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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 95)

The Nordic Model May Be the Best Cushion Against Capitalism. Can It Survive Immigration?

FILIPSTAD, Sweden — At first, local leaders were inclined to see the refugees as an opportunity. The iron ore mines had shut down. So had a factory that made machinery for the logging industry. The town had been abandoned, its population cut in half. A shot at replenishment appeared at hand.

It was the summer of 2015, and people were arriving from some of the most troubled places on earth — Syria, Somalia, Iraq. They would fill vacant homes, learn Swedish, and take jobs caring for older Swedes. They would pay taxes, helping finance the extensive social welfare programs that have made Sweden a rarity in the world, a country seemingly at peace in an age of tempestuous global capitalism.

But four years after the influx, growing numbers of native-born Swedes have come to see the refugees as a drain on public finances. Some decry an assault on “Swedish heritage,” or “Swedish culture,” or other words that mean white, Christian and familiar. Antipathy for immigrants now threatens to erode support for Sweden’s social welfare state.

“People don’t want to pay taxes to support people who don’t work,” says Urban Pettersson, 62, a member of the local council here in Filipstad, a town set in lake country west of Stockholm. “Ninety percent of the refugees don’t contribute to society. These people are going to have a lifelong dependence on social welfare. This is a huge problem.”

In a global economy increasingly besieged by rage over inequality and the pitfalls of winner-take-all capitalism, Sweden has long stood out as a kinder, gentler sort of country, a potential template for other nations eager to avoid destructive populism.

The so-called Nordic model that prevails in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland has been engineered to protect people from the commonplace economic afflictions assailing many developed countries, and especially the United States. There, the loss of a job can swiftly imperil health care, housing, sustenance and mental well-being. Under the Nordic model, governments typically furnish health care, education and pensions to everyone.

The state delivers subsidized housing and child care. When people lose jobs, they gain unemployment benefits and highly effective job training programs. When children are born, parents avail themselves of paid leave that seems unimaginable in most societies — 480 days in Sweden.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00swedenwelfare-2-articleLarge The Nordic Model May Be the Best Cushion Against Capitalism. Can It Survive Immigration? Vocational Training Sweden Democrats Sweden Refugees and Displaced Persons Politics and Government Nordic model Labor and Jobs Foreign Workers Filipstad, Sweden Economic Conditions and Trends

“People don’t want to pay taxes to support people who don’t work,” says Urban Pettersson, a member of the Sweden Democrats party, which has expressed frustration over the wave of immigration.CreditNora Lorek for The New York Times

“If you’re born in Sweden, you’ve basically won at life,” says Adam S. Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

As world leaders debate how to keep the innovative forces of capitalism while more equitably spreading the bounty, the Nordic model is often played up as a promising approach.

In the rest of the world, workers generally fear automation as a threat to paychecks. In Sweden, people are strikingly optimistic about robots given their faith in the social welfare model. If technology destroys some jobs, it will create others, they reckon, while training and state support will enable them to manage the transition.

But the endurance of the Nordic model has long depended on two crucial elements — the public’s willingness to pay some of the highest taxes on earth, and the understanding that everyone is supposed to work. The state ensures that working-age people are prepared with the skills for high-wage jobs, in industries like technology and advanced manufacturing.

Sweden’s sharp influx of immigrants — the largest of any European nation, as a share of the overall population — directly tests this proposition.

At the peak in 2015, 160,000 refugees sought asylum in Sweden, a country of 10 million people. That is equivalent to more than five million refugees arriving in the United States in a year.

Over the last two decades, the share of foreign-born people has risen from 11 percent of the Swedish population to 19 percent. Many of the refugees have little education and do not speak Swedish, making them difficult to employ.

Local leaders in Filipstad, which had seen its population dwindle, originally saw refugees as an economic opportunity.CreditNora Lorek for The New York Times

Public opinion surveys show that Swedes remain willing to accept their tax burden. But as citizens absorb the reality that many refugees will rely on welfare for years, some are balking at the cost while demanding limits on government aid for jobless people.

“People are quite open to showing solidarity for people who are like themselves,” says Carl Melin, policy director at Futurion, a research institution in Stockholm. “They don’t show solidarity for people who are different.”

The primary vessel of discontent is the Sweden Democrats, a right-wing political party with roots in the neo-Nazi movement. Over the last decade, the party has emerged from the extremist wilderness to secure mainstream status, last year capturing the third largest bloc of seats in Parliament.

The party has gained force amid anger over an economy that has stagnated in recent years, and frustration over cuts to social services that have been unfolding for a quarter-century.

The party has also been propelