Flying Focus Video Collective
February 2010 Newsletter
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Panel Looks at Civil Liberties After the Bush Administration
In a presentation held June 17 at Portland State University titled "Civil Liberties Under Obama: Are We Still at Risk?" a number of presenters weighed that question. They all came to the conclusion that there are still significant risks to Americans' civil liberties and we must remain vigilant, despite steps to slow down or reverse some policies of the eight years after 9/11. The panel, cut down from 2 hours to one for the Video Bus, is featured in "Civil Liberties 2009: Are We Still At Risk?" (VB #73.2 & 3).--Clip--
Panelists include Tom Nelson and Ashlee Albies, lawyers who are continuing to challenge the government's claims to secret evidence in the "Al Haramain" charity case. Nelson tells the detailed story of how American "intelligence" mistranslating one word led to one man's nightmare. Albies chronicles the fight over documents released to their clients that the government demanded be returned and kept out of court. Steven Wax, the federal public defender who authored the award- winning book Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror, shares personal stories of his clients' ordeals surviving "enhanced interrogations." Wrapping up is David Fidanque, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon, who lists many of the scandals arising from government over-reach, some of which are continuing under the new administration.
For a Just and Sustainable World
The Coalition for a Livable Future presented the 2009 Regional Livability Summit with the theme "From Hope to Change: Transforming Our Region," at Portland State University in May, 2009. The Leadership Plenary Panel, entitled "Equity on the Ground: Structural Change in Turbulent Times?" is featured in the program "Sustainability and Justice Out of Crisis" (VB #72.9). Local leaders speak about changing entrenched systems that contribute to regional inequities and thwart our goal of creating a world that is sustainable for all. Speakers on this program are: Ronda Chapman-Duer, Washington County Sustainability Coordinator -- addressing social inequities in sustainability; David Hu, Fish Biologist for Gifford Pinchot National Forest -- on natural resources and inequities in employment; and Robert Liberty, Metro Councilor, District 6 -- about exclusionary zoning and alternatives. In addition, Ramon Ramirez, President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), addressed farmworkers' health and legal issues as they relate to the environment.
Congo and Computer Chip Carnage
In October, 2009 we ran a program called "Congo: Blood for Computers" during "Break the Silence Week," a global initiative led by students and grassroots activists to educate the world about the situation in the Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the site of the largest conflict since WWII with estimates of over four million dead. In the program, Portland residents from the Congo related the atrocities they have seen and explain how our increasingly electronic culture contributes to the fighting. One of the biggest issues is the mining of coltan, an alloy of columbite and tantalite that is used to make capacitors for cell phones, computers and other everyday electronics. This program was pulled after being aired only once, as one of the people on it was advised by a friend that their safety could be in jeopardy if they spoke out about the situation. Look for a revised version in the future and be sure to ask for conflict-free models when shopping for electronics.
Flying Focus Produces 18th Year of Video
In mid-November, Flying Focus celebrated 18 years of creating social justice videos. The "Eighteenth Busiversary" (VB #73.8 & 9) reveals to viewers who we are and why we created the 13 new shows (made up of 24 half-hour episodes) between November 2008 and October 2009. Five producers and a few field video volunteers appear on screen to introduce 2-1/2 minute clips from these programs.
Topics include gentrification, US policy in the Middle East (Iraq, Israel/Palestine), civil liberties, animal rights, US policy in Latin America (Peru) and Africa (Congo), Blackwater's "private army," sustainability, immigrant rights, issues surrounding the 2008 election, and inner peace through Buddhism. Some of the shows featured are among those in this newsletter and catalog update. Several clips are on the web at www.flyingfocus.org, but to see our faces and hear first-hand why we think these issues are important, watch the Busiversary. The Video Bus premiered on November 18, 1991 and has been running weekly ever since.
Save the Animals, Save the World
Two recent programs covered the importance of what we choose to eat. The first, "Animals and Food," (VB #72.11 & 12) featured Gene Baur speaking in Portland in March, 2008 about his journey from an average meat-eating American boy to cofounding Farm Sanctuary. Baur explained what he discovered along the way about the harm caused by "animal agriculture" to human health and the environment, not to mention animals. The show includes photos from the meat and dairy industries and is not for the faint of heart.
The second, "Your Food or Your Car?" (#VB 73.12 & 13) has Mia McDonald of the environmental think tank Brighter Green discussing the question: which is worse for the environment -- the meat and dairy we eat or the cars we drive? Her answer and the facts that support it may surprise you. It may also give you hope, as the power to make a significant difference in global warming rests with each of us and does not cost a fortune.
New Catalog Available on Demand!In the interest of saving paper, money, and time, we've decided to print our catalog "on demand" rather than mailing out full copies to all our supporters. Every six months, we send out "updates" describing our newest shows, which fall into various categories. Once every three years, we incorporate those shows into the full catalog so all the programs are sorted properly by categories, rather than being spread out over 5-6 sheets of paper.
What this means is that people on our mailing list will continue to receive the updates listing new programs from Flying Focus. However, it also means in order for you to see the fully integrated new catalog you need to either: (a) check out the catalog on line at our web site, www.flyingfocus.org, in .html (text) format; or (b) download and print out the newest version "2010-2012", which is available as a .pdf (Adobe Acrobat file) on the web site. The full 2010-2012 catalog incorporates the 8 new programs listed in this newsletter, but new shows from now until 2012 will be included only as inserts; or (c) order a catalog from us for $3, which we will then print out and mail to you. When you send money for a catalog, you can also order a DVD and/or send an additional donation to help us keep doing our work. Thanks for your continued interest in and support of video as a tool for social change!
Economic Expert at EcoNvergence: Focus on Humanity, Not Profits
David Korten, co-founder of Yes! Magazine and author of Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth spoke at Portland's "EcoNvergence" in October, 2009, describing steps to move from a Wall Street/war economy to a Main Street/peace economy. His talk is captured on "David Korten: Creating a New Economy" (VB #74.3 & 4). Korten outlines important steps to shift the economy toward people over profits, such as sharing the wealth, declaring independence from Wall Street, treading lightly on the environment, and trading locally as much as possible. He notes that measuring the health of the nation on the Gross Domestic Product or the Dow Jones average isn't as important as measuring whether people's basic needs are met. Korten presents his analysis with enthusiasm and humor, sharing a song written and recorded for the economic justice movement by children's singer/songwriter Raffi called "No Wall Too Tall."
Background on Buddhist MeditationNormally we cover speakers and events focused on societal peace and justice. The show "Buddhist Philosophy and Meditation" (VB #72.5 & 6) focuses on inner peace. XIV His Holiness Shamarpa Shamar Rinpoche of Bodhi Path, a Tibetan Buddhist organization of the Karma Kagyu lineage, presented origins and evolution of Buddhist meditation to a packed room at the Portland Art Museum in April, 2009.
He taught about meditation and the path to enlightenment, truth, suffering and more. The event was billed as the first dharma teaching in Oregon by the Shamarpa. For more info see www.bodhipath.org.
Gentrification Videos at Lending Libraries
The three videos we produced about Portland's Restorative Listening Project are now available at our lending libraries. "Nathan McCall: The Effects of Gentrificiation," "Porches and Smiles," and "Real Questions" are all ready for checkout on DVD at Laughing Horse Books and Blackrose Collective Bookstore. As always, if you would like to sponsor a show to put into one or both lending libraries, let us know at the time you order the DVD or tape. We are currently in negations to open a third location in North Portland--stay tuned!