Arizona's Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in a letter sent Monday slammed both the State Senate Republican President and the company she chose to perform a highly-controversial recount of the 2020 presidential election ballots.
That recount, which has been going on for nearly four weeks, has been plagued by regular reports of irregular and suspicious actions and, as the Board of Supervisors said today, "ineptitude."
Already the U.S. Dept. of Justice has notified the company performing the recount, Cyber Ninjas, that it is watching their actions and warning them their actions may violate the law.
The Maricopa Board of Supervisors – which is made up of four Republicans and just one Democrat – Monday did not hold back, blasting Senate President Karen Fann, accusing her of lying, among other disturbing actions.
Fann, in a false accusation picked up and repeated by Donald Trump over the weekend, claimed Maricopa County deleted an entire database. The accusation was made either out of ignorance or political vengeance, or both, but the damage has been done.
The County responded today, calling the accusations "false, defamatory, and beneath the dignity of the Senate."
"We demand that you immediately rescind your false and malicious tweet," the county tells Senate President Fann in a 13-page letter, "asserting that Maricopa County 'spoiled evidence' in the days before we provided the server to the Senate. Your tweet, which relies on the 'modified date' shown in the screenshot as evidence of wrongdoing, is demonstrably false; the only thing it does demonstrate is your auditors' incompetence. Their stunning lack of a basic understanding for how their software works is egregious and only made worse by the false tweet sent defaming the hardworking employees of Maricopa County."
The Senate, Maricopa County adds, "is only interested in feeding the various festering conspiracy theories that fuel the fundraising schemes of those pulling your strings."
You have rented out the once good name of the Arizona State Senate to grifters and con-artists, who are fundraising hard-earned money from our fellow citizens even as your contractors parade around the Coliseum, hunting for bamboo and something they call “kinematic artifacts" while shining purple lights for effect. None of these things are done in a serious audit. The result is that the Arizona Senate is held up to ridicule in every corner of the globe and our democracy is imperiled.
A few more excerpts:
"Your various questions about our election procedures reveal a serious lack of understanding of election law."
"a spectacular lack of understanding on your part"
"we cannot give you a password that we do not possess any more than we can give you the formula for Coca Cola. We do not have it; we have no legal right to acquire it; and so, we cannot give it to you."
"We will not be responding to any additional inquiries from your “auditors". Their failure to understand basic election processes is an indication you didn't get the best people to perform in your political theatre. We have wasted enough County resources. People's tax dollars are real, your 'auditors' are not."
"Your 'audit' is harming all of us, and we ask you to end it."
But perhaps among the most disturbing accusations Maricopa County makes, is, as The Guardian's Sam Levine reports, Cyber Ninjas is "just straight miscounting ballots." Read this short tweet:
Maricopa county says Cyber Ninjas is just straight miscounting ballots https://t.co/riK3xBi6l3 https://t.co/vM5Wa9XjnX— Sam Levine (@Sam Levine)1621286015.0
Jack Sellers, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, concluded a meeting Monday afternoon by announcing to the Arizona Sensate, "Finish your report and be ready to defend it in a court of law."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that it was safe for people who have been fully vaccinated to go about their business without wearing a mask outdoors as well as indoors. That sparked controversy of the kind I want to talk about today, the kind that is very, very important to the reputations of a select few members of the pundits corps but that has almost no bearing on normal people. In brief, virtue-signalling is what a few pundits talk about when they're signalling their virtue, which isn't virtue so much as ordinary self-centered professional ambition.
I'll explain but before I do, let me say I'm going to wear a mask indoors (and outdoors in crowds) for the foreseeable future, because I can catch the covid even though I have been fully vaccinated. I'm going to wear a mask because my wife and I have a kid at home who is not yet eligible for vaccination. Children can get the covid, too. The last thing I want to do is catch it before giving it to her. That's a dad's nightmare. When will I stop wearing one? The only answer I have is this: When I feel it's safe to stop.
In this, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. I see plenty of mask-wearing in my part of New Haven.1 I see masks inside as well as outside, even though Connecticut's governor has lifted the requirement for wearing them outside. I see them at the grocery store. I see them as the gas station. I see them at the dog park. I see people wearing them in their cars. Nearly everyone was wearing a mask recently during Westville's outdoor arts festival. No one required or asked us to. We just did. Mask-wearing is a normal part of life. When will it stop? Well, it's obvious. When safety is again a normal part of life.
