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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An obvious fake

File this one under "Who do they think they are kidding?"...

A man wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona t-shirt brazenly stuffed a ballot box with hundreds of ballots in that state, in full view of a video camera. Although Citizens for a Better Arizona identifies itself as non-partisan, their website encourages actions against anti-gay laws, and they spearheaded an effort to recall the outlandish Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (As we shall see, America's most (in)famous sheriff plays an important role in this story.)

BuzzPo (a right-wing site) identifies the ballot-stuffer as a "Democrat." I feel quite certain that he was no such thing.

The ballot stuffer engaged in a memorable bit of dialogue with one A.J. LaFaro, the Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman (and Arpaio crony), who just happened to be in that particular precinct at that very moment.
Guy: “Stop watching me. You’re annoying me.”

LaFaro: “One of your ballots isn’t sealed.”

Guy: “It’s none of your business. What’s your name?”

LaFaro: “I’m the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party. What’s yours?”

Guy: “Go f*** yourself. I don’t have to tell you who I am.”
"One of your ballots isn't sealed"...!

As if someone committing a crime would wear an identifying t-shirt!

Are we really supposed to believe that a ballot stuffer would bring in a box of ballots, and do his dirty work openly? Are we supposed to believe that he did all of this under the gaze of a party chairman, who identified himself as such, yet did nothing to stop the stuffing?

Even a small child should be able to see that this incident was nothing more than an unconvincing exercise in theater.

If you have any talent at all for reading between the lines, you can figure out what really happened from scanning the coverage in the ultra-conservative Arizona Daily Independent:
A.J. LaFaro, Chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee testified at the 2013 hearings before the Arizona State Legislature regarding election reforms that eventually became HB-2305. At the time of its passage, opponents claimed the law would suppress the vote and disenfranchise the mostly Hispanic community.

In February 2014, the Arizona legislature, caving to pressure from special interest groups, repealed the law.

Fast forward to August of 2014, and it appears as if the fears of those who initially supported the legislation were real, not the delusions of right-wing kooks.
Tell me, dear reader: Does Mr. LaFaro suddenly seem very suspicious to you? Have you formulated a hypothesis as to who might have masterminded this patently obvious frame-up job?

(By the way, the Arizona Daily Independent website is quite unusual. Even though I called it up on four different browsers, I was not able to select and copy text. A temporary technical problem, perhaps? The quotation above had to be typed in by hand, just as we used to do in the pre-internet days.)

Quite the character, our A.J. is. A little research reveals that Mr. LaFaro is a Tea party sympathizer known for his outrageous antics. In a story published last year, The New Times pegs "wild man" LaFaro as a close associate of the nationally notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who is, among many other things, America's most prominent birther).
In it, LaFaro does his best to fire up the Teabagger faithful by telling all and sundry that our aged autocrat Sheriff Joe Arpaio is under siege and requires the assistance of a toothless brigade of Yosemite Sam-lookalikes: You know, to dog the "domestic terrorists," now out pounding pavement in hopes of scoring the needed signatures to recall his sorry ass.
If you have the sheriff on your side, all sorts of opportunities become available to you. You need not fear arrest.

I hope that Sheriff Joe announces that he will move heaven and earth to identify the ballot box stuffer. The hunt for this miscreant will no doubt be as fruitful as O.J.'s search for "the real killer."
So the pro-Joe goobers are holding a meetin' come Saturday to figure out how to organize a "`shadow army' of `shadow warriors'" willing to "stand toe-to-toe" with the "paid progressive socialists...collecting petition signatures."

And you know what this means: Ornery, white geriatrics, Glocks strapped to their pear-shaped hips, ready to do battle with unarmed signature gatherers.
"Paid progressive socialists" was LaFaro-speak for -- you guessed it! -- Citizens for a Better Arizona. They are the people who headed the recall effort against Arpaio. LaFaro despises that group. Yet we are supposed to believe that LaFaro did nothing as he watched a guy wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona t-shirt commit a crime.

Ironically, LaFaro came to state-wide prominence when he launched a petition drive against the openly gay mayor of Tempe.

