Virginia Republicans sue to get McAuliffe off ballot, alleging incomplete documents

The Republican Party of Virginia is suing the Department of Elections to get the Democratic candidate for governor, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, removed from general election ballots.

Per the complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Richmond City, Republicans allege McAuliffe failed to include his signature on his declaration for his candidacy. The lawsuit alleges that disqualifies him from appearing on the ballot and any inclusion of his name on any ballot would violate state law.

The relevant law, Code 24.2-520, does not explicitly state a signature is required to appear on the general ballot. However, it does state candidates must declare their candidacies on a form prescribed by the state board. The form includes a box that specifically asks for the signature of the candidate.

“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and Terry McAuliffe’s clear violation of the law severely jeopardizes the integrity of our elections in Virginia,” Virginia GOP Chairman Rich Anderson said in a statement. “For decades, Terry has used his political connections and proximity to power to avoid consequences for his reckless behavior and disregard for people and laws, but no amount of political favors and back-slapping can refute the fact that McAuliffe is a fraudulent candidate and cannot be Virginia’s next governor.”

A copy of the candidacy form, which Republicans include in their lawsuit, shows the signature box blank, but includes two signatures from witnesses. The lawsuit alleges this shows that the two individuals made false statements of witnessing McAuliffe sign the unsigned document.

Virginia law requires two witnesses must sign the document or it be signed by an officer who has the authority to take acknowledgements to deeds. The lawsuit claims the alleged falsification of documents would also disqualify the former governor from appearing on any ballots.

The Republican Party is requesting declaratory relief that states the documents provided are legally insufficient and McAuliffe must be removed from the ballot. It also requests injunctive relief to halt the Board of Elections from printing his name on ballots for the general election.

McAuliffe’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Center Square, but a spokesperson told NBC 12 that all the paperwork was properly submitted.

“Our campaign submitted the required paperwork,” the spokesperson said. “This is nothing more than a desperate Trumpian move by the Virginia GOP to deprive voters of a choice in this election because Terry is consistently leading in the polls.”

McAuliffe is running against Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, a businessman. The election will be Nov. 2.

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China Seethes At NBC For Showing ‘Incomplete’ Map Missing Taiwan During Olympic Opening Ceremony

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials are furious with NBC Universal for showing an “incomplete” map of the country during Friday’s opening ceremony at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

As Chinese athletes entered the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, the NBC broadcast displayed a map of China that did not include Taiwan or the South China Sea as recognized parts of Chinese territory. The CCP considers both territories to be a rightful part of their country, despite that claim being disputed by various members of the international community.

China’s consulate in New York said NBC “hurt the dignity and emotions of the Chinese people” in a social media post Saturday. “We urge NBC to recognize the serious nature of this problem and take measures to correct the error,” the statement continued.

Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times also blasted NBC for the graphic, characterizing it as a “dirty political trick.” (RELATED: US Drops Charges Against Researchers Accused Of Hiding Affiliation With Chinese Military)

Taiwanese athletes at the Olympic Games do not compete under the Chinese flag, instead competing under the banner of Chinese Taipei. China, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam are all involved in various territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

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How Did an Incomplete Soviet Aircraft Carrier Become China’s First Carrier?

Here’s What You Need to Know: The Liaoning is hardly equal to a U.S. supercarrier—in addition to its smaller air wing and lack of a nuclear power plant, its steam turbines are prone to breaking down and the ski-jump deck limits the fuel and weapons load its fighters can carry.

China was proud to launch its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in 2012. This vessel was a refit of an incomplete Soviet Kuznetsov-class cruiser carrier. However, the story of how China got that ship in the first place may as well be a comedy—because the carrier was actually a rogue acquisition for the Chinese military against the wishes of the government in Beijing. And it was undertaken by a basketball player who claimed he wanted to build a floating casino.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy first became interested in acquiring an aircraft carrier in 1970, when China was still on bad terms with both the Soviet Union and the United States. However few concrete steps were taken, because the cost and complexity of such an endeavor far exceeded the PLAN’s limited capabilities during the Cold War.

