Making Sense of the First Democratic Debates – Proposals and Policies – Part 1

June 29, 2019

Before we dive in to the specific platforms and policies that we heard proposed in the first Democratic Debates over the last two nights, let us address a few things that may have been left out or only alluded to in the last piece I wrote about the candidates yesterday [Read that here if you missed it].


I’ve given this some thought over the years…. So from the start I’d like to attempt to share it with you. It’s no secret that I have often been accused of being “wishy washy”, i.e. refusing to take a position on a variety of subjects, not decidedly having an opinion, as most people seem to. On a whole host of matters. This is something I share with a very good friend you’ve heard me reference here in the Diaries many times, Matthew Sabatella (occasionally referred to as Toad in earlier years when these Diaries were more a workshop for the novel The Adventures of Fishy. And with Madeline O’Ryan. We spent our youth teens and twenties often ruminating and philosophizing on a whole host of subjects, finding it very difficult to understand the consciousness of those who could readily just make up their mind on something and give it no more thought. We found, and still do I believe, that important matters often have multiple facets that affect many people.

Despite what you may think you believe, research it a bit more or give it some more thought and you’ll find that it’s deeper and trickier than you first were led to believe. As a Philosophy major and a recording artist this way of being served me well, certainly didn’t hurt me, and in fact led to the whole “Ambassador” ideology that helped shape who I am today. I truly subscribe to the Will Rogers “I never met a person I didn’t like” mentality. Of course this infuriates both my liberal and my conservative friends. But it’s just how I was genetically spun. It’s how I came out. It serves The Ambassador very well. Ed Hale, maybe not so much sometimes. But I just happen to love people, and can usually find it pretty easy to see their side of things… and I just happen to be able to see all sides to almost any issue. They’re all just beliefs after all. Beliefs that we make up in each present moment. Whether we know it or not. (That’s really the secret. But that’s not what this post is about.)

Some people decide to be leaders. They want to be leaders. Some of them choose politics as their way of leading. In the old days, throughout our short history here on earth, these political leaders usually started out as corrupt thieves, conquerors, murderers and warriors. That’s human history in a nutshell. Study it. Royalty is a fancy way of attempting to legitimize being a heartless and corrupt thief and murderer. So too are most major religions. And most of human history’s most famous political leaders. Whether you start at the very very beginning with humanity’s first known “king” Sargon the Great, or the Egyptian Pharoes, through to the Akkadian, Babylonian and Persian kings or Alexander the not so Great, Attilla the Hun, Gengis Khan, Julius Caesar, all the Popes, the Sultans, the Ottomons, the English kings and Queens, etc etc on down the line what you find is a very bloody list of horrible human beings. more “Making Sense of the First Democratic Debates – Proposals and Policies – Part 1”

Thoughts After the First Democratic Party Debates

June 28, 2019

As is already known, I don’t associate as either democrat nor republican. I’m not much into exclusive clubs, Especially not ones that box you into very specific agendas of their choosing. And especially not ones whose very specific agendas contradict each other and don’t even make sense half the time but still force you to pretend you agree with them in order to be a member. It’s just not my scene. Even though, yes, it tends to be the scene I run with most of the time due to what I do for a living. But with that said, in general I lean a lot more Democrat socially and in spirit than I do republican. Just as I lean a lot more republican fiscally, financially and economically. This makes me a confusing and frustrating anomaly for most who know me personally. I refuse to not call out the corruption and contradictions I often see in the democratic party, the unfair duopoly both parties hold over the American government. And I also tend to be accused of being a “republican apologist” due to my belief in “state sovereignty”, states rights, and the freedom of the individual to create the community of their choosing without federal government intrusion. It’s a respect thing for me. This frustrates the hell out of most of the people I know, who God love them, just want me to choose a side and be done with it. (Some people call this Libertarian. I call it Ed Hale.)

The truth is that two years ago I found the republican debates horrifying on a personal level. It was as if someone had collected and marched out the absolutely most ignorant, ill-informed, close-minded and heartless people in America onto those stages in order to illustrate what the underbelly of America still looked and sounded like. The result was terrifying if you were an intelligent, compassionate liberal free thinker. Watching those debates was traumatizing. The fact that the unwashed republican masses went gaga over the most ignorant, loudest, ill-informed and rudest of them all was even more so.

