Red-on-Red Racist Mailer Scandal Rapidly Escalating

UPDATE: Story now up at national progressive political blogs ThinkProgress and Huffington Post.



A very important update today to the story we've been following of attack mailers sent into Mesa and La Plata counties this past weekend, going after Republican clerks for their support for House Bill 1303–the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act modernizing election procedures and solving problems that have arisen with the growing use of mail ballots in Colorado elections.

Junction Daily Blog first reported the existence of these mailings on Saturday, and their return address matching that of Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler's former law firm, the Hackstaff Law Group (formerly Hackstaff Gessler). By Sunday, a Colorado Pols reader had discovered that one of the main images in this mailing, a photo of a line of voters, had been digitally altered or "Photoshopped" to remove African-American faces from the original photo. The combination of the over-the-top hysterics in the mailer's content–"even the deceased could cast ballots!"–and the very nasty racist implications in removing black faces from a photo being sent to a 99% white locality have turned this mailer into a significant, and most embarrassing, complication for Secretary Gessler and his efforts against House Bill 1303. Yesterday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) condemned the mailers, and called on Gessler to denounce them.

That's where the Durango Herald's Joe Hanel picks up the story today, filling in must-read details:

The mailer digitally altered a picture to remove black people from a photo of voters standing in line, but the company that designed it said it was trying to make a point about voter fraud, not race…

As a nonprofit, Citizens for Free and Fair Elections does not have to reveal its donors. Its 2010 and 2011 tax forms list Bill Ray, a Republican political consultant, as the executive director.

Ray said Gessler had no part in putting together the flier.

Ray said the firm that printed and designed the flier, Wizbang Solutions, altered the photo without knowledge or permission of anyone at Citizens for Free and Fair Elections.

“We neither approved nor asked for any Photoshopping to be done to the photo,” Ray said.

A Wizbang employee named “Mike,” who would not give his last name, read a statement from the company to the Herald: “Wizbang Solutions, in an effort to underscore the theme of voter fraud, edited a stock photo. Our actions were merely to provide a visual context of the same person waiting in line to vote. Any assertions that the editing was for any other purpose is political folly and takes away from the subtle undertone intended by our artist.” [Pols emphasis]

Bill Ray, former Colorado GOP communications director.

Bill Ray, former Colorado GOP communications director.

It has been erroneously reported that the group Citizens for Free and Fair Elections was unregistered with the state. In fact the group has existed for several years. Bill Ray, identified as the group's director in today's story, is the former communications director of the Colorado Republican Party, serving in that capacity under former Chairman Ted Halaby. Ray's company WR Communications boasts a large roster of clients including CenturyLink, Pfizer, and the Colorado Rural Electric Association.

And folks, above all, this is no anonymous crackpot. This mailer was produced by a fixture of Republican politics in Colorado, using the state's foremost GOP law firm as a return address. Ray's role, along with that of Hackstaff Law Group, amounts to plain complicity within the GOP establishment in this campaign against fellow Republican county clerks. In every meaningful way, his identity closes the loop on what is happening. Does it prove Bill Ray personally sat down with Scott Gessler and planned this mailing? No. But at a certain level, as everyone not being willfully naive knows, that doesn't matter.

When you put together these players on any chart, they form a single team.

As for the "marketing geniuses" at Commerce City-based Wizbang Solutions, they have possibly offered up the most pathetic excuse for their obvious racist intent in editing out African-American faces from this mailing that we have ever heard from anyone about anything. This is, like Ray, a company with some prestigious clients who are most unlikely to approve of what was done here–no matter who "asked for" these edits. And please, folks. It's absurd for them to suggest anything other than a racist motive for editing the photo in question. Their feeble excuse for one such alteration doesn't explain the removal, for example, of the African-American man standing behind the first black person they edited out. It is absolutely, irrevocably undeniable what the "subtle undertone" was in editing out the black faces (plural) from this photo, and their ridiculous excuses only make it worse for them.

Close-up showing second African-American face removed from original photo.

Close-up showing second African-American face removed from original photo.

Today's excellent reporting by Joe Hanel doesn't answer all the questions by any stretch, nor do these denials from Ray and/or his marketing consultants, which raise more questions than they answer.

But if there's any justice, heads in upper Colorado conservative circles need to roll.

VFY c tGuA DDKRv VkvY lleWV

84 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ElliotFladen says:

    You really are desperate to tie this to Gessler, aren't you?  This is starting to seem like one of Glenn Beck's charts linking Obama to avowed communists. 