The Soviet Navy did deploy its first carriers in the 1970s: Kiev-class vessels that could launch Yak-38 Forger jump jets of limited effectiveness. By the 1980s, the Soviets began construction of two more promising Kuznetsov-class carriers. These had a “ski jump” ramp, allowing more conventional—and much higher-performing—Su-33 Flanker fighters to take off from it. Like the earlier Kiev class, the Kuznetsov was technically an “aircraft-carrying cruiser” due its powerful armament of twelve P-700 Granit antiship missile systems. This technicality was important, as “aircraft carriers” proper weighing more than fifteen thousand tons (which is to say, virtually all aircraft carriers today) were not legally permitted by the Montreux Convention to transit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean via the Bosporus Straits.

However, the fall of the Soviet Union left the second vessel in its class, the Varyag, only two-thirds complete in Ukraine, lacking its armament and electrical systems. Construction ceased in 1992, and the cash-strapped Ukrainian government did its best to pawn off the fifty-five thousand tons of inoperable metal rusting in its Mykolaiv shipyard. Russia, India and China all passed.

two-part series in the South China Morning Post in 2015 revealed the machinations behind how the carrier ended up in Chinese service anyway, two decades later. It turns out the PLA Navy did want the Varyag—the team sent to inspect it recommended purchasing it! But the government in Beijing was worried that acquiring a carrier might increase tensions at a time when it was seeking to further open itself to Western investors.

Instead, in 1996 a group of PLA officers including intelligence chief Gen. Ji Shengde approached Xu Zengping, a former PLA basketball star who had become a successful businessman arranging international events. The cabal’s proposal: to have Xu purchase the carrier as a private citizen, ostensibly to serve as a casino so as to avoid undesirable scrutiny. Then the PLAN could collect it for its own use once the political winds were more favorable.

This cover story is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Remember those Kiev-class carriers mentioned earlier? Two of them are now moored in China, serving as amusement parks. The Minsk was actually purchased by a consortium of video-game arcade owners in Shenzhen for $4.4 million, and has since been moved to Nantong, north of Shanghai. And the original Kiev? Now a floating hotel in Tianjin. However, the more modern Kuznetsovclass Varyag was undoubtedly of much greater practical interest for the PLAN than either of those ships.

Xu was down with the scheme and borrowed the equivalent of $30 million in Hong Kong dollars from a friend to help fund the venture—the first expense of which was to create a $6 million shell company in Macau called Agência Turística e Diversões Chong Lot Limitada, in order to maintain the fiction. (Macau was still in its last years as a Portuguese colony at the time.)

In January 1998, Xu arrived in Ukraine and met with the shipyard owners. After four days of negotiations, in which enormous bribes were offered and fifty bottles of 124-proof baijiu liquor were consumed, he reached an agreement to purchase the carrier for $20 million—well below the cost of a single jet fighter today. He wasn’t able to make the payment until a year later, with a $10 million extra late fee tacked on.

Some international observers smelled something fishy in the arrangement—Xu’s company did not actually have a gambling permit in Macau, nor a listed phone number or address. Ironically, however, a Jane’s analyst interviewed by the Washington Post at the time stated it was “farfetched” that the PLA Navy would try to operate the Varyag due to its decrepit and incomplete condition.

By June 2000, everything was ready to go. The carrier’s four engines were packed in grease seals (they had yet to be installed), several tons of blueprints were sent overland to China by truck, and a Dutch towing company was ready to tug the 306-meter-long vessel all the way back to China. What could go wrong?

Ever been stunned by the towing fee after your car breaks down far from home?  Imagine that, but around five hundred times worse. Why five hundred? Because that equals the roughly five hundred days the Liaoning was stuck being towed in circles off Istanbul, after the Turkish government denied it passage to the Mediterranean via the Bosporus Straits.

The Turkish maritime minister argued that should there be a mishap towing the 306-meter-long carrier—which could not maneuver or move on its own power—it might spin around and block the Bosporus straits to all shipping, or run into one of the bridges connecting the two halves of Istanbul. The straits are only seven hundred meters wide at their narrowest point and require at least six major course corrections to navigate. Hundreds of ships had suffered accidents there in the past. Curiously, the Chinese appear to have perceived the Turkish refusal to be in retaliation for China’s opposition to the NATO air campaign in Yugoslavia the previous year.

