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Westlake Legal Group > Soviet Union

The New York Times Decides to Celebrate Soviet Diversity As Americans Celebrate Getting to the Moon

Westlake Legal Group apollo-11-flag-AP-620x395 The New York Times Decides to Celebrate Soviet Diversity As Americans Celebrate Getting to the Moon The New York Times Soviet Union Politics moon landing media bias Gulags Gross Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Diversity Dictator communists Apollo Program anti-American

Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface, July 20, 1969. Photo was made by a 16mm movie camera inside the lunar module, shooting at one frame per second. (Nasa via AP)

This is so on brand that it’s scary.

Many Americans and the U.S. government are currently celebrating the incredible achievement of reaching the moon 50 years ago. It’s a testament to this country’s greatness, ingenuity, and uniqueness that we were able to accomplish such a feat with the technology of the time.

Now, to most people that’d be completely non-controversial.

The New York Times aren’t most people though.

In the bowels of scorching hot takes, this may be the hottest I’ve seen in some time. This is a level of wokeness that surpasses comprehension, where being anti-American is so paramount that the “paper of record” is now praising a murderous gulag state for supposedly beating us in the “space race for equality.”

This take would be bad enough on some random day in some random year. But the Times waits until Americans are celebrating being the first (and only) nation to get to the moon is to unleash this journalistic equivalent of dog poop on the world.

I’m trying to imagine what kind of person sits around in the midst of a unifying national event and instead frantically runs through ways to crap on their own country while uplifting a communist dictatorship. The glowing description of socialism in the article is simply laughable. Yes, a woman from the Soviet Union became an astronaut, but it was much more likely you’d end up slaving away in a factory or rotting in a gulag. Shouldn’t that be mentioned when extolling the virtues of the Soviets and their awful system? Never mind that the Soviet space program placed no value on human life, meaning that many of their “firsts” they finally accomplished came at the expense of many fried human beings beforehand.

Furthermore, this critique isn’t even true. The United States may not have sent the first woman into space, but we’ve had far more female astronauts over the course of our space program reaching far more milestones.

In other words, the Times was so desperate to trash America on what was supposed to be an apolitical event, they ignored every bit of context that disproved their ridiculous contention.

The line of attack is dumb anyway. America was not trying to win the meaningless race for diversity in space. We were trying to get the moon. That was the mission and we succeeded. The New York Times does a great disservice to the men and women who worked on the Apollo program by running this dumpster fire of a Soviet propaganda piece on a day set aside to honor their achievements.

I’d say the Times should be ashamed of themselves but given their history of fluffing communism, they clearly lack the ability to feel shame.

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Westlake Legal Group Soviet-flag-300x187 The New York Times Decides to Celebrate Soviet Diversity As Americans Celebrate Getting to the Moon The New York Times Soviet Union Politics moon landing media bias Gulags Gross Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Diversity Dictator communists Apollo Program anti-American   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Wild Haired Socialist Won’t Answer If He Still Wants Government Takeover of Major Industry

Westlake Legal Group sanders-620x310 Wild Haired Socialist Won’t Answer If He Still Wants Government Takeover of Major Industry Soviet Union Soviet Russia socialism Russia red Politics Government Ownership Front Page Stories Front Page fox news Featured Story democrats democratic socialism communism Chris Wallace Bernie Sanders

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 16: Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. holds a news conference on the budget on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

This should probably be disqualifying, or at least it would be if our political system still existed in some realm of sanity.

Bernie Sanders has had an affinity for socialism for a long time. He famously praised the Soviet Union on film back in the 80s and vacationed there with his wife. Since then, he’s tried to moderate his choice of role model by claiming Scandinavian socialism is his drug of choice now. You know, because citing the Soviets doesn’t really work anymore, with all of the murder and starvation and whatnot.

So has Bernie really changed? Nah, he’s still red at heart.

The background on this is that in the 1970s, Sanders pointedly said that he favored “public ownership” (i.e. government ownership) of banks, utilities, and “major industries.” There’s no other word to describe that except communism, a system that has led to nothing but death, despair, and tyranny over it’s lifetime as an ideology.

Chris Wallace asks him if he still supports that and Sanders deflects. A normal person would be able to answer that in about two seconds but Sanders isn’t a normal person. He’s conflicted at his core. He truly believes top-down communism is the way to go but he also knows that he can’t quite say that yet, not even in 2019.

Instead, what you get in this clip is laughable obfuscation where he ignores the fact that he said “public ownership” of “major industries” and instead riffs about how publicly owned utilities are awesome (spoiler: they aren’t). Sanders then says something about credit unions because that’s all he meant you guys. He wasn’t really pushing for Russian style socialism all these years. No, he just wants credit unions.

Everyone knows what Sanders really believes and he’s made it no secret over his career. A career that consists of getting thrown off a commune for laziness and then entering public office, where he’s never produced a single thing of value. The fact that he’s even being considered for as a serious Presidential candidate shows just how far crazy the far left have gone in this country. Sanders is every stereotype of your typical communist rolled into one wild haired old man. He doesn’t practice what he preaches. He owns three houses but lectures others on having too much money. He wants Americans to pay higher taxes while he can’t even be bothered to give 1% of his income to charity to help those in need.

Despite Sanders’ hypocrisy and the weight of history crushing his ideology, major portions of the voting public actually back this man and his ideas. It’s a scary proposition that large portions of younger generations also think “socialism” is the answer. Answer to what exactly? Who knows, as the economy is booming and opportunity is overflowing. But someone, somewhere doesn’t have as much as someone else so we’ve now got to burn the whole system down that created the most prosperous society in human history. It’s just ludicrous on its face.

Unfortunately though, the American public may have to learn the lessons of socialism the hard way, as more and more seem eager to embrace it.

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Hunt interview: “I’m clearly second-placed now to Boris, and ready to argue that we have better choices as a country than he is offering.”

Jeremy Hunt lives in the wonderful house in Carlton Gardens where Boris Johnson used to live.

He sets out in this interview, carried out beneath portraits of Castlereagh and other great predecessors which adorn the Foreign Secretary’s official residence, why his approach to Brexit is better than Johnson’s, and accuses his rival of being “really defeatist” for implying “that we’re going to have to leave the EU without a deal”.

The interview took place on Friday morning, the day after Hunt came second in the first round of voting, and shortly before Johnson, the front-runner, agreed to participate in some of the television debates, though not in the first one, to be held on Sunday.

When asked about Sajid Javid’s attack on the old school tie, Hunt, who went to Charterhouse, joked that he would not criticise Johnson for going to Eton.

But Hunt added: “In Britain, we unfortunately still have the remnants of a class system, which I absolutely detest with every bone in my body.”

At the end of the interview, he quotes some good advice about the leadership race given to him by his seven-year-old daughter.

ConHome: “Are you the underdog in this contest?”

Hunt: “Absolutely, the underdog. I’m the anti-Establishment candidate who comes from the heart of the Establishment.”

ConHome: “Did either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor vote for you yesterday?”

Hunt: “I’ve no idea.”

ConHome: “You don’t know?”

Hunt: “I absolutely don’t know.”

ConHome: “Have you canvassed them?”

Hunt: “I welcome all votes. Each and every vote that I can get is most welcome.”

ConHome: “You’ve not saying you haven’t canvassed them, but you don’t know how they voted.”

Hunt [laughter]: “All votes are welcome!”

ConHome: “What do you want to say about the debates?”

Hunt: “We have got to have a proper contest with proper scrutiny. Lots of people feel that is what did not happen in 2016. I’m going to make sure this is not the 2016 leadership election.

“It is the 2005 leadership election where the underdog came from the outside, came second in the first round of MPs’ ballots, but then when you had the proper scrutiny, people started thinking about who they wanted to be the leader, David Cameron came through.

“So we’ve got to absolutely make sure that we have that scrutiny, and we cannot do that if the front runner hides away. We have got to have proper media questioning, proper involvement in all the debates. This is to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This is a big, big job, and we just need Boris to be a little bit more brave.”

ConHome: “You’re saying to him, ‘Come over here if you’re hard enough.’”

Hunt: “I’m saying, ‘Subject yourself to the scrutiny that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is going to be facing every single day inside Number Ten. Because if you’re up to this job now you’ll certainly be up to the job of taking part in some TV debates ahead of going in there.”

ConHome: “At one point it was said that you were unwilling to debate if Johnson wouldn’t debate.”

Hunt: “Well I do think that all the candidates should take part in these debates. I’ve always said that I’m delighted to do it. I will do it whatever. But yes, I wanted to try and do something that would encourage Boris to take part, and that’s what I’m calling on him to do today.”

ConHome: “On Thursday morning you tweeted, ‘Woke up this morning and felt a bit like the morning of my wedding’. Does today feel like the day after your wedding?”

Hunt: “Well I had a wonderful wedding. It was actually in the mountains of south-west China. So I felt nothing but elation and joy the morning after my wedding.

“And I’m very excited this morning. You know, lots of speculation that some of the other candidates who are running extremely professional and well-organised campaigns were going to overtake me, but they didn’t.

“And I’m clearly second-placed now to Boris, and ready to make the argument that we have better choices as a country than Boris is now offering us.”

ConHome: “On our figures, yesterday morning we had 74 people undeclared, roughly. Johnson took 30, you took seven, on our figures. You must have been a bit disappointed.”

Hunt: “In these campaigns, anyone who knows the way Westminster works knows there is always a front-runner bandwagon effect. And so I’m not at all surprised if people make the calculation that Boris is most likely to win that they flock behind him.

“That doesn’t mean they really think he would be the best Prime Minister. And that doesn’t mean they think he’s offering this country the best choices it could have.

“And he’s not. And I am.

“I’ve always said I’m willing to embrace no deal if that’s the only way to leave the European Union. But his hard stop of the 31st October means that we would effectively be committing to a no deal Brexit, or a general election if Parliament managed to stop it.

“And I think if we have a Prime Minister who is a negotiator we can get a better deal which changes or removes the backstop and allows us to leave the EU without the risks to businesses and the risks to the Union that a no deal Brexit could involve.”

ConHome: “Do you think you’re reasonably placed if some of the candidates lower down the order drop out?”

Hunt: “I’ve got lots of supporters who are lending their support to other candidates in the first round and have said to me that when their person gets knocked out they will come in behind me.

“But the argument I’m making is it’s not just that my vision of how we leave the EU gives us better options than Boris, but I’ve also got the experience that means I can deliver that. I mean I’ve been in government now, in the Cabinet for nine years.

“I’ve negotiated extremely complex deals, whether it was more funding for the NHS, the junior doctors’ dispute, the BBC licence fee. But I’m an entrepreneur by background. I did negotiation every day of my life before I came into politics.

“In my bones, I don’t think this is going to be easy, but in my bones, there is a deal there. And I want to get that deal for the country because I think that would be way better if we possibly can. In extremis, I’d leave without a deal, of course. We have to deliver the referendum result.

“We’re not at that point yet, and I think it’s really defeatist to say that we’re going to have to leave the EU without a deal, which is effectively what Boris is saying.”

ConHome: “You would serve under Boris?”

Hunt: “I would serve under Boris and I hope he would serve under me.”

ConHome: “Sajid Javid has made a lot of his state education. You would be the first Old Carthusian Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool, who held office from 1812-1827 and ran a big team including Wellington [gestures at the picture of Wellington on the wall].

“Is there too much class war in today’s Conservative Party?”

Hunt: “I am not going to criticise Boris for going to a posher public school than me [laughter]. You know, that is the politics of envy gone completely mad, and I’m just not going to go there at all.”

ConHome: “Javid was doing a lot of anti-old-school- tie stuff, which to me at least sounded a bit old-fashioned.”

Hunt: “In Britain, we unfortunately still have the remnants of a class system, which I absolutely detest with every bone in my body. But we are a country where everyone has a background of some sort, but what British people are interested in is what you’re going to do as Prime Minister.

“I think if anyone looks at my background they’ll see I’m someone who started a business from scratch, without any capital. I’ve faced massive challenges in my life, I was the longest serving Health Secretary, hardly the easiest job in government.

“They want to know, are you up for all the challenges, all the battles any Prime Minister has. And I think my background speaks for itself.”

ConHome: “Coming out of the traps fighting, aren’t you.”

Hunt: “Because I think that our country deserves better choices that it’s be offered by Boris Johnson at the moment, and I’m going to make that argument to the very end.”

ConHome: “Just on the Brexit policy and all that, you said in The Daily Telegraph on 27th May, ‘With the current deal, I cannot see a way forward.’

“So we want to be clear what you’re going to do with the negotiation. Is the whole deal dead? Are you dropping the Withdrawal Agreement, or are you trying to build on it?”

Hunt: “With the backstop as it is, the Withdrawal Agreement is dead. I believe that if you could remove the elements of the current deal that mean we could be trapped in the Customs Union indefinitely, it may still be possible to get a parliamentary majority for that Withdrawal Agreement.

“Certainly I think it would have been earlier this year. But to do that you’re going to have to rebuild the Conservative/DUP coalition, which is badly frayed, and that’s why I would have the DUP, the Scottish Tories, Welsh Tories, the ERG, in my negotiating team.

“So that we only put forward proposals that Brussels knows the British Government can deliver through Parliament.”

ConHome: “And you’re prepared to extend if necessary? That’s what you were saying earlier. You can’t treat this as a hard deadline.”

Hunt: “Any extension is highly undesirable. But it is impossible to know what situation you may be in on 31st October.

“A wise Prime Minister will make choices on the basis of the situation as it is then. We don’t know for example what Parliament might have done with the law around no deal.

“We don’t know who the new people taking over the European Commission are.

“If we got to 31st October and there was no prospect of a good deal that could get through Parliament, then I would consider no deal if Parliament had kept it on the table at that point.

“But I’m not going to get drawn about the choice I would make on that date when I don’t actually know what the real choices are. I don’t think any wise Prime Minister would do that.”

ConHome: “You did think aloud, actually it got you into a bit of hot water, about what would happen if the Conservative Party faced an election and hadn’t delivered Brexit – you used the word ‘disastrous’.”

Hunt: “Suicide.”

ConHome: “Does that mean, you’re the leader, for whatever reason things go wrong and you can’t get what you want through the Commons, are you therefore, in that situation, doomed to lead a campaign that’s going to lose?”

Hunt: “Look, the one choice I will not make, and this is my absolute commitment, is that I will not lead the party into a general election or provoke a general election until we’ve delivered Brexit.

“We cannot go back for another mandate from the British people until we deliver what we promised we’d do in the last mandate. So that’s what I was talking about in terms of political suicide.

“And my concern about the hard deadline is if Parliament then blocked it, it’s not as likely thankfully after last week but it’s still not impossible, and there’s always the no confidence motion route, you could then be in a situation where the only way you overcame a difficult Parliament was to force an election, and I think that would be catastrophic.

“Because if you look at what happened with the Peterborough by-election, we were squeezed by the Brexit Party on the Right and the Lib Dems on the Left. Labour comes through the middle.”

ConHome: “The question isn’t whether you’d choose one or provoke one, which would obviously be a crazy thing to do. It’s could you win one if it’s forced on you.”

Hunt: “You say I wouldn’t choose one or provoke one, but the candidates who said they will leave on 31st October come what May are choosing one if the Parliament blocks it.

“Because in order to honour that promise, they would have to take measures to overturn what Parliament is trying to do.

“That’s why I’m saying it’s a dangerous thing to do to have that hard deadline. It might be the only way you can keep that promise is to get a general election in order to change the parliamentary arithmetic.

“If I was forced into an election, well I don’t want to go there, that’s not what I want, but I think someone who had tried hard to get a deal would be far more likely to get the votes of 48 per cent of the country who voted Remain than someone who hadn’t tried.

“And if you look at the polling I saw yesterday that said I am best placed to get votes from both Remainers and Leavers, because Leavers know I am absolutely committed to leaving, but Remainers know I am absolutely committed to do so in a way that is positive.”

ConHome: “Do you now regret that in your party conference speech you compared the European Union to the Soviet Union?”

Hunt: “The point I was making in that speech is one that I stand behind, which is that the EU was set up as a club of free countries to stand together in the face of Soviet totalitarianism and to maintain freedom and democracy in Europe.

“And therefore it is not appropriate for the EU to act in a way that makes it impossible for someone to leave a club of free nations. That was the point I was making, and I do think the EU needs to behave in a fair way in these negotiations.

“And I believe that if we give them the right Prime Minister, who is prepared to engage with them, but also negotiate with the toughness and the determination that we need, I think we can get a deal that is right for the UK and allows us to leave.”

ConHome: “So does the EU need a sort of Gorbachev figure?”

Hunt: “Well I think that if you talk to European leaders, they do understand that Britain is one of the oldest democracies in Europe, and we have to respect what the people have decided.

“And it has to be a deal that allows us the parliamentary sovereignty that we voted for, including leaving the Customs Union. So I think they do understand that.

“I think they have sincere worries about the Northern Irish border. And so given that we’re clearly not going to be able to address those through the backstop, we have to find another way of doing it.

“And I happen to think the technology-led solutions are the right ones. But if they’re going to be the right way forward, then we’ll need to find a way of dealing with the issues that happen when people disagree about what technology’s capable of doing.”

ConHome: “Can they be done quickly?”

Hunt: “I believe they can be. The EU believes they can’t be. So that’s why we need to find a mechanism to arbitrate when there’s a disagreement.”

ConHome: “Because the Steve Baker/ERG position seems to be that you don’t need new technology at the moment to make alternative arrangements work.”

Hunt: “Yes, and I think their arguments are very compelling on that. But, you know, if you’re going to sign an agreement where there is a disagreement about something as fundamental as whether the technology can work, you need a mechanism to resolve that disagreement.”

ConHome: “Just on that Soviet Union point, no doubt some of this is anti-Hunt propaganda, but what is put around is ‘oh well, we can’t have Jeremy because he’s already blotted his copybook with the EU by comparing it to the Soviet Union, and Tusk got very cross and the Poles were infuriated, so he didn’t really understand the complexities of the issue and all that.’

“What do you say to that?”

Hunt: “I think it’s a curious argument to make when my rival is Boris. But look, the argument I was making is that if the EU is reasonable we will be reasonable, and we will find a way to leave the EU which means we can remain good neighbours and the best of friends.

“And I think that’s what people in this country want. If you leave without a deal, which in extremis I would do, but only in extremis, you are making it likely we will have very difficult relations with our neighbours for generations to come, and, you know, I don’t think that should be our first choice.”

ConHome: “For the party, one of the choices near the heart of this leadership election is this. The Prime Minister is on record as having said a hundred times we leave on 29th March. We didn’t leave.

“She then said we should leave in June. We didn’t leave in June. She said having European elections would be unacceptable. They happened.

“Now throughout this you and the other people at the top of the Cabinet, you’ve done your duty and served on, because that’s what you do, you’re serious people and serious ministers.

“But some people would say the danger is you’ve now been tarnished by association with what happened. And with the Brexit Party rampaging around we need something new.

“And people are just going to look at Jeremy Hunt or some of the other candidates and say, ‘It’s more of the same’.”

Hunt: “You don’t solve a problem by walking away from it. And I have many profound disagreements with Theresa May.

“Over the course of the Brexit negotiations, I did not want to settle when we had the backstop in place.

“I didn’t think that it would get through Parliament and I was unhappy with some of its provisions.

“But in the end the choice people are going to be making is who is going to do the right thing for the country and give us the best possible choices.

“And with respect to the Brexit Party, Lynton’s own polling, which let’s be clear has been produced for furthering the interests of one particular candidate, says that the majority of Brexit Party voters will not come back to us, even if Boris is leader.

“The only way we deal with the Brexit Party is to Brexit.

“So the question is who the person who is most likely to get us a Brexit that allows the country to move on.”

ConHome: “When the Prime Minister sought at one point to move you from Health, you stayed on for a bit, and it’s said you drew a comparison with an admiral or a captain in charge of a ship who didn’t think it was right to go.

“People don’t ask you very much about your background. Did you pick up this sense of duty from your father? What did you learn from having an admiral for a father?”

Hunt: “Well, my dad did have a very big influence on me, he’s not with us any more, I think everyone’s father has a big influence on them.

“In my dad’s case he had a tremendous sense of duty, but he always believed in basic human decency. He always believed that people, even if they get to the very top of the tree, should show decency to everyone around them.

“So in a probably rather imperfect way that is something I try to follow.”

ConHome: “When did you decide to go into politics? You were politically active at Oxford, weren’t you, before you then went abroad.”

Hunt: “I got very interested in politics at Oxford. I was hugely inspired by Margaret Thatcher, who was at the height of her powers between 1985 and 1988.

“And I got active with the Oxford University Conservative Association. But actually what she inspired me to do was start my business.”

ConHome: “Had you contested a seat before you contested the one you won?”

Hunt: “No, and I was rather horrified when I was selected for South West Surrey, because I didn’t for a moment think they’d choose me. It was a highly marginal seat and I really put my name forward for interview practice, because I had no experience of politics apart from university politics.

“Then to my shock they chose me, and I suddenly had the battle of my life, with a very dug-in Lib Dem candidate, who’d been doing nothing but politics his whole life, and had reduced the Conservative majority to just 861 votes.”

ConHome: “Although your head was not above the parapet, you were a decapitation seat in 2005.”

Hunt: “We were the number three Lib Dem target in the country. It was a time when the Lib Dems were very strong and were doing very very well. They had posters all over the constituency saying ‘861 to go’.

“I have an amazing team of people in South West Surrey but I know what it’s like to knock on every single door.”

ConHome: “There have been so many policy pledges flying around in this campaign it’s been quite difficult to keep up with them. You’ve been quite limited, haven’t you.

“You’ve made the point about corporation tax. What else have you pushed?”

Hunt: “To make a success of Brexit we have to turbo-charge the economy. In a decade’s time the verdict of history will be that Brexit was a success if our growth outpaced our European neighbours, and Brexit is a failure if it doesn’t.

“You look at America, which has GDP growth double ours at the moment, through some very smart business tax cuts that Trump introduced, and I think you’ve got to do something at the point of Brexit that shows the world that we are absolutely determined to become the most pro-business, pro-enterprise, fastest growing high-tech economy in Europe.

“And so the big symbolic thing that I would do would be to cut corporation tax to Irish levels, 12.5 per cent, which is one of the very lowest in Europe and even in the world.

“I would also look at capital allowances and cut business rates. These are not populist tax cuts. These are to send a message to the world that we are going to land an economic jumbo jet on the doorstep of Europe at the point of Brexit.

“My second big pledge is that we also need to send a signal to the world that Britain is out there, we are reaffirming our global vocation, and so I’ve said we will increase defence spending to beyond two per cent of GDP.

“The two other areas where I’ve made pledges are education, where our national blind spot is the 50 per cent of school leavers who don’t go to university.

“And then the final one is, as a party, our strategic priority has to be young people. I think the single thing that jars most with young people is the interest rate on tuition fees. I cannot explain on the doorstep why someone should be paying six per cent interest rate. It’s just not fair and I think we need to address that.”

ConHome: “It’s not a very long list compared to some of the other candidates.”

Hunt: “No, it’s a simple list, and I’ll tell you why. Because I think I’ve learned in government you have to have a very short list of things that you’re actually going to change.”

ConHome: “What’s Mrs Hunt making of all this?”

Hunt: “Mrs Hunt is the first to admit that when we got married she knew nothing at all about British politics. I was actually an MP when we met, but she didn’t even know what that meant.

“So she has been on a learning curve. But she is the most competitive, driven person I know. She is absolutely determined for me to succeed.

“And she’s an absolutely incredible person. For me, the benefit of having a foreign wife is they sometimes have a sensible sense of perspective about the madness of British politics.

“My daughter said to me this morning – by the way this is a seven-year-old girl – I’ve got some advice for you daddy: ‘Don’t criticise your rivals. Copy their best ideas.’

“That’s not bad for a seven-year-old.”

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Chloe Westley: Pursuing happiness doesn’t guarantee finding it

Chloe Westley is the Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

How would you measure happiness? Epicurus would say you can measure happiness by the absence of pain. Aristotle would argue that happiness was more to do with flourishing as a human being should, by pursuing virtues and obtaining a good character. Other philosophers, such as Kant, argue that happiness is not necessarily something worth chasing at all, as we’re not really capable of knowing what will or won’t make us happy. For me, happiness is time spent with children, dogs, and people that I love. Maybe that’s your definition of happiness too.

But it’s difficult to find a full proof definition of what happiness consists of, or how we should measure it. I’ve been pondering this question since I heard that New Zealand will now be adopting a ‘well-being’ budget that will measure progress based on the happiness of citizens as opposed to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Jacinda Ardern has pledged to make New Zealand a country where ‘“success is measured not only by the nation’s GDP but by better lives lived by its people.”

Well, yes, obviously. Nobody disagrees that the whole point of policy making – and indeed of politics – is to try and make people happy. (We’d be in serious trouble if monetary policy was driven by a desire to make things worse for people.) The prosperity of a population is always the consideration for policy makers. Labelling this a ‘well-being budget’ strikes me as simply a marketing gimmick to distract from the fact that, in New Zealand, Labour have failed on all of their major policy planks, and have ironically abandoned the previous Government’s social investment scheme, which was aimed at improving well being.

But the progressive world rejoiced, and hailed this as a step in the right direction. Many on the Left view economic growth as an overrated metric which distracts from the real problems that people face. The Prime Minister’s statement implies that there isn’t a connection between well being and economic prosperity, and that by focusing on economic growth instead of well being, people in New Zealand were suffering.

But far from making people miserable, economic growth is what lifts a country out of poverty and improves living standards. And whilst we do find it nearly impossible to find a universal definition of happiness, having your basic needs met as a human being is surely a prerequisite. I struggle to conceive of being as happy or fulfilled living in the Soviet Union and seeing family starve due to food shortages, or having to queue for hours to receive basic necessities in socialist Venezuela.

Whilst it’s true that ‘money can’t buy happiness’, it’s also the case that capitalism has radically improved our living standards and well being. In authoritarian countries in which the state has a monopoly on industry, progress comes to a halt. But when individuals are able to compete with each other for business, products and services are radically improved, as the greatest minds collaborate to invent even better ways of doing things.

Advancements driven by capitalism in healthcare and medicine have resulted in huge increases to life expectancy around the world. In the last 80 years, life expectancy has doubled in the United Kingdom, and child mortality rates are falling globally (sadly, Venezuela is an exception to this trend).

In less economically developed countries, child labour is more common, but in countries such as the UK, which have embraced capitalism, children are spending more time in education. If you’re looking for more evidence of how free markets and capitalism have improved our way of life, this article by my colleague Ben Ramanauskas goes into great detail.

Of course living longer is not necessarily an indicator of happiness. But if, like me, the thing that makes you happiest in this world is spending time with the people (and dogs!) you love, then living in a country with an advanced economy with longer life expectancy and better healthcare is of paramount importance, as well as the amount of leisure time you have available.

Technology has been both a blessing and a curse in that respect. Whilst automation has enabled us to spend less time on manual tasks, smart phones and email correspondence means that many of us are working more in our free time. I’d be interested to read a more detailed report on working habits as a result of recent technology. But looking at the general trends over the last 100 years, its estimated that the hours worked over the course of a lifetime in Britain have declined by an average of 41 per cent since 1856. Whilst this may differ across various professions, this means the average Brit has more time to spend with friends, family, and exploring non-work related interests.

It’s important to note that economic growth alone cannot provide the conditions for a flourishing society and happy population. For example, the rule of law, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and a respect for the rights of the individual have all contributed to the huge improvements to living standards in the Western world. But the reason we are living in relative paradise compared to other countries and to previous generations is because capitalism and trade have super-charged human progress and technology.

Whilst the Government is not solely responsible for your happiness, there is a role for policy makers to allow for the conditions which will best enable you to pursue your own happiness. If those who govern declare that economic growth is no longer a priority, and adopt an anti-growth, anti-business and interventionist agenda in the name of ‘promoting well-being’, then they may find they achieve the exact opposite of what they set out to do.

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Russia’s D-Day message: You’re welcome

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Some traditions never change. After the fall of the Soviet Union, some might have expected the Russian pretense to have beaten Hitler’s Germany nearly singlehandedly to have dissipated. Or at the very least, to have been met with an acknowledgment that the Soviets played a very large role in starting World War II in the first place.

Instead, the official Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to run with this messaging while the West commemorated D-Day:

Russia told the West on Wednesday the Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944 did not play a decisive role in ending World War Two and that the Allied war effort should not be exaggerated.

Moscow’s comments might irk war veterans in Britain where the 75th anniversary on Wednesday of the largest seaborne invasion in history was marked at a ceremony in Portsmouth attended by Queen Elizabeth and world leaders including Donald Trump and Angela Merkel.

Speaking at a weekly news conference in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova offered a tribute to those who died on the western front of World War Two and said Moscow appreciated the Allied war effort.

“It should of course not be exaggerated. And especially not at the same time as diminishing the Soviet Union’s titanic efforts, without which this victory simply would not have happened,” she said.

Ahem. It’s true that Russia had to contend with more German units than the Allies did in France. This ignores the fact that the Allies had fought the Nazis in North Africa and up the Italian peninsula for several years prior to D-Day, not to mention the naval warfare that the US and UK conducted. Furthermore, even after the Soviets allied with the US, UK, and Free France, they pointedly refused to declare war on Japan, where the US and the Commonwealth were committing massive forces against Hitler’s ally. Stalin declared war on Japan only after the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to demand territorial gains.

Even apart from that, this ignores the fact that Stalin made a greedy agreement with Hitler to divvy up Poland. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in August 1939, a craven and disgusting act, guaranteed the start of World War II. Would Hitler have invaded Poland without the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact? Probably, but it would have meant keeping his eastern front prepared for a Soviet reaction. Instead, Hitler overran the Netherland, Belgium, and France … all without Stalin opening up a “second front.”

The Soviets made the mistake of not taking Hitler’s demand for lebensraum seriously and thought they could seize land on the cheap, until Hitler finally turned on Stalin when he thought the time was right. Until then, Stalin’s communist proxies in France, the UK, and the US argued not for a “second front” but for isolationism and a hands-off approach to the conflict in eastern Europe.

Only after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union did Stalin and the communists begin shrieking about a “second front,” ignoring the fact that the Brits had been fighting one in North Africa. (The US joined that front soon after Pearl Harbor.) The Italian campaign tied up a number of German units as well, especially after Mussolini ran out of Rome and the Italians switched sides. The allies attempted a smaller scale invasion force in 1943 at Dieppe to get what would be a third front in Europe, which turned out to be a disaster for the Canadian troops that got trapped there. It was the hard lessons learned at Dieppe as well as those in the Pacific theater that were eventually applied 75 years ago today in the successful D-Day operation.

There’s one other laughable aspect to Russia’s D-Day propaganda, too. The invasion was a massive effort to liberate other countries from the Nazi grip — not just France but also Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and so on. The Russians fought valiantly after the Nazi invasion, but let’s not kid ourselves; they were fighting to free themselves. And when they did manage to push the Nazis out of Russia proper, the Soviets pushed through all of the states of eastern Europe, not to liberate them but to seize them and put them in their own iron grip. They kept those countries prisoner for more than forty years, too.

So what did we learn from Russia’s nostalgic tour through Stalinesque propaganda tropes? Probably that we should have invited Vladimir Putin to today’s ceremonies.

The post Russia’s D-Day message: You’re welcome appeared first on Hot Air.

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Ilhan Omar Praises a Communist and Terrorist As “One of My Idols”

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, who can’t seem to stay out of the news for saying crazy things, had her latest “hold my beer” moment a few days ago. This took place at a rally called “Black Women in Defense of Ilhan Omar.” What exactly they are defending her from except her own vile statements, I’m not sure.

Omar made several wild comments at the rally, including this one, but another statement stood out to me.

If you watch the video, you see Omar tearing up as she describes Angela Davis as an “idol” and proclaims her an inspiration in her life.

Just who is Angela Davis? She’s a rabid anti-Semite, a communist who supported the Soviet Union, and aided a terrorist plot.

Davis was a member of the Black Panther Party during the 60s and 70s, where she purchased guns used to murder a judge. She eventually fled and made it on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. While she was found not guilty of the actual killing in the end after lots of legal gyrations, there was never any doubt she knew about and helped the domestic terrorist plot.

Even past that portion of her life, her political views are toxic enough that it’s jarring to see a Congressional member praise her. She’s a supporter of the rabidly anti-Semitic “Nation of Islam” and routinely defends Louise Farrakhan. Her support of the Soviet Union and its brutal tactics is also not hypothetical or exaggerated. Davis publicly and proudly supported the communist dictatorship, including pronouncing that Jews being thrown in prison “deserved what they get.” Davis has rarely found a totalitarian that she didn’t support.

Despite her awful past (and present), she is rarely described as anything more than an “activist and scholar” in mainstream media reports. It’s a testament to just how insane inter-sectionalism has made our discourse, where racial concerns override the denouncement of terrorism and support for murderous dictators.

For Ilhan Omar’s part, she’s clearly realized that the only pushback she’ll get at this point is from those writing from a right-wing perspective. The mainstream media are scared to death to criticize her and it has only emboldened Omar’s resolve to make her true views public. In a way, that’s probably better than her continuing to hide them. You’d think at some point this would reach critical mass and the Democratic party leadership would say enough is enough but that doesn’t appear to be imminent.

Regardless, it’s important to keep exposing this stuff and that’s what we plan to keep doing here.

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Trump: Let’s face it, the Soviets were right to invade Afghanistan

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Having critically wounded what little was left of the Reagan revolution, today he administered the coup de grace. Soon Ronna McDaniel will add “It’s bad that the Soviet Union collapsed” to the 2020 GOP platform.

I wonder which very reliable populist news source informed him that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a defensive measure against invading terrorists rather than Moscow’s attempt to reinstate communist rule in Kabul. Silver lining for the White House: It’s harder for critics to accuse him of being an apologist for fascism when he’s being an apologist for communism.

Even liberals are dunking on him for it:

“[P]retty amazing this guy’s biggest fans are the people who see commies lurking behind every lamppost trying to implement incremental communism,” said another Twitter pal. Yeah, cultural Marxism = bad, actual Marxism = kinda depends. I don’t think Trump would see a contradiction in those stances, though. If the commies want to run wild in the eastern hemisphere, or the southern hemisphere — or anywhere except America, really — let ’em, he’d say. He has no moral qualms about autocracy and no birdseye view of American strategic interests. If anything, I think he’d like having Moscow in charge everywhere outside U.S. borders since it would “stabilize” things and it’s easier to manage one relationship than it is one hundred. It’s not hard to invent reasons to retroactively justify Soviet expansionism if that’s how you feel. Especially if you can point to 9/11 and say “This wouldn’t have happened if I’d had my way,” ignoring all the other terrible things that might have happened if the USSR had slogged on for another 30 years.

Now we sit and wait for the inevitable Mitt Romney comment laying into him for more Russian apologetics. While we do, let me say that I’d happily watch a 12-hour episode of “Drunk History” in which Trump explains the past 50 years in foreign affairs. He’d be stone-cold sober, though. I’m the one who’d be drunk.

This was a lively photo op at the White House today, by the way. Here he is taking a shot at his now former defense secretary:

The chatterati is aghast at POTUS swiping at Mattis. They don’t like seeing a man who served his country bravely and honorably for decades attacked by a character like Trump; they worry that the last “adult in the room” is gone, soon to be replaced by Judge Jeanine or whoever; and they see a dangerous trend in Trump “impugning the character and competence of senior U.S. military leaders purely for political reasons.” And this *is* political at its core. Trump’s criticism of Mattis focuses on his handling of Afghanistan but it’s impossible to believe that that criticism would have been offered had Mattis not made his differences with Trump’s worldview clear in his resignation letter. That embarrassed POTUS. So here’s his payback.

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