(But to be fair, I had been warning for years that under the Obama administration America had become too liberal and too politically correct too quickly and was losing touch with a large majority of its citizenry who were no longer feeling the least bit represented by their government and the result was going to be a severe revolutionary backlash against this establishment. And that’s exactly what we got. In the form of Donald J. Trump. People in blue states and on the coast tend to forget that the majority of America is still largely composed of traditional conservative Christian people who view the Reagan years as much more preferable than those of Obama. Like it or not. (We had our chance to let them loose and be left with our own much smaller more intelligent and compassionate country 150 years ago, but (some could argue that) for economic reasons Lincoln wouldn’t allow it. So for better or worse we’re all stuck with each other. A living breathing highly split and polarized organism that shares very little in common and has very little that unites us. In reality, we are two very different groups of people. We’re more like two different countries who just happen to share the same continent; more like the European Union.)

Flash forward two years and the last two nights on the other hand, and the effect was entirely different. From the get go the first thing that you were taken with was how intelligent and compassionate those democratic candidates were and are. Wow. What a difference. Two years ago the democratic party was so completely sold out to the Clintons and their DC power machine that they didn’t even consider allowing anyone else to run for president, let alone debate. In reality, Bernie was their revolutionary hero, the one who could beat or at least challenge Trump. But they were too caught up in all the money and power they had collected from the Clintons — and all the promises made to collect that money — to even notice it. So they blew it. Big time.

This time is different. The democratic party, like the republicans two years ago, have shed their old skin and just want to win. So they’ve opened the flood gates and are allowing anyone and everyone into the tent to get their two cents in, regardless of how ridiculous it may seem. In Yang, we’ve got your classic Herman Cain character. More there for show and inclusionary reasons. Marianne Williamson, someone I know personally and happen to adore, was an interesting set piece for sure, but can probably step down whenever she wants to without causing too many notice. Biden, God love him, is their Jeb Bush. White, traditional and as “aw shucks folks” American as they come. And to be fair, he may be the democrats best chance of pulling in all those purple state voters who Hilary lost two years ago. But the point is, that tent is OPEN for business to anyone who wants to enter and tend their wares.

A lot of you have messaged me in the last 48 hours to ask me what I thought and who I liked from the debates we witnessed. I’ll do my best to answer that question concisely and as thoroughly as I can in the brief few minutes I have this morning.

At least half of the candidates presented in the last two nights can politely step down now. Or be removed. There’s just no need for them. The democrats don’t need to put on the show that the republicans did two years ago. Remember, the republican establishment did not want Donald Trump to be their nominee. Not even a little bit. They fought hard against him. The problem was that the republican party members, the American people who call themselves republican, did. So the party itself continued to march out every last person they could find and throw them up on those stages in hopes they could find someone the republican voters might find more appealing. But it was obvious from the start who the voters preferred. They were sick and tired of eight years of progressiveness under Obama and they wanted nothing less than revolution. Ironically the revolution they were looking for was a return to the old fashioned Americana of Ronald Reagan. And in that loud mouthed, rule breaking, non-traditional traditionalist Donald Trump they saw their man, party politics be damned. The democrats could have learned that lesson along the way… It was obvious to the rest of us from a mile away.

The last two nights were different though. What a difference two years makes. The path of destruction that Donald Trump has left in his wake in his short time in office has effectively almost completely demolished the America of old. Many are traumatized beyond repair, many more are in a constant state of fear or madness, frustration, anger, sadness, depression, shock, awed, stupefied. It is difficult to recognize the beloved republic. Not just to us, but to the rest of the world as well. People from all over the world keep thinking “surely they’ll do something…, yes?” But we don’t. We endure. Because, again, many of us forget that there is still a large majority of American people who like their president and what he stands for. The jingoistic isolationism, the no-holds-barred post-fact world of ignorant tweets. The constant barrage of blatant lies disguised as rugged truth telling. The John Wayne-like gunslinger braggadocio that reminds them of the Old West of yore.

Luckily this has set a fire beneath the feet of the democratic party. And just in time. If we as a republic can survive the next two years, and that’s a big if the way we’re headed, we stand a chance of reclaiming this once great country back and at least some of the values we and the rest of the free world once held dear.

