Crossposted with permission from David Fitzsimmons’ excellent SubStack ‘Arizona’s Progressive Voice’. Why aren’t you paying subscriber, already?
Back in December of 2020, after Biden whupped Trump fair and square, a fruitless six-hour hearing was conducted by Senate Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth, a bilious character right out of “Green Acres”, found no evidence of any fraud, malfeasance, or misconduct in Maricopa County’s conduct of the 2020 election.
Oh, darn. Imagine the disappointment!
Undefeated by futility, Arizona’s MAGA nitwits in our esteemed legislature, encouraged by Trump’s Twilight Zone mobs, parroting his baseless fraud allegations and conspiracy theories, took bold action to pursue his baseless fraud allegations and conspiracy theories.
Believing his baseless fraud allegations and conspiracy theories-because if you were as gullible as a box of pines cones, wouldn’t you? – the pride of Prescott, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, was desperate to dig her partisan painted nails into the case. She subpoenaed the County for over 2 million ballots, hundreds of sacrosanct voting machines and oodles of ballot data, your ballot data, dear voters.
The respectable Republican County Officials refused to allow Fann to get her mitts on the goods. Your goods, I should say, dear voters. While this legal battle of the titans ensued, the County’s Board of Supervisors conducted two audits of their election machines, on their own, just to be sure of their confident assertions that they were living and laboring in reality, bless their bureaucratic old-fashioned all-American civil servant hearts.
They hired the only two companies accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to certify Dominion’s machines.
The audits by SLI Compliance, and Pro V&V found the machines had worked properly, had never been connected to the internet (as alleged by the tinfoil hat howlers), had not altered one single vote and had not been hacked. By Chinese agents. Or Venezuelans. Or aliens. Or Tribbles.
One can assume Powell, Fann and Logan suspected the Republican County Officials who shared this distressing news were Red Chinese Venezuelan alien tribbles in disguise.
Maricopa County fought Fann’s waste-of-time -and-taxpayer’s-dollars subpoenas for months. Finally, a Judge caved and ruled in the ballot grabber’s favor and dagnabbit, Fann found the wicked County had a reasonable reason for not allowing Fann, and her kooky friends, to use the County’s offices for their third, but entirely partisan shit show audit, because those offices were being used by grownups to run a real city election in Goodyear. Well, that posed a problem. Alas, Fann and her fantastic flock of cuckoos, had no Hangar 51 in which to store the 70-pallets of ballots and in which to conduct their audit. At about the same time, Fann had hired four firms to “choreograph”-forgive me- I mean to say “conduct” their auspicious audit and here’s where even more slapstick half-assed fun began.
Fann’s first fabulous choice was a Florida firm. It’s name? “Cyber Ninjas”. It was led by a known Trump supporter who blathered on endlessly about the Big Lie online under the “Stop the Steal” banner, a kid she’d heard about nicknamed “Patriot Doug”. They’d be the perfect choice for the mission she’d bill as totally non-partisan. With a straight face.
The next “non-partisan” choice, Wake Technology Services, was highly recommended by that famous apolitical non-partisan voice of reason, Sidney Powell. They were viewed as a simply stellar choice because they had little to no experience with elections and, as any sentient being knows, Republicans hate expertise.
Along with Wake (Sounds woke to me) Technology Services, Fann selected CyFIR and Digital Discovery, two other companies that Jack Sellers, the honest and dignified old-school Republican Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, noted he was, ahem, cough, cough, “unfamiliar with.”
Months later, days after the cyber circus would finally leave town, Republican Sellers wrote a letter that would be quoted in a Washington Post story, describing the “findings” of the Cyber Ninja team by the non-illustrious state Senate President Karen Fann as ahem, cough, cough, “false and ill-informed.”
Sellers went on to write, “I know you have all grown weary of the lies and half-truths six months after the 2020 General Election.” No shit. He added that the private contractors — led by a Florida firm called, ahem, cough, cough, the “Cyber Ninjas”, was founded by a young lad who had promoted baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election and that they were, in his educated, experienced, and professional view “in way over their heads.”
Let us go back to the beginning of the show when it first rolled into town. The first problem was where to host it. Second, who would pay for this flea-brained flea circus of civic mayhem?
Fann and company would put up $150,000 that would come from “The State Senate Operating Budget”, which is an elegant way of saying “the pockets of Arizona’s tax paying fools”.
That was a drop in the bucket compared to the nearly $6 million (Chicanery is pricey) that would be provided by five different pro-Trump dens of anti-democratic devilry just itching to delegitimize the 2020 election. Including Mr. Overstock, who kicked in a million bucks.
