Flying Focus Video Collective

November 1999 Newsletter

Global Economy versus Democracy

In late November, dignitaries from around the world will be discussing the future of the World Trade Organization, an economic behemoth which hopes to cancel out any local legislation which stands in the way of "free trade."

Flying Focus has produced many shows based on talks given at the two "End Corporate Dominance" conferences here in Portland in May 1998 and 1999. In "Corporate Dominance of the Initiative Process" (VB#33.2&3) Lloyd Marbet examines the subversion of Oregon's unique ballot initiative process. Howard Lyman exposes how large food-producing corporations abuse animals and people�s health in "What the Food Industry Won't Tell You" (VB #32.1&2). And the show "Brian Tokar: End Corporate Dominance" (VB #31.12), discusses bioengineering along with environmental hazards posed by globalization. For information on these and other shows, see our catalog insert.

Flying Focus member Yvonne Simmons also gathered footage at a national conference of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom focusing on the world "market economy," speaking to a rainbow of women about their alternative visions ("Bread and Roses: Women Define Globalization" - VB #31.5).

David Korten, whose name became synonymous with taking on corporate gigantism with his first book "When Corporations Rule the World," visited Portland in June 1999. FFVC�s resulting video "Beyond Corporate Dominance" (VB #31.9&10) covers his discussion of his newer book, "The Post-Corporate World" with suggestions on how to organize on a grassroots level to buy local and not necessarily think global.

Merger Threatens Democracy, News Pending

To paraphrase someone we might not want to paraphrase, in order to have a free country you need an informed electorate. The merger of AT&T and TCI is one that aims at monopolizing communications nationwide. Consolidating telephones, Internet, TV and cable--including channels set aside for cable access-- threatens not only our access to information we need to make good decisions, but may also threaten the future of Flying Focus' ability to put programs on cable. In addition, corporate giants like Disney and GE, which own ABC and NBC, as well as large and small Internet service providers like ours (Raindrop Labs) could be frozen out if AT&T/TCI decide not to allow them access to their systems. This is not a conspiracy, but a natural trickle down fallout of doing business--in the capitalist model. Sue Diciple of Multnomah County Cable Regulatory Commission, Bob Jenks of Citizens Utility Board, and Richard Horswell, speaking for Internet service providers of Oregon, examine the history of the growth of the merger and provide context for its threat to communications and democracy in "AT&T/TCI Merger and You" (VB #32.9). Since much of the nation is watching Portland, which has filed suit to challenge the limitations this merger puts on Internet access, this program should be of help to people all over the country.

Susan B. Anthony and a woman she called her "lover" are two of the many subjects presented by author and historian Lillian Faderman discussing "What Lesbians Have Done for America" in Video Bus episodes #32.6 & 7.

Greyhound Racing: It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog

Over 20,000 greyhounds are killed each year so that track owners, breeders, and trainers can make money, and gamblers can indulge their addictions. Racing greyhounds lead dismal lives and are killed if they don't win and are not adopted. There are not enough homes for the losing dogs, since the industry just keeps breeding more in the hopes of producing a winner. In "You Bet They Die" (VB #33.4&5) activists begin working to end this brutal "sport" in Oregon.


Two Programs Highlight Hiroshima Memorial Days

Flying Focus has covered Physicians for Social Responsibility's annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki Remembrance for many years. This year, we produced programs covering both the 1998 and 1999 events. "Remembering Hiroshima '98: Take Action!" (VB #32.4) features former U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield, who entered Hiroshima as a member of the military shortly after the bombs dropped, and it changed his attitude toward war forever. The second, "Atomic Legacy: Hiroshima Day '99" (VB # 33.1), was taped on digital video (!) and edited by our new volunteer Kyle Yamada. It features Elizabeth Furse, Portland's Youth Taiko Drummers, and a Hanford down-winder who has lost many members of her family to cancer.


Radio personality and author Jim Hightower spins Texas wisdoms and describes the ever-growing gap between rich and poor in "You Want Class War? featuring Angels: the Next Generation" (SE #94).


Nobel Prize Winner and Journalist Focus on East Timor

Two Flying Focus programs produced recently cover the hot topic of East Timor. In one, "Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor's Peace Ambassador" (VB 32.11&12), the Nobel- Prize winning clergyman spoke at Portland's First United Methodist Church in April 1999. Unfortunately, the audio on this program is not the clearest we've ever had, but if you're willing to squint your ears and listen, his non-violent words of wisdom will fill you in on what brought the situation to be as it was in September. The other program, "Allan Nairn: U.S. Role in Suppressing Democracy in Indonesia and East Timor" (SE #95), features the unrelenting journalist who witnessed a 1991 massacre in a Timorese graveyard. Nairn spoke at Portland State University in November, 1998, but his history of how the East Timorese struggled since 1975 to win the vote for independence is invaluable. It is sad that Indonesian-backed militias slaughtered more Timorese in September. Flying Focus has done many shows on this topic and was oddly fortunate to have both programs on cable TV within weeks of the vote.

Incidentally, Nairn was recently captured by the Indonesian military and detained for two weeks before being released.

Educating for Social Change

Society Prepares the Crime. The criminal commits it.

This saying reflects, in a fortune cookie, the reason for Flying Focus's existence, along with other forms of alternative media. Who is at fault, the thief who robs a store or the society that didn't care enough to meet his/her needs while growing up? The soldier who drops the bombs or the culture that sanctions the production and use of weapons, so long as "our side" is not being hurt?

Educating a society to see its own faults and deal with them, rather than blaming a scapegoat, is slow work and often seen in mainstream media which is funded by the entities that profit from the status quo. This is why we volunteers who produce programs for Flying Focus are willing to devote so many hours to this work and why we hope you will support, or continue to support, our efforts. In other words, please send lots of money - we're broke! :)

Eighth Busiversary in Production

At the time of this mailing, we are pulling together the Eighth Busiversary. This program will cover the 23 programs produced since December, 1998. Eight different producers made 20 new Video Bus programs (some of which were two-part episodes) and three made Speakers and Events programs. We also had numerous people who obtained field footage for programs, some of which hasn't made it to the screen yet. The Busiversary is a time that makes us feel all warm and squishy because we can see what we've accomplished and who we've worked with over the year. We hope you will want to take a look at it as a sample of our work. If you are confused about which other programs to order, the Busiversary (VB 33.8&9) will give you a short look at all of them.


Watch the Flying Focus Video Bus weekly:

Paragon---Mon. 8 PM, Ch. 27---Wed. 11PM, Ch. 33

City Wide---Fridays, 9:30 PM, Ch. 11

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