Weekly Pulse: Mob Scene

By Lindsay Beyerstein, TMC MediaWire Blogger

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. This 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.

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 RH Reality Check 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.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about healthcare and is free to reprint. Visit Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on healthcare affordability, healthcare laws, and healthcare controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Tags: abortion, AlterNet, george tiller, gun, Healthcare, In These Times, Lindsay Beyerstein, protest, reform, rh reality check, riots, SEIU, Talking Points Memo, Tea Party, The Media Consortium, the progressive, TMC, Town Hall, Weekly Pulse (all tags)

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