    • ClubTwitty says:

      So desperate they sent mind rays down to the Durango Herald reporter.  Tricky liberals with their mind control beams.  

    • BlueCat says:

      You really are stubborn.  There is absolutely no need for  despearation on the part of anyone other than those seeking to cling to your highly unlikely explanation as opposed to what even you, though you'll never admit it, must see as the far simpler one. I can't believe anyone so obtuse as you pretend to be could get through law school. 

      I also hope you'll go back and read my reply to your ridiculous mistake interpreting my remarks as accusing Republican County Clerks of being involved. It's quite the jaw dropping reading comprehension failure since what I said was quite the opposite and quite clearly so.

  2. ElliotFladen says:

    If I was as talented with photoshop as these guys at wizbang are (/sarcasm) I'd edit this chart to have Gessler on top, followed by Hackstaff, and then all the other stuff showing that Gessler is a racist (instead of communist)

    /more sarcasm

  3. The realist says:

    Our dear friend EF's muddled thinking only distracts from the real issues if we let it.

    Wizbang's use of the phrase "subtle undertones" is funny/sick on so many levels.  But Wizbang doesn't, of course, really answer the question – why did they have to turn black people into white people for this piece intended to be mailed to Republicans?  Why?  There really is no reasonable answer to that question.

    • ElliotFladen says:

      Look closely at the altered mailer in its entirety (not just the selective and misleading snippet that ColoradoPols keeps posting).

      What do you see immediately to the right of the altered face?  Yep – an African American.  And if you look throughout the mailer you can see plenty of other African Americans.  

      So if the point of the mailer editing was to edit out African Americans, WHY DID IT LEAVE AFRICAN AMERICANS? A bit of a logic/fact check gap there on ColoradoPols part at best (or dishonesty at worst).  

      Instead, there is a much simpler explanation – look closely at the face that was edited in – it is the same face as the person to her left.  The clear point of the edits was to show the same person voting twice

      Now you may think that is a stupid point.  You might think it is an inartful point.  That is a debate we could have.  But guess what it isn't – it is NOT a racist point. In fact, had the edits been done the other way around (i.e the caucasian women edited out and the african american women edited in over her face), this site would be jumping up and down even louder screaming racism. 

      So what we have here is a mailer that was edited for reasons other than racism, without any evidence that Hackstaff was behind these edits (registered agents don't generally do layouts), and without any evidence Gessler is even currently at Hackstaff.  Basically this piece is a hatchet job and you guys owe Gessler an apology. 

        • ElliotFladen says:

          Rocco, the argument that the edits were racist just collapsed.  The argument that Gessler had anythign to do with it never had any real teeth to begin with. 

          Either ColoradoPols needs to apologize to Gessler or it will be revealed to have intentionally engaged in a hatchet job. 

          • JeffcoBlue says:

            Jesus, Elliot. You announce you are right about something, then use your announcement as corroboration. That's almost pathological, but then again you are a lawyer right?

            You're just stupid wrong about the racist intent having "collapsed," Pols PROVED IT with the updated photo. And if you look at what Pols actually wrote instead of fictionalizing:

            And folks, above all, this is no anonymous crackpot. This mailer was produced by a fixture of Republican politics in Colorado, using the state's foremost GOP law firm as a return address. Ray's role, along with that of Hackstaff Law Group, amounts to plain complicity within the GOP establishment in this campaign against fellow Republican county clerks. In every meaningful way, his identity closes the loop on what is happening. Does it prove Bill Ray personally sat down with Scott Gessler and planned this mailing? No. But at a certain level, as everyone not being willfully naive knows, that doesn't matter.

            Why don't you respond to what they SAID, not your bullshit straw man version?

            • ElliotFladen says:

              JeffCo – 
              Pols argument was that the mailer was edited to remove african americans.  That made no sense to being with and for a very good reason – the mailer didn't remove african americans (if you look at the whole image and not the snippet, african americans remain in the image).  It was edited to show the same person (a caucasian) voting twice.   

              And again, the argument that Gessler was associated with even that NONRACIST edit was baseless as it is based on the assumption that a registered agent, who Gessler hasn't worked with in 2-3 years, does content editing on these things.  Good luck with showing even that. 

              So basically you guys went and implicitly and unjustly smeared a guy as a racist.  You owe him an apology.  

              • JeffcoBlue says:

                This is a sad moment for your credibility, Elliot.

              • ajb says:

                Elliot, if "The clear point of the edits was to show the same person voting twice", why didn't you make that point yesterday?

