A fascinating and foolproof strategy for political speechifying is to make mostly sweeping statements that are vague enough that listeners are forced to subconsciously fill in the blanks for themselves. Take this sweeping-but-vague statement: "We need to create good-paying jobs to bring this country back to its former greatness." To be truly meaningful for listeners, this statement needs more specific definitions of terms, such as an actual wage range in place of "good-paying." However, instead of providing specific details, politicians purposely allow each listener to mentally substitute his/her own version of "good-paying" with satisfactory wage ranges of their own.

What is meant by "former greatness" in the above statement? It doesn't matter because listeners will specify the meaning internally. Each of us will automatically plug in our own definitions, while simultaneously giving the politicians the credit for delivering speeches we can relate to, yet avoiding any accountability for their details.

This issue's cover story puts to rest any doubts Americans may have about the media cartel's deplorable performance in providing relevant, reliable, truthful information. The way the media cartel knowingly under-reports, hides, and sometimes outright manufactures data on critical topics (including many more not covered here) makes it public enemy number one.

Nothing is more detrimental to a free and open society than an uninformed populace. The media cartel has devolved into nothing more than an overt propaganda machine that systematically manipulates Americans' thought processes to keep the masses docile and compliant in an ever-increasing authoritarian regime. The advances in technology afforded to us have proven to be a double-edged sword that further enables something like the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell's prophetic novel 1984. The good news is that if the people avail themselves of truth that is out there, they can break free of this assault of lies, misinformation, and propaganda. And, while Project Censored is a very valuable place to start, even that project has missed some critical under-reported topics and events. And so we share some of those with you below as a supplement to this cover story.

At what point does caring about mankind mean enough to you to at least question the propaganda you have been fed over and over? The subject of 9/11 is horrifying on so many levels. Eleven years later, much more is known about one of the worst events in American history. The mainstream media has grossly neglected critical forensic evidence that contradicts the 9/11 Commission Report's explanation of events. Instead, it has deliberately embarked on a campaign to characterize those who question the official explanation(s) of 9/11 as conspiracy theorists, extremists, or unpatriotic, labeling such skeptics as "Truthers." Well, this editor has been called worse.

This is an important story that you may not have seen covered in any other local media. On August 16, Brandon Raub - a young U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Chesterfield County, Virginia - was forcibly taken from his home in handcuffs by his community's police in cooperation with the FBI, ostensibly for criticizing the government on Facebook. His detainment was filmed and uploaded to YouTube shortly thereafter (RCReader.com/y/raub).

What is shocking about this event is that he was taken without a warrant, and he was not charged with any crime. The authorities repeatedly told Raub's family that he was not being charged with a crime, even though they claimed his postings were "terrorist in nature." Instead he was literally grabbed by Virginia law enforcement and the FBI using a little-known "civil commitment" statute, which allows a person to be forcibly detained and isolated for mental illness/disorder via the order of a single judge or health administrator. This detainment can be indefinite, and permits the state to administer treatment and/or drugs against the individual's will, including vaccinations.

Decades of indoctrination have caused most Americans to believe the federal government is the boss of them. In March 2011, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees, told students at a conference at Augustana College that "people who don't believe the United States government has any control over their lives" are domestic terrorists (RCReader.com/y/dees at the 38-minute, 50-second point). Rather than such extremist, wrong-headed rhetoric, Dees should explain to students that we the people are the bosses of not only the federal government, but of state, county, and city governments, as well. This is American Civics 101.

However, because we have so completely failed in our individual responsibilities as civic bosses, the federal government is indeed methodically taking control of every aspect of our lives - from the kinds of light bulbs we are permitted to use in our homes to spying on us with unseen drones to violating our persons at every airport checkpoint to granting the executive branch the unlawful ability to arbitrarily deny us due process via the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act.

After nearly 20 years of opining in these pages, I am going to try a shock-and-awe approach to informing. Hopefully readers will be either inspired or outraged, or at least curious enough to pursue the topics here, and to not just verify but also to help better connect relevant dots, adding substantially to the scope of knowledge required to effect real change.

