The Illusion of America: Has it Ever Really Existed?


by Ryan Cristian, Guest Waking Times

In the past, this country has always prided itself on the personal freedom and Constitutional rights of the individual, and oddly enough, it still does today despite the fact that the US currently ranks 41st according to the 2016 world press freedom index, and 11th on the Heritage Institute’s 2016 index of economic freedom, behind countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Chile.

However, the facts have yet to stop the government, or rather the faction that co-opted the government, from carrying out its will and broadcasting whichever story reinforces that will. From lying about attacks and epidemics, to fabricating them all together, what this country once could have been is simply no longer present, where sadly, it truly counts: within the government, save for a brave few. But the people remain, and that American Dream still resides within their hearts and longs to be realized. Regardless of whether that dream was ever truly seen to fruition or if it was sabotaged by some of the very men who took part in its creation, it has taken root in the very foundation that holds this broken country together, it has become eternal; it prevails within the deep-seeded beliefs of that which makes this country truly powerful: its people.

Those who have participated in this fabrication are terrified that the people will once and for all see through the lie, and find the sinister reality behind. And that is indeed what we are witnessing in real-time, as Americans finally begin to wake up to this gross manipulation.

This awakening has been a long time coming, and was brought on by many different occurrences. Yet, the one event that was always meant to reinforce the citizen’s blind faith and dedication to the system, the election process, has much to the establishment’s dismay, become the largest awakening event in American history. People are being hyper-exposed to the true nature of the government and those who have complete control over its actions, thanks almost entirely to WikiLeaks and those who anonymously leaked the information.

From blaming the Russians with zero evidence, and pitting Americans against each other with race, religion and political standing, to the classic ‘lesser of two evils” ploy, the entire past election has weirdly enough turned into one of the most important things that could have happened to the individual, as it shook us all out of our complacency to see the true level of corruption operating right beneath our noses, while being told we are living the dream.

Does the Government Represent the People?

In today’s “feelings-over-facts“ climate, when a study does not embody what one chooses to embrace as “the truth,” it is simply disregarded as “fake news” or some other catch-all measure of dismissal that allows the individual to ignore contradictory information, and do so with a sense of confidence, be it a false one. Which is the case with the following study, that wildly enough has not gotten much attention since its release, as something like this would only be ignored by a willfully uninformed populace. This study actually quantifies the irrelevancy of the American public in regard to their influence on the government and its policy.

Researchers at Princeton University looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a pretty simple question:

Does the government represent the people?

Quoting the Princeton study directly:

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

(Click the graph to see the full video)
Many are beginning to come to grips with the reality that their opinion doesn’t matter in this country, and that the government truly doesn’t care what they think, and sadly… they are correct. But there’s a catch. Economic elites, business interests–those who have enough money to hire lobbyists–have an entirely different line on the graph above than the average America(the bottom 90%), and surprise surprise, it’s much closer to the ideal representation, which means these elite individuals do in fact directly influence policy in this country. So in other words, this study clearly demonstrates that money, and those who have it, dictate this country’s true direction, not the people and their faux democracy.

Ultimately, this shows that the elites have the ability to get what they what, regardless of the American majority-will, and the people pay for it, literally and figuratively. With one in every five American children born into poverty, the American people suffer the most expensive healthcare in the world, a floundering education system, and a catastrophically detrimental failure of a drug war, all spurred on with egregiously wasteful spending seemingly without end. Almost every major issue Americans face as a nation can be tied back to the realization brought on by the above graph: The average person has essentially zero influence on the passage of the very laws that affect their daily lives and the direction of their own country, which they then pay for with their hard-earned money, lest they be forced into a cage at gunpoint. Sounds like freedom to me…

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About the Author

Ryan Cristian is the author of website, The Last American Vagabond.

This article (The Illusion of America: Has it Ever Really Existed?) was originally created and published by The Last American Vagabond and is printed here with permission. 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/27/illusion-america-ever-really-existed/

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No Masters, No Rulers – A World Without Statist Conditioning

by Gary ‘Z’ McGee, Staff Writer, Waking Times

“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” ~Antisthenes

Raised, as most of us are, within nation states, it is extremely difficult to think outside the statist box. It’s tantamount to cognitive dissonance; Might as well ask a fish to breathe outside water, it’s so counterintuitive. But, and here’s the rub, we are not fish, and if we want to continue to be a progressively evolving species on this planet, we are going to have to think outside the box.