                • ElliotFladen says:

                  Because I didn't catch two things yesterday:
                  1) that the photoshopped face was the same face as the one next to it; and 
                  2) that there remained african americans in the photo. 

                  I didn't catch this because it was the statements in the wizbang article that tipped me off as to what was going on.  I looked at what they said they were trying to do, and then the a subsequent evaluation of the picture as a whole and noticed that ColoradoPols was only using a small snippet of the altered picture at that point and that a complete review of the altered pic showed african americans remained.  Of course this completely destroys the foundation of ColoradoPols' contention. 

                  This just goes to show why it is very dangerous and risky to go assuming people are acting as racists.  Are there racists out there? Sure – and I have run into a few of them in GOP circles.  But that doesn't mean that everything you think is racist is in fact racist.  And when you are playing with people's reputations, it is often wise to double check your assumptions as to their racial animus. 


                  • ajb says:

                    So you didn't actually look at the mailer? But posted extensively on it, regardless. Wow.

                    The rest of your theory just isn't pausible. That's not how you use graphics to convey a message (and yes, that's what I do for a living). 


                    • ElliotFladen says:

                      I looked at the ColoradoPols snippet which seemed to likely be photoshopped.  My point yesterday was not whether it was photoshopped but that photoshopping it to excluse african americans made no political sense.  And today we know why it made no sense – because it wasn't photoshopped to exclude african americans, it was photoshopped to make it look like a caucasian woman voted twice.

                      Have some decency to admit that this was a hatchet job. 

                  • ClubTwitty says:

                    Both those points were brought up, more than once, in the previous threads, yesterday.  But its easy to miss things. 

                    Still, the claim that it was done just to show the same person voting twice is silly, and having the guy at WizBang make that excuse continues the insulting behavior that this flier demonstrates.

                    You yourself say you didn’t notice it was the face copied neatly from the adjacent person and pasted into the hoodie…but that it was done so people could see someone voting twice. This gets to the lie, which you are either willingly, or naively, repeating. 

                    First as others have noticed they did not get rid of all the African-Americans—only the prominent ones and obscured the others—including making one man vanish altogether and carefully copying only the face of the woman adjacent to cover the other prominent black face. 

                    Second, why did they cut out only the face and paste it carefully into a hoody–to create an ‘impression of the same person voting twice’? So you have to look extra hard to get the point they are trying to make?   

                    Funny how the test mentions felons, illegal aliens and the deceased…and people voting in another state, but NOT people voting twice in Colorado elections. 

                    Hmm, so you are saying, counselor, that WizBang (who you spent the last day swearing had nothing to do with altering the photo itself) decided to illustrate something that is not even in the text of its flier.  Wow.  That is some terribly weak sauce you are serving Fladen even by usual standards. 


                    • ElliotFladen says:

                      I only see one other person who was erased and that person was in the center of the mailer.  Easy explanation on that one: you erase the person in the center to draw increased attention to the fact that the same person was voting twice. 

                      Now I'm not saying this was an artful ad, or even an effective one.  I'm just saying your argument that it was photoshopped for racist reasons is baseless. 

                      If the photoshopping was intended to be racist they would have photoshopped IN the african american women's face over another person's.  They wouldn't have photoshopped it out.  Additionally, if the racist reasoning was to (for what benefit nobody here as been able to clearly state beyond poorly crafted allusions to dog-whistle politics rationales) remove all african americans, why not remove the others?  And again, if that reasoning was even present, what would be the point of it?  If you are trying to show a person voting twice, what does it matter if you remove other people from the photo?  It's an irrelevant detail. 

                      And again, even beyond having this speculation as to motives beyond the photoshopping – which again makes no sense, you still have the issue that it was done neither by Gessler nor likely by a registered agent (registered agents don't usually do this stuff) law firm that Gessler has had no association with for 2-3 years.  

                      To call these posts hatchet jobs, on these facts, is perhaps to be too kind to them.   ColoradoPols needs to apologize to Gessler for this and do so immediately. 

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      Replying here to your last humorously indignant post,

                      To which I have one reply:

                      Yeah, right. 

                      Ha ha ha ha.  You are a parody. 


                    • JeffcoBlue says:

                      This is the way of all GOP trolls, even the good ones. Eventually, the fact that they are laughably full of shit always comes to the surface.

                      Today it was Elliot's turn to give up his credibility, like ArapaGOP, Libertad, GOPwarrior, Laughing Boy, H-man, and so many who came before.

                      Sorry it happened, actually. Some people really though Elliot was a cut above the usual trolls.