The Liaoning spent sixteen months racking up $8,500 a day in towing fees. Finally, Beijing had a change of heart on the matter, and stepped in on August 2001, promising major concessions on tourism to persuade the Turks to let the Varyag pass.

Finally on November 1, in an operation involving more than two dozens tug and emergency vessels, the Varyag was towed through the Bosporus without incident, and traversed the Dardanelles the next day. The hard part was over.

Except for the sea storm with sixty-mile-per-hour winds that struck the rudderless vessel off the island of Skyros two days later, causing it to snap its tow lines. It took two more days to recover the runaway carrier. Tragically, a Portuguese sailor fell to his death while helping reconnect it to its tugs.

Once under power, a normal vessel could have taken the shortcut through the Suez Canal and straight on back to China via the Indian Ocean. But the canal would not accept powerless vessels such as the Varyag, so it had to cruise all the way around Africa, Vasco de Gama–style, chugging along at a brisk jog of seven miles per hour.

In March 2002, the carrier finally arrived at the port of Dalian in Liaoning province, which would lend the carrier its name in Chinese service. Three years later, it was put into a dry dock to allow for an extensive refit process, including sandblasting away all the rust and restoring and installing the engines in 2011.

The PLAN intended to operate the vessel as a pure carrier, rather than as a cruiser-carrier hybrid, so the shipbuilders didn’t bother with the enormous antiship missile systems. They instead confined its armament to a trio of short-range HQ-10 air-defense missile launchers and a few close-defense guns. The vessel’s primary weapon, of course, would be its complement of twenty-four J-15 Flying Shark fighters. The Flying Sharks are domestic copies of the Russian Su-33 fighter, a prototype of which was also acquired from Ukraine in 2001. The Liaoning also flies six Z-12F antisubmarine helicopters, four airborne early-warning variants and two Z-9 rescue choppers.

The Liaoning was commissioned on September 25, 2012, and the first J-15 landed on it a month later. A home-built carrier based upon the Liaoning will soon put to sea this year; those blueprints must have proved useful.

The Liaoning is hardly equal to a U.S. supercarrier—in addition to its smaller air wing and lack of a nuclear power plant, its steam turbines are prone to breaking down and the ski-jump deck limits the fuel and weapons load its fighters can carry. However, it afforded China a leap forward in its naval construction program—which now includes five more carriers in the coming decade of increasing planned capability. According to Xu Zengping, a naval officer told him that the Varyag saved China fifteen years of research and development.

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Bias on Display: AP Fact Check Says MRC Graphic Shares ‘Incomplete Information’

Facebook’s fact-checkers are covering for the left’s huge election power grab in H.R. 1. A far left AP fact-checker spent 850 words trying, and failing, to debunk a graphic about the bill. 

AP News fact-checked a graphic from the Media Research Center on Facebook and claimed it was “missing context.” In reality, the AP fact-checker, far-left reporter Terrence Fraser, just didn’t like the language that the graphic used. 

The first point that the graphic made was that H.R. 1 would “OVERRULE Voter ID laws in place in 36 states.” Fraser responded by saying that the bill would allow “voters to affirm their identity using only their signature, but the proposed legislation only applies in federal elections.” But, as The Daily Signal pointed out, “states obviously can’t enforce their voter ID requirements if federal law says they have to allow anyone who just signs a form to vote.” 

Whether state Voter ID laws would, technically, remain on the books if H.R. 1 passes is irrelevant, particularly in states where a state election is held at the same time as a federal election. 

The graphic then said that H.R. 1 would “FORCE states to allow ballot harvesting.” Fraser responded to the claim by saying, “The practice of a third party collecting multiple absentee ballots from voters is often referred to as ‘ballot harvesting’ by critics to suggest something nefarious.” And then in the very next sentence, he confirmed exactly what the graphic alleged: “The proposed legislation would prevent states from limiting the number of ballots that an individual can collect, but would bar individuals from receiving payments based on the number of ballots collected.” Instead of responding to concerns over ballot harvesting, Fraser simply decided that the language was problematic, while admitting the problem.

