Friday, October 29, 2010

The Dance of the Despot

I have to say that things just keep getting weirder in Quebec every day, especially if you are a democrat.

Yesterday, Premier Jean Charest announced that he was scrapping the electoral map drawn up by the independent Director General of Elections and effectively suspending the electoral laws in Quebec until he can figure out exactly what he wants.

The process of how the electoral map is to be drawn up, how the public is to be consulted, and how the new map is to be ratified in Quebec's National Assembly is clearly spelled out in the electoral law. It's just that Charest doesn't like or appreciate that the Director General of Elections, Marcel Blanchet, goes about doing his business in a law abiding fashion, which includes respecting the constitutional limits upheld by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with regard to the equality guarantees in the manner electoral systems advance and maintain each citizen's right to vote.

In short, Charest doesn't like the way the law and the jurisprudence surrounding the right to vote is written, so he unilaterally decided to scrap Quebec's electoral law, which in my opinion is a despotic act. It demonstrates a fundamental contempt for democracy and a belief that the state, c'est moi.

This farce has been going on ever since he took office. Leading up to the 2003 Quebec General Election, he promised to introduce elements of proportionality into the voting system. He led us to believe that change was in the works: draft legislation was introduced and a special commission was convened to consult the population. The only problem was that no one supported the proposed the model. So, to save face he asked Mr. Blanchet to prepare a report detailing how the model could be improved. However, he didn't like the findings of the Director General's report so it was released three days before Christmas and then properly buried.

Still required by law to produce a new electoral map -- in passing, approximately one in four ridings didn't conform to the electoral laws limits on the number of electors per riding when Charest decided to call a snap election in 2008 -- Mr. Blanchet set out to draw up a new map that would respect the constitutional limits of the number of electors per riding. Given the demographic shift away from the outlying regions towards the regions surrounding Montreal, the new map eliminated three ridings in the peripheral regions and added three to the more populous regions. Sounds fair to me even though I am dead set against the use of the present voting system.

But once again, Charest didn't want what the law prescribes, so he introduced legislation that would in effect create rotten boroughs in the outlying regions in which the weight of a vote cast in one of these ridings would be three to four times greater than a vote cast in a large suburban riding.

Fortunately, the opposition parties would have none of it and neither would Mr. Blanchet, who on a matter of principle resigned rather than bow down to the desires of the despot. Bravo Mr. Blanchet!

Yesterday, in a truly pathetic gesture Charest calls a press conference in which he paraded the members of a committee from the outlying regions in order to announce that he is temporarily suspending the present electoral law and will introduce a new one by March 15, 2011, taking advantage of the fact that Mr. Blanchet is out of the country and unavailable for comment.

Very well orchestrated, and the dance of the despot goes on.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We Need More Than Two Hands on the Wheel

Almost two years ago, Jean Charest the leader of a minority government in Quebec decided to call a general election to take advantage of a significant drop in the polls of the official opposition, the Action Democratic of Quebec. Our dysfunctional electoral system is unforgiving for political parties whose support is a mile wide but an inch deep. A 15 point drop in the popular vote reduced the number of ADQ seats in the National Assembly from 41 to 7. As a result, the Charest-led Liberals formed a majority government with the support of only 23% of the electorate.

During the campaign, which was launched at the onset of the Great Recession, Charest's slogan was that in troubled times, Quebec needed to have just two hands on the wheel. Two years later is there anyone -- other than die hard Quebec Liberal Party supporters -- that believes that Quebec is better off now that we have a false majority government rather than a minority government that depended on the support of another party to maintain a government.

Essentially, the incontestable control and political power Charest now enjoys means that he can effectively tell the rest of the population to go to hell with regard to holding a public inquiry into the link between the construction industry and the financing of political parties in Quebec. This would not be the case if we had a minority government or a majority coalition.

We thought that things had come to a head with the publication of an edition of Macleans magazine that claimed Quebec was the most corrupt province in Canada. The claim seemed to be dismissed in the media as another instance of Quebec bashing.

Well, a few weeks later we learn that a vast majority of appointees to the Boards of Directors to Quebec's crown corporations made financial donations to the Quebec Liberal Party. In the case of the most important, Hydro Quebec, 85% of the Board had contributed to the Liberals. No surprise that they would approve the award of approximately $800 million in contracts to the family businesses of Franco Fava, one of the Liberal Party's principle fundraisers.

