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74, that is an exceptionally accurate assessment. It’s long, but the Russell Means video posted elsewhere on the SHTF Forum is one of THE most instructive and particularly insightful explanations of the loss of power by “We the People” I’ve ever seen. He correctly started with Abraham Lincoln as one of the most significant blows to liberty in the United States. When states were not permitted, under penalty of death of their leaders, and utter destruction of their cities (Atlanta being their best example), That effort was pure “might makes right.”

That first experiment in federal supremacy was successful, and started the downhill run, followed by the jump off the cliff in 1913 under Woodrow Wilson (creation of the Fed, the 16th and 17th Amendments).

In 1913 came removal of legislative power of states to effect (or block) changes at the national level, through the 17th Amendment, whereby states were no longer permitted to select their own senators. That task was tossed into the free-for-all mess of group-think by the masses (which was already given to them in selection of their representatives in the House). Now the masses held full control of the entire congress, rather than the carefully balanced constitutional arrangement that included significant input by the individual states themselves (in the Senate, pre-1913).

Add to that the watering down of the additional power each state had in selection of the President – the Electoral College. How, one might ask? After all, isn’t that still running pretty much as advertised in the original Constitution? Well, yes, and no.

What’s changed is the massive manipulation of the masses through the use of political parties (whittled down to only two quasi-legal ones), and massive use of polling to shape the perceptions of the masses before a single vote has ever been cast. That has been combined, hand-in-hand, with the selective presentation of the various candidates’ positions by the “news” media. Along with that, editorial opinion is intimately interwoven with “news” reporting (not the separate segments as in long-gone days of news reporting followed by designated editorial comment ON the news). Finally, and just as important if not more so, the media outlets grossly disproportionately “report” on the various candidates, thereby further shaping public perception of the “importance” of the various candidates. In this cycle, Trump is everywhere! What that means has still not been revealed – initially it propelled him to the front spot very quickly. But will it suddenly be turned to his demise as a viable candidate? Or will that even be a smokescreen for the maneuver that causes him to launch a “sudden” (planned?) 3rd party candidacy, thereby robbing anyone of a clear majority in either the popular or electoral vote totals?

The two other equally powerful branches of government (TWO? you ask? I thought the presidency and Congress were joined only by the judiciary!) are also equally crucial to the ultimate control of the nation: the courts and the unelected bureaucrats that make up the truly significant rule-making branch of government – with the previously mentioned EPA/court tag-team event that trounces individual and states’ rights.

And of course we can’t mention but then forget to discuss the 16th Amendment, which gave the Government the power to demand whatever amount of money Congress desired from individual citizens – at the point of a gun, followed by prison, in case of non-compliance. Combine that with massive government control of the economy through the non-governmental “agency” known as the Federal Reserve, and we see how 1913 became the bungee jumping event without a cord.

The most recent ramping up of loss of power to both We the People as well as the individual states is the virtually unbridled use of the Executive Order, as if it really can be used to make laws that apply to We the People, rather than simply direct operations of the Executive Branch of the government. And in fact, it does have all that power, simply because it’s used, and Congress and the Courts have allowed it to be so. The takeover has been completed. “We the People” just don’t know it – yet.

When challenged, the proponents of this gross distortion of constitutional government always point out to the clueless masses that we still have the Constitution, Congress still makes laws, the President still has veto power and is Commander-in-Chief of the Military, and the Electoral College is still in place. And of course the Supreme Court is always there to rule on the rightness or wrongness of all sorts of things. So what could possibly be wrong with this picture?

[For a real “trip” down memory lane, to see how it was done over a half century ago, with “favorite sons,” released delegates for subsequent votes at conventions, platforms, etc., check out the way it was in 1960.]