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.

Scott County Republicans have every reason to hang their heads in shame after the sham of a county convention that broke its own rules to deliberately exclude at least 30 percent of the duly elected precinct delegates from being nominated as delegates to the district, state, and national conventions. At a minimum, members should be demanding that Scott County GOP Central Committee Chair Judy Davidson resign. Davidson was not elected convention chair at the March 10 meeting, yet she disallowed nominations for district and state delegates, then railroaded through her own predetermined slate of names to be delegates - without a motion from the delegation - and then conducted a secret ballot to conclude the charade. There were dozens of delegates present who were elected in their precincts and, by the party's own rules, should have been included first on any list or slate of delegates moving forward.

Do any of us really believe it is a coincidence that Congress and the president are fast-tracking specific legislation and executive orders that, when viewed in their entirety, destroy the Bill of Rights? Three months ago, Congress passed the alarming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without due process - meaning without probable cause, criminal charge, benefit of counsel, or a trial. This treatment of U.S. citizens was outlawed after the Civil War, only to resurface now in an even more egregious manner, especially since back then, citizens had to at least be charged with a crime.

In the shadow of this shocking legislation, last week Congress almost unanimously passed another horrifying law that criminalizes protesting on or near any federal property, or merely being in the vicinity of either (a) an event of national significance, or (b) a person under the protection of the Secret Service. The Federal Restricted Buildings & Grounds Improvement Act repeals our right to peacefully assemble and petition the government with our grievances. In fact, it is now illegal to assemble in front of Congress if even one member might be inside.

The new meme cheerfully propagated by the mainstream media (MSM) is the 1-percent-versus-the-99-percent conflict, which fits perfectly into its strategy for maintaining strict political divisions of Left versus Right. This bipartisan strategy is absolutely critical for advancing the agenda of the "1 percent," which, simply stated, is to own and/or control the world's natural and economic resources, including land and mineral rights, water sources, food and energy production, transportation, money supply, and most important of all labor.

Glaringly absent from this current meme is a proper definition by the MSM of exactly who composes the 1 percent. This, too, is absolutely essential, because if the 1 percent is actually identified, broad-based consensus is achievable and solutions can begin. Instead, the 1 percent is left to the imaginations of the 99 percent, allowing for a wide variety of culprits responsible for society's woes, and no possible consensus - hence no solutions, either.

If you pay attention, you'll find that solutions are never proffered in any of the MSM's endless dialogue permeating the broadcasts, and rarely in print. The very last thing the 1 percent wants are viable solutions emerging to upset the status quo.

So who is the 1 percent?

For decades, the political machine has perpetuated a deliberate void in the average American's knowledge and understanding of our foreign policies, militarism versus defense, and the relative budgets for all three. The mainstream media gives these subjects a wide berth as far as meaningful coverage goes. Even the federal budget for defense breaks out military spending from other significant defense expenditures.

Let's review how U.S. defense spending compares to the rest of the developed world. Military spending in 2010 for Germany was $46.8 billion, United Kingdom $57.4 billion, France $61.8 billion, Japan $51.4 billion, Russia $52.5 billion, and China $114.3 billion. The U.S. was $687 billion! That is nearly twice as much as all these other countries combined, adding up to $384.2 billion by comparison, according to 2010 World Military Budgets, issued by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Military Expenditure Database.

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