Worse yet, new revelations have come to light. According to Montreal journalists, André Noël and André Cédilot, more than 600 businesses pay Mafia protection money in Montreal alone, handing organized crime leaders an unprecedented degree of control of Quebec's economy.

When questioned in the National Assembly, Charest made another pathetic reference to
his laughable Operation Hammer, and allowing the police squad, Quebec's answer to the Keystone cops, to do its job.

Without question, Quebec has come full circle to find itself exactly where it was 50 years ago. Charest has undone the work of Jean Lesage,and we have returned to the dark days of Duplesis.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Voting out the Liberals will only treat the symptoms and not the cause of the problem. What underlies the manifestation of corruption and influence peddling is a political system that in effect places the control of the province's political machinery in the hands of the Premier.

From time to time, one of those hands slips into the public purse to provide support for one of his friends.

Therefore, what needs to be done is to bring more hands to the helm in order to share political power and the place to start is the electoral system. The abuse of power begins with the abuse of each voter whose vote is simply discarded and not used to determine who will seize power in Quebec, Canada, and all other countries which use a plurality voting system.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

America's Collective Memory Lapse

Approaching the mid-term elections in the United States, it appears that the American electorate is having difficulty remembering what actually happened during the Bush years. As a result, Americans risk making an electoral choice that, given recent circumstances, could be very detrimental to the population at large.

Just two short years ago, the electorate turned its back on what could be described as the worst period in American politics during the last fifty years and elected a Democrat for President and at the same time gave control of the US Congress to the Democrats.

Yet, two years later, the same electorate is prepared to give back effective control of the Congress to the Republicans, which will effectively undo what was accomplished in the 2008 election.

Within this context, the question that needs to be asked is: “how is it that Americans can change their minds so quickly”?

The answer is that going into the mid-term elections America is experiencing a collective memory lapse.

As you know, a memory lapse is the inability to recall information when we want or need to. For example, it’s normal to forget the name of someone who we haven’t seen for a while, as well for a phone number that we don’t call often. When this happens, it may cause a minor inconvenience, but the consequences of this type of memory failure aren’t serious.

However, this is not true if we forget where we parked the car, or worse yet, where do we live. In either case, such a memory loss could have dire consequences, especially if we had to respond to an emergency at home.

In a similar vein, the inability to recall what happened during the Bush years could also have dire consequences for Americans, because by giving back control of the Congress to the Republicans, the US risks creating a situation where no meaningful response to America’s considerable economic woes can emerge for at least another two years.

What I find extremely interesting is how this collective memory block has been created socially.

The first element leading to the creation of this memory lapse involves the acceleration of time that occurs as a result of being constantly bombarded by information. Keeping up with all of this messaging requires more and more of our attention. Our brains are continually focusing on processing new information so that we have little time or energy to remember the past, especially when it’s not immediate and it contains elements of complexity.

In a sense, we become prisoners of our compulsion to constantly be in the now.

Second, a block can occur when we become focused on what has happened in the recent past so that we can’t recall what happened previously in the mid and long term. In the context of the American mid-term elections, many people are emotionally blocked over the disappointment that Obama hasn’t lived up to the impossible task of meeting the projected hopes that significant change in America could come quickly. Having been engaged in a type of magical thinking, these Americans have had their bubble burst and in the aftershock they are unable to move beyond their feelings of disappointment in order to, for example, reconnect with their previous feelings of anger of having been lied to by the Bush administration.

Finally, from a communications perspective, the right wing in the US has mounted a hugely successful campaign to erase from the collective memory any wrong doings that could be attributed to the Bush years. Essentially, the rise of the Tea Party movement diverts the collective memory of the American people away from its recent past of Republican rule and brings to mind the ideological conflict of the distant past, all the while evoking the patriotic feelings associated with the founding fathers.

In doing so, the short-term narrative of the Democrats trying to fix the serious problems left behind by the Republicans is replaced by the long running narrative centered on the perpetual dispute in the US over the size and role of the federal government. Within this narrative frame, the Democrats become the culprits since they are the ones trying to impose big government solutions upon problems that were caused by big government in the first place.