Fraser cited Richard Briffault,  law professor at Columbia, who said, “The idea is that community groups, neighbors or even family members might gather absentee ballots from people and bring them in together.” Again, Fraser’s supposed rebuttal does not address the core issue of ballot harvesting, and instead threw a handful of glittery language over the pile of flaming garbage that is H.R. 1. 

The next claim that Fraser addressed was that H.R. 1 would “RESTRICT states from cleaning up their voter rolls.” Fraser responded by, and you can’t make this up, describing exactly how the bill restricts states from cleaning up their voter rolls. “H.R. 1 would prevent states from removing voters from the rolls who haven’t cast a ballot in any election, or who haven’t responded to a government notice (except if the notice is returned as undeliverable),” said Fraser. States could still “remove voters who have moved or died,” he claimed, but the graphic did not allege that states could not remove voters in those situations. 

Fraser left out a very important change made in H.R. 1 that would absolutely make it more difficult for states to maintain clean voter rolls: Under current federal law, a state must stop programs that remove ineligible voters from the rolls within 90 days before a federal election. The new Democratic law expands that blackout period for many programs to six months before any federal election, greatly reducing states’ ability to remove voters who move, die, or otherwise make themselves ineligible to vote in an election year. 

The final line of the graphic said, “The bill would “FORCE taxpayers to fund campaigns for politicians they do not support.” Fraser claimed “money from regular American taxpayers is not involved.” In response to opponents’ complaints about this issue, the latest version of H.R. 1 added language that says the funding for this provision would come from a new surcharge (i.e., a tax) on criminal and civil penalties as well as settlements from corporations, corporate officers, and some tax code violators. It’s not a stretch to view anything the government takes from penalties and surcharges as a tax. Companies typically pass those increases to customers. 

Fraser’s biased analysis of MRC’s graphic is typical for far-left “journalists.” His bio on AP’s own website said that he “has worked for VICE Media, The Marshall Project and ProPublica,” three very liberal organizations. The Marshall Project has published articles such as “How Biden Can Reverse Trump’s Death Penalty Expansion” and “Why Is It So Hard To Prosecute White Extremists?

Another bio from the Ida B. Wells Scholar program said that Fraser’s dream job is “to write for The Nation or do documentary videos for The Intercept.” Two more leftist journalism operations. 

Essentially, Fraser’s “fact-check” simply adds Democratic spin to the items in the social media post being reviewed. None of his points disproves any aspect of the post. The only way to avoid an opening for AP to claim the post is “missing context” would have been to include every one of the thousands words of the massive bill in the social media post, and even that likely wouldn’t have stopped AP from working with Facebook to discredit this post. Clearly, neither the Associated Press nor Facebook want the public to know what is in H.R. 1. Politifact, similarly, asked MRC to back up the information in the Biden’s untruthful statements chart, but never marked the chart as “true.” 

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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Wisconsin DHS blames ‘incomplete data’ for underreporting group home coronavirus deaths

Wisconsin’s public health managers are blaming a bad set of numbers for underreporting nearly 1,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and other group homes across the state.

“We have been committed to transparency in the data that we receive from the 98 local and trial health departments throughout this pandemic. And part of that commitment means that we try and get the data to you as quickly as possible,” Department of Health Services Julie Willems Van Dijk told reporters on Thursday.

DHS has begun “correcting” that data. The result is an additional 971 deaths in nursing homes and group home settings.

“When case and death data were imputed into our disease surveillance system, it was common for some fields to be empty or boxes left unchecked due to the inability of the disease investigator to collect that particular information,” Willems Van Dijk added.

The correction doesn’t change the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Wisconsin. That number remains at just above 6,500. But it does change the picture of where people died.

DHS’s new numbers state that 45% of Wisconsin’s virus-related deaths over the past year have occurred in in nursing homes and other group homes. Approximately 26% of virus deaths do not have a location, according to DHS. And Willems Van Dijk said it’s unlikely those deaths can be traced without some “creative” data solutions.

DHS is also updating its death demographics. The state now reports that nearly 92% of Wisconsin’s coronavirus-related deaths are in people 60-and-older. Over half of Wisconsin’s deaths are among people in their 70s and 80s.

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