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VIDEO: Our Budget, Town Hall, Protest, 6.26.10. Portland Oregon

Around 30 activists hand out information and hold signs to point out "the spin" of the Town Hall Meeting going on inside.
Filmed outside the Convention Center on 6.2.10 in Portland Oregon
Our Budget, Town Hall
Our Budget, Town Hall
10 min video:
(corrected version)

A doctor and two activist/citizens talk with me about why this *lack of discussion inside the meeting is critical to the meeting being honest and meaningful and how it is being billed as democratic when it is not.

This video has three people explaining what is happening, which is sad to say, is actually they explain that which is not being talked about at the private funded Town Hall meeting inside. Things like Social Security, Health Care, Military Spending, Wall Street& housing bailout, Medicare and more in regards to this deficit and real honest solutions.


(quote from previous PIMC post about this protest)

As many people are aware, the right wing and corporate media have been ginning up a scare over federal budgetary deficits. The scare is being used in the short term to obstruct extension of unemployment benefits and more vigorous efforts to create jobs and bring the "recovery" to ordinary people.

In the long term, it is being used to set up an attack on Social Security and Medicare, despite the fact that these programs have their own revenue streams through payroll taxes and in fact subsidize other federal spending, notably the bloated military with its thousands of bases and destructive, wealth-draining wars.

The "Our Budget, Our Economy Town Hall" organized by a group called America Speaks as part of a national series of events is susceptible to misuse to advance this deficit scare agenda with its attacks on economic recovery spending, unemployment benefits and human needs spending. The purpose of the actions on Saturday outside of the "town hall" is to demonstrate rejection of the deficit scare agenda and to demand protection of human needs spending and cuts to destructive and bloated military spending.

homepage: homepage: http://www.joe-anybody.com


A Friend

While citizens at the America Speaks event were being asked how to reduce the deficit by whittling away at social service programs, one issue that was very studiously avoided by the America Speaks Curriculum was the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. $1.2 trillion was the discussed United States deficit. However, as of May 30, 2010, the cost to the United States people of waging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reached One Trillion Dollars!


Co-Sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and National Priorities Project
See  http://afsc.org/action/if-i-had-trillion-dollars-youth-video-contest

As of May 30, 2010, One Trillion Dollars is the estimated cost of waging the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Youth between the ages of 13 and 23 are being asked to consider the question, "What would YOU do with One Trillion Dollars?" in a one- to three-minute video.

Deadline: November 30, 2010 (This is an extension from the original deadline of July 30.)

First Prize: $500 and a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to present your film to your legislator
Second and Third Prizes: Flip Video Cameras

Further details on the rules of the contest, suggested talking points and curriculum on the cost of war, as well as videos already submitted by youth, can be found at


bias at the town hall 29.Jun.2010 19:33


My husband and I attended the recent AmericaSpeaks event at the Convention Center. We sat at two different tables and both took notes, eager to talk with each other about our perceptions after the all-day town hall. We observed the obvious bias in the way print materials exaggerated spending on Social Security and Medicare and put emphasis on how much cutting these programs could help reduce the Federal deficit. It's all in the presentation: Instead of showing the budget, in which defense spending accounts for more than 50% and where Social Security and Medicare are set aside for mandatory funding, pie charts showed defense right beside Social Security as a percentage of overall spending. Predictions of how quickly the deficit would grow, particularly the cost of defense, were based on flawed logic assuming that the US would essentially be out of Iraq and Afghanistan by 2015. On our budget worksheets, where we were instructed to eliminate the deficit, prisons and schools were lumped together into a "All Other Non-Defense" category with no way to distinguish which of these programs you wanted to cut and which you wanted to save.

Yet the experience I had at my table was very positive. In the end our group of six decided that we should stop the exercise, having agreed as much as we could on which taxes to raise and what to cut in order to reach the goal of $1.2 trillion (still coming up short). We agreed that to push any further was to push group members farther and farther away from their personal feelings in order to reach what felt like an arbitrary goal.

At the same time, I don't think the organizers or funders of the event got exactly the message they were expecting. More than half of the participants, which numbered greater than 3,000 in 70+ cities nationwide, felt that overall Defense spending should be reduced by 15%; still more pushed for 5% or 10% cuts in Defense spending. There was a huge push to raise taxes on the wealthy. Messages aimed at politicians such as "Enough with the partisan bickering! You can't demonize each other and expect us to trust you" recorded by the event's "Theme Teams."

There was a tremendous amount spent on this event: The technology, catering, staffing, on and on. Tons of demographic and personal information collected on participants, linking who they are with their political views. There were questions on post-surveys that were extremely offensive, asking participants to rate how much they trusted people of different ethnic backgrounds! And even questions about the Tea Party (though I'm not sure what polling about the Tea Party has to do with a serious budget discussion).

The recent commitments agreed upon at the G20 in Toronto to cut the deficit in half by 2013 are exactly in line with the underlying message from the town hall. No doubt the leaders of the world's wealthiest nations are ready to push for "austerity budgets" that gauge social security, public employee pensions, welfare, and funding for education. There are still riots throughout Greece in protest of their government's "austerity measures." I have to wonder: What comes next?