The thing is, it’s perfectly okay if “the box” is healthy, sustainable, and moral. But when it’s unhealthy, unsustainable, and immoral, like the statist box is, then it becomes imperative that we think outside of it. If we cannot do this, then we cowardly give in to indifference and ignorance, and we will be ruled by those who know how to gain power over indifference and ignorance. As Plato pointed out, “The price of apathy toward public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

In order to recondition our statist conditioning, we’re going to have to imagine a world without masters and rulers. No mastery except for self-mastery; no rulers except for self-rule. This seems counterintuitive to our statist conditioning, but it’s not. We simply need to be a little more imaginative about the ways in which we approach the ideas of leadership and rules. Leadership does not imply the need for masters, and rules do not imply the need for a ruler. We simply need a fresh perspective, preferably one that can see past statist driven propaganda. As Plotinus said, “We must close our eyes and invoke a new manner of seeing… a wakefulness that is the birthright of us all, though few put it to use.”

No Masters Does NOT Mean No Leaders

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

A good leader does not seek mastery over others but mastery over the self. It is through self-mastery that a leader leads by example. No masters means no seeking mastery over others (tyranny), and no bequeathing mastery over oneself to others (slavery). It does not mean no leadership. Rather, no masters implies leadership through self-mastery, without the master-slave dynamic muddying up the waters of liberty.

The problem with growing up thinking inside the statist box is that we are brain washed into thinking that the mastery of the state, with its hierarchical power constructs and vertical oligarchy, is leadership. We are conditioned to think that our obedience to the system (house slavery) is the price we pay to not be kicked out of the nation (house).

No masters means freedom. Not the pseudo-freedom espoused by the state, but real freedom. It means no slavery, whether soft or hard. It means the individual is free to discover his/her own self-mastery through the leadership of others and not through obsequious to others or the system. As Epictetus said, “No man is free, who is not master of himself.”

A good leader knows when to follow (obey) as well as when not to follow (disobey). A true leader will not blindly kowtow to the state, but wisely question it, knowing that the state is mostly made up of individuals who tend to seek mastery over others rather than self-mastery. It’s because of this tendency that most states dissolve into authoritarian regimes that rule by force (fear and violence) rather than leadership (honor and prestige). Lest we give into the inherent insanity of the state, we must remain self-empowered individuals seeking self-mastery through sound leadership rather than self-inured individuals blindly following the mastery of the system that keeps the state entrenched.

No Rulers Does NOT Mean No Rules

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” ~Plato

As it stands, we are a nation within which the majority of us do not engage in politics. Is it any wonder we are governed by orange-faced bigots and dumb and dumber bipartisanship? Ad hominem aside, the powers that be only have power when we the people agree that they have power.

The problem is that the majority of the people are not proactively engaged in politics and tend to be ignorant to the ways in which power works. This bodes well for those in power, for the entrenched masters and rulers, but not so well for those seeking self-mastery, self-rule, and freedom and justice for all. As Lord Byron once said, “Those who will not reason are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.” Lest we allow ourselves to become bigots, fools, and slaves, we must be proactively engaged with our own freedom and aware of how the powers that be are working to keep us that way. “No masters, no rulers” is an extremely poignant phrase that keeps us circumspect and vigilant regarding our own freedom and liberty…

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About the Author

Gary ‘Z’ McGeea former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

This article (No Masters, No Rulers – A World Without Statist Conditioning) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary ‘Z’ McGee and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/24/no-masters-no-rulers-world-without-statist-conditioning/

 

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If Your Partner Lies About Their Finances, Your Relationship is Doomed

Illustration by Dave van Patten

by John McDermott

The costliest kind of deceit

When Cary Carbonaro found out her husband had hidden $70,000 in student-loan debt from her, it was the beginning of the end for their young marriage. It wasn’t the only reason they got divorced — he was a verbally abusive cheater — but it was the first sign that something was seriously wrong. And as with many relationship missteps, the cover-up was worse than the crime.

Carbonaro was a victim of “financial infidelity,” her term for when a person lies about financial matters to their partner. It can mean racking up thousands of dollars in debt on a secret credit card, lying about the financial health of your small business or pilfering your joint retirement account to satisfy a gambling addiction.

Whichever the case, it always involves deceit, she says, and it’s almost always a relationship-killer.

“Money is a litmus test for your relationship,” says Carbonaro, managing director at the wealth management firm United Capital and author of The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear. “If you have money issues, you’re gonna have relationships issues.”

Financial infidelity is shockingly common. A recent survey by CreditCards.com revealed that a staggering 12 million Americans have a secret bank or credit card account they keep concealed from their partner. That’s kind of a lot! Is it a shocking amount? That’s hard to say. But it certainly seems significant. A 2016 Harris Poll finds 42 percent (!!!) of people in couples commit some form of financial infidelity, up from 33 percent just two years prior.

Here’s also some anecdotal evidence: Carbonaro is currently working on her second book, which will be co-authored by a divorce attorney. And Carbonaro’s co-author tells her the most common causes of divorce among her clients are sexual/emotional infidelity, money issues or both.

Another interesting tidbit from the CreditCards.com study: Boomers are four times more likely to have a secret account than millennials, and twice as likely to make a purchase of $500 or more without consulting their partner. Turns out those entitled millennials lack the financial hang-ups of their parents’ generation.

You may know less about your partner than you realize. A 2015 study from Fidelity Investments reveals couples know less about their partner’s finances than they realize. The overwhelmingly majority of couples surveyed (72 percent) report they communicate well about financial matters, yet 43 percent of respondents couldn’t identify their partner’s income. Of that group, 10 percent couldn’t guess it within $25,000. And about half (48 percent) of all respondents disagree with their partner on how much they’ll need to save for retirement.

That is, even couples who think they’re being transparent with each other about their money situation are still ignorant to certain aspects of their partner’s finances. (If you think that applies to you and yours, you can take Fidelity’s free financial compatibility quiz and illuminate any disconnects between you and your partner.)

Hiding debt is the most common form of financial infidelity. As noted above, financial infidelity can manifest in many ways. That said, hiding a splurge purchase that you intend to pay off in the near future probably doesn’t qualify as full-blown infidelity, Carbonaro says. And degenerate gambling cases are rare.

People not divulging how much they owe in debt, however, is very common. They’re usually doing so because they’re worried their poor finances will upset or put off their partner. “A lot of people are embarrassed by their debt and spending,” says Carbonaro. “They don’t want to be judged.”…

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https://melmagazine.com/if-your-partner-lies-about-their-finances-your-relationship-is-doomed-f4e3660a8e80#.yry7a2x7j

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Dishonesty Gets Easier The More You Do It

liar

Cast your mind back over the past week. How many times were you tempted to act dishonestly? Perhaps you were given too much change at the pub and deliberated whether to tell the barman. Maybe you thought of lying about your weekend plans in order to avoid an awkward dinner party. Dishonesty is a common temptation.

We face such moral dilemmas all the time. They aren’t opportunities to act with egregious dishonesty. Rather, these are the prosaic choices that shape much of our daily lives. Since the temptation for dishonesty is always there, we have to continually make decisions about how moral we want our behaviour to be. And part of what guides these decisions is how unpleasant being dishonest makes us feel.

I recently conducted a study at University College London with Tali Sharot, Dan Ariely and Stephanie C Lazzaro about the temptation to be dishonest. We investigated whether having opportunities to act dishonestly on a repeated basis could affect our readiness to choose dishonesty over and above honesty. The idea is that if someone initially decides to act dishonestly, they will feel bad about it, and so can only bring themselves to be dishonest by a small amount. The next time they act dishonestly, even though it still feels bad, it doesn’t feel as bad. As a result, one could be dishonest to a greater extent before reaching a point where they feel bad enough to stop.

Understanding why requires connecting two important ideas. The first relates to the role that emotional arousal plays in moral decision-making. The second concerns a feature of how the brain operates when contexts are repeated, known as neural adaptation.

Some moral dilemmas provoke emotional reactions that restrict our willingness to act disreputably, and are accompanied by bodily responses like increased heart rate and perspiration. When this happens, our willingness to act disreputably is reduced. For example, in a study by the psychologists Stanley Schachter and Bibb Latané in 1964, students were given the opportunity to cheat in an exam but beforehand half of them were given beta blockers, a pill which lowers physiological reactions. The remaining students were given a placebo. The students that had their arousal levels pharmacologically reduced cheated more on the exam compared to those given a placebo. So there is a physiological reaction against taking the less-than-virtuous path. But when this reaction is absent, that path becomes more tempting.

The second idea is neural adaptation. When entering a restaurant, you notice the wonderful smells of the freshly made food. But after a while, you become less sensitive to these aromas and soon stop noticing them. This is an example of neural adaptation: the brain becomes less sensitive to stimuli after repeated exposure, which keeps our attention from being sapped by aspects of the environment that don’t really need it. In the restaurant, after you’ve got used to the aromas, you can focus on more important things: conversation, what to order, and so on.

These two ideas – the role of arousal on our willingness to cheat, and neural adaptation – are connected because the brain does not just adapt to things such as sounds and smells. The brain also adapts to emotions. For example, when presented with aversive pictures (eg, threatening faces) or receiving something unpleasant (eg, an electric shock), the brain will initially generate strong responses in regions associated with emotional processing. But when these experiences are repeated over time, the emotional responses diminish.

In our study, we went one step further. Might the brain also adapt to behaviour of our own making that we find aversive? In other words, if we engage in behaviour we feel bad about over and over again, does our emotional response to this behaviour adapt? If so, then we’ve got a prediction: since we know that emotional responses can constrain our willingness to be dishonest, if these responses decrease through adaptation, dishonesty ought to increase as a result…

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http://sorendreier.com/dishonesty-gets-easier-the-more-you-do-it/

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Is Drunk You the Real You?

by Nick Leftley

Drinking can make you an angry, obnoxious, embarrassing asshole. But is that just your regular personality turned up to 11?

Sometimes, the “good” version of you — the one that successfully holds down a job, keeps a relationship together and maintains a semblance of a normal life — is eclipsed by a different one: Enter Drunk You. This is the you that thinks eight cheeseburgers is a reasonable dinner; that sees a fistfight as a valid response to being bumped into; that thinks, hey, it’s really important that I tell my much-more-sober boss every detail of the last 10 years of my sex life. Drunk You is the you that tries to loudly undo all the good that Sober You does, a rampaging super-nemesis hellbent on your destruction.

But as the ancient expression goes, In vino veritas — “in wine, truth.” Is, as some people believe, Drunk You just the real you, let loose from their cage by the inhibition-squashing effects of alcohol? Or is it some mutant transformation that occurs in our brains when sozzled? We turned to the experts for help.

Does alcohol give me a different personality?

This is a surprisingly complicated question, not least because personalities themselves are hard to define. “There is a real debate about what a personality is,” says Rachel Winograd, an assistant research professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health. “Does everyone have a core personality? Or is our personality totally dependent on where we are?” We show very different versions of ourselves in different situations — the you playing poker with your buddies is very different to the you that’s having lunch with your girlfriend’s grandmother — so Winograd argues that maybe Drunk You is just one more aspect of your personality, no more or less valid than any of the others.

Interestingly, no one notices the change in personality from Sober You to Drunk You more than, well, you. “I found that if you ask drinkers to report on how they think they are when they’re sober and how they think they are when they’re drunk, you see big differences. But if you ask strangers who are watching those people get drunk if they notice any differences, they really only see the difference in extraversion, and that’s it.” In other words, even though you might wake up the next day in a panic about just how crazy you acted the night before, to the casual onlooker, nothing much changed except for the fact that whatever you did, you did it louder than normal. “A lot of your personality is hard to see — it’s in your head, it’s your mood,” explains Winograd. “We’re able to report on it, as a drinker, better than someone else who is just watching us.”

This said, since alcohol is known to affect your personality by physically altering your brain chemistry — doing things like increasing aggression and lowering inhibitions — it can be argued that it is, indeed, shaping the form that Drunk You takes. “If you’re asking if alcohol changes your personality,” says Winograd, “Then we have research to suggest that, yeah, it does.”

If alcohol influences how I behave, does that mean Drunk Me should get a pass for whatever dumb thing I did last night?

The short answer here is that alcohol may be a reason, but that doesn’t necessarily make it an excuse. “You had a choice to pick up that drink, and that second one, and that third one,” says Winograd. “That being said, blackout is real, and people will do things while they are — even though they’re still walking around — effectively unconscious. They may do things they never would have done if they were sober. Does that mean that they are not responsible for it? No — they’re still responsible for it, but it may be true that they didn’t have the intention of doing it.”

Why does Drunk Me sometimes turn into such an angry, raging douchebag?