                    • ElliotFladen says:

                      If you are going to say I have lost my credibility, that is your personal call.  However, you still have the following unanswered questions to address:

                      1) On what basis do you conclude Citizens for Free Elections (apologies for butchering the name and hereinafter CFE) knew about the Wizbang modifications?
                      2) On what basis do you conclude that, even if CFE knew about the modifications, that said modifications were intended to erase African Americans and not simply to show the same person voting twice? 
                      3) If you provide a basis in #2, why not erase all African Americans from the mailer? 
                      4) If you provide a basis in #2, what would be the political purpose in erasing all African Americans?  Wouldn't it be more effective, if you were a paranoid racist GOP type (in your eyes) to photoshop African Americans into the mailer as opposed to photoshopping them out if your aims were based in coded racism?
                      5) Even if you can meet the burdens of #1-4, on what basis do you conclude that Hackstaff, as a mere registered agent, had anything to do with the substantive edits in this mailer?
                      6) Even if you can answer #1-5, on what basis do you conclude that Gessler had anything to do with Hackstaff when he hasn't worked there for 2-3 years. 

                      Again, you can't answer these questions with anything that passes the laugh test for a simple reason: this series of postings by ColoradoPols was a hatcht job, and hatchet job that ColoradoPols owes Gessler an apology for. 

                    • Sir Robin says:

                      Elliott-You are exactly like so many others who post here defending immoral, unethical, slimey Republican behaviors, and there have been many. It doesn't matter what any CoPolster says, or whether these polsters stated positions are crystal clear with impeccable logic because IT DOESN'T GET THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULLS!

                      That's why I refuse to reply. It's a waste of time.

                    • ElliotFladen says:

                      Maybe because these blog posts by ColoradoPols are unethical implying non-existant unethical behavior?

                      Again, if racism was the aim of the photoshopping, why didn't they photoshop IN african americans voting twice and not photoshop them OUT?  

                    • ElliotFladen says:


          • roccoprahn says:


            Your posit that the intention was to show a person voting twice is the fruit of somebody working all night to come up with a different explanation of the same grift.

            It changes nothing. And no one's accusing Gessler, if he was involved, there are too many layers to uncover.

            If he'd only put that much effort into his job as SOS.

            Elliot, give it up. This one's a loser for you.

          • ClubTwitty says:

            No.  In your mind perhaps.  Good for you, you proved to yourself, again, how clever you are.  I doubt if you have convinced anyone else. 

      • Craig says:

        The sound you just heard was the guffaw coming from my office in Golden.  Fails the straight face test.

        • Craig says:

          Especially since one African American man was totally wiped and the other African American faces are either blurre or covered with print.  What a sad person you are.

          • ElliotFladen says:

            Except African Americans remain in the photo.  If the intent was to erase all African Americans, they would have….erased all African Americans.  The intent here was clearly something else – to show the same person voting twice. 

            • ClubTwitty says:

              {face palm} 

            • JeffcoBlue says:

              This is becoming pathetic. You can keep going, but I really suggest you stop. It is so obvious that they altered the photo to remove African Americans, by blurring, covering text or removal of the two most prominent faces. You look like an utter fool trying to deny it. Pols owes no one any apology. You need to check yourself for your own credibility's sake.

              • ElliotFladen says:

                If they intended to remove the african americans they would have removed them all.  They didn't.  They made alterations to make it appear as if a white woman voted twice.  They could have done an african american woman, or a hispanic woman.  They didn't.  They went with a white woman voting twice.  And in spite of that, they still left african americans in the photo. 

                If ColoradoPols cannot apologize to Gessler for incorrectly implying he was a racist on a nonracist maielr that he had no involvement with, then its work will not be able to be taken seriously in other contexts.  This was a hatchet job, and you all know it. 

      • ParkHill says:

        "Look at the mailer in its entirety".

        The flyer is a pile of racist, fear-mongering crap, and yet ElliotFladen focusses repeatedly on the minutiae and intent of the photo. 


  4. roccoprahn says:

    I just don't think there's a direct link to Gessler. I'm not saying he's not part of the mailer scam, but if Bill Ray's saying Gessler wasn't involved, it's a climb to get to a place where Gessler can be popped.

    But we know this…………the state red elites have come to that place no political party ever wants to be. They no longer think the ideology, economic, social, and educational, that the current republican party planks on, resonates with the majority of the voters.

    And they're probably right. Losing all 3 chambers is pretty telling. The "rural" vote ain't what it used to be. The suburbs are pushing out, and the majority of people moving to Colorado are more educated and less intolerant.