In the first debate, the only two candidates I saw who should even bother staying in the race were Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker. Warren of course doesn’t stand a chance against Donald Trump in the General Election. He’s too wild janky and free. He will frazzle, unravel and destroy her. It won’t be pretty. And truth be told she’s just too anti-capitalist to appeal to enough people to win the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans. People forget that America was founded on free market, do it yourself capitalism. On the idea that ANYONE can start a Microsoft or a Google or a Facebook or an Apple in their garage or college dorm room and become a billionaire. We like this idea in America. We thrive on it. It inspires us. Our laws protect and encourage it. The rest of the world envies it. We may not have the protections offered by socialism or communism, but there’s reason for that. The absence of big government in our personal business every minute is what enables us to dream up and create the next Netflix or Slack or WeWork. God bless American capitalism. Elizabeth Warren, for all her good intentions — and there is no doubt that she is full of honest and sincere good intentions, needs to learn this or she will never make it to the end of this race.

Corey Booker I have always had a soft spot for. He’s honest, sincere, well informed and smart. I could easily see him as POTUS one day. Always have. I just don’t know if this is his time yet. Not after what I saw last night. But I sure do love Booker and look forward to calling him president one day.

Last night I saw the revolution, the democratic party’s Donald Trump. And his name is Bernie Sanders. Maybe it’s his New York bred confidence and loudness. Maybe it’s the fact that he is unabashedly unafraid and unaffected by politics as usual. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s on fire with a mission that a hell of a lot of other people agree with, saying out loud what a lot of us have been thinking for decades. Who knows. But he should have been the candidate two years ago. Forget that his admitted socialist agenda stands firmly against half of what we stand for as a country…. Sanders is out to remake America. The same way Donald Trump was. If it worked for Trump, it could work for Sanders. If Trump is that cranked up half-cocked crazy cowboy who rides into town shooting first and asking questions later just for the hell of it, Sanders is that jacked-up courageous Sheriff who stands firm with his hand on his gun shouting “Don’t you DARE fella!”

And don’t worry. No president can remake America on their own. It takes a congress and a senate and a supreme court to do that, and they’ll help balance the bulldog out a bit so we don’t go full on EU overnight.

I also saw another shining light on that stage. And her name was Kamala Harris. Wow. I didn’t know much about this candidate before last night, I admit. But what I saw I really liked. There is just something about her that stands out. Call it that X factor that cannot be described with words, despite innumerable attempts. She reminds one of Barack Obama. Maybe she comes out ahead of Sanders by the end of this race. But I doubt it. The best chance the democrats have of retaking America from Trump and all his craziness — unless he ousts himself through just being himself (which there’s a damn good chance of, let’s face it…), would be a Sanders/Harris ticket. That would be something that even I could get behind. I’d be willing to jump on that whacked out revolutionary socialist bandwagon for the exact same reason so many mild mannered republicans were willing to jump on that sketched-out tweaky Trump bandwagon. Politics as usual has made me sick. And I’d do just about anything to be rid of it once and for all. I truly believe Bernie wants the same thing.

More later. We need to review the actual policies proposed over the last two nights. Because there’re a lot of problems there. And we’ll do that in the next installment here. Stay tuned.





A Classic Live Performance of “Caetano” by Ed Hale & the Transcendence

June 12, 2019

Video capturing the band Ed Hale & the Transcendence performing a rousing live version of the song “Caetano” from their Nothing Is Cohesive album at New York’s Cutting Room for a Fieldhouse/BMG Showcase. Featuring Fernando Perdomo, Ed Hale, Bill Sommer, Roger Houdaille and Ricardo Mazzi. Filmed by Robert Seoane.

Christianity Needs to Evolve or Will Splinter Into Extinction

May 27, 2019

The original title of this post was “Christianity Is Making Progress Towards Enlightenment… But Needs to Do it Faster”. But after the final read-thru edit, that didn’t quite seem to sum up its core message. It’s important to note however that the reason for the original title is because despite the ideas expressed below, especially regarding the apparent backwards direction many christian churches around the world are moving in, along with seemingly every other major world religion, there are plenty of others, just not in the majority, that are making great strides toward becoming more progressively minded institutions that embody the highest ideals of enlightenment, or what we might call an enlightened humanism for the modern world we live in. Refuges for both the spiritually hungry and compassionate AND the liberally minded intellectual. It’s not all bad news out there. There just happens to be a lot less of them than there are the more rigidly close minded so called fundamentalist types.

