Brave new world? Rigged elections and big brother here, there and everywhere

by WorldTribune Staff, March 19, 2018

An unelected “deep state” that a new poll finds most Americans believe is “pulling the levers of power” in Washington, D.C.

China has acted to penalize “untrustworthy” citizens via their digital social credit scores.

President Vladimir Putin speaks at a rally and concert celebrating the fourth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. / AFP / Getty Images

And “ballot rigging” has been caught on camera in Russia.

Welcome to 2018.

A new poll by the Monmouth University Polling Institute found that 74 percent of Americans believe the “deep state” exists.

Thirty-one percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents say they believe a deep state “definitely exists,” while 19 percent of Democrats agree.

“We usually expect opinions on the operation of government to shift depending on which party is in charge,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said in a statement. “But there’s an ominous feeling by Democrats and Republicans alike that a ‘Deep State’ of unelected operatives are pulling the levers of power.”

The Chinese government, meanwhile, is set to begin applying its so-called social credit system to prohibit people who have committed misdeeds from booking train and airplane trips for up to a year.

People can be put on the restricted lists for such things as spreading false information about terrorism, causing trouble on flights, using expired tickets or even smoking on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website on March 16.

President’s Xi Jinping’s plan for a social credit system is based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted,” said one of the notices which was signed by eight ministries, including the country’s aviation regulator and the Supreme People’s Court.

In Russia, videos from the March 18 presidential election allegedly show “ballot rigging” and other shenanigans at several polling stations.

President Vladimir Putin won re-election to another six-year term with 76.67 percent of the vote.

In the video clips, polling station officials appear to stash voting slips in ballot boxes and block a CCTV camera at one station with balloons.

In one video from Dagestan, a female election official stands guard at an empty polling station as a man appears to fill a ballot box with slips. At another polling site – number 1126 – a group of wrestlers create a commotion while a man stuffs a ballot box with papers.

Runner-up Pavel Grudinin said the election was “the dirtiest” since the Soviet Union collapsed.

“Regretfully, (Alexei) Navalny was right. One can vote two or three times, and there are such examples in Moscow region,” said Grudinin, who came in a distant second with 11.78 percent.

Navalny, Putin’s most serious rival, was barred from the race.

Third was ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky with 5.66 per cent.

Third-placed candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who finished with 5.66 percent, said: “There is no democracy [in Russia], there is no competition. [There is] just one candidate from the Kremlin and all others are ‘pugs.’ ”

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