For instance, did you know that when you purchase stocks and bonds in today's market, you don't actually own them? Instead, you are only purchasing beneficiary rights that come with each unit. The real owner of your stocks and bonds is the little known Cede & Company, a division of the Depository Trust Company (DTC), which handles 99 percent of all securities trades in the United States and the majority of trades abroad. In other words, this privately held corporation (approximately 35 percent of which is owned by the New York Stock Exchange), which is actually a division of the Federal Reserve System, processes all book-entry securities transactions for every bank and brokerage firm in the United States. According to Wikipedia, in 2011, the DTC held approximately $1.7 quadrillion of the world's wealth, with many of the rights of legal ownership, if not the benefits derived therefrom, accruing to it via modern digital transactions replacing the traditional certificate system.

Twice at the Iowa GOP state convention, efforts were made to restrict any criticism of a Republican from anyone holding an elected state-party position. Twice those efforts failed, thankfully. The insularity that the big-government, war-mongering Republicans want to impose on their fellow Republicans is stifling.

It's no secret that 23 of 28 non-bound voting delegates from Iowa at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August are Ron Paul loyalists or supporters - including new Iowa party chair A.J. Spiker, who was formerly a Ron Paul paid staffer. The Ron Paulistas, as some refer to them, have taken over the Republican Party of Iowa, and nothing was more evidence of this than the peaceful, professional, and controversy-free manner in which last Saturday's statewide convention played out.

I am so done treading lightly for the sake of readers' sensibilities. America is in dire need of honest, problem-solving patriots who can muster enough gumption to get civically involved and provoke action, especially on behalf of our troops.

If you truly consider yourself a supporter of our soldiers, then turn off American Idol or whatever idiotic programming you normally watch, and instead watch the following four documentaries: The Ground Truth, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, Rethink Afghanistan, and Severe Clear.

If you cannot trouble yourself to do at least this much, then shame on you. You don't deserve to be an American. There is so much need-to-know information that is deliberately withheld from us by the mainstream media cartel and our derelict cadre of politicians; the least you can do is dismiss their drivel and consume something relevant, important, and helpful to the troops many of you so ardently claim to support.

It is a deeply painful thing to finally admit that the government you thought was your protector and friend is anything but. Or that the politicians charged with upholding the U.S. Constitution - as their oaths dictate by law - not only ignore this nonnegotiable mandate but actually diminish it with conflicting legislation that is largely illegal according to the constructs of America's republic under the rule of common law.

The common law I refer to is informed by the Magna Carta, which developed around two core principles that provide the litmus test for all legislation: (1) Do all you have agreed to do (contract law), and (2) Do no harm to another or his property (criminal law).

All kinds of statutes, administrative procedure, and highly arbitrary regulations have been passed via hidden legislation among hundreds of thousands of pages of bills, approved but not even read by our lawmakers, that do not remotely conform to the above two principles. How many statutes and regulations are adjudicated in criminal and/or civil court without harm to another or another's property? Most adjudication today is nothing more than a means for government and attorneys to generate revenue in the form of penalties and fees for an exhaustive list of contrived violations that harm no one.

What would you be able to accomplish with a staffing budget of more than $2 million? That is the first thing I asked myself when I researched the U.S. Senate staffing budgets at Legistorm.com. Senator Dick Durbin is spending nearly $3 million per year in staff salaries. Senator Chuck Grassley has more than $2.6 million and is employing more than 50 people. Members of Congress, especially new ones, must have to pay their dues in D.C., as Representative Bobby Schilling only had $695,000 to work with in Fiscal Year 2011 while Representative Bruce Braley had more than $1 million to employ his 20 staffers.

The standard operating procedure seems to be to pay chiefs of staff between $160,000 and $170,000 annually. These figures are not bandied about when the incumbents or challengers are vying for your votes every two and six years. Consider that in 2002, members of Congress were paid $150,000, and that today they are paid $174,000 (RCReader.com/y/congress). That's a 16-percent raise over 10 years. Has your job enjoyed such raises over that same time period? And when the top staffer is paid nearly as much as the elected "official," one begins to understand that a person vying for these elected positions is vying for an institution, an enterprise, a heavily funded platform from which to dole out privileges and influence. No wonder so much money is spent on campaign races for a job that pays less than $200,000. When one has a budget of nearly $3 million at one's disposal for staffing alone, one can accomplish quite a bit.

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