If one is not specifically a Christian, or better put, an actively participating Christian, then it would be easy to not notice what has been happening in the various denominations of the larger world of Christendom over the last few years. That’s a given. And one would have a valid excuse for not being up to date on the latest and greatest hits of the Christian world. After all, a healthy majority of people – especially in the united states and in The West in general have moved to a more non-religious secularism in the modern world we live in, due in part to the fact that for thousands of years we as humans have witnessed religion in all its various shapes and forms do almost nothing but cause great pain in the world. So this mass shift towards what is known as secular humanism or the now popular “spiritual but not religious” makes sense.

But there are massive shifts that are taking place in the Christian world (and in the Muslim and Buddhist communities) presently that are important to take note of due to the transcendent nature of the very real threat they pose of infringing on the basic rights and freedoms of our fellow man. Regardless of whether one is religious or not. Some of these radical movements further right unfortunately align with similar shifts within other world religions and the more fervent nationalist fervor that is taking place politically around the world. Various Christian protestant denominations are beginning to swing further toward what they consider a more “conservative” fundamentalist or evangelical agenda. And these moves have the potential to have larger reverberations socially that extend beyond the confines of their local church community.

It shouldn’t matter where a person is being hurt or neglected; only that when it becomes known, that there are those who are willing to reach out and come to their aid.

Three states in the US have already made moves this year that come very close to banning abortion, Georgia, Alabama and then Missouri. Which would be shocking to learn, except for the fact that we are now being bombarded by such an onslaught of so much shocking news on a daily and even hourly basis that much of it seems to go over our heads.

Christians and the LGBTQ Community

In regards to the LGBTQ community, The United Methodist Church recently convened late last year to announce that they intend to make their “rules” stricter to allow less inclusion, fewer rights and permit less tolerance of people of this persuasion. You can read more about it here: United Methodist court upholds Traditional Plan’s ban on LGBTQ clergy, same sex marriage

more “Christianity Needs to Evolve or Will Splinter Into Extinction”

Friends From College Showed That Not All Netflix Content Has to Be Horrible

February 7, 2019

Friends from College (TV Series 2017– 2019)

I’m the first to admit that finding good content, let alone great content, on @netflix isn’t easy. It can lead to some seriously long boring scroll time. In their defense, Netflix has brought us some good content through the years, including but certainly not limited to Peaky Blinders, House of Cards, Daredevil (the first two seasons were “okay”….), Travelers, Maniac, Love, Santa Clarita Diet, Dead to Me, El Ministerio Del Tiempo, Arrested Development (okay so yeah that show has seriously jumped the shark at this point….), the first season of Ozark and the first season of Narcos, Bloodline, and many others…. They also feature a pretty decent movie and docs collection to stream for free as well that alone makes the service well worth the low monthly fee.

BUT more importantly their 24/7 open format, binge-ready batch delivery system and open mindedness to creativity has led to a true content (and delivery) revolution. (No i don’t get why the old networks haven’t caught on yet….) Friends From College showed that Netflix could step up and produce real content, quality network content if it really wanted to. Not just silly kids stuff. Ironically the show is a bit controversial on IMDB in that people either love it or loathe it. Like everything today for some reason. Why people profess to “loathe” the show in their reviews, I honestly have no idea. But it’s lighthearted and over the top take on the challenges and realities of friendship and growing up is often laugh out loud hilarious and moving. Especially if you see your own life mirrored back to you in the show’s intelligent and often witty writing and story lines. more “Friends From College Showed That Not All Netflix Content Has to Be Horrible”

The Meaning of Christmas

December 25, 2018

Just finished watching one of those Hallmark Channel-type Christmas movies, called Paper Angels, and I must sheepishly confess that I am all warm and fuzzy smiles here pondering various aspects of what we’ve come to call the Christmas Spirit.

Perhaps we take a pause and consider making Christmas less about Santa, elves and reindeer, and more about matters of the heart that seem to be universally agreed upon ideals, regardless of age, race, nationality or religion… Some ideas that come to mind…

* No matter what the excuse, nobody deserves to be a victim of domestic abuse. And no matter how challenging or scary it may be, you’ve gotta get yourself out of there. You’re worth it. 

* Life doesn’t always work out the way we planned. That was never guaranteed. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

* We can live truly joyful, fulfilling lives whether rich, poor or somewhere in between. Though we certainly obsess over it more than just about anything else, it’s not about the money.

