Thursday, November 4, 2021

Last Call For Sour Virginia, Con't

The simple reason as to why Democrats lost in Virginia on Tuesday, very nearly lost New Jersey, and almost lost the House and Senate in 2020, is that white non-college women are anti-Trump Republicans, and without Trump on the ballot, they voted for the white supremacy party.

White women voters may have made the difference for Republicans in Virginia’s high-profile gubernatorial race Tuesday, swinging by double digits towards the GOP and giving the party a potentially winning playbook in future elections.

For some Democrats surveying the wreckage from a bad night, the 13 percentage point swing towards the GOP among white women — fueled by a 37 point shift among white women who didn’t go to college — was the number in NBC News exit polls that stood out among a sea of bad ones.

“That white non-college woman is very sobering,” said Scott Kozar, a Democratic consultant who worked on the Virginia lieutenant governor and House of Delegate races.

Democrats had attributed much of their victories in 2018 and 2020 to driving up their margins with women, helping propel the party to control of Congress by tilting key districts away from their previous Republican slant.

But that tide appears to have receded.

The startling shifts enabled Republican Glenn Youngkin to cut into Democrats’ margins in the booming Virginia suburbs and run up the score in conservative rural counties, providing the formula for GOP success in a state that has steadily trended blue since former President Barack Obama snapped a decades-long Republican winning streak in the commonwealth in 2008.

Youngkin made schools and “parents rights” the centerpiece of his campaign. And his party is already picking up the baton, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announcing Wednesday that Republicans plan to introduce a “parents bill of rights” in Congress soon.

“He put together a coalition where he did even better than Trump did with base voters and rural voters, and he improved a lot in the suburbs, where Trump was toxic,” former Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, said on MSNBC. “Which is why he closed that gender gap to single digits, instead of Trump’s yawning gender gap.”
White voters overwhelmingly want Republicans in charge. Last night proved that. Trump served his purpose even with a Democratic president and Congress, because the best we can do is whatever table scraps President Manchin allows us to have. Republicans have two-thirds of white voters, the courts, the corporations, and the billionaires.

The hard lesson is only overwhelming voter turnout of non-white voters will move the needle, and there's not enough of us to stem the tide of angry white Virginia folk who want us removed from the country, like the Charlottesville and Richmond terrorists.

For a month, FBI agents listened in as two members of a white supremacist group discussed their sinister plans: a plot to use a pro-gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, to engage in mass murder and attacks on critical infrastructure, which they believed would mark the start of a racial civil war.

Patrik Mathews, a former Canadian Army reservist illegally in the U.S., and Brian Lemley, a Maryland resident and self-described white nationalist, fantasized about the brutal murders they'd soon carry out against law enforcement and Black people, all with the goal of bringing about the "Boogaloo," or the collapse of the U.S. government in order to prop up a white ethno-state, according to recordings of the pair's discussions.

"We need to go back to the days of ... decimating Blacks and getting rid of them where they stand," Mathews said in one recording. "If you see a bunch of Blacks sitting on some corner you f***ing shoot them."

"I need to claim my first victim," Lemley said in another recording. "It's just that we can't live with ourselves if we don't get somebody's blood on our hands."
MORE: Inside the neo-Nazi hate group 'The Base,' which is the center of an FBI investigation

The two men were each sentenced in late October to nine years in prison, and ABC News has now obtained newly released audio from the FBI's secret recording of Mathews and Lemley at their Delaware residence in late 2019.

The tapes offer a chilling look into the private plotting of the two members of "The Base," a white supremacist extremist group that the FBI says has, since 2018, recruited members both in the U.S. and abroad through a combination of online chat rooms, private meetings, and military-style training camps. In their plea agreements and at sentencing, Mathews and Lemley both acknowledged their membership in the group.

After the two men were arrested in January 2020, just days before the Richmond rally was set to take place, law enforcement found tactical gear, 1,500 rounds of ammunition, and packed cases of food and supplies in their residence.

In the course of their investigation they also found that Lemley and Mathews had both attended military-style training camps with other members of The Base, and had built a functioning assault rifle that they tested out at a gun range in Maryland.

The recordings captured by the FBI included Mathews and Lemley discussing potential acts of terror they could carry out around the Richmond rally that would lead authorities and, eventually, the U.S. government, to capitulate to the chaos and bloodshed taking place.

"You wanna create f***ing some instability while the Virginia situation is happening, make other things happen," Mathews said. "Derail some rail lines ... shut down the highways ... shut down the rest of the roads ... kick off the economic collapse of the U.S. within a week after the [Boogaloo] starts."

"I mean, even if we don't win, I would still be satisfied with a defeat of the system ... and whatever was to come in its place would be preferable than what there is now," Lemley said. "And if it's not us, then you know what, we still did what we had to do."
Plenty of your friends, neighbors, co-workers and church congregants think Mathews and Lanley are American heroes. 

They showed up in Virginia to vote this week, too.

The people siding with these assholes are exactly who we're up against. For some of us, it's a matter of survival, and less of "Well I didn't get X from Biden so I'm sitting this one out."

Remember that.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis wants a brand new state election police force as part of a new raft of voter suppression measures, and this should be setting off klaxons all around the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed on Wednesday to create a fully-staffed statewide law enforcement office whose sole job would be to crack down on election crimes, despite previously praising Florida’s smooth 2020 elections and rebuffing calls by members of his own party for an audit.

DeSantis, who is running for reelection and is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender, is also pressing state lawmakers to increase the criminal penalty for violating new restrictions on collecting mail-in ballots. He also wants to enact a tight new 100-day deadline on when local election officials must scrub their voter rolls for those who died, moved or been convicted of a felony.

The new law enforcement office will cost nearly $6 million, according to a document obtained by POLITICO.

