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Eric Byler

Does the Tea Party represent REAL America?

That seems to be the claim made by pundits and journalists who either don't want to raise the ire of Tea Party activists and their Republican supporters in the media, or they really do want to convince the public that the Tea Party is "real America" and the rest of us are somehow not-so-real.   Meet Salim, and Arab American who politely takes exception to the narrative the media is currently selling. 


Recently on Facebook, my partner Annabel Park touched off what is becoming a national groundswell of anger toward "Tea Party" activists called "The Coffee Party Movement."

Among other things, we are meeting at coffee shops around the country, mapping out netroots and grassroots strategies, and offering Americans an alternative to the "Tea Party" that takes a positive, reality-based, and solutions-oriented approach to civic participation. We hope to have rallies around the country on July 4th, and emerge in the mainstream media narrative as strong counter to the "Tea Party" movement.  After all, coffee is the American drink, and has been ever since we rejected taxation without representation via the Stamp Act.  Did frontiersmen and cowboys drink tea?  Nope, coffee!

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Corporate Profiteering Impacts U.S. Military Base in Okinawa

I'm really proud of this video from my new YouTube channel with Annabel Park, exploring the U.S. military base controversy in Okinawa, Japan. 

Video: Recently retired U.S. State Department official William Brooks explains what former Administrative Defense Vice Minister Moriya recently revealed about the current agreement between the United States and Japan to relocate the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to Henoko Bay. Local construction companies in Okinawa wanted to build the elaborate air base in the bay to maximize profit on the relocation.

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I had heart surgery when I was 25.

I had heart surgery when I was 25.  

It cost me only $15 because I had great health insurance through the LA Times, and because California has strong health care regulations. The surgery cured me of a sports-induced arrhythmia that had haunted me since I was a boy.  It freed me of a tremendous physical and psychological burden.  It may have saved my life. 

A few months later, I left the LA Times and decided to let my health insurance lapse because I didn't want to make the COBRA payments.  In my early 30's, I was covered thanks to the Directors Guild, but I let my insurance lapse when I moved to Virginia and stopped making DGA films.  Again, I didn't want to pay for COBRA. 

When young healthy people do as I did -- stay out of the system unless and until we need it -- we drive up costs for everyone else. I paid $15 for heart surgery.  The rest of the tab was picked up by people who didn't have the option of gambling with their health, and were forced to pay rising premiums.  By spending most of the last 12 years uninsured, I have saved money, but it has cost me in other ways.  For instance, I fractured my wrist playing baseball and didn't see a doctor.  It never quite healed correctly.  I've also had to worry about the consequences for me and my family if I was in an accident, or if learned I had cancer but it was too late to treat it.

When I buy health insurance in 2010, I will be paying into a system that has already greatly improved my life.  If a few years pass before I need to go to the hospital again, my monthly payments will not have been wasted.  I will have had a sense of security knowing I don't actually have cancer, and I have coverage if I'm in an accident.  And, I will have paid my share toward the collective good, making health coverage more affordable for others. 

I hope the emerging paradigm shift in Washington will spread to all Americans, in particular to young people who think they don't need insurance, and may resent the choice between getting insurance and paying a fine.  To them I would say the gamble isn't worth it: buying into the new health insurance exchanges will be in the interest of your individual security, your family's security, and the nation's.

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"Charlotte Sometimes" theatrical trailer

This was my first feature film as writer/director.  I shot it in 2001 and finished it in 2002.  In 2003 it came out in theaters and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. 



This is a relationship picture that plays like

an emotional thriller." --Roger Ebert, THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

"...GORGEOUS!...A smartly made, hedonistic

spectacle of alluring, nubile characters, sun-warmed narcissism

and breathtaking color that approaches the exoticism

of Vietnamese filmmaker Anh Hung Tran

("The Scent of Green Papaya" and "Cyclo")." --Desson Thomson, THE WASHINGTON POST


The outstanding feature debut of writer-director

Eric Byler, who understands the power of the implicit

and the virtues of simplicity and economy. ...Every image is

charged with wit, significance and emotion. Would that all

love stories were as sophisticated and amusing as

the satisfying "Charlotte Sometimes." --Kevin Thomas, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

"...NOTABLY CINEMATIC STORYTELLING! The deft shading Byler elicits from his thesps is of a piece with his dramatics and his understated, artful approach to compositions and movement.."