    The state repub officials have seemingly determined the only way to win elections going forward is to cheat. To undermine the process. To impede the voting process, as they've concluded, as  the national repub elites have, the larger the turnout, the worse for them.

    The mailer doesn't signal the end. But it's the canary in the coal mine. It's the call to go full out racist, appeal to the worst instincts of the red base. It's the tacit admission that the republican party can no longer win elections on the up and up.

    And to think 10 years ago, it was nothing like this. Where does the time go?

  5. Craig says:

    Glad to see the de-emphasis on the Hackstaff firm today.  They are simply the attorneys for the group and serve as its registered agent with the SOS.  See here

    as lawyers for they group, they can't respond.  Knowing several of the folks there, I'm sure that they are horrified at how stupid their client was.  However, having been on numerous campaigns, I'm sure that no one except the people who created the flyer knew anything about the alteration.

    Again, what they did is wrong on so many levels, that this "defense"of the Hackstaff firm shouldn't be seen as anything other than a defense of a firm that was almost certainly an innocent bystander.

    • ajb says:

      Ummmm…..Doesn't this go with the territory? If you choose to do business as the registered agent of partisan political groups, and allow them to use your address, then  when the shit hits the fan, some is going to land on you. As you stated yesterday, they do this for the money. They're hardly innocent bystanders.

  6. MADCO says:

    Hey!  (puppies)

    There is nothing to see here. (hot women dancing)   (underwear)

    There is no racist motivation or political motivation nor any other motivation that explains this (cute kitten) (solyndra!) (Monica Lewinsky) mailer and whichever faces were included or excluded.

    And there is absolutely no connection to the Republican party, it's leadership, but especially not to Secretary Gessler.


    Bwahahahahahahah.  Riight.

    Some things I've learned in politics:

    – winning is better than losing

    – money buys media and attention share

    – find a message that works and then: stay on message

    – perception is often the only relevant reality

    – when the story is not your message: change the story. If you can't change the story: distract, distract (naked college cheerleaders) distract.


    I'm not very good at it…but holeee sheeeet – I'm not that stupid.

  7. Early Worm says:

    Can I change the subject, slightly?  The post title refers to the Red on Red attack. I think that this is more important, long term, than Gessler, Hackstaff, Bill Ray,or Whizbang.  Republican County Clerks support this legislation. By definition, they cannot be supporting it for partisan reasons. They must believe (rightly or wrongly) that it is good policy. For this, they get hammered by their own party as "trying to undermine elections and allow rampant voter fraud." It is no secret that the Colo. GOP bench is thin to non-existent. This type of circular firing squad is guaranteed to perpetuate that sitauation. Why would anyon eother than a zealot volunteer to run for dog catcher is they have to fear not only their opponent but their own party? Who is in charge? Doesn't a competent state party have someone that enforces some discipline? I quess I answered my own question.

  8. bullshit! says:

    Holy shit, look at the defensiveness! Sorry to wannabe Johnnie Cochran, great effort. But the glove fits.

    I'm glad my two minutes Googling Sunday morning has proven valuable. If I hadn't, somebody else would have…I hope.

  9. twwiw says:

    How do dead people cast ballots?

  10. Duke Cox says:



    1) On what basis do you conclude Citizens for Free Elections  knew about the Wizbang modifications? On what basis do conclude they didn't?

    2) On what basis do you conclude that said modifications were intended to erase African Americans and not simply to show the same person voting twice?  The tall black man they completely erased.

    3) If you provide a basis in #2, why not erase all African Americans from the mailer? Laziness. 

    4) If you provide a basis in #2, what would be the political purpose in erasing all African Americans?  Wouldn't it be more effective, if you were a paranoid racist GOP type (in your eyes) to photoshop African Americans into the mailer as opposed to photoshopping them out if your aims were based in coded racism? to identify with the target audience                      You are presuming a clarity of mind that is not necessarily so.

    5) Even if you can meet the burdens of #1-4, on what basis do you conclude that Hackstaff, as a mere registered agent, had anything to do with the substantive edits in this mailer? I don't remember concluding any such thing. simply a suspicion based on association.

    6) Even if you can answer #1-5, on what basis do you conclude that Gessler had anything to do with Hackstaff when he hasn't worked there for 2-3 years. A pattern of abuse


    This series of postings by ColoradoPols was a hatcht job, and hatchet job that ColoradoPols owes Gessler an apology for. 