What is lost in the recollection -- and this is exactly the point of the exercise -- is that the Republicans are as much a political party that embraces big government as the Democrats. They just do it differently. In other words, the right wing has largely succeeded in reframing the political debate in the present so to change to their advantage how the past is to be remembered.

And where is the American electorate in all of this?

I would say between a rock and a hard place. Unable to recall its recent past, it will stumble forward like a drunk with a bad hangover, knowing that something significant happened last night, but not being able to remember the important details.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

False Hopes for the New Messiah: Get Over It

Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008 and he had some pretty big shoes to fill.

Repeatedly during his presidential campaign, Obama and his followers invoked the Judeo-Christian narrative of the messiah. Under the Bush years America had fallen. Washington and Wall Street were the modern day equivalents of Sodom and Gomorrah. What was needed was someone who could offer redemption, someone who could restore hope and faith in the American dream and Obama fit the bill.

There was a fervor that gripped the land. People realized that they were participating in a historical narrative. They would be electing a black man to the highest office of a nation that once embraced slavery. Many wept tears of joy when he was declared the winner of the presidential election.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Yet, within Judaism there is also a counter narrative. On many occasions there have similar hopes that the anointed one has finally arrived only to give way to the disillusionment that the person in question alas is only human. Messianic hopes give way to bitter disappointment.

This is the narrative many Americans now find themselves living. Many are tired of defending Obama. The fervor has given way to reality. America's problems cannot be solved by any one man.

So, America. Get over it. It's time to move on. Projecting one's hopes on anyone rarely does any good.

Yeah, you got yourself a whole lot of problems. You've been lied to. You've been played for a sucker. Millions have lost jobs. Millions have lost homes. So, what are you going to do?

Are you going to go back to those who got you into this mess in the first place? Are you going to stay home and mope and feel sorry for yourself instead of going out to vote?

Yeah, the hole that you have dug for yourselves is mighty deep, but you got to go with the guy who, despite his short comings, actually cares about you. Staying home on election day will only let those who are fine and well with keeping you in that god damn hole take back the power that you ripped out of their hands.

What you need to do is to remember what it was like before Obama. Now is not the time to have a collective memory lapse.

Monday, October 18, 2010

End Private Funding of Political Parties

Money talks in politics, so much so it tends to drown out all other voices. To say that it has an undue influence on electoral results is an understatement. For example, in more than nine times out of ten the candidate who spends the most money wins the seat in the US Congress. Similar trends exist in Canada.

It should be obvious that any political system that blatantly favors the interests of those with the economic means to make a significant financial contribution to a political party at the expense of the rest of the electorate will run into problems concerning its democratic legitimacy.

Essentially, the ever widening gap with regard to income inequality in North America can be attributed to the power of money to influence electoral results. In short, those who give generously, in effect, buy votes for the desired slate of candidates who in return adopt policies and intervene into the market on behalf of their favored donors. In other words, politics precedes policy formation.

In Canada, there has been significant evolution of electoral laws to limit the power of money has over elections. For instance, donations from corporations and unions to political parties are banned, limits are placed are third party spending during a federal election, and donations are limited to $1000 per donor.

Nevertheless, controversy over financing laws is considerable. For example, threats to end the federal subsidy for each vote cast almost caused the defeat of the Conservative government, which had to prorogue Parliament in order to avoid a non-confidence vote.

Likewise, in Quebec the refusal to hold a public enquiry into the link between the construction industry and the financing of Quebec's political parties, despite ample evidence suggesting that such an enquiry should be called, has led to a huge drop in the polls for the Quebec Liberal Party and in all likelihood will lead to the end of a Liberal government.

I believe that given the human propensity to pursue advantage whenever possible, most often at the expense of the common good, there are significant democratic dividends to be gained by eliminating the private funding of political parties altogether.

By leveling the playing field we would reduce significantly the political pandering to monied interests and increase the state's capacity to advance the common good. Indeed, as recent events leading up to the onset of the Great Recession demonstrate, it is guiding hand of government and not the invisible hand of the market that protects the material well-being of the population. As a result, fiscal policy should be determined by its effect on the real economy instead of adhering to the voodoo economic theories propagated by minions of the rich, their think tanks and in turn by the political parties which receive their support.

