There is no Republican party. Only Zuul

There is no longer a Republican party, apparently. Only Trump.

They’ve decided not to have a platform at the convention, so we don’t know what they stand for other than Trump. Trump and his family will be the main speakers, and Trump will speak every night at the convention.

You know, it used to be funny to call his followers cultists, but jeez, it really applies these days.

AOC and the nominating process

I’ve seen more than one post from people complaining that AOC was supporting Bernie instead of Biden because she was one of the people nominating him at the Democratic convention last night.

That’s not true.

Bernie delegates are required by the rules to vote for him on the first ballot. If Biden did not get a majority, then they could switch their votes on the second ballot.

And under the rules, someone has to officially nominate him and someone has to second the nomination. Someone has to do it.

So someone did, and she seconded it. It was a formality. She had already long ago endorsed Biden. She spent most of her sixty seconds talking about issues that were important to her and then, at the very end, seconded the nomination because it had to be done.

Now we can discuss whether politically she should have done this (as opposed to letting someone else take on that job), but that is a separate issue.


Harris and the “But she’s a cop” argument

As a lawyer who works with DAs and AGs every day, allow me to say: they’re not all bad. Some are even liberal Democrats who want to see justice done, help victims, and stand up to bad cops.

And not all cops are bad, either. I know, I work with them every day, too.

So I’m really sick of my fellow liberals saying “You can’t support Harris for VP — she’s a cop!”

To place them all in the “bad” category is like when we defense attorneys try running for office and people say “You can’t vote for them. They’re on the side of criminals!”

No, we’re on the side of justice, and that can be fought by both DAs and defense.

I personally want more Democrats to run for DA and AG. But when my fellow Democrats consider that a disqualifying factor, then I guess I won’t expect a lot of reform coming. (If you want to make change, you have to be in the room where it happens.)

So let’s see how terrible this cop was in California when she was a DA and later an AG.  Hmmm.  Well, she refused to enforce the state’s death penalty. She took felony marijuana arrests and reduced them to misdemeanors and refused to even prosecute the misdemeanor marijuana arrests. She set up a hate crimes unit to help LGBTQ victims and refused to defend California’s Proposition 8 that prohibited gay marriage. She stopped prosecuting young prostitutes, realizing that they were the victims, and worked to provide them with support to get out of their situation.

And when she ran for AG, the police union refused to support her.

So much for “but she’s a cop.”


Hey third party people

A bit of advice.

Politics starts at the grass roots. Get your people elected at the local level and work your way up, winning state seats and then governorships and senate seats and so on. That’s the only way you’ll be able to actually make a change.

Even if you get a President elected, they’ll have four years fighting against two parties who want to see that President fail, and you’ll accomplish nothing.

“But it’s a protest vote!”  Sure, fine, if it makes you feel better, go ahead, but it does no good. No one pays attention to it and in the long run, all it does it take a vote away from some other candidate who could actually accomplish at least some of what you want done.i-vote-sticker

Of course, this will convince no one. Voting third party is basically a way to feel superior about yourself, because you can’t be corrupted by the political system and you’re voting your morals and blah blah blah.

Those of us who are pragmatic in our lives are more concerned about actually accomplishing things than being able to pat ourselves on the back, and we will continue to try to make a real difference.

Now, if you want to talk about how to change our voting system so that third parties could accomplish things (such as using ranked voting), I’m all in. But until that time, I’m not going to waste my vote.



Biden’s poker strategy

by guest blogger David Gerrold

I know that a lot of people are impatient for Biden to come out swinging.


Let me tell you a story. In 1968, George Romney was running against Richard Nixon for the Republican nomination. Nixon was holding back during the early part of the year and his advisors were a little worried. They wanted him to speak up.

Whatever else he was, Nixon was a very astute, calculating, poker player. He said, “Let the press chew on the other fellow for a while.”

Because Nixon kept himself out of the spotlight, the press focused on Romney — who seemed like a pretty good guy, until finally, he stumbled. In order to backpedal his position on the Vietnam war, he said he had been “brainwashed.”


The press turned it into a big story and Romney’s campaign evaporated.

Nixon then had the field to himself without ever having to get his hands dirty. He had other tricks to pull. But in terms of managing his campaign, it was the right thing to do.

