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U.S. election reform is needed – here are some proposals

With less and less faith in elections in the western world being free and fair, urgent reforms are required to solve this crisis of faith.

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With the American election less than two weeks away, people ought to be talking about election reform. Since both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton think the election is rigged, here are some ideas to make elections less prone to sabotage.

–Ban all postal/absentee voting

This is beyond scandalous. The idea that a vote can be cast without any proof of who is ticking the box is an insult to the concept of a free election. With increased security checks at US polling stations this election, it beggars belief that this practice should be allowed to continue.

In a recent interview with Infowars, Nigel Farage told of some of the practices in postal voting that lead to fraud. The classic example is elderly people being abused and exploited by those ‘helping them’ to fill out the ballot but whom in reality are voting for them.

Of course some of the sentiments behind postal voting are valid. What if someone is too frail to get to the polling station? The simple solution to this, is for a paid civil servant or police officer to attend the house of such a person on election day. If democracy matters, this matters.

–No early voting

America has been testing out something where people can vote prior to election day. This runs contrary to the concept of informed decision making. The campaign does not end until election day and whilst most people have made up their minds, not everyone has.

New revelations from Wikileaks are coming out every day. If someone voted for Hillary Clinton yesterday sees the new revelations on Hillary Clinton’s corruption and lies, this person cannot change his or her vote.

–Police officers should be in charge of polling stations

It’s very quaint to see the nice old ladies who volunteer to be workers at poll stations, but in an age of widespread corruption, this is not good enough. Of course the volunteers can continue to set up the desks and pour the coffee, but when it comes to policing the actual voting process, the identification of voters as citizen residence in the place where they seek to vote and counting the ballots, this should be done by actual uniformed police officers with special training in election ethics. Will this cost more? Yes. But is it worth it? Well, it is the cost of democracy.

–All polling stations should have CCTV

This is something Russia’s democracy pioneered. There is no more effective way to catch ballot box stuffing, voter intimidation or any other kinds of irregularities than having it filmed. The world should follow Russia’s lead on this and it is highly cost effective in this day and age.

–The problem of dual citizenship

Those with dual citizenship should only be allowed to vote in the country in which they spend 3/4ths of the year or more. It is ludicrous that theoretically, someone with lets say dual American and Latvian citizenship who spends 360 days in Latvia should be able to vote in an American election. This applies to any two countries. This ought to be changed so that the people voting will actually be voting for their own future and not that of effective foreigners.

–The Sound Mind Test

One cannot legally enter a contract if one is not of sound mind, even if the contract is for the exchange of an item of low value. Those who fail the sound mind test include people with permanent mental disorders, those who are actually unstable and those who are intoxicated.

Someone high as a kite on narcotics is not allowed to drive a car. Someone who is insane is not allowed to operate heavy machinery. Someone who is extremely drunk is not legally allowed to be served additional alcohol. Why then should such people be able to vote? Those with a clinical history of mental illness should be flagged on the voter registration rolls and sobriety tests should be mandatory at all polling stations.

This proposals will make for a freer, fairer and more secure election and ought to be applied uniformly across the world.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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