The minions of the rich, however, would have us believe that the ability of political parties to raise money not only demonstrates their democratic legitimacy but also their intrinsic worth. This is a self-serving political myth. Democracy is based on the principle of one person, one vote. We do not accept in principle at the level of society the notion of the super vote, which grants multiple votes per favored shareholder as a means of establishing and maintaining control over a company during the initial public offering of its shares. Government is not another instance of corporate rule.

Second, when the minions assert that the cost of exclusive public funding for political parties would be prohibitive, they are extremely selective in the cost benefit analysis. Let's not forget that donations to political parties are tax deductible. The amount the federal government forgoes in lost revenue to grant the tax deduction to donors dwarfs the amount which is given in the per vote subsidy.

As well, the cost of government doing business rises when it has to factor in the price of political patronage when conducting it's affairs. Granting government contracts without tender and selective interventions into the market that result in disproportionate gains for individuals that surpass the supposed benefits of the intervention are the two principle means that the practice of private funding for political parties extracts or extorts money from the public purse.

Indeed, the practice is maintained because of its exorbitant rate of return on the investment. Take the same amount used for political donations and subsequent lobbying efforts and try to obtain the same level of return in a truly completive market. Fat chance. So, instead of continuing the practice, let's conserve the resources we now have and be more socially effective and efficient in the use of the public purse.

A simple but effective proposal is to give all political parties that are able to meet a two percent threshold of the popular vote a lump sum to maintain basic operating requirements for a national party. Moreover, maintain the per vote subsidy, but increase the subsidy to give more incentive for people to actually cast their votes.

Voter apathy is widespread and threatens the vitality of our political institutions. Let's make it worthwhile for people to participate in the political process other than opening up their wallets in order to buy votes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome to the Disunited Shareholders of America

The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy. (Alex Carey)

It's a bit trite to say that money rules in the United States.

For example, during the 2008 elections for the American Congress in slightly more than nine times out of ten the candidate that spent the most money during the campaign was elected.

Moreover, the net worth of members of the House of Representatives averages around $5 million whereas the net worth of the members of the Senate averages around $16 million.

Also, despite recessionary woes, lobbyist spending jumped upwards 5% in 2009 to attain $3.47 billion. According to Sheila Krumholz of the Centre for Responsive Politics, "lobbying appears recession proof." She added that "even when companies are scaling back other operations, many view lobbying as the critical tool in protecting their future interests, particularly when Congress is preparing to take action on issues that could seriously affect their bottom lines."

Finally, the US November elections are on track to be costliest ever. The Centre puts the price tag for this election cycle at about $3.4 billion and rising, compared to $1.6 billion for the mid-terms in 1998.

Given the strong correlation between campaign expenditures and electoral results, elections in the United States have become little more than corporate campaigns for proxy voters. During the presidential election that occurs once every four years, the financial contributions of the average citizen do come into play, but when it comes to electing members of Congress, big money rules the day. As a result, the role of the citizenry in the US is to elect the corporate Board of Directors to which the American President will have to answer to.

That being said, I'm not suggesting that in America the plutocratic shareholders have gained complete control over the United States of America. They are opposed somewhat by Institutional investors that manage union workers pension funds. There is a divergence of interest in that the plutocrats have no reservations whatsoever in maximizing profits even when doing so would harm the economy. Institutional investors managing public pension plans, on the other hand, are less apt to do so since they must answer to the representatives of the pension fund contributors.

Notwithstanding, once we factor in the recent US Supreme Court ruling that struck down any limits on corporate spending during American elections, the real battleground in American politics has shifted from the televised spectacle of Congressional elections to the battle of who gets on the ballot when it's time for corporations to elect their Board of Directors.

After the Enron debacle, the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) had to act to bring some order to the nature of corporate governance. In short, even plutocrats can't trust other plutocrats when it comes to managing the affairs of a corporation. Small cliques form often enough within corporate boards in which the said directors make off with corporate assets by engaging in fraudulent practices.

The SEC response was to allow shareholders or groups of shareholders with as little as 3% of the company's equity to be able to put their preferred candidates on the ballot to elect a publicly traded corporation's Board of Directors. This measure would make it possible for Institutional investors to find themselves represented on corporate boards from which they had been previously excluded. In a small way, corporate power could be subject to some democratic restraint.

Yet, the plutocrats would not even let even this small measure pass. The American Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable filed a law suit to suspend the SEC's plans for implementation.

The federal court will decide, but by that time a new Board of Directors will be in place in Congress, one that will be even less apt than the present Congress to enact any law or support any administrative decision that impedes the pursuit of corporate profits.

In other words, business as usual in America, and there is precious little that Obama can do about it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Canadian Corporations Meddle in American Politics

I find the story published by ThinkProgress about donations from foreign corporations to the American Chamber of Commerce, which is engaged in a large scale third-party political campaign in the US mid-term elections to be unsettling, especially since some of the corporations identified are Canadian, for example, Sun Life Financial and SNC Lavalin.

Let's not forget that in Canada corporations cannot make donations to political parties. As well, unlike the US, there are limits to what third parties can spend during federal electoral campaigns. As a result, we should be asking the question: "what are Canadian corporations doing making contributions to third party organizations like the American Chamber of Commerce that are heavily involved in trying to influence the results of an American election?"

This should give cause for concern. Although American law allows for American subsidiaries of foreign owned corporations to make donations to politically active third party organizations, it is conceivable that corporate interest might not align well with the national interest. For instance, it might be in the best interest for a Canadian corporation to invest heavily in an American political campaign and thereafter engage in a lobbying effort to persuade Congress to adopt measures that advance its corporate interest and that interest might be diametrically opposed to position maintained and defended by the Canadian government.

Imagine a Canadian Investment Fund obtaining an American interventionist measure that would negatively impact the price of a Canadian produced commodity like wheat, softwood lumber or pork bellies after the Fund in question has shorted the targeted commodity. In this case, sizable financial gain could be had at the expense of Canadian producers and for government revenues.

It's funny how Canadians get this information from foreign sources. For example, we became aware of those Canadians with "hidden" Swiss bank accounts from the release of the names to other foreign countries that made this type of request to Swiss banking authorities.

These recent developments point out once again the need to totally revise and revamp our archaic access to information laws. Statutes that predate the rise of Information Technology and the globalization of commerce and communications are wholly inadequate to meet the present and future needs of Canadians to have timely access to information.

In the 21st century, nations that embrace open and transparent government and seek to empower their citizens by providing easy access to information that matters will prosper. Those that lag behind will pay the consequences.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Collective Memory Dysfunction

At the level of the individual memory, we are aware that memory impairment can occur. We all have experienced the inability to recall a phone number, a date, someone's name, and so on. This is a normal occurrence. Memories fade over time.

However, memory loss can become dysfunctional when the information that can't be recalled is essential to the well-being of the individual. Not being able to remember your own name, where you live, and the nature of your relationship to family members, for example, would impact significantly on your ability to lead an autonomous life.

Most often this type of memory loss is caused by a traumatic head injury or the progression of a degenerative disease, and for the affected individual, the loss is catastrophic. Indeed, those in close relation to the individual will say that her or she is no longer the same person.

Consequently, we have come to realize that an individual's well-being is dependent on having a healthy, functional memory, which means the ability to retain and recall what is important and to forget that which is not.

Although the dynamics of a society's collective memory are more complex and subject to the concerted efforts of groups to influence its content, how it is to be interpreted, and what is to be forgotten, the ability of society to remember its past has a huge impact on the quality of life for groups within the society and for the population at large.

At the group level, it is interesting to note how a society can remember certain sequences of events but not recall others. Indeed, the collective memory can be quite selective, depending on the moral consequences and their impact on societal choices to be taken in the present. Social injustice towards minority groups, like the North American Indigenous Peoples, will often be maintained because their historical narratives cannot gain any traction within the society's collective memory.

Unfortunately, it appears that North Americans are now engaged in a process of selective memory repression. The sequence of events in question is the inability of the political class and its economic worldview to predict the collapse of financial markets and the onset of the Great Recession.

A monumental intellectual failure of this scale must be remembered, but alas with yesterday's announcement of this year's recipient of the Nobel prize for economics, it appears that our society is continuing with its business as usual.

To draw an analogy, I would take this state of affairs back down to the individual level. It's as if our society is acting like an individual whose spouse has been unfaithful and chooses not to react. Without question, the infidelity should impact on the quality of the relationship. However, in some instances, usually when comfortable lifestyles could be jeopardized, the inconvenient truth is actively repressed and life goes on like before.

As we head into the midterm US elections in November and most likely a Canadian federal election in the new year, economic prognostications are being made by politicians as if nothing has happened recently that would call into question the ability of making any useful macroeconomic predictions whatsoever.

For instance, the Canadian Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, recently claimed that the election of a ruling coalition formed by the opposition parties would lead to economic catastrophe for the Canadian economy. To be fair to the Conservatives similar economic hyperbole is forthcoming from the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc.

What the mainstream media in Canada totally missed is the opportunity to call into question the validity of the entire exercise. Only two years ago elected officials were denying that we were heading into a recession, which proved to be totally false and we recorded the highest federal budgetary deficit in Canadian history.

So, given recent past record, it would appear to me that the appropriate question that should have been asked to Mr. Flaherty and should be asked in the future to politicians who make macroeconomic predictions is as follows, "if we got it so wrong about the economy in the past, what makes you think that you got it right today with regard to your predictions, what's changed?"

I know that I'm asking too much from the mainstream media. After all, they are in the infotainment industry. That's why the blogosphere is growing and gaining importance. We bloggers provide the analysis for free and we assume the responsibility of drawing people's attention to what the mainstream media would sooner have us forget.

Blog on!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Demise of the English Invader Nations

When I was a school boy growing up in the Prairies, I would stare at the map of the world, provided by Nielsen Chocolates, in which the countries that comprised the British Empire were all in pink. More pink land mass than anything else. Something a school boy could be proud of.

As well, we would start each day with a slightly off key singing of the Canadian National Anthem and end the day with a less than enthusiastic rendition of God Save the Queen. Regardless, I would trudge home feeling content that I was part of the Dominion of Canada, the biggest jewel in the British Empire.

Now that I am older and a little bit wiser I can't help but think that there is no such thing as an English-speaking nation in the former colonies often referred to as the English Settler States (the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) which I prefer to call the English Invader Nations. The frame around the word "settler" is far too cozy, and for me the notion of invasion best captures the inherent violence and subsequent rape of the land that comes with conquest and exploitation.

Today I realize that there is no imagined community, the nation, to which I belong. Instead, I am positioned in a process of wealth extraction, a global market, in which I have nothing in common with those who dominate the process other than a command of the English language, a precursor to the real lingua franca of the world, HTML.

Years ago, I read a collection of essays penned by Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy that changed the way I thought about the society I lived in. Fifteen years later, his depiction of the ruling classes throughout the English Invader Nations is more poignant than ever.

The book's title is a take-off on Jose Ortega y Gasset's The Revolt of the Masses, a reactionary work published in 1930 that ascribed the crisis of Western culture to the "political domination of the masses." Ortega believed that the rise of the masses threatened democracy by undermining the ideals of civic virtue that characterized the old ruling elites. But in twenty-first century America it is not the masses so much as an emerging elite of professional and managerial types who constitute the greatest threat to democracy.

The new cognitive elite is made up of what Robert Reich called "symbolic analysts" — lawyers, academics, journalists, systems analysts, brokers, bankers, etc. These professionals traffic in information and manipulate words and numbers for a living. They live in an abstract world in which information and expertise are the most valuable commodities. Since the market for these assets is international, the privileged class is more concerned with the global system than with regional, national, or local communities. In fact, members of the new elite tend to be estranged from their communities and their fellow citizens. "They send their children to private schools, insure themselves against medical emergencies ... and hire private security guards to protect themselves against the mounting violence against them," Lasch writes. "In effect, they have removed themselves from the common life."

Let's face it. The orchestrated collapse of the world's financial markets and the Great Recession that ensued was an Inside Job. They might look like us, they might talk like us, but they have absolutely no remorse of having caused so much harm to their fellow citizens. Take a peek at the award winning documentary's trailer.

Some might respond that the US is an isolated case, but in reality the same trend of rising income inequality and the accompanying social problems of increased child poverty, incarceration rates, and mental health problems, to mention just a few, can be found throughout English Invader Nations as well as in the UK.

No wonder how "we" do at the Olympics has become a national obsession. After all, nationalism is the opiate of the masses.