‘Rich’ Americans Have Never Been More Comfortable Relative To ‘Poor’

The last few months have seen a dramatic divergence between the ‘comfort’ of the haves and the have-notes.

As Bloomberg notes, higher-income Americans are pulling ahead of those making less, and their moods reflect it.

As the chart above shows, people making more than $50,000 a year were the most upbeat since 2001, lifting their confidence index to 76.8, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort survey this week.

However, the gauge for those earning less than $50,000 annually fell to a five-month low of 39.4, putting the sentiment gap at 37.4 points, the widest on record.

Society Is Made of Narrative. Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

In the movie The Matrix, humans are imprisoned in a virtual world by a powerful artificial intelligence system in a dystopian future. What they take to be reality is actually a computer program that has been jacked into their brains to keep them in a comatose state. They live their whole lives in that virtual simulation, without any way of knowing that what they appear to be experiencing with their senses is actually made of AI-generated code.

Life in our current society is very much the same. The difference is that instead of AI, it’s psychopathic oligarchs who are keeping us asleep in the Matrix. And instead of code, it’s narrative.

Society is made of narrative like the Matrix is made of code. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government, they’re all purely mental constructs which exist nowhere outside of the mental noises in our heads. If I asked you to point to your knee you could do so instantly and wordlessly, but if I asked you to point to the economy, for example, the closest you could come is using a bunch of linguistic symbols to point to a group of concepts. To show me the economy, you’d have to tell me a story.

Anyone who has ever experienced a moment of mental stillness knows that without the chatter, none of those things are part of your actual present experience. There is no identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics or government in your experience without the mental chatter about those things. There’s not even a “you” anywhere to be found, because it turns out that that’s made of narrative, too.

Without mental narrative, nothing is experienced but sensory impressions appearing to a subject with no clear shape or boundaries. The visual and auditory fields, the sensation of air going in and out of the respiratory system, the feeling of the feet on the ground or the bum in the chair. That’s it. That’s more or less the totality of life minus narrative.

When you add in the mental chatter, however, none of those things tend to occupy a significant amount of interest or attention. Appearances in the visual and auditory field are suddenly divided up and labeled with language, with attention to them determined by whichever threatens or satisfies the various agendas, fears and desires of the conceptual identity construct known as “you”. You can go days, weeks, months or years without really noticing the feeling of your respiratory system or your feet on the ground as your interest and attention gets sucked up into a relationship with society that exists solely as narrative.

“Am I good enough? Am I doing the right thing? Oh man, I hope what I’m trying to do works out. I need to make sure I get all my projects done. If I do that one thing first it might save me some time in the long run. Oh there’s Ashley, I hate that bitch. God I’m so fat and ugly. If I can just get the things that I want and accomplish my important goals I’ll feel okay. Taxes are due soon. What’s on TV? Oh it’s that idiot. How the hell did he get elected anyway? Everyone who made that happen is a Nazi. God I can’t wait for the weekend. I hope everything goes as planned between now and then.”

On and on and on and on. Almost all of our mental energy goes into those mental narratives. They dominate our lives. And, for that reason, people who are able to control those narratives are able to control us.

And they do.

Most people try to exert some degree of control over those around them. They try to influence how those in their family, social and employment circles think of them by behaving and speaking in a certain way. Family members will spend their lives telling other family members over and over again that they’re not as smart/talented/good as they think they are to keep them from becoming too successful and moving away. Romantic partners will be persuaded that they can never leave because no one else will ever love them. To varying degrees, they manipulate the narratives of individuals.

Then there are the people who’ve figured out that they can actually take their ability to influence the way people think about themselves and their world and turn it into personal profit. Cult leaders convince followers to turn over their entire lives in service to them. Advertisers convince consumers that they have a problem or deficiency that can only be solved with This Exciting New Product™. Ambitious rat race participants learn how to climb the corporate ladder by winning favor with the right people and inflicting small acts of sabotage against their competing peers. Ambitious journalists learn that they progress much further in their careers by advancing narratives that favor the establishment upon which the plutocrats who own the big media companies have built their kingdoms. They manipulate the narratives of groups.

And then, there are the oligarchs. The master manipulators. These corporate kings of the modern world have learned the secret that every ruler since the dawn of civilization has known: whoever controls the narratives that are believed by a society is the controller of that society. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government: all mental constructs which only influence society to the extent that they are believed and subscribed to by a significant majority of the collective. If you have influence over the things that people believe about those mental constructs, you have influence over society. You rule it. The oligarchs manipulate the narratives of entire societies.

This is why there have been book burnings, heretic burnings, and executions for mocking the emperor throughout history: ideas which differ from the dominant narratives about what power is, how money works, who should be in charge and so on are threatening to a ruler’s power in the exact same way that an assassin’s dagger is. At any time, in any kingdom, the people could have decided to take the crown off of their king’s head and place it upon the head of any common beggar and treat him as the new king. And, in every meaningful way, he would be the new king. The only thing preventing this from happening was dominant narratives subscribed to by the society at the time about Divine Right, fealty, loyalty, noble blood and so on. The only thing keeping the crown on a king’s head was narrative.

The exact same thing remains true today; the only thing that has changed is the narratives the public subscribe to. Because of what they are taught in school and what the talking heads on their screens tell them about their nation and their government, most people believe that they live in a relatively free democracy where accountable, temporary power is placed in the hands of a select few based on a voting process informed by the unregulated debate of information and ideas. Completely separate from the government, they believe, is an economy whose behavior is determined by the supply and demand of consumers. In reality, economics, commerce and government are fully controlled by an elite class of plutocrats, who also happen to own the media corporations which broadcast the information about the world onto people’s screens.

Control the narratives of economics and commerce, and you control economics and commerce. Control the narratives about politics and government, and you control politics and government. This control is used by the controllers to funnel power to the oligarchs, in this way effectively turning society into one giant energy farm for the elite class.

But it is possible to wake up from that narrative Matrix.

It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work. Inner work. And humility. Nobody likes acknowledging that they’ve been fooled, and the depth and extent to which we’ve all been fooled is so deeply pervasive it can be tempting to decide that the work is complete far before one is actually free. Mainstream American liberals think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by Fox and Donald Trump, and mainstream American conservatives think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by MSNBC and the Democrats, but the propaganda strings on both trace back to the same puppet master. And seeing that is just the beginning.

But, through sincere, humble research and introspection, it is possible to break free of the Matrix and see the full extent to which you and everyone you know has been imprisoned by ideas which have been programmed into social consciousness by the powerful. Not just in our adult lives, but ever since our parents began teaching us how to speak, think and relate to the world. Not just in the modern world, but as far back as history stretches to when the power-serving belief systems of societal structure and religion were promoted by kings and queens of old. All of society, and all of ourselves, and indeed all of the thoughts in our heads, have been shaped by those in power to their benefit. This is the reality that we were born into, and our entire personality structure has been filtered through and shaped by it.

For this reason, escaping from the power-serving propaganda Matrix necessarily means becoming a new creature altogether. The ideas, mental habits and ways of relating to the world which were formed in the Matrix are only useful for moving around inside of it. In order to relate to life outside of the power-promulgated narratives which comprise the very fabric of society, you’ve got to create a whole new operating system for yourself in order to move through life independently of the old programming designed to keep you asleep and controlled.

So it’s hard work. You’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way, just like an infant slowly learning to walk. But, eventually, you get clear of the programming.

And then you’re ready to fight.

Because at some point in this process, you necessarily come upon a deep, howling rage within. Rage at the oligarchic manipulators of your species, yes, but also rage against manipulation in all its forms. Rage against everyone who has ever tried to manipulate your narrative, to make you believe things about yourself or make other people believe things about you. Rage against anyone who manipulates anyone else to any extent. When your eyes are clear manipulation stands out like a black fly on a white sheet of paper, and your entire system has nothing to offer it but revulsion and rejection.

So you set to work. You set to work throwing all attempts to manipulate you as far away from yourself as possible, and expunging anyone from your life who refuses to stop trying to control your narrative. Advertising, mass media propaganda, establishment academia, everything gets purged from your life that wants to pull you back into the Matrix.

And they will try to pull you back in. Because our narratives are so interwoven and interdependent with everyone else’s, and so inseparable from our sense of ourselves, your rejection of the narrative Matrix will present as an existential threat to many of your friends and loved ones. You will see many people you used to trust, many of them very close to you, suddenly transform into a bunch of Agent Smiths right in front of your eyes, and they will shame you, guilt you, throw every manipulation tool they have at you to get you to plug the jack back into your brain. But because your eyes are clear, you’ll see it all. You won’t be fooled.

And then all you’ll want is to tear down the Matrix from its very foundations and plunge its controllers into irrelevance. You will set to work bringing down the propaganda prison that they have built up around your fellow humans in any way you can, bolt by bolt if you have to, because you know from your own experience that we are all capable of so much more than the puny gear-turning existence they’ve got everyone churning away at. You will despise the oligarchs for the obscene sacrilege that they have inflicted upon human majesty out of greed and insecurity, and you will make a mortal enemy of the entire machine that they have used to enslave our species.

And, because their entire kingdom is built upon maintaining the illusion of freedom and democracy, all they will have to fight back against you is narrative. They’ll try to shame you into silence by calling you a conspiracy theorist, they’ll have their media goons and manipulators launch smear campaigns against you, but because your eyes are clear, none of that will work. They’ve got one weapon, and it doesn’t work on you.

And you will set to work waking up humanity from the lie factory, using whatever skills you have, weakening trust in the mass media propaganda machine and opening eyes to new possibilities. And while doing so, you will naturally shine big and bright so the others can find you. And together, we’ll not only smash the narratives that imprison us like a human caterpillar swallowing the narrative bullshit and forcing it into the mouth of the next slave, but we’ll also create new narratives, better narratives, healthier narratives, for ourselves and for each other, about how the world is and what we want it to be.

Because here’s the thing: since it’s all narrative, anything is possible. Those who see this have the ability to plunge toward health and human thriving without any regard for the made-up reasons why such a thing is impossible, and plant seeds of light which sprout in unprecedented directions that never could have been predicted by someone plugged into to establishment how-it-is stories. Together, we can determine how society will be. We can re-write the rules. We are re-writing the rules. It’s begun already.

Out of the white noise of a failing propaganda machine, a new world is being born, one that respects the autonomy of the individual and their right to self-determination. One that respects our right to collaborate on large scales to create beautiful, healthy, helpful systems without the constant sabotage and disruption of a few power-hungry psychopaths who would rather rule than live. One that respects our right to channel human ingenuity into harmony and human thriving instead of warfare and greed. One that respects our right to take what we need, not just to survive but to thrive, and return it to the earth for renewal. One that respects the sovereign boundaries of not just ourselves and each other, but of the planet spaceship that we live in.

Unjack your cortex fully from the fear-soaked narratives of insanity, and let the true beauty of our real world flood your senses. Let the grief of what we have unknowingly done send you crashing to your knees in sorrow. And when you’re ready, stand up. We have much work to do.

*  *  *

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Seismic Shocker: The Number Of Global Earthquakes Over The Last 30 Days Is Over 50% Above Normal

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dram blog,

Why is the number of earthquakes happening around the world increasing so dramatically? 

In recent days, we have seen very large earthquakes in Venezuela, Fiji, Italy and elsewhere.  Here in North America, significant quakes have rattled Oregon, Alaska and the west coast of Mexico.  As I reported on all of these important seismic events, it sure seemed like the number of earthquakes was rising, but I wanted to be sure.  I once worked as an attorney, and I was trained to only come to conclusions that were warranted by the facts.  So I decided to pull up the numbers, and what I discovered was extremely alarming.  It turns out that the number of earthquakes that we have witnessed over the last 30 days is more than 50 percent above normal.  Of course the Earth is constantly being pummeled by quakes, but this is a huge deviation from the norm

Could it be possible that we have entered a time when major Earth changes are going to start happening on a regular basis?  If so, what does that mean for the future of our society?

If you go to Earthquake Track, you will find the latest data on all earthquakes that have happened all over the planet.

According to their numbers, there have been 82,845 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater over the last 365 days.  That is an enormous number of earthquakes, but most of them are so small that they can’t really be felt.

When you divide 82,845 earthquakes by 365 days, you get an average of about 227 earthquakes per day over the past year.

And when you multiply 227 earthquakes by 30 days, you get an average of 6,810 earthquakes per 30 days over the last 12 months.

But there have been a whole lot more than 6,810 earthquakes over the last 30 days.  In fact, Earthquake Track tells us that there have been 10,901 earthquakesover the last 30 days.

That means that the number of earthquakes over the last 30 days is more than 50 percent above normal, and that is big news.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States is almost entirely ignoring this story because they are preoccupied with other things at the moment.

Most of the earthquakes over the last 30 days have happened along the Ring of Fire, and a British news source tells us that over 90 percent of all quakes tend to happen along this seismic zone which roughly encircles the Pacific Ocean…

The Pacific Ring of Fire is the most geologically active region in the world.

More than 90 percent of earthquakes occur here, as well as 22 or the 25 biggest volcanic eruptions in history.

The entire west coast of the continental United States and the entire southern coast of Alaska fall directly along the Ring of Fire.  Over the past several days Alaska has been hit by dozens of earthquakes, including a huge magnitude 6.3 shaker

The eruption, which occurred in the remote Andrean of Islands region of Alaska, happened at around 4.30am BST and had a depth of 27 miles.

There has been a total of 35 earthquakes in Alaska in the last two days, ranging from 2.5 in magnitude to 6.3 according to the USGS.

There have also been some quakes off the west coast of the U.S., but so far California itself has been largely unaffected.

However, the experts assure us that California is “overdue” for a major earthquake…

Richard Aster, Professor of Geophysics at Colorado State University, warned recently California is in an “earthquake drought” and overdue a 7.0 quake.

He said: “Although many Californians can recount experiencing an earthquake, most have never personally experienced a strong one.

“For major events, with magnitudes of seven or greater, California is actually in an earthquake drought.”

