults and flaws, were in large part educated people. Continue reading

Donald Trump and his insane clown posse

The GOP thinks its Ukraine fantasies are one rung up the fool’s gold ladder of chaos.

Chaos is a pit, the all-knowing eunuch Lord Varys warns in Game of Thrones, “a gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.” Continue reading

United Kingdom—Brexit or no Brexit—our Donald trumps your Boris

But an ocean apart, both US and UK activists fight dangerous threats to democracy.

Sorry, Britain, we win. And believe me, I’m sorrier about that than I can say. Continue reading

Our mad dog president and his Bible-thumping kennel pals

The White House theocrats may be the biggest danger of all.

“I have done nothing to harm these people but they are angered with me, so what do they do, doctor up some income tax, for which they have no case… to harass a peaceful man.” Continue reading

Healthcare reformer Wendell Potter: ‘The system is unraveling’

A business group comes out swinging on behalf of Medicare for All.

With the word “whistleblower” spinning through news cycle after news cycle these last few days, every headline about Trump, Giuliani and Ukraine is a powerful reminder that the whistleblower is a proud tradition in the United States, one that merits our support and protection. Continue reading

Democratic debate’s top ten in Texas

Candidates debate guns—and much more—in an open carry state.

Well, as CNN’s Jake Tapper told Stephen Colbert Thursday night after the Democratic presidential debate, one thing’s for certain: Beto O’Rourke isn’t leaving the race to run for the US Senate from Texas. Continue reading

Please shut up, Mr. President, and read some books

E.B. White and James Thurber could teach Trump—and us—a thing or two.

Amidst a roiling hurricane and another fusillade of Texas gunshots, like many, I was struck by a statement in the new memoir, Call Sign Chaos, written by former Trump Defense Secretary James Mattis with former Reagan Assistant Defense Secretary Bing West. Both men began their careers of public service as US Marines. Continue reading

Trump’s entire worldview is a nut job conspiracy theory

‘Why is everybody always picking on me?’

Once upon a time, when I first was writing for newspapers and magazines, because I was the junior guy in the rotation, one of my many beats was the conspiracy theorists—in those days, mostly small, cult-like groups with some truly bizarre ideas. Continue reading

Fifty years after Woodstock, we are caught in the devil’s bargain

The anniversary reminds us of the best and worst of 1969—and today.

The 16th century theologian John Calvin remarked that if you went to every cathedral in Europe and took away all the pieces of the true cross of Christ they claimed to possess, you’d have enough wood to fill a ship. Continue reading

Please, I’d like to stop writing about innocents killed by guns

Another day, another massacre—this time two, in just 13 hours.

I’m sitting here typing away at the dining room table in the home of friends a few miles along the road from Newtown, Connecticut. In a span of just thirteen hours, there have been mass killings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Many more are wounded. Continue reading

Debating Democrats, please, no fighting in the war room

Direct your artillery at the real enemy and not each other.

I’m not one of those people who insists that every kid on the T-ball team receive a group participation trophy, sweet as that may be. But equally, my teeth grind when I see a flurry of post-debate articles headlined, “Winners and Losers.” They reduce this most important presidential campaign of our lives to a game where a single swing or a miss matters more than the heinous presidency we’re enduring or any of the issues vital to all of us terrified about the future for our families and ourselves. Continue reading

Everyone’s gone to the moon…

… And given what it's like here at home, the moon may be the best place to be.

The world has been marking the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing. I’ve also been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 astronauts getting safely back to Earth. After all, it’s one thing to get all the way up there; it’s another to return in one piece. Continue reading

Mueller at the congressional ramparts

Protecting us from the rude tyranny at 1600 Pennsylvania.

At the end of last Wednesday’s marathon appearances by special counsel Robert Mueller, I looked over at the American flag that flies across the street from my apartment building. It looked more bedraggled than usual, as if it had just endured one of those cringe-inducing Donald Trump flag hugs and now faced the Walk of Shame. But still it waved, tattered as it may be these days, and we try to live in hope. Continue reading

Trump, go back where you came from

Don’t let this presidential pickpocket use cruel verbal assaults to distract you from the truth.

