Weekly Pulse: Mob Scene

Lindsay E. Beyerstein

Republicans and their allies are pressuring Democratic healthcare reformers at town hall meetings around the country -- but a network of corporate funders and lobbyists are behind the mobs.

This week’s edition of the Weekly Pulse is shorter than usual. Our team is getting ready for the fourth annual Netroots Nation blogger conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Esther Kaplan, editor of the Nation Investigative Fund,
and I are conducting an investigative reporting workshop on Saturday
from 1:30-4:15 p.m. Join us and help expose the corporate roots of the Teabagger/Town hall mob movement.

Here’s the latest news on the healthcare front: Republicans and
their allies are pressuring Democratic healthcare reformers at townhall
meetings around the country. Addie Stan has a blockbuster piece in
AlterNet that exposes the network of corporate funders and lobbyists behind the mobs.

The Progressive’s Ruth Conniff explains the mobs’ marching
orders, as spelled out in a memo by Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer for the
Tea Party Patriots, an anti-reform group with ties to former Republican
Rep. Dick Armey’s pressure group Freedom Works.
MacGuffie instructs town hall protesters to shout at lawmakers and
attempt to throw them off their game as they try to make the case for
health care reform. So much for reasoned discussion.

As I reported in In These Times, the teabaggers are trying to scapegoat organized labor
as the instigators of confrontations at town hall meetings. On August
6, a scuffle broke out in front of a town hall meeting in St. Louis.
The below video clip shows the last 10 seconds of a scuffle in which a
man in an SEIU t-shirt lies prostrate on the ground. A 38-year-old
conservative activist claims to have been severely beaten, but the
video shows him apparently uninjured, darting around to different cops
and trying to convince them that he was attacked. The man’s lawyer
claims that he saw his client get punched in the face and kicked in the
head by SEIU members.

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A spokesman for the St. Louis County police told me that the police
hadn’t reviewed the video because nobody had submitted it to them,
despite a call to the public to turn over evidence for the
investigation. The fact that the videographer hasn’t turned over the
video kind of makes you wonder if the teabaggers really take the
“evidence” as seriously as they claim.

How’s this for irony? According to Talking Points Memo, the activist was asking for money to pay his hospital bills because he’s uninsured.

Finally, Jodi Jacobson of Rewire reports that Kansas Now is calling upon AG Eric Holder to restore the Federal Marshall security detail
of prominent late-term abortion provider Dr. Leroy Carhart, a friend
and colleague of the late Dr. George Tiller. Carhart was placed under
protection after Tiller was shot. But the feds didn’t even wait for the
trial of Tiller’s alleged assassin to wrap before pulling Carhart’s
detail. Now he’s on his own, just as the alleged killer’s links to a
broader coalition of violent anti-choicers are coming to light.


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