The answer you probably don’t want to hear is that maybe you’re just an angry person in general, and that alcohol amplifies this. But it’s also true that, at a chemical level, alcohol affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain — the part that deals with complex decision-making and, while sober, the part most responsible for keeping you out of trouble. It also messes with your serotonin levels, and since people with lower levels of serotonin tend to be more violent, booze can be a shortcut to a furious shoving match.

The bad news for problem drinkers is that, over time, these anger issues are only going to get worse. “Angry rages by regular drinkers are often the result of being deprived of REM [Rapid Eye Movement] sleep — the most restorative kind of sleep,” says Nicki Nance, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Fl. “Drunk people pass out straight into deep sleep. Depriving anyone of REM sleep for several nights in a row — even if they never drink — will make them irritable, suspicious, and even paranoid. If you couple that with the released inhibitions [that come with alcohol], it writes the script for a drunken rage.”

If Drunk Me is just regular me with no inhibitions, does that mean Drunk Me is more honest than Sober Me?

Since we tend to spill our guts when we’re hammered, it’s tempting to assume that this is the long-guarded truth that’s finally found an outlet. But this isn’t always the case. “For some people it’s true; for others it isn’t,” says Winograd. “It’s based on what their motives are. If this is something they’ve been keeping inside them for a while and let it out after a few drinks — and it sounds sincere — then I’d say it was probably something they’d kept bottled up inside them. But we also know that sometimes, we get carried away and misspeak. Alcohol can cause that to happen, so we shouldn’t always hold people to what they said when they’re drunk.”…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/is-drunk-you-the-real-you-5d5adf758a0c#.klmt9ptn4

 

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The Deception Technology. Hollywood Oscar for Fake Movie

white helmets

By Firas Samuri

The 89th Academy Awards held in Los-Angeles on February, 26, was full of curious incidents. Of five films nominated in the short documentary category, three were devoted to the Syrian crisis and the problem of refugees. To everyone’s surprise the Netflix film titled “The White Helmets” took home the Oscar. This movie tells us about volunteer rescue workers who are allegedly engaged in rescuing people trapped in the combat zone in Syria.

The movie has numerous frames captured by the White Helmets crew members where they ‘selflessly’ render assistance to a peaceful population. Peculiarly enough, they work only in the areas controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra’s terrorists.  At the same time the representatives of the White Helmets unanimously accused Syrian and Russian air forces of indiscriminate attacks, which allegedly lead to a huge number of civilian casualties.

It should be mentioned that since the beginning of the conflict Syria witnessed the creation of multiple non-governmental organizations. Among these organizations was The White Helmets group, which was formed in 2012 with the declared purpose of advocating for the rights and freedoms of Syrians and providing them with humanitarian aid. This organization was initiated by former British intelligence officer James Le Mesurier who participated in various conflicts around the world, namely in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Palestine.

Funding of the organization comes from donations and international grants, but the principal sponsor of the organization is the Open Society Foundation. the OSF has been heavily funding international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, in order to discredit the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to experts, the organization annually receives sums ranging from 30 to 50 million dollars from the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the Gulf monarchies. It doesn’t take much to guess that the Western countries won’t waste such a big sum of money without a reason.

The White Helmets continues to play a leading role in the Western cyber warfare as a weapon, which is used against the legitimate government of Syria. Due to a great number of fake photos and videos in the social networks picturing rescuers who ‘risk’ their lives to save civilians caught in the country’s devastating war, the Western audience receives a distorted picture of the military situation in Syria. Western TV-Channels including Pan-Arabic Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya promote White Helmets as the only humanitarian organization which is allegedly engaged in rescuing Syrians. At the same time in their coverage they have never mentioned the actual efforts of the Syrian government and its allies for the sake of settlement of the crisis and supplying the affected population with humanitarian aid.

It seems that the winner of the best documentary short was decided long before the ceremony, with powerful figures wit a finger in a pie of the jury’s final decision. It follows that the Academy Award has become a completely politicized event. Apparently now the statuettes will be given not to the films that actually deserve them but to the ones that have been bankrolled by magnates to promote Western interests. By promoting this film the Western world has shown its true colors in relation to ordinary Syrians tired of injustice of the terrorists, the indifference of the world community and yearn for peace.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-deception-technology-hollywood-oscar-for-fake-movie/5577543

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Report: 8 years of Obama vacations cost $85 million

Resultado de imagem para images obama vacation hawaii
image edited by Web Investigator
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