Biden is wise to avoid the attention of the press right now. It’s too early. The public will get tired of him in two months. But, after Labor Day, when the campaign starts in earnest, Biden and all the other Democrats, all the surrogates, etc. will start hammering their message like a battalion of blacksmiths.

But right now — let the press chew on the other fellow for a while. The Trumpalumpas have only one place to go — Fox Noise. All of the other media are reporting the bad news. It’s fun to watch some of those people trying so hard to keep a straight face when you know they really just want to smirk and grin when they report Trumplethinskin’s latest political face-plant.

And it’s only going to get worse for him. The pandemic is going to get worse. The economy is going to stagger into a depression. And all it takes is a couple more police murders and the summer of protests will escalate into a general strike. Oh, and SCOTUS might rule against him on keeping his tax returns secret. And Mary Trump has a tell-all too. And there are half a dozen other rough scandals slouching toward Washington, waiting to be borne.

The karmic chicken has come home to roost.

So why should Biden say anything.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

Nebula and Hugo award winning author David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, several hundred articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. TV credits include episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, Land Of The Lost, Logan’s Run, and many others. His most recent novel, now available, is HELLA. Other novels include WHEN HARLIE WAS ONE, THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, the “War Against the Chtorr” septology, The “Star Wolf” trilogy, The “Dingilliad” young adult trilogy, and more. The autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, THE MARTIAN CHILD won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. He also has stories in my anthologies BAKER STREET IRREGULARS, RELEASE THE VIRGINS!, and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. His web page is here.

Biden and the Me Too Movement

While I clearly am supportive of the Me Too movement, I am also a skeptic. We must listen to allegations from women, but that doesn’t mean we have to always believe them.3820

I’ve handled at least four cases I can think of off the top of my head where the woman made accusations — some tremendously more serious than this — and then later admitted she had lied. It does happen.

Read this article from a prosecutor who explains why he is skeptical as well.

And then read Biden’s comments this morning denying that anything happened.

Basically, if you read the article and imagine how a defense attorney would handle it in a trial, you’d probably not find him guilty. Then again, the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” doesn’t apply to politics. Image is more important than fact.

Mind you, we Democrats tend to be very harsh on our own when these accusations are believable (see what happened to Al Franken). And what bugs me the most about this whole thing is seeing Republicans try to make this into an issue, given their candidate brags about sexually assaulting women.

Another reason why Democrats should have nominated Warren.

You still have to choose

Bernie has now dropped out of the race, leaving us with Biden as our candidate.

Look, I’m an old guy. The only time my choice in the primaries won the nomination and the presidency was with Obama. I’m used to not always getting my way — that’s how democracy works.

Biden wasn’t even in my top 5 this time, but he’s still going to be a gigantic improvement over Trump. (Hell, most Republicans would be an improvement, so that’s not saying much.)

Refusing to vote for him because he isn’t perfect is like a kid holding his breath till he turns blue and gets his way. Let’s be adults. Sometimes our choices aren’t perfect.choices

Joe Biden and the cards we’re dealt

So it looks like Joe Biden will be our nominee.  Meh.

As I said in a post just a few days ago, I rarely get my first choice when it comes to nominating candidates. And often, that means that the person I thought would have the best chance of winning doesn’t get it, and then we lose in November.

The majority tends to go for the safe and predictable. Often the bland. Poll the majority on their favorite restaurant and you’ll get Olive Garden. Ask them their favorite music and it’s Celine Dion or whatever is on some reality TV show about singers. Favorite books are the trashy ones. Favorite movies never win Oscars.  Favorite art is dogs playing poker.

Why we suddenly expect different results with politics is beyond me.

Anyway, I thought that Bernie and Biden were two of our weakest candidates this time around. Warren, Harris, Booker or Castro would better stir up the base and get people on our side.

But of the two, Bernie and Biden, I prefer Biden. Not because I agree with him more on the issues. Definitely not — Bernie’s message is what I’ve been fighting for my entire adult life. But Bernie the messenger? That’s a different issue. (Warren had pretty much the same message but she does not have the baggage Bernie would bring.)

There are moderates around the country who hate Trump but could never bring themselves to vote for a “socialist.” Some of that is seen in the primary results.

We can’t pretend that isn’t true just because we don’t want it to be. We need to sweep the smaller races too in places where that’s possible, and if you talk to any political expert in a purple state, that’s what they’ll tell you: Bernie being the candidate would hurt their chances. Could Bernie win the Presidency?  Sure, but it’s not just about that. We have to look at the big picture.