The fact that there hasn’t been a very large quake in the region for a very long time may be a really bad sign, because tectonic stress along the Juan de Fuca plate is constantly building up.

At some point that stress must be released, and that is when we will see “the Big One”

Geologist Erik Klemetti said: “The Big One will be generated by the stress built up as the Juan de Fuca plate off the coast of Oregon, Washington, California and British Columbia slides underneath North America.

“The plates can stick, creating stress that is sometimes released as giant earthquakes – and many smaller ones.

“The ‘snapping’ back of the plate can create tsunamis, just as we saw in 2004 off Indonesia and 2011 off Japan.”

The west coast of the United States is the center of the global tech industry.  If the “Big One” were to hit, it would be absolutely crippling for the entire global economy.

And I don’t know if this is related to seismic activity, but ocean temperatures off of the California coast have been hitting unprecedented record highs in recent weeks.  Experts are warning that millions of sea creatures are “in real peril” as temperatures rise to levels that may cause sea creatures to start dying off in massive numbers.

This is yet another story that the mainstream news is “too busy” to talk about.

Our planet is undergoing dramatic changes, and this is something that I have been writing about for a long time, but now those changes appear to be greatly accelerating.  Earthquake swarms come and go, but for the total number of global earthquakes in a 30 day period to be more than 50 percent above normal is definitely unusual.

Hopefully all of this seismic activity will settle down in September, but what if it doesn’t?

What if our planet continues to become even more unstable and unprecedented seismic events begin devastating major cities all over the globe?

As I have previously warned, a dramatic rise in planetary instability could have very serious implications for the future of our society.  We are already teetering on the precipice of global systemic collapse, and it definitely wouldn’t take too much to push us over the edge.

Massive Russian-Chinese Joint War Games Will Feature Nuclear Exercises

Over the past half year the West has increasingly taken note of the significantly heightened pace of both Chinese and Russian military spending and surprising leaps forward in terms defense tech advances.

Even when Chinese or Russian systems fail, as with recent news of a nuclear-powered cruise missile touted by Putin as having “unlimited range” but now apparently lost at the bottom of the sea, Western press takes notice, and a number of Pentagon officials have also warned especially of rapidly advancing Chinese systems. 

Increasingly, the two powers are cooperating more directly as with Russia’s upcoming military games, said to be the largest such exercise since the Soviet Union, where China is set to participate my sending a mass contingency of elite troops

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will participate by sending about 3,200 elite forces troops, along with 30 fix-wing aircraft and helicopters to the Russian-hosted exercises. 

Russia’s biggest military games in 35 years, called the Vostok 2018 exercises, are set to begin at the Tsugol training range in Russia’s Far East Trans-Baikal region on September 11, and are scheduled to go through the 15th.

Crucially, one major element to the games sure to attract the attention of Washington military planners is the inclusion of simulated nuclear weapons attacks. Both countries are among the world’s major longtime nuclear armed powers, and both happen to be in the midst of soaring tensions with the United States Russia the target of sanctions and wide-ranging accusations of election meddling, and China in a trade war that sees no signs of abating. 

The SCMP cites one Beijing based military expert, Zhou Chenming, to explain that the PLA is seeking to gain greater military experience as its last major combat theater stretches all the way back to the Vietnam War. 

Additionally, Zhou told the SCMP, “China also wants to show its support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is facing various diplomatic challenges, especially criticism from the US Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.” The Chinese military expert further cited that the games’ site location was chosen carefully and deliberately with this in mind. 

Putin wants to use the Russian military’s war games with the PLA to show its military muscle, but he doesn’t want to irritate the United States too much and raise the possibility of a misjudgment by the Trump administration, so he chose the less sensitive Trans-Baikal region in the Far East, far from US allies in Europe,” Zhou said.

In response to the impending Vostok-18 games Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said, “We urge Russia to take steps to share information regarding its exercises and operations in Europe to clearly convey its intentions and minimize and potential misunderstanding.”

The US defense official further indicated the games will be closely watched by U.S. intelligence agencies due to Russia’s willingness to simulate nuclear combat. “It’s their strategic messaging,” the Pentagon official said of both Russia and China.

There’s also reports that both countries are experimenting with the development of smaller, tactical nuclear weapons, which of further concern for US defense preparedness. 

Earlier this week Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu announced the exercises would be the largest since the Soviet Union conducted its Zapad-81 maneuvers, which saw the deployment of hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops and logistics staff.

“This is the largest armed forces training event since the Zapad-81 maneuvers, it has acquired the status of an international exercise and is of unprecedented scale both in terms of spatial scope as well as the strength of military command and control entities, troops, and forces involved,” Shoygu said, while also announcing the Chinese PLA would participate, as well as auxiliary units from the Mongolian armed forces.