Audio Interview Archive Taking Shape

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Thanks to a grant from 4Culture, the archive of interviews I have done over the years is being organized. Summaries of past interviews, going back to December 1990, are going up weekly here: http://splab.org/listen/

The non-profit organization I founded in December 1993 (now SPLAB) was originally created to produce and syndicate this material and when the weekly syndicated radio program ended its run of about 450 hours of original programming, I continued my practice of doing interviews. They now are accessed via the page www.AmericanProphets.org which has received some funding in the past from 4Culture. Eventually, as many interviews as possible will be at the SPLAB page, including links to audio, or subject landing pages.

When I first started conducting interviews, I would be asked about what kind of topics I was covering. The radio show was a public affairs program and was required to dedicate programming to issues that were ascertained to be important to the community. I attended monthly broadcaster ascertainment meetings and even hosted one. In the early days I had some rather awkward answers to the kind of subjects on which I focused. Eventually I would explain that I was interested in Whole Systems philosophy. Once done with the task of researching, hosting, producing and syndicating a weekly radio show and running a non-profit ostensibly to fund such work, and do all the non-profit work, such as board development and annual renewals &c &c, once done with that in 2004, I wanted to cash in all the knowledge I had gained creating the programs. I went to get my M.A. from Lesley University in POETRY and it has taken me almost another ten years to understand that the kind of program guest I was after had some sense of the wrong turn USAmerican culture took about 1980 or so with the adaptation of neoliberalism. (I have been having a lively exchange with a journalist who says this word is being misapplied, is essentially an epithet, and any definitions which stray from those he favors are BS anyone can pull from “the interwebs.” Is this guy neoliberal? Probably, but that may be grist for my next blog post.)

Some of the program summaries from the early days 1990-1994 include:

Spiritual Politics, Corrine McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson

Karen Bolesky on Some Neuromuscular Integration

Michael Meade on California’s Proposition 187.

Marlo Morgan on her book Mutant Message from Down Under

Ethelbert Miller on In Search of Color Everywhere (African-American Poetry)

Jonathan Wright on the FDA’s war on alternative medicine

Matthew Fox on The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time

Notice the diversity, the penchant for “alternative medicine” and the depth of the material. Little of this resonates with the neoliberal mind, complicating funding efforts and audience totals. Some of the interviews are so old, the reel-to-reels must be baked to get the audio off as a digital file. Yes, they must be heated at 100 degrees Fahrenheit before the audio can be extracted. To do an hour of programming is $100 to $150 and some of the most pressing interviews will be saved and then it’s either hope a sponsor emerges, or wait for another good grant opportunity and hope for a positive decision.I’ll keep readers of this blog posted of this project while I continue to add new interviews to it. Last year was a very good year for interviews, as I did eighteen and some even showed up at the South Seattle Emerald. I am grateful to Marcus Green, the Emerald, 4Culture and other supporters of this work.

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Deep in Cascadia: What Does It Mean to Be Here/Write Here?

I am honored to be invited to talk in Nanaimo on January 21, 2018, to discuss Deep In Cascadia: What Does it Mean to be Here/Write Here? I am grateful to Carla Stein, Ann Graham Walker and the BC Federation of Writers.

When I think of the ecological crisis we are facing RIGHT NOW, the 6th great extinction event, Cascadia poets are sounding the alarm and have been for, well, half a century, if you count Gary Snyder. The new book by Jason Wirth, Mountains and Rivers and the Great Earth, about Snyder’s epic poem Mountains and Rivers Without End and Snyder’s use of Dōgen is one huge source for this topic.

The book Once in Blockadia by Stephen Collis shows not only a huge awareness of the crisis, but also the huge commitment to taking a stand HERE, in this bioregion. Never didactic and using humor and poetry found in some of the most unusual places, Collis is a model for other Cascadia poets.

My Subud Sister, Adelia MacWilliam just defended her Master’s Thesis at U Vic and the work Midden is a collection of poetry which:

addresses the collective amnesia in the descendants of the first European settlers on the west coast of British Columbia. The settler woman speaker examines the deliberate erasure of the original settlers’ subtle or overt efforts to marginalize and even erase the indigenous people of the coast. 

Getting it right with the indigenous people of this land (or ANY land) is a critical step in any recovery project and can’t happen without it. Adelia’s work is remarkable and I look forward to seeing it in book form.