    You seem to be seeking proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Isn't there something, counselor, called "the preponderance of




  11. ElliotFladen says:

    1) When you are tryigng to label somebody as a racist, the burden of proof should be on you. Unless you want to engage in McCarthyism. Hey – I can try that: what evidence do you have that Obama is not a communist? /sarcasm

    2) The tall black man was in the center section of the photoshopped image, the same section that the mailer was trying to show a person voting twice. Removing the person drew, or attempted to draw, increased attention to the person voting twice.  If, as you contend, the purpose of the photoshopping was racist, they would have photoshopped IN african americans voting twice, and not have photoshopped them out.

    3) Laziness? Seriously? They went to an awful lot of trouble to photoshop a face in to make it look like a caucasian woman voted twice. Again, if the purpose of the photoshopping was racist, they would have photoshopped IN african americans voting twice, and not have photoshopped them out.

    4) Not asking for clarity of mind here. As other people on this very site acknowledge from the beginning it made no sense why anybody would photoshop OUT African Americans from this image.

    5) Uh – recall the repeated allusions to "Hackstaff Gessler" in ColoradoPols various postings and the noting that mailer carried Hackstaff's address?

    6) If you are going to say "pattern of abuse" as an attempt to label somebody a racist, you better have good evidence of said abuse. Not hatchet job analysis like ColoradoPols did here.

    In short, these articles are hatchet jobs. If ColoradoPols cared about being something other than a partisan arm of the Democrat Party it would immediately apologize for its articles.

    • DaftPunk says:

      Not that you ever had any credibility, but if you wish to be seen as a voice of objective truth, you should call things by their proper names.

      "Democrat Party" is an insult used by partisan hacks and stupid trolls.

      • ElliotFladen says:

        No intention on my part to use incorrect name for Democratic Party 

        • roccoprahn says:

          An yet you did.

          You got the shot in.


          • ajb says:

            Simple. Those are the marching orders.

          • ElliotFladen says:

            Let's see here – 
            1) I make typos all the time on my posts.  I'm not exactly proofreading these.
            2) It's difficult sometimes to keep straight which is the correct term: Democrat or Democratic.  I've never really understood what the big fuss is of using one over the other, but this isn't something I've looked into. 
            3) Given that people here regularly and intentionally call me a Troll, and refer to the "TeaBaggers" and "Repugs", fussing about me accidentally using the wrong term for democratic party seems a little…."convenient".  In fact, it seems like an attempt from distracting from the real issue: that ColoradoPols is intentionally and dishonestly smearing multiple people with these hatchet job posts. 

    • ajb says:


      First, you've obviously not used photoshop. Cut-and-paste a face is ridiculously easy. Ditto, removing a face against a blank wall. Anybody on this board could do it after watching a couple youtube tutorials. Removing the other black man would be challenging. The background is complex. That's why one was done, but not the other.

      Second, the duplicated face is only obvious ONLY if you scrutinize the photo. With a casual glance, it's missed by damn near everybody. That's not effective communication, yet the photo was altered by a communications company. Remember, this is a mailer that you hope people will take 10 seconds to look over before they throw it in the trash (or the recycling if you live in Boulder). Nobody puts these up on their refrigerator to look at later. If it's gonna work, it's gotta be obvious. Really, really obvious. It isn't. As a result, your explanation just isn't plausible.  

      • ElliotFladen says:

        If you acknowledge it is the same face (which there is no way you can't acknowledge) your theory falls apart, for at that point: 
        (a) racism would arguably be to photoshop african american faces in to show voter fraud, not photoshop them out; 
        (b) whether removing the second african american was challenging or not is besides the point.  the question instead is whether removing him, given his location close to the duplicated face, was intented to draw further attention to the duplicated face. here you are asserting it is not, but your don't have any real basis for this other than you wish to assume irrational efforts (because I think everybody here would agree that removing the guy in no way furthers the intended message that fraudulent voting was going on) to introduce racial prejudice.  and again, to be clear, it is almost inconceivable how removing the second african american introduces racial prejudice into the mailer. 
        3) even if you want to hold to the "complexity is evidence" point, you argument still has a further problem.  you've acknowledged that pasting faces is easy but background is more difficult. why then leave very easy to replace african american faces (by your prior statement) in the mailer if the aim was to redact african americans?  that makes no sense

  12. ClubTwitty says:

    Spin, spin, spin and spin some more.

    You appear to have convinced no one with your 'brillant' argumentation here, counselor. 

