Who do you think is responsible for the performance of elected representatives and the thousands of agencies/bureaucracies throughout local, state, and federal government? Who do you think is responsible for protecting your unalienable rights?

Perhaps it is you? I bristle at the endless complaining about politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate leaders' under-performance, especially when coupled with unreasonable expectations that those folks make all the changes necessary to relieve our discontent.

Why on Earth should they when we choose not to do our own part in America's governance? The old adage "Labor respects what management inspects" is no less true for We the People. We are the managers, and in today's political and civic environment, the huge majority of us completely abdicate our personal duties and responsibilities required to live in a free and open society.

The systemic corruption that infects America's political and economic systems has no chance for correction in an environment where its population turns a blind eye. More egregious, however, is that Americans choose to remain absurdly ignorant about fundamental components that directly impact their daily lives, including basic finance, money, and banking; civics and history; constitutional protections; elections; taxation; basic common law and administrative procedure; foreign policy; and even geography. Without a basic working knowledge of at least some of these essential aspects of living as an American in 2014 and beyond, we cannot expect to continue to live in a free and open society.

This ignorance is at the heart of the status quo. The mainstream media, politicians and bureaucrats, the private-sector corporate leaders, academia, and the endless entrenched foundations and associations all exploit collective ignorance to achieve their ends - consolidation of ownership/control over global resources. The United Nations Agenda 21 is clear evidence of this ambitious goal. Unless we engage now, global control over labor and property will be quietly implemented through federal programming flowing to local counties and cities. Already the country is being divided into mega-regions, creating brand-new jurisdictions of varying combinations of counties and cities, diluting our voices in our own communities.

Common Core is another example of federal standards being enforced in local school districts once individual districts accept federal funding through the Department of Education. The same is true for military-grade equipment in local police jurisdictions. How many county/city taxpayers are aware that those local purchases, using federal grants, have strings attached that cede certain law-enforcement authority to the federal government? What authority did Davenport citizens have to cede for the fire department to get a $611,000 grant from Homeland Security (RCReader.com/y/creep1)?

Americans are being systematically coerced into complying with global agendas through education, media consumption (news, television programming, talk radio, movies, and books), a virtually unchallengeable two-party election system, central banking, increasing influence over local government budgets, and a burgeoning dual legal system that deploys administrative protocols outside of the U.S. Constitution.

Also of huge importance, but little known by the public, is the misguided paradigm shift in governing principles and priorities from "representation of the people" to "continuity of government." The replacement of "representation of the people" with "continuity of government" occurred without the people's consent, dramatically reducing the government's adherence to the U.S. Constitution. It cannot be stated emphatically enough: This shift to "continuity of government" has the thinnest accountability to the U.S. Constitution and, as such, is entirely contrived in its "administrative" justification.

Over time, the public-service sector - from each congressional seat to each agency office to each birth certificate issued to Americans before a newborn is allowed to leave the hospital - has been systematically incorporated. Through incorporation, we the people and our activities are conveniently put in the jurisdiction of "commerce," which is controlled by the federal government (parent corporation) using administrative-procedure law. But administrative rules and statutes are arbitrary, with only cursory authority in the Constitution, allowing leaders to circumvent it when it suits them.

Current civic matters are almost always conducted via administrative-court proceedings with administrative-law officers, not common-law courts with actual judges. Sadly, this sweeping change in legal protocols is not understood by the general public, because the courts go out of their way to emulate common-law justice.

Equally alarming is how precious little most Americans know about how money and credit work in this country, let alone how the Federal Reserve Bank fits into the equation. Its implementation in 1913 is the very definition of political corruption. In 1910, some of the world's most powerful bankers and the U.S. government's most ensconced politicians met in secret to plan the national banking coup. With the Federal Reserve Act, Congress outsourced its fiscal duties to a non-federal entity with no reserves. (See The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin [RCReader.com/y/creep2] for an exhaustive treatise on the players, or the Minneapolis Federal Reserve site [RCReader.com/y/creep3] for the innocuous version of the meeting.)

Before 1913, the U.S. had two previously failed national central banks. Otherwise, the U.S. Treasury printed its own money under strict guidelines, with our currency's value tied to gold and silver. The privately owned Federal Reserve Bank (arguably a foreign bank because, as a private corporation, it is not registered in any of the 50 states) was established via the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to print money to administer the interests of the United States of America, Incorporated. The shareholders of the Federal Reserve are guaranteed a 6-percent annual dividend on the efforts of the Fed.

Critics of this legislation consider it completely unconstitutional to convey this power to a private entity, because Article I, Section 8 expressly mandates Congress' obligation to print the country's money. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 forced the government to now borrow what we used to print and use for free. Imagine if we had no interest to pay on the money the government used for its own operation. Our interest payment to the Federal Reserve Bank for printing our money, then loaning it back to us, is now at $250 billion annually.

The entire U.S. monetary system is rigged to benefit the shareholders of private central banks worldwide. It is that simple. Because the media, education curricula, and bureaucracies are largely complicit, most Americans live their entire lives never having a clue how the monetary system that underpins their lives actually functions against their best financial interests.