A press release issued by Fann celebrated the fabulous audit because, don’t you know, it “will validate every area of the voting process to ensure the integrity of the vote.” I will pause here so you can puke upon hearing her utter the word “integrity” in a sentence. Collect yourselves because there’s more. She continues, “And it will include scanning and hand counting all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, as well as audits of voter registrations, vote counts and the electronic voting system.”
Rest assured America, you’re going to be great again.
Fann chose former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a sunny party hack, to be her liaison to the Cyber Ninjas and the three other vendors she selected to conduct the audit that would set the record straight for all the Trumpers very unhappy will all the other previous efforts to set the record straight that had found the performance of Maricopa County was exemplary.
In April, Mr. Bennet revealed a stunner. He’d been working with the Arizona Exposition and State Fair folks, and they hoped to begin work on the audit, “at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.” The official recount would be conducted at the run down home of the dirty, dusty, trashy Arizona State Fair, the home of sideshows, freak shows, rallies, tractor pulls, pig pens and pie contests. It would be the perfect venue for “Patriot Doug” and his Cyber Ninjas to perform their three-ring circus, a vast concrete arena ringed with Colosseum seating, thousands of empty seats that no press or taxpayers or voters or the people were permitted to fill.
The audit rolled into town on April 22, 2021, and the show was expected to last two months. Patriot Doug’s math was off by a bit. An unfortunate oversight for a man who prided himself on accurate counting.
On the day the circus rolled into the Colosseum, those wicked Arizona Senate Democrats sued to stop the audit. Danged if a Judge didn’t suspend the audit for three days until the Cyber Ninjas and their fellow contractors showed everybody how they were going to conduct the audit.
Danged if the Judge didn’t tell the Arizona Senate Democrats they’d have to post a $1 million bond and wouldn’t you know it? The Arizona State Senate Democrats said,” No, thanks.”
The Senate Democrats then struck a deal with the Senate Republicans to permit independent non-partisan elections experts to step into the arena to observe the greatest hyper-partisan audit on earth.
The venue would pose a challenge to Logan. He was anxious to keep his methods and procedures private as his trusty men and trusty women, wearing super special badges, ambled about on the arena floor, moving among the cluttered tables, examining, and scanning ballots.
At the beginning only one news agency was granted access to the extravaganza: One American News, known as OAN, which according to Wikipedia remains a “far-right, pro-Trump cable news and political opinion commentary channel founded by Robert Herring Sr. and owned by Herring Networks, Inc.”
This utterly reliable source of bullshit, that Goebbels, gazing up from Hell, would envy and admire, covered the Cyber Ninjas shit show with a straight face at the very same time it was funneling “dark money” to Logan’s den of dipsticks.
Bouncers outside the Colosseum kept the people and the enemy of the people, the press, outside.
Logan’s lug nuts asked a Maricopa County judge to make damned sure the public wouldn’t be allowed to peek at any of the records his crew handed over to the court. Danged nosy liberal lawyers. Trying to ruin everything. Probably working for the Venezuelans. Or Soros.
Logan’s lawyers argued Logan didn’t want to reveal any of the “trade secrets” that belonged to his company.
Amazing super-secret trade secrets.
Like checking for folds in ballots? Did you know all early ballots have folds in them? The super-secret process used to check for folds in the ballots was called “Kinematic Artifact Detection”, suggested by the great pro-Trump tweeter, Jovan Pulitzer, the failed inventor and failed treasure hunter failed to realize flagging early ballots that lack folds as “fraudulent” was, according to those possessing expertise in such matters, meaningless bunk. Dang and darn.
Another super-secret technique the Cyber Ninjas used to divine the truth about the 2020 election was running the Maricopa County ballots under black lights, spooky ultra-cool black lights called “UV lights”, to look for the spooky telltale watermarks on the ballots that would tell the tale of voter fraud. They stopped when it was pointed out by the exasperated adults over at the Maricopa County Office that no ballots contain watermarks.
And then the Cyber Ninjas switched to looking for bamboo fibers because, as everyone who wears a tinfoil hat knows, 40,000 ballots, not 30,000 0r 50,000, but 40,000, were flown by night into Arizona somewhere from south-east Asia by Chinese agents. With microscopes. And they found nothing.
Again and again, at every turn, events conspired against the conspiracy theorists. The Press and the late show comics began calling it a clown car act. Outside the Colosseum the average daily high temperature would soon reach a record breaking hotter-than-hell 108-degrees. And in sweltering Florida Donald Trump waited for the results promised by Logan and his “Bad News Bears” that would reinforce his lies.