Every grownup I talked to at the arts festival I just mentioned had been fully vaccinated. The topic of conversation was about feeling safe without a mask. Some did, some didn't. That, to me, was the context for the CDC's latest announcement. That, to me, made the CDC's latest announcement seem reasonable. The more people are vaccinated, the less likely it is for the covid to spread. The less it spreads, the less risk the public is going to face. Those who are more risk-averse, like me, can keep doing what we've been doing without much inconvenience. After all, mask-wearing is so internalized some expect it to return periodically, as the flu season comes and goes.
Which brings me to those select few members of the pundit corps who are compelled to comment on the CDC's latest announcement. This pundit is the kind for whom making the argument is much more important than whether the argument is right or wrong, good or bad. This pundit is the kind for whom simple and ordinary morality is too simple and ordinary. To make his mark, he must work against the grain of virtuous social behavior. He must take good personal conduct and make it look bad. If you insist on wearing a mask after the CDC's latest announcement, you're not being risk-averse, this pundit says. You're showing off your superiority. Here's Yascha Mounk:
It's time to stop. Over the past year, we have had to make all kinds of adjustments to our everyday lives to combat a deadly pandemic. The reason to take these actions was to save lives, not to adopt a superior lifestyle or show off our virtue. For those of us who are fully vaccinated, those actions are—at least until the situation changes, as it one day might with the emergence of new variants—no longer necessary. If a restaurant or coffee shop requests that you wear a mask, do so. But when and where possible, it is time to resume normal life. … Go watch that movie. Meet your friends and give them a long hug. Eat inside the restaurant if it's a little chilly out. Take off your mask. Stop the hygiene theatre, and don't feel bad about it for one moment.2
Wearing a mask, even when you're fully vaccinated, is morally justified in that you're not hurting anyone in the process of wearing one. You might have reasons for wearing one, but you don't need them. You can wear a mask simply because you feel like it. For some people, though, that moral justification is nearly impossible to see because they do not have a moral core with which to see it. For them, there are only incentives that either advance or do not advance their self-interest. Therefore, wearing a mask post-vaccination isn't just a sign of risk-aversion, as it is for me. It's a sign of "virtue-signaling." I wear one to show off my superior lifestyle and my superior virtue (ha!).
That's ridiculous, but being ridiculous doesn't matter. It would only matter if the pundit of the kind I'm talking about had a moral core. He does not make arguments, however, with concern for them being right or wrong, good or bad. He makes those arguments for the purpose of getting attention, which is the metric by which he measures the advancement of his self-interest. People who wear a mask don't make a big deal about it. Those who refuse to wear one, however, often do. Moral people don't draw attention to their virtue. Amoral people are the ones sending all the signals.
Audit leader looks like an 'absolute fool' — but is 'inspiring late-night comics': Arizona columnist
"Whoa. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors isn't fooling around. This GOP-dominated board on Monday proved that not all Republicans have lost their ever-living minds since Nov. 3, when Donald Trump lost the election," Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts wrote on Monday. "The supervisors took the Arizona Senate's Cyber Ninja auditors to school on how elections are run. And as for Senate President Karen Fann, the person who ordered this bizarre proctological exam of Maricopa County's vote? They made her look like an absolute fool. Actually, they didn't make her look at like a fool. She did that all by herself."
Roberts blasted the audit.
"This audit has had disaster written all over it from the moment Fann bowed to the conspiracy crowd and hired Trump's ninjas to audit an already audited election," she wrote. "Fann, R-Prescott, has repeatedly said this exercise in embarrassment isn't about overturning the state's election results. But that's exactly what it's always has been about, whether she knew it or not."
The county called upon Fann to end the audit.
Roberts concluded that the audit was "inspiring late-night comics."
What it also boils down to is this: Senate President Karen Fann turned over our ballots, our personal information… https://t.co/o6mG8ii9Wv— Laurie Roberts (@Laurie Roberts)1621304931.0
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