There is no denying that since 1913, as government has grown exponentially, so has the income gap. Every decade, as government increases its spending to astronomical levels, increasingly greater wealth and resources are funneling to fewer and fewer people/entities. The American people are finally learning that the largest corporation in America, perhaps even the planet, is the United States of America, Incorporated. And USA, Inc., is a friend with benefits for those chosen private-sector corporate partners who occupy most of the leadership positions within government itself. Let's call it "sinergy."

The pervasive lack of American curiosity and healthy skepticism that used to characterize our civic response to such issues of the day has become a huge contributing factor in maintaining the status quo. There is a big difference between being anti-government and being anti-corrupt government, but that distinction is deliberately blurred by those who favor the status quo, including the mainstream media.

For instance, have you ever wondered why the District of Columbia - 10 square miles - has its own exclusive jurisdiction inside America? It equates to being its own small country inside the United States, exactly like the Vatican in Rome and the 12 city blocks that compose the financial district known as the City of London inside London proper. Do you find these three separate jurisdictions curious at all? What purpose does it serve to carve these tiny areas out for altogether different rules than the rest of the countries they inhabit? Is it anti-government to question such anomalies? Hardly.

Finally, the greatest danger facing American liberty is our stubborn refusal to view our country's governance outside of the two-major-political-party ideologies. It is one of the single greatest threats before us. The current political division among Americans, who often don't bother voting yet still declare themselves Democrats or Republicans, is an excellent example of faux civic participation. By aligning with a single party, with a predictable animus toward the only acknowledged competing party, the status quo is guaranteed.

Why do you suppose that all modern news shows, talk radio, and informational broadcasts so obviously lean liberal or conservative? Nearly all information flowing from media is delivered using two communication tactics: (1) highly rhetorical and deliberately general, leaving viewers/listeners to subconsciously fill in the blanks, and (2) framed to elicit emotional responses that cement opposition to the perceived competing party.

In both these tactics, solutions are never provided by design. This is key. Solutions are anathema to the status quo. Viable solutions would be its death knell. The best evidence for this can be seen daily in DC by observing Congress during the endless hearings and floor speechifying that provide little more than political opportunities to campaign. And in the endless redundant broadcasts, whether TV or radio, that reaffirm the political discourse.

Listen to or read news through the prism of the above two criteria. Ask yourself if you've learned anything substantive afterward. Did the information contribute meaningfully toward a better understanding of the topic? Did you experience an emotional response? Was any semblance of a solution offered? If you do this, you will clearly see the patterns that confirm the corrosive manipulation of news and information occurring across the board.

Meanwhile, Congress is advancing policies and programs that further centralize power and control in DC, regardless of the violations to our civil liberties. The National Security Agency is spying on Americans, collecting phone metadata, e-mails, and Internet activities, on a scope that cannot possibly be justified in a free and open society. The very same technology that provides these intrusive capabilities is equally capable of also providing the necessary limitations that would adequately protect our privacies. The meme that Americans must give up any amount of privacy for security is a false choice.

A powerful message would be sent to politicians and bureaucrats if American voters would stop buying into the two-party political theatre and vote incumbents and/or career politicians out of office regardless of party affiliation. We do nothing more than reward bad behavior when we don't hold them individually accountable for their poor performance in the legislative bodies. Meanwhile, some voters demand that legislators establish term limits, a ridiculous expectation to begin with. Never mind that every voter can take the civic responsibility for imposing those very same term limits at the polls.

As Americans, we each have three incredibly powerful tools with which to participate in our governance: (1) the power of the purse, (2) the power of the grand jury and jury nullification, and (3) the power of the vote. But we marginalize our personal power when we align with political parties at all costs. It is high time we recognize the massive manipulation occurring and break out of the lethargy represented in the disgraceful unaccountability in how we vote.

Every time our politicians and bureaucrats mismanage America's affairs - whether by bad policy, unintended consequences, greed, or whatever - and We the People do nothing, we are accessories. A perfect illustration is the recent drone attack in Yemen that killed 15 innocent people who were attending a wedding (RCReader.com/y/creep4). None was the intended alleged terrorist, which means we killed 15 innocent people celebrating a marriage. Mistake or not, how is this atrocity any less evil than any of the myriad bombings carried out by terrorists in the Middle East? Every American is culpable when we so fecklessly do nothing, permitting our leaders to terrorize innocents. Americans do not get a pass, either morally, spiritually, or otherwise, for heinous acts by our government because, like it or not, we are still the boss of "them," funding such activities with our tax dollars.

You can start by effectively engaging with local government, where you can actually make a real difference fairly quickly. Obtain copies of your county and city itemized budgets to learn exactly where your local tax dollars are being spent. Be sure to scrutinize revenue sources, too. Identify grant monies, and get copies of the grants to see what the quid pro quo is for receiving such funds. Nothing is ever free, especially federal government money. If something is confusing, just ask. These are public documents and you have every right to them. Stop being a bystander and take responsibility for that portion of your money that politicians and bureaucrats are spending on your behalf. The important first step in holding government accountable is knowing more precisely what it needs to account for.

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