--Robert Koehler, VARIETY

"...Writer-director Eric Byler demonstrates a refreshing trust in his material and his audience, crafting a compact, intriguing drama from understated performances and a subtle visual sensibility."



Idemoto and Kim make a gorgeous pair... their scenes brim with

sexual possibility and emotional danger." --Carla Meyer, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

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Trailer for My New Film, 9500 Liberty


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Awfully Disappointed with Bobby Jindal

If you missed Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's dreadful performance on Meet the Pressyesterday, click here to see a man with a promising future throw it all away for cheap political points.

But to truly appreciate how foolish Jindal made himself look on Sunday, you need to watch the subsequent interview with Florida Governor Charlie Crist rejecting Jindal's petty partisanship:

Video:[Time Magazine's Joe Klein]( said it best, from both an economic policy and political perspective.

Crist supported John McCain in the election, but says in " take 2" of his interview, "When the campaign's over, it's over."  He also praised President Obama's first weeks in office, and said he hopes he succeeds.  Jindal has another agenda.  He is siding with the Rush Limbaugh wing (the extremist wing) of the Republican Party.  If they howl and whine about Obama's efforts to rebuild the economy, they can say "I told you so" if their hopes come true and America falls deeperin into recession.  This is Jindal's path to the White House in 2012, or so he thinks.  But how much pain is he willing to inflict on the people of Lousiana in order to get his chance?Video:

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Changes in Repubican Party = Changes for America

It’s clear that Barack Obama has captured the spirit of civic engagement that awakened in millions of Americans, aided by netroots techonology, and propted by the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina, two of many disasters that have resulted from 8 years of partisan politics without effective governance.  But it may be that the most important changes are taking place within the Republican Party.That is why I enjoy reading columns by conservative Republican authors like David Broder, who are telling the story of the transformation of the Republican party from the inside out.

Anyone interested in American government should read this.

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The Moment We Knew: Barack Obama Wins Virginia & The White House

Video: But this article in the Washington Post explains what a long journey it has been in Virginia to overcome Republican dominance that has existed ever since Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” of playing to white resentment by blaming Democrats for the Civil Rights movement. The article focuses on the more recent past, of which Annabel and I have been a part.

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Latinos, Asian Americans, African Americans Carrying Obama to Victory

Video: reading this article in today's Washington Post, I've been thinking about how the collapse of the Republican Party directly corresponds to its abandonment of any pretension of reaching out to communities of color. But which came first?

The article in the Washington Post focuses on Colorado, where one of the nation's most notorious anti-immigrant politicians is a Congressman (former Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo). In my research on the immigration battle in 2007 (on which my upcoming film is based), I found that it was electoral dread and desperation that led Republicans all over the nation to experiment with the politics of fear and resentment that fuel the anti-immigrant movement issue. We also saw it on Republican news programs and Republican talk radio. I think it's safe to say it backfired.

CNN reported yesterday that 70 percent of people of color in Florida are voting for Obama/Biden. Nationally, African American support is in the 90 percent range, and among Hispanics it is 66 to 70 percent. Asian American polls depend on the region, but I'm proud to say that in areas of the country where Asian Americans are empowered and informed, Obama/Biden is the preferred ticket by a 2 to 1 margin similar to Latinos (only with more undecideds).

My analysis of this is that Sarah Palin's hateful speeches and the hateful reactions from her followers have reminded people of color across the nation how ugly and how dangerous racism can be. I think a similar repulsion is reflected in the movement of moderates and independents toward Obama/Biden in recent weeks.

In contrast, you have Barack Obama, who's mixed ancestry and immigrant father say to all people of color that, if you look at America as a whole (as opposed to the factions of the Republican party) there is no longer a privilege or an advantage to being Caucasian, no, not necessarily. Obama doesn't have to say that in his speeches. We know this to be true because he is winning.

So that's my introduction to this video demonstrating a strong collaboration between Latino and Asian American artists, including myself. It's a brand new English Language version of "Si Se Puede Cambiar" (With Obama, We Can Change).

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Eric Byler



Eric Byler, filmmaker, director of "Charlotte Sometimes," "9500 Liberty," "Tre," and "Americanese" ...Read more

Member Since August 27, 2007
Gender male
English Name Eric Byler
Languages Spoken english