Back in 1906 Ambrose Bierce, a journalist for the San Francisco Examiner, wrote a book he first called “The Cynic’s Wordbook” and later republished as “The Devil’s Dictionary.” The book has since been nominated as one of “The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature.” “The Devil’s Dictionary” is comprised of short, cynical word definitions. In that spirit we need to examine a few definitions in order to clarify the 21st century international power structure. Here we go, with fervent apologies to Mr. Bierce.

Sovereign Nation: Sovereignty has everything to do with power. A Sovereign Nation has the power to exercise absolute control over its people and its lands; including but not limited to making laws, exacting and collecting taxes, making war and peace, making treaties or engaging in commerce with other Sovereign Nations. A Sovereign Nation, by definition, holds the sledge hammer.

Republic: A form of government in which the supreme power is purportedly vested in the people but whose real power is vested in the Wealthy Elite or in artificial entities called Corporations which are owned and managed by the Wealthy Elite. The Wealthy Elite, along with their Corporate counterparts in a Republic, dole out the hammers.

State: In the United States, a bounded parcel of geography ruled by a state legislature and a governor within which the state government has the power to perform all the duties of a Sovereign Nation except where those rules and regulation run counter to the rules and regulations of the Sovereign Nation which governs that State. A State, by definition, holds a tack hammer but pretends to wield a sledge hammer.

Protectorate: A form of international guardianship that arises under International Law when a weaker State surrenders by treaty the management of some or all of its international affairs to a stronger State. A Protectorate, by definition, has been hammered upon.

Territory: A bounded parcel of geography owned by or under the jurisdiction of a Sovereign Nation and dependent on an external governmental organization, but which has some degree of autonomy. The Territory holds a clown’s mallet with a silly-putty head and a rubber garden hose for a handle.

Commonwealth: A State, for all intents and purposes, unless you live in Puerto Rico or the Northern Mariana Islands. The United States has two distinct forms of commonwealths: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania are really States but their constitutions deem them as commonwealths, not states. For all practical purposes they are States. Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands are not really States but each of them gets to elect one non-voting representative in Congress. Residents of these Commonwealths are U. S. citizens, but they pay no federal taxes. When Puerto Rican politicians drew up a constitution in 1952, they called themselves the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico” and the label stuck even though the government of the United States made it clear that they still regarded Puerto Rico as a Territory. This form of Commonwealth is the embodiment of the age-old question: if a hammer falls off the bench in the work shop and nobody’s there to hear it does it make a sound?

Citizen: A native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a Sovereign Nation and is entitled to protection by it but not from it. The lowest rung on the political ladder. Cannon fodder. If the Sovereign Nation holds the hammer the Citizens must be regarded as the nails.

Second Class Citizen: Citizen