I guarantee you this: The first person that gets caught, no one is going to want to do it again after that,” said DeSantis at a West Palm Beach event billed as a “press conference” but featured dozens of DeSantis supporters who loudly applauded the governor. At one point, the crowd cheered “Let’s go Brandon” — a conservative rallying cry against President Joe Biden.

The governor also said he wants the GOP-controlled Legislature to put additional restrictions on the use of drop boxes.

“I don’t even think we should have drop boxes,” said DeSantis even though he signed the bill two years ago that first authorized their use in the state.

The Republican governor’s push comes just months after he successfully got state legislators to enact a controversial new voting law that adds new restrictions on the collection of mail-in ballots including a clampdown on when and where drop boxes could be located. It also comes as some Republicans in the state, echoing former President Donald Trump’s baseless election fraud claims, are pushing for an audit of the 2020 election over DeSantis’ objections.

That new election law has drawn multiple federal lawsuits from civil rights and voting rights groups who contend those restrictions unfairly discriminate against elderly voters, voters with disabilities and minority voters. These additional proposals could throw another hot-button issue into an upcoming regular session where Florida legislators will be working on redistricting, abortion restrictions and another battle with tech companies over data privacy. The session starts in January.

Democrats — who have little power to stop the changes — quickly condemned the governor’s plans.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, said on Twitter, “More attacks on voting coming to Florida. Just like in 2020 we had elections last night in our state w/no issues. Why does our Governor keep creating partisan chaos. Why can’t we just focus on problems like housing, hunger, taxes, our environment & public transportation?”

One of the biggest changes contained in the new law was a two-ballot limit on how many mail-in ballots someone could gather and turn in on behalf of the elderly or sick and disabled voters, though there is an exception for immediate family members. This ban on “ballot harvesting” is a misdemeanor that DeSantis wants increased to a felony.

DeSantis also said that many local election offices and local prosecutors either do not want to — or lack the expertise — to investigate election crimes. In late September, the governor asked Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee to investigate whether Facebook interfered with the 2020 election even though her office does not have any investigators.

Under the governor’s proposal, Florida would create an “Office of Election Crimes and Security” that would have sworn law enforcement agents as well as other investigators to probe voter fraud and other election law violations. A three-page outline obtained by POLITICO says the governor’s election police force would cost $5.7 million in the first year and have 52 employees, including 20 sworn law enforcement agents who would be based in Tallahassee and in five field offices.

The breakdown of the governor’s proposal also calls for uniform reporting of felony convictions to election supervisors, banning cities from using ranked voting — which is already banned for the state — and a new deadline for determining voter eligibility. Local supervisors are already required to report to the state twice a year on how many voters they have removed in the previous six months.


So yeah, armed election police that would go after election officials with guns drawn, I guess. The second these clowns suspect "election fraud" they go in and what, arrest voters? Remove election machines in the middle of an election? How much power would these assholes have?

If you thought terrorism against state and county-level election officals was bad enough coming from Trump cultists, imagine what it will be like coming from gung-ho election cops.

This is literally DeSantis's special police, guys.

This road goes straight to fascism.

Flipping The Flipper

Real estate giant Zillow played with fire (and hundreds of billions in house flipping properties) and got absolutely burned when the computer algorithm designed to push housing prices up broke as the housing market cooled off last month, and they're out of the game.
Zillow Group Inc. is pulling the plug on its tech-powered home-flipping operation, after an ambitious effort to transform the company collapsed when its vaunted pricing algorithms proved unequal to the task.

The company plans to take writedowns of as much as $569 million and reduce its workforce by 25% as it winds down the business in coming months, according to a statement Tuesday. Zillow shares plunged as much as 11% to $76.22 in late trading.

The decision to abandon home flipping comes as the company’s third-quarter results showed it lost more than $380 million in the operation, called Zillow Offers. The business hit a major snag in recent months as Zillow tweaked its algorithms to make more aggressive offers, causing it to overpay for houses just as the heated U.S. market began to cool slightly.

With the company’s losses mounting, Chief Executive Officer Rich Barton said it had become too risky to scale the business in a U.S. housing market that has been running hot for well over a year during the pandemic.

“Fundamentally, we have been unable to predict future pricing of homes to a level of accuracy that makes this a safe business to be in,” Barton said on an earnings call.

Seattle-based Zillow is the best-known real estate company in America. And for millions of owners who watched their home values surge during the pandemic, the company’s quick exit raises an uneasy question: Is the boom over? Barton emphasized instead that buying and selling thousands of homes every month required the company to put too much capital at risk.

Zillow has had a turbulent few weeks. On Oct. 18, it issued a statement confirming a Bloomberg News report that it wouldn’t make any new offers on houses for the rest of the year as it struggled to find workers to fix the homes it had under contract. In the weeks after, it became clear that the company had overpaid for properties and was taking bigger losses on sales.

On Monday there was another sign that something had gone wrong: Bloomberg reported that the company was marketing about 7,000 homes for roughly $2.8 billion to institutional investors.

For most of Zillow’s 15-year history, the company has been known for publishing online real estate listings and home-price estimates -- called Zestimates -- and seeking to profit by connecting agents with potential clients. In 2018, Barton, one of the company’s founders, reclaimed the role of CEO and pivoted into the high-tech home-flipping business, called iBuying.

Zillow used pricing algorithms to buy homes from their owners, make light repairs, and put them back on the market. Barton set an ambitious goal, seeking to buy 5,000 homes a month by 2024.

Only one problem: Zillow didn't have buyers for the houses they fixed up anymore, and they forgot to stop the computers from buying more.

The real question is if the damage Zillow and other private equity firm backed real estate giants blew out the pandemic housing bubble entirely, in which case, we're all going to have a lot of problems in the months ahead.


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