Here's a tongue-in-cheek New Times "endorsement" of LaFaro and his political associates:
He calls the slate "Team LaFaro." Wags call it the "Crazy Town" ticket.

That's because LaFaro has an impressive record of moon-howlin' antics and reactionary statements stretching back more than a decade.

Hell, I could write oodles about the guy. He has the potential to be a great villain.
You should read the rest of the article; it's a lot of fun. But if you prefer to read an assessment from a more "old school" publication, consider this story published in the venerable Arizona Republic:
He called Gov. Jan Brewer a “Judas” for betraying Republican principles.

He likened GOP senators’ support of Medicaid expansion to Pearl Harbor’s “day of infamy.”

He said state GOP leaders were lucky there weren’t gallows in the town square.

All the barbs came from A.J. LaFaro, the improbable head of the Maricopa County Republican Party. All the barbs were about fellow Republicans, though LaFaro would insist the targets of his ire had abandoned the true principles of their party.
LaFaro allies himself with right-wing conspiracy buffs. As you know, plot-spotters of that sort are forever caterwauling about "false flag" attacks. Is it possible that, after hearing so much "false flag" talk, a lightbulb went off over LaFaro's head?

The planners of this frame should have known better than to include that t-shirt. Way too obvious. Even James O'Keefe (who was never Mr. Subtlety) would have known better. As Matt Murdoch said of another frame-up in a famous issue of Daredevil: "It was a nice piece of work, Kingpin. You shouldn't have signed it."
Thank you! I've seen this bullshit story posted all over the internet this morning. Thanks for doing your research and writing this great article.
99% of the charges conservatives level against progressives are essentially just them projecting their own crimes onto the opposition.

If they wanted to have a serious conversation about voter fraud then they need look no further than the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections. Their side didn't "win" a single one of those contests at the ballot box; they "won" them behind the scenes where the votes were counted, or mis-counted, as it were.

We could look into the GOP-specific IT company that used to be run out of Knoxville, TN where Ohio re-routed its votes for tabulation; the same company that conveniently "lost" all of the Bush administration's emails. Of course, it would be easier to look into that company if its owner, Michael Connell, hadn't died in an unexplained small plane crash just days before he was due to be deposed.

We could look into the activities of Nathan Sproul & Associates in the run-ups to the aforementioned elections and ask why he was padding the GOP's voter roles with so many names of people who thought they'd registered as Democrats. Of course, it's harder to tell a lot of votes have been shifted in certain races when the pre-election voter rolls show fraudulent increases in GOP voters.

To talk about these crimes as things that the progressive side of the aisle takes part in is to play into the right's feeble games. They're stealing elections, gerrymandering districts, enacting poll taxes, and all the while accusing the Democrats of the same.

When one side is compelled to play by the rules while the other flaunts the rules with impunity you end up with a tilted playing field, which is what we've got now. I'm not sure how to right this ship outside of something drastic like a general strike, but something's got to give.
Is it normal for people to be filmed when they're voting? And what's a party man even doing in the room where people cast their ballots, let alone approaching a voter who's on his way to cast? Strange country!
b: "Strange country" should be "strange COUNTY." I've never heard of such things occurring anywhere else.

Your points only underscore the bogus nature of this staged incident. I can't believe that anyone would be dumb enough to fall for this charade, but apparently many people are just that stupid.
It's not a fake video. It's just routine surveillance tape that AJ LaFaro requested. But it's also not fraud: the man in the video is returning early ballots in accordance with Arizona law. Wonkette did a piece explaining the whole sorry pile of rightwing lies about this video
What this guy is doing is PERFECTLY LEGAL in Arizona. That's why nobody stopped him.

"After they have securely sealed the voted ballot inside the early ballot return envelope, voters may voluntarily give their voted early ballot to a person of their choice for delivery to the Recorder or a polling place. The designated person shall not tamper with the envelope or the ballot and shall not deliberately fail to deliver the ballot to the Recorder or a polling place within the voter’s county of residence."
pg 59
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