    • ElliotFladen says:

      Simple question: if racism was the aim of the photoshopping, why didn't they photoshop IN african americans voting twice and not photoshop them OUT?  

      • ClubTwitty says:

        I'm not interesting in following your endless string of shifting questions, couselor.  As I have noted, and as is apparent, you have convinced no one other than yourself, it seems, although A-Bot will no doubt drive by at some point. I am happy you have convinced youreslf, again. 

  13. JeffcoBlue says:

    Elliot Fladen is a Republican lawyer. At this point, that should be obvious to everyone.

    Elliot, your dogmatic attempt to turn this back on Colorado Pols has completely failed. Your arguments are unpersuasive, and your mindless repetition of them has further hurt your credibility. At this point, it is obvious to me that you have a personal interest in defending either Gessler, Hackstaff, or Bill Ray (it doesn't matter which one it is). I suppose Republican lawyers stick together.

    All your feeble protestations are accomplishing is further demonstration that Republicans are clueless, racist assholes. This is not an impression I wish to counter, so don't mistake me for trying to change your mind.

    Frankly, only a lawyer could fail to realize how totally you have lost this debate.

    • ElliotFladen says:

      Considering I have gone over this same thing with some of my liberal media contacts nationally on facebook and they agree with my analysis, I think you might ask yourself if you are in an echo chamber. 

      ColoradoPols screwed this up.  Plain and simple. 

      And by the way, I am registered LIBERTARIAN.  Not Republican.  When the GOP screws stuff up – I let them know (one quick example here).  But in this case, the GOP groups aren't the ones screwing up (except by making an ineffective mailer) – the people screwing up are those that are defening the hatchet job reporting on this page. 

      Again, simple question: if racism was the aim of the photoshopping, why didn't the mailer photoshop IN african americans voting twice and not photoshop them OUT?  

    • roccoprahn says:

      I know.

      I kind of suspected the motive behind defending the indefensible during the heated firearms legislation debate was just partisan hackery.

      Only Elliot knows the reason.

      But this confirms it.

      Even if a lot of what Elliot is saying about the intentions of the mailer were true, which I don't believe to be the case,the bottom line is that it was intended to inflame a very gooberized white conservative voting demographic into believing illegals, dead people, black people that aren't registered and generally people that aren't white and conservative are going to steal elections if 1303 goes through.

      That's undeniable. And it's usually very effective, as these very ill informed fox news low information voters are predisposed to soak it in.

      To defend this exposes a reason only Elliot knows. The partisan hackery is obvious, the motives we may never know.

      • ClubTwitty says:

        Its telling, to me, that the text itself does not raise the threat of someone voting twice in Colorado–just illegals, criminals, and the dead (and people also voting in two states).  Thus the cobbled-together post-hoc explanation for (in violation of private property lisc terms) altering the photo makes even less sense than it already made, which is stunning in the audacity that spinmeisters and the perpetrators have it pushing it. 

  14. exlurker19 says:

    Elliott, sweetums,

    I didn't weigh in out of respect for PCG (not you, alas), because she seems to think you have redeeming features.  Not immediately obvious to me, I've got to admit.


    The first rule when you get stuck in a hole is to stop digging.   You will never convince a bunch of liberals that the Repubs photoshopped African Americans out of a "borrowed" image because they're such good people.  So stop digging and live up to PCG's opinion of you.


    That is all.

    • ElliotFladen says:

      I'm friends with PCG but we both have debated each other many times in heated exchanges.  No need to hold back on criticizing me out of respect to her. 

    • DaftPunk says:

      Note that while the flatulent one likes to hide behind PCG's skirt as some measure of credibility by association, she has never (meaning not once ever) defended him on these pages.

  15. exlurker19 says:

    You're still digging, El.



  16. DavidThi808 says:

    One thought on this. The racial composition of that image was approved by the people paying for it. They might not have known of the photoshopping, but they absolutely approved of the racial balance in the image.

    I hit that on our websites – and we're enterprise software. The first thing people look at is who is in the picture. So you make sure you have one that represents the message you are presenting. That picture was approved by the people paying for the mailer as illustrating their message.

  17. BlueCat says:

    As usual Eliot hasn't directly addressed any of my points over any of the threads pertaining to this matter.  The only point he did address was one he made up out of whole cloth to attribute to me.

    He fabricated an opinion that I never expressed and which in fact is opposed to the opinion I expressed, claiming that I thought the Republican County Clerks were in some way culpable for the mailing.  He never responded to what I actually said which was that a Republican County Clerk was the target of the mailing and many Republican County Clerks vehemently disagree with Gessler's hysteria  and support the legislation this mailer attacks. He also never responded to my suggestion that he contact some of these Republican County Clerks to get their take, which would be free of Dem bias, on the meaning of the photoshopping.

