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The New Gilded Age: Protesters Roughed Up at Paul Ryan Pay-Per-View Town Hall

I probably should mention this arrest of several constituents at a Paul Ryan town hall event for having the audacity to ask questions about jobs. Let’s briefly set the scene of this event. You had to pay $15 to get into it, an perversion of the Constitutional right to petition the government for redress of grievances. These constituents paid the money. They provided the dowry necessary to actually ask Paul Ryan a question. And when they asked one he didn’t like, Ryan put the cops on them. From Amanda Terkel’s story:

In video posted by Wisconsin Jobs Now, (retired plumber Tom) Nielsen shouts that he disagrees with Ryan on entitlement programs during the congressman’s speech. Two uniformed police officers and another man in a suit then escort Nielsen out. In the hall, Nielsen can be heard shouting. He was eventually pushed to the ground and handcuffed by police officers.

“Three people got me and hauled me backwards out the side door and into a little room. … They pushed me the floor and twisted my arms back and handcuffed me. They said I was resisting arrest,” recounted Nielsen in an interview with The Huffington Post.

“I have a broken clavicle from a car accident I had about four weeks ago, and it’s in the process of healing, but it’s not done yet. So I was protecting that. I said, ‘Don’t hurt me! I have a broken shoulder here and collarbone.’ They didn’t pay attention to that. They put the cuffs on really, really tightly.”

Here’s the video:

Somehow I don’t think we’ll be hearing “Tom the Plumber” stories from Democrats anytime soon.

Keep in mind that, the entire time Nielsen was being manhandled, Ryan was cracking jokes. “I hope he’s taking his blood pressure medication,” he said from the podium.

More coverage here. That nobody is even perturbed by this in the major media is a total indictment of our system. The elites are by now used to walling themselves off in Davos or Aspen, unable to hear the concerns of the people whose lives they hold in their hands. They get very embarrassed when they are confronted by the rabble. So much so that they get the authorities to push the rablle around and make sure they don’t step out of line again. This looks a lot like hiring Pinkerton thugs to break up union protesters in the 19th century to me.

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David Dayen

David Dayen