* Giving, helping & serving others is a magical phenomenon in how great it makes us feel.

* That idea that we must “give in secret”… forget you ever heard it. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating how much joy you feel because you made someone’s day or year even. And that joy… is contagious.

* No matter how busy we are, time always finds a way to magically allow more of itself for noble acts like helping another.

* Sometimes helping someone can be as simple as a smile, a prayer or a few kind words.

* Other times serving others may require a major investment of time, attention & energy. Either way it’s a gift we should never deprive ourselves of.

* That little voice in the back of your head, listen to it. That feeling in your heart that you just can’t shake… Our Intuition. Honor it.

* Family & friendship just might be the most valuable gifts we’re blessed with. And for whatever reason, we’re blessed with many.

* We haven’t quite figured out the mechanics of it, but there is a power in prayer that is undeniable. And despite their claims, no religion has a monopoly on it. It’s an activity that is freely available to anyone anywhere anytime, religious or not.

* When we’re in flow and feeling good from doing the right thing, we tend to often end up at the right place at the right time, for ourselves AND others.

* Not everyone is as nice or kind as you are. No one ever said they would be. But those are things that no one can ever take away from you. You’ll just have to be extra nice & kind for those who are still struggling to get there.

* We all “need” sometimes. That’s life. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when we need it. (No one ever died from not having enough pride.)

* A lot more people love and care about you than you probably realize. And you deserve every bit of it.


more “The Meaning of Christmas”

Occupy Seattle Rally

June 15, 2018

Ed Hale at Occupy Seattle Rally. Downtown Seattle, 2011
Ed Hale at Occupy Seattle Rally. Downtown Seattle, WA 2011
Ed Hale and Princess Little Tree Occupy Seattle, WA
Ed Hale and Princess Little Tree Occupy Seattle, WA

Today I woke up and quickly but begrudgingly remembered that there was an Occupy Seattle rally happening downtown. From where we live, way out in the rural burbs (one would be hard pressed to call this the burbs truth be told… houses are separated by blocks if not miles and the nearest store is a few miles away…) I was well aware that trekking to downtown Seattle for an early morning march would take about an hour. Besides all the prep work and getting showered and dressed. Seemed like a lot of work and honestly I just wanted to sleep in. But the thought haunted me…. Was it really okay if we just skipped this rally? More apt, would WE be okay if we just skipped it? How would we feel afterwards? It didn’t feel good.

more “Occupy Seattle Rally”

Disney Pulls the Plug on Roseanne for Racist Tweet — Fair?

May 29, 2018

Revered Disney Chief Officer Bob Iger made a simple statement this afternoon about his decision to cancel the new Roseanne series reboot on ABC based on her posting a rather racist comment on Twitter about former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarret (weird, right?), saying “It took us about 2 hours to discuss the details. No time at all. Obviously a lot of people are going to lose their jobs because of Roseanne’s behavior and that’s never a good thing. But no, there’s no debate when it comes to doing what is morally right, at least not for us.”

It’s bold to stay committed to respect, basic human decency and the pursuit of noble goals in a society gone mad. So kudos to Mr. Iger. Was it fair? Well, that’s a debate that will probably rage on for years to come. But as long as the United States is still a capitalist democracy, hell yes it’s fair. Roseanne worked for Disney. Disney works for their shareholders, and they clearly know what said shareholders expect from them. Racism is not one of those things. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who delights in racism except for fringe elements of society. And though yes even their rights to free speech are protected, it doesn’t mean we have to hire them or even associate with them. Thank God for free market capitalism and democracy. If your check says Disney or ABC (one of its many subsidiaries) on it, then they have a right to fire you just as much as they do to hire you. Govern yourself accordingly.

What occurred to me at first was a little bit of shock  — Roseanne just recently returned to mainstream relevance after two decades of being largely ignored. I’m personally not a fan. But couldn’t help but be happy for her. But now this…? Always controversial, her comment today wasn’t a funny joke as much as just a dumb jab. Albeit a peculiar and random one (Valerie Jarret? Really?) with an overtly racist tone. But then again modern American comedy is filled with offensive and shocking vulgarity and racism. Its rampant. And literally unwatchable if you have more refined tastes. So what’s the difference here? The platform? Twitter versus Comedy Central? more “Disney Pulls the Plug on Roseanne for Racist Tweet — Fair?”