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General News    H2'ed 6/6/17

Palast at Left Forum: Ben Jacobs Redux, or "Assault Is Becoming the Answer"

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Late last May, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was body slammed to the ground, his glasses broken, by the man Montanans the next day elected to represent their state in Congress, Republican Greg Gianforte. Jacobs had had the temerity to ask the candidate what he thought about Trumpcare.

To be fair, Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault (meaning that he can still vote, unlike a felon) and apologized later.

Of course, 70 percent of voters had already voted by mail in this special election to replace Ryan Zinke, who left Congress to join the DT's "cabinet" as Secretary of the Interior. There's no telling how the vote would have changed had the entire election taken place after the body slam, but studies show that those who vote early are usually committed to and decided on their candidate.

Who knows? Is assault of the press the new normal when a reporter asks an unwelcome question? Like "Please tell the truth, you s.o.b. pig." Not that they'd stoop to that language. Their subjects might.

Like most dedicated journalists, he and Jacobs "learned to go closer when told to move back," said investigative reporter, author, and filmmaker Greg Palast at the Left Forum yesterday.

He should know. He's been bodily removed before from conservative venues for requesting the truth from scumbags. See Danny Schechter's 2003 film "Counting on Democracy," where you can revisit one such tragicomic episode.

Flying down to the humid, tepid red state Georgia to check out the shenanigans keeping the winner from winning in the sixth district, which includes parts of Atlanta, Palast was body-slammed by three thugs for asking Congressional candidate Karen Handel, former "purgin general"/Sos of her state, about GOP corruption of that election--at the registration level.

It was former Confederate Memorial Day, changed since last year to Memorial Day.

It had been okay to ask about Democratic corruption previously, though the answer had been evasive. Sure they're stealing the election. We must uphold the Constitution, said Handel, who had stepped down from her SoS post in 2012 to run for Georgia governor and lost.

And the network channels covered another event, framing Palast as a crackpot harassing a candidate. Why is she purging blacks from the voter rolls? he had tried to ask. There's a video at recording abusive cries of "Get out of here, you idiot liberal!"

So, just back from the red clay state, Palast said that the winner in the sixth district so far is Jim Crow. Yee-hah!

The sixth district had put Newt Gingrich into office for two decades when demographics were slightly different; if you're bored, blink and things will change. When Tom Price, a subsequent U.S. Rep, was appointed by the DT to Trump's "cabinet" as HHS Secretary, a special election held in April to replace him pitted Democrat Jon Ossoff against former SoS Karen Handel and others. Ossoff was winning by 53 percent when the machinery went down for several hours and resurfaced showing him now at 48 percent. Handel came in a distant second with 19 percent of the vote. Now they're running neck and neck since skullduggery has elevated Handel to tying in the polls with Ossoff.

The district, now a "different world," said Palast, has diversified. "People of color" now try to vote there, and 40,000 of them were left off of the voter rolls in April. Photocopies of their registration forms were produced, but it's illegal to photocopy! 80 to 85 percent of Koreans now vote Democratic there. Small wonder that they were left off of the registration lists; when one woman was threatened for asking why, she was told to stay out of trouble. The group's advocacy office shut down.

That's why Ossoff won't win, said Palast. Asians will receive provisional ballots.

GEORGIA 6 IS AMERICA, Palast later said. Get used to winning elections by more than 51 percent. What do we do?

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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