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Tinfoil Nation: On Cyber Ninjas and Bamboo Traces and Watermarks To Tell the Nefarious If Delusional Tale

Nothing to see here. Just...America.

Oooh boy. Gonzo fans of QAnon, space lasers and the former guy have been frantically busy running Arizona's circus and "audit" of last year's presidential election ballots, spending millions of dollars to study ink and folds and weight and "abnormalities" and votes from "fake people" - also leaving laptops and ballots unattended - to uncover The Big Lie and thus wrestle good from evil in the form of Satan-worshipping, child-trafficking cannibals, aka Democrats. Now entering its third week, the so-called audit of the state's largest county seeks to count the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County - the majority alas for Biden - even though the GOP-controlled Senate that approved it has no power to overturn the election and the Constitution offers no mechanism to contest an election at this point and oh yeah there's been virtually and repeatedly no evidence of voter fraud. Those pesky facts haven't stopped teams of inept, color-coordinated lunatics from gathering each day in five-hour shifts at 20 tables in the echoing Veterans Memorial Coliseum to studiously weigh ballots, examine them under microscopes and very promising ultraviolet lights, analyze their "thickness or feel" and otherwise play detective to identify "questionable ballots" to then be scrutinized by "forensic analysis." Evidently believing the audit is a real thing, right-wing media like Newsmax and OAN has been breathlessly covering the misadventure  - "Cockroaches Fear the Light" describes Dems seeking to shut it down - as a crowd, okay, a sorry smattering of supporters parade outside with huge signs that say "Arrest the Traitors!" and "Nations Are Watching the Audit!" which they may be, but probably not for the reasons they think.

The "audit," which faces a May 14 deadline by the State Fair for local graduations, is run by the Florida-based Cyber Ninjas; its CEO is a former-guy fanboy with no experience in elections who refuses to say who's paying for it, how much they've raised, who's getting the money and what he was smoking when he came up with their name. While Dems just dented the murkiness with a lawsuit that allowed independent experts to check things out, the scene remains sketchy, with laptops and ballots often left unattended by the lunatics in charge. They include a failed GOP pol with a "voter integrity" outfit called who says this is about "good vs. evil"; a Giuliani gadfly who argues up to 300,000 ballots were cast by "fake people"; a QAnon zealot who says the sinister truth is in ballot "watermarks"; and a former GOP lawmaker who attended the Capitol riot. This week, sleuths are looking into exciting new reports of 40,000 ballots flown in, says John Brakey of "AUDIT" - America, United, Democracy yada yada - "from the southeast part of the world, you know, Asia." They are being tested for bamboo particles thanks to a theory from inventor/treasure-hunter Jovan Pulitzer, who says "China ballots" will show up with forensics because "They use bamboo in their paper and about 27 different mixes of grasses that we don’t have here and even though you can’t look at it and see it, it’s VERY detectable" - a notion that could only be dumber and more racist, says one patriot, "if they were looking for hot and sour soup stains and panda paw prints." Meanwhile, frantic updates - no, wait, it's not bamboo, it's cardstock fiber!" - and, with a reported shortfall of $1.7 million, "all the obstacles the radical left has put in our way," and "9 others (sic) audits lined up" WTF -  urgent calls for money keep coming. "THIS IS IMPORTANT!! PLEASE SHARE!!!!! When this one happens we believe the dominoes will fall!! This is only the beginning!" Sorrowfully, this is also why we can't have nice things, like a functioning democracy.

photos from getty pool

Anthony Kern, conspiracy-spreading Trump zealot now handling your ballot.

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet, Further columnist

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning print journalist for newspapers and magazines, she lived in the Maine woods for about a dozen years before moving to Portland in 1983. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.

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