REPORT BACK FROM GET MOTIVATED SEMINAR AT ROSE GARDEN
Speakers at this event today include Colin Powell, Steve 'Flat Tax' Forbes, Rudy Guiliani, Laura Bush, and Bill Cosby. 20,000 people inside the Rose Garden also got to hear the promoters one hour pitch for 'Wall Street investment software.' Some attendees reported it 'turned wierd' and 'was disappointing.'
Like 2010's 'America Speaks' event at the Convention Center (protested by Portland Jobs with Justice--good job!) -- this event featured a large turnout of 20,000 participants at the Rose Garden. No protesters were seen outside this time, however.
A blonde, Anglo woman MCd, an older, Anglo gentleman spoke first about communication, then Steve 'Flat Tax' Forbes took the stage, followed by Colin Powell, and a one-hour presentation (before the lunch break) by an ex-basketball player who extolled the day-long seminar's "pitch": a computer software program and two-day training session that attendees were asked to sign up for, at a future cost of $100 for the two-day seminar and (after three free months) of a $30 monthly software/website fee -- geared towards making money on the stock market.
Steve Forbes talked about the evils of the current tax system, saying that one problem with health care (without mentioning either Obama, single payer or the public option) is that the U.S. health care system isn't "free market." Forbes said the U.S. food system is 'free market' and works fine. What is needed, Forbes asserted, is for the health care system to also be free market, and not hampered by the over-regulation of government. Forbes also continued to push for a flat tax. It was unclear, amid the indoor fireworks, rock music interludes, etc., whether Forbes 'blinked' or not when speaking -- in Michael Moore's least-seen film (about big business and unemployment, The Big One, made after Roger and Me, but before Capitalism), Forbes 'not blinking' was one of the main discussion points Moore had about Forbes's short-lived presidential campaign, more than a decade ago.
Guiliani, Cosby and Bush were set to talk in the afternoon.
When Colin Powell took the stage, he started by saying people should have 'the Japanese people in your thoughts and prayers' but said nothing about the partial meltdowns (potentially) of six nuclear reactors, following the earthquake and tsunami -- or that Obama wants to include nuclear power in the Democratic Party's 'energy independence' program (Powell endorsed Obama overa McCain). Powell didn't mention the reactors were built by General Electric, or whether GE was a good stock to invest in.
Powell made a lot of jokes, and said that one thing about leadership that it is important to get people to "do anything you tell them to." Powell said getting people in your organization to 'trust' you is important. Powell's jokes primarily focused on being retired-- both from Joint Chiefs, under Bush I, and under Bush II, as Secty of State. Powell also said (one of the biggest applause lines of the morning) that "Ronald Reagan was one of our greatest presidents." Powell talked about the importance of computers, and his grandkids. Powell finished his remarks about his buying hot dogs in New York City from immigrant vendors and why the U.S. is the country where people 'want to come.'
There was also an Indian speaker (from India), who is part of Zig Ziegler's 'motivational team' who stated that "Political correctness will be the death of this country." This speaker also talked about spiritual values, quoted about 20 different people on patriotism and other values, and also told jokes. In some ways, this speaker seemed the most explicitly right wing, but didn't mention either Wall Street or the Tea Party, by name.
None of the speakers mentioned the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan by name, or used the word unemployment or talked about the need for jobs in the U.S. economy. None of the morning speakers mentioned Gabi Giffords or Sarah Palin. Colin Powell did touch on the uprisings in the middle east, but didn't mention Israel by name. (No speaker talked about FRD creating 11,000,000 government jobs to end the Great Depression via the Works Progress Administration, Federal Theater Project, Civilian Conservation Corps, etc.).
The main morning speaker (the only one with extensive, and repetitive, computer graphics on the overhead screens) gave the main pitch of the day: why attendees should sign up for a $100 two-day seminar in Portland on making money in the stock market, and for a $30 a month website/internet financial subscription service (free for the first three months).
This Anglo speaker was an ex-basketball player, kept referring to women as "ladies," sounded like the old Dating Game host, had 'joke' computer graphics about 'trophy wives' after older men win the lottery, about moms working as strippers, etc. He explained he has a stay at home wife, and they have several kids -- he joked he tries to stay away from home often, to get away from all the kids.
The computer financial wealth toolkit being promoted at this seminar was a color coded, red, yellow, blue and green 'system' whereby any individual person (in Oregon) could invest in and own stocks, not need a stock broker, and do as well as the 80% of stock owners who are institutional investors. This Anglo gentleman and ex-basketball player talked about the 'little people' making money on the stock market, enough to retire on, or to pay off house or car payments. He showed a slide of himself (and no one else) at the beach, where he said he could afford 'to play' using the wealth created by the stock investment scheme and tools he was selling. He also talked extensively about the stock tips he learned by talking to Warren Buffet once.
[Addendum: Laura Bush was on two nights earlier, on PBS Nightly News with Jim Lehrer, along with the woman executive director of Care and with Melinda Gates, where Laura Bush talked about supporting child and maternal health care programs and charity in poor, Third World countries. The NPR interviewer asked Bush about proposed GOP cuts to the foreign aid budget in Congress, which Bush did not directly address or respond to. The NPR correspondent also didn't mention proposed GOP plans to cut Planned Parenthood, or NPR itself, also being proposed in Congress by the GOP. Laura Bush did not raise those issues on her own. She did say governments should partner with NGOs to fight against disease in Third World countries, and fighting poverty and disease by protecting women's and maternal health was in the 'national interest' of the U.S.].
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