    Instead of responding to  points he just says they can't be true because it's somehow self evident that Rs couldn't be that dumb and brings up new ones, such as his laughable new theory that the photoshopping duplication of the white lady was to demonstrate the dangers of double voting based on no evidence whatsoever. How subtle. Yeah, right.

    Now he claims unnamed libruls in the "media" agree with him without backing that up in any way.  The old "people are saylng" line. The man cannot be reasoned with and himself has no idea how to reason. His debating skills are zilch.  In every discussion on every subject all he's got is circular reasoning (it can't be true because it can't be true) grasping at rhetoric straws, trotting out new stuff to throw against the wall,  ignoring evidence presented and then claiming no evidence has been presented, evasion and thngs like people are saying or Johnny does it too. Sad really and, by now, thoroughly boring and pointless.

    • ElliotFladen says:

      "No evidence whatsoever"

      Except the same face was used twice.  Go ahead and look. 

      As for the rest of your points, I'm not defending whether Gessler's position on the underlying bill is correct or not.  I'm simply making a basic point – that you guys are being dishonest to call the mailer racist and being more dishonest to link Gessler to it.  

      That is all. 

      • Sir Robin says:

        You're completely and disonestly ignoring Gessler's history of voter disenfranchisement, and the Republican Party's attempts nationally (especially their egrrymandering of districts) to rig the vote. Gessler, nothwithstanding your denials and positions, is cut from the same cloth. The FACTS demonstrate this. You opinions and faux indignation are comical at best.

        I work with great lawyers a lot. I don't believe you're a lawyer. Your intellectual capacity demonstrated here just doesn't convince me you have the necessary bandwidth.

        • ElliotFladen says:

          Its not my job to convince you anything about my bandwith or intelligence or membership in the legal profession.  

          Instead, I've been pointing out the obvious problem you have here with these mailers. Let's even, for the sake of argument (not agreeing just don't want to fight over it), stipulate that Gessler has a history of all the things you say.  Even that doesn't mean he was behind this mailer.  In other words, just because the Muslim Brotherhood may have engaged in terrorism does not mean they were behind the Boston Bombings.  You need to present some proof on that before you start smearing Gessler as being involved with these mailers this page is inaccurately portraying.  At least if you want to be something other than a partisan hack. 

      • BlueCat says:

        Of course nobody says it isn't the same face.  Just that your explanation if its meaning is not at all convincing and certainly it's a less simple explanation and more of a stretch to believe that this is how it was perceived by recipients than any of the arguments you call a stretch or overly complicated. 

        And since you are responding to me I never argued for Gessler's direct involvement.  What we do know is the group responsible and all of my comments have been confined to this group.  Just as I never said Republican County Clerks were in any way ionvolved in the mailing, something you've never responded to.  As usual  you choose to make up things to respond to instead of responding to things actually contended. My guess? You know you've got nothing but it's way too late to admit it.

        • ElliotFladen says:

          The ColoradoPols posts on this BlueCat have routinely called this the Hackstaff Gessler mailer or the Hackstaff mailer.  You guys have been going a bit further than mere guilt by association on this one. 

          • BlueCat says:

            Then why reply to my comment via the reply button in my comment box? If you want to reply to ColPols, please use the general thread reply button or the button in a ColPols generated comment box.

            If you want to reply to someone who has expressed the views or used the terms you site then press the reply button in that person's comment box. Please stay out of my comment box if you don't care to address remarks made or arguments posed specifically by me. And please stop attributing  statements or arguments to me that I never made. I am very careful about what I choose to state as fat, well grounded opinion and pire specualtion.  I take care not to confuse one with the other.

            Nobody is forcing you to reply to me or anyone else. You may always use the general reply button to say whatever you like. When you reply to a specific person that person has a reasonable expectation that you wil be offering give and take on what the that person has actually said and that you will not be attributing views to that person which that person never expressed.

  18. ArapaGOP says:

    Except for one story from closet liberal Eli Stokols, you haven't gotten any pickup in the Denver market. Maybe because they know you're full of crap? Gessler had nothing to do with this and you know it.

    Thanks again to Elliot Fladen for trying to make Polsters see reason. You are a more patient man than I am.

  19. Duke Cox says:

    Gessler had nothing to do with this and you know it.

    Bullshit…You don't KNOW that he didn't.

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