It’s just politics, people. I’m not thrilled with what we’re ending up with, but you don’t give up. You don’t whine about losing. You don’t attack the party because a majority of its members have a different view than you. Oh sure, you can debate whether it’s a good idea and you can discuss the ramifications of the decision — this is politics, after all, we’re going to disagree — but these are the cards we’ve been dealt and we have to keep playing with what we’ve got.

Do I wish the vote had gone another way? Of course. Like I do most of the time. But bitching and complaining that you didn’t get your way solves nothing.


I’m used to losing

The problem with democracy is that you don’t always get your way.

The first and only time my preferred candidate in the primaries ended up as President was with Obama. And I’ve been voting a long time.  Here’s my terrible track record of who I supported in the primaries and who won the nomimation:

1976: Jerry Brown (winner: Jimmy Carter)

1980: Oops. I voted for a 3rd party (John Anderson) and then vowed never to make that mistake again

1984: Gary Hart (winner: Walter Mondale)

1988: Michael Dukakis (was living in Boston at the time, did some work on the campaign)

1992: Paul Tsongas (another Boston guy) (winner: Bill Clinton)

1996: Bill Clinton was unopposed for re-election

2000: Tom Harkin (winner: Al Gore)

2004: John Kerry (another Boston guy)

2008: Barack Obama (and he won!)

2012: Obama was unopposed for re-election

2016: Bernie Sanders (winner: Hillary Clinton)

2020: Elizabeth Warren (What? Another Boston candidate?)(winner: we shall see)

So while I am very disappointed that Warren did not get the nomination and while I am also very disappointed with the choices we now have, I guess I’ve become used to it.  Maybe I’m just more cynical as I age, maybe I’m just jaded. Life goes on. (My top three choices were Warren, Harris, and Booker. So much for that.)

I certainly understand the anger and frustration many young Bernie supporters have about the situation. The fact that I once felt the same way back when I was younger I’m sure doesn’t comfort them, but it’s really a broken record: The people in power keep the power and keep out anyone who wants to change how things work, and the only way we can force that change is by voting the bastards out — something we apparently are incapable of doing. In the primaries so far, young people (who are Bernie’s main constituency) hardly even voted.

“OK Boomer” I can hear them saying now to me. “Thanks for your comments, grandpa, but we’re not giving up.” And I don’t want you to. What I want you to do is vote — that’s the only way we can get the change we need.

Who will I vote for when the Pennsylvania primary finally rolls around? Well, as usual, it will probably already be decided by then, but I’m considering my options between the two old white guys, both of whom have negatives I have to consider.

Warren’s experience mirrors every professional woman’s life and career

Guest post from Gail Z. Martin

Here we go again, proving that we as a nation can’t handle a competent woman in charge.

The most telling paragraph from an article about Warren’s drop from the race: “She was hypersensitive to public criticism and tended to overcorrect in her efforts to ensure her competence. Her responses often earned her more criticism, not less.” OMFG, that’s the story of every professional woman’s life and career. Remember the old joke that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did—only backwards, and in high heels? The gallows humor about women needing to be twice as good to get half as far? Those are painfully funny because they’re true.

When Hillary lost to DT, we showed that we’d decided the presidency was an entry-level job, no experience necessary—that we would accept a reality TV star and many-times bankrupted failed businessman rather than a woman so competent she scared the Russians. Now Warren is out of the race. Who do you think worried the Russians more—Biden, Sanders or Warren?

Warren had a plan for everything—-which got criticized—-as men without a detailed plan or the guy who doesn’t believe any experts keep winning. Baggage? Nothing that even compares to almost all of the male candidates at every level that have ever gotten elected (and re-elected).

Yes, I will vote for whatever blue candidate gets nominated, which at this point is certain to be another old white guy—-maybe even the one who says he’d take a Republican as his VP. (And how, exactly, is that going to create any change at all, when we’ve seen no willingness for the GOP to rein in Dear Leader, no matter how he shreds the constitution?)

Please, no attempts to mansplain why Warren is so much worse than the men. I am just so fed up with this country’s utter disdain for women that I could howl at the moon.

Gail Z. Martin is a novelist who writes thrilling fantasy and science fiction adventures. Her web page is here.