Peter Berg‘s essential writings, collected in The Biosphere and the Bioregion are a source highly recommended for someone interested in the practical activities to mitigate the crisis and give the next generations a direction. See also A Green City program by the Planet Drum Foundation and:

Suffice it to say I’ve been tracking these and similar threads for a long time and these are some of the potential sources for my talk on January 21, 2018. I hope to see some of my Nanaimo friends:

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The New U.S. Civil War

No doubt by now you’ve heard about the vote of the U.S. Senate that would drastically revamp the U.S. tax code in a way that has not been attempted for over 30 years. The minority party (Democrats) only saw the bill 5 hours before it was to be voted on and with difficult-to-read, hand-written, last minute changes scrawled into the margins of the text. No Republicans showed up to debate the measure and it was reported by major news outlets that the famed, fossil-fuel magnates and prodigious funders of right-wing causes, the Koch Brothers, threatened to stop donating to the campaigns of Republican members of Congress until Obamacare was repealed and the tax code, overhauled in their favor. This bill would accomplish both goals.

Some provisions as reported by the Washington Post:

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act is more than a tax bill. It makes sweeping changes to health care that are expected to lead to 13 million Americans dropping insurance, and it opens up more land to oil drilling in Alaska. It also alters the treatment of state and local taxes, which could affect local government budgets for schools and roads.

Politico reports that the bill would created legal personhood for fetuses:

The legislation includes language that would open up tax-advantaged college savings accounts known as 529s to what the legislation calls “unborn children” as designated beneficiaries. And a bill summary specifically defines that as “a child in utero. A child in utero means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”

US News and World Report is suggesting the Tax Bill is the first salvo in Civil War, likening this bill to the bill that led to the last U.S. Civil War:

Thomas Jefferson himself recognized that the 1820 Missouri Compromise had set the country on a dangerous course by locking ideological and economic differences into an unbreakable geographic division. But the Kansas-Nebraska Act, in 1854, had the almost-immediate effect of destroying whatever remained of ideological agreement across state and sectional boundaries – rearranging the nation’s politics into binary, competing geographic agglomerations (basically, as today, the Northeast and West Coast versus the South and southwestern prairies) with competing economic models and supporting ideological near-uniformity. The rest is history.

The notion of Civil War occurred to me when I saw the vote broken down by Senators, in a New York Times graphic that made the rounds on social media:

(I had to adjust the graphic to post it.)

I also did the math. I found the most available recent population of each state (2016) and added up all the states with 2 NO votes (all but one of those no votes were by Democrats) and the states that had two YES votes. For states that were split 1 for and 1 against, I divided their population evenly. The NO votes (those opposing the tax scam) represent approximately 182 million people. The YES votes (the Republicans, minus one) represent approximately 141 million people. When you look at the all red states you see states with tiny populations like Wyoming with 586,000 people, Alaska, with 742,000 and South Dakota with 865,000. Tiny all blue states include Vermont with 625,000 and Delaware with 952,000. Of course there are the huge all blue states like California with 39.25 MILLION people, New York, 19.75 million, and Illinois, 12.8 million. Texas is the most populous red state with 27.86 million. It shows how another compromise in U.S. history, the Connecticut Compromise, is now having fatal consequences.

Despite voting NO on something as corrupt, ill-advised and horrific as this bill, the Democrats have not done much else to prevent this downward slide into banana-republic “governance” as Ralph Nader pointed out in June 2017 in the Intercept when he said:

Unfortunately, to put it in one phrase, the Democrats are unable to defend the United States of America from the most vicious, ignorant, corporate-indentured, militaristic, anti-union, anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-posterity [Republican Party] in history.

A party that that well-known purveyor of liberal thought, Forbes Magazine, says is a “dangerous cult”:

How did the Republican Party became a dangerous cult? Desperate to halt a terrifying tide of social transformation, the political heirs of Jim Crow flooded into the weak and nearly empty infrastructure of the Southern GOP. Men like Alabama’s Roy Moore and Texas’ Rick Perry were the last generation of white Southern men to begin their careers as Democrats. The flight of millions of Dixiecrats into the GOP shifted the balance of power inside the party nationwide. Their fear-soaked, delusional fervor converted that institution from a conventional political party into a white nationalist cult. The Party of Lincoln now exists to help Neo-Confederates win the Civil War politically, long after losing it on the battlefield.

Of course you know that I am in favor of peaceful dissolution of the United States, favoring a bioregional approach to dividing the land of this continent. In the meantime, how to fight back at this latest effort at civil war and at least class warfare? Avoid visiting, or buying products, from the states that had two yes votes. Avoid Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. I know, most of that list includes places I would not want to visit anyway, but take special note of all of them. The tide will swing soon, but given the neoliberal, corporatist slant of the Democratic party, as the astute interview with Ralph Nader points out, the long, gradual decline of empire is here, except that it may not be slow.

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