Every presidential election year, Frontline, the superb investigative TV series on PBS, produces an in-depth look at the Democratic and Republican candidates. It’s called “The Choice,” and invariably offers some insights that likely you won’t see anywhere else. Continue reading

What I saw at the (American) Revolution

The funders would say Trump mangles the Constitution even worse than he does the English language.

In September 1993, Bill Clinton came to Congress to deliver an address on health care reform. But the wrong speech was in the teleprompter. This would have been an epic calamity for the current occupant of the executive mansion but President Clinton adroitly ad-libbed and remained on topic for some ten minutes while the problem was fixed. Continue reading

Trump’s big, wet Fourth of July picnic

Photobombing the nation’s annual portrait

On March 12, 1938, the vaunted German army was to make its triumphant entry into Austria—the infamous Anschluss by which a compliant Austrian government surrendered to the Nazis without a shot. Continue reading

Over two nights, Democrats start building the wall against Trump

Who will rid us of this troublesome fake?

You somehow know that when Donald Trump, our nation’s juvenile lead, sent out his one word tweet—“BORING!”—during the first of the two Democratic presidential debates last week, he probably really was bored. That’s because the candidates were talking about some real policy ideas, for which we know he has the attention span of an intellectually challenged mayfly, the insect who got left behind in third grade. Continue reading

Donald Trump is America’s shadow

So we need to celebrate the heroes of freedom and decency

Let’s talk about decency. Continue reading

The US Senate of Mitch the Impaler

McConnell has turned “the greatest deliberative body” into a corpse.

Comparisons are odious, Shakespeare wrote, and maybe so, but these days, virtually everything to do with Washington has become so foul-smelling that a mere comparison now and then seems like a tiptoe through the tulips. Continue reading

Enough hesitation, House, impeach

Ben Franklin would tell Trump to go fly a kite.

Like Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin is one of those great Americans to whom sparkling aphorisms are attributed that may or may not be true. The Internet has only made matters worse. Continue reading

Trump’s upcoming Yankee Doodle disaster

I was there the last time a president and his pals tried to use the Fourth of July for partisan purposes.

Years ago, I was interviewing the college roommate of a famous politician who told the story of being sent to a shop by the pol to pick up a large impressive trophy. It would be presented at an official school dinner that night. Is this for the university president, the roommate asked? No, the politician replied, without missing a beat, it’s for me. Continue reading

A US foreign policy in three simple words: do no harm

When it comes to the worldwide destruction of democracy, Trump is the enabler supreme.

“The global trend is sour.” So says Larry Diamond, senior fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution. Continue reading

The curse of Donald Trump

Our ex-presidents should come forward to try to break the spell

I know that everyone’s talking about the final episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones and some are comparing our current woes to the battle for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Continue reading

The anniversary waltz

In these turbulent times more than ever, memory is a blessing and a curse.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, the saying goes, but as you get older, milestone years become more significant and resonant, especially if your own memories of them remain vivid. Continue reading

Impeach his sorry ass now

The GOP is the party of overlook; Democrats must be the party of oversight.

Over the course of my dusty television career, I have from time to time run into situations where a certain Hollywood celebrity type will make a threat—not to do interviews or make public appearances on behalf of a show, for example—unless some egregious demand of his or hers is met. Continue reading

Michael Copps thinks Trump is trying to put FCC out of business

Former commissioner says there’s no democracy without honest news and an open Internet

Michael Copps is a former FCC commissioner who at one point served as acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission. A former deputy assistant and assistant secretary of commerce, he holds a PhD in United States history, is one of our most articulate public interest advocates and currently leads the Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause. Continue reading

‘Feckless’ Trump and the immigration maelstrom

In January, I was in Washington for a couple of days and early on a Saturday morning took a Lyft car from Capitol Hill to Georgetown for a meeting with friends. The driver and I began to talk. Continue reading

Trump of Toad Hall

He is not only the carrier but also a symptom of the greater disease that infects the republic

If you believe in Old Testament-style omens, please note that a plague of poisonous toads has infested the Florida town of Palm Beach Gardens, about 15 miles from Mar-a-Lago. And they’re on the move. Continue reading

School daze: Use that bribe scandal to fight for debt-free college

This will come as no surprise to most sentient human beings but we have an education crisis in this country that begins with the Cheeto Benito in the White House and trickles down all the way to households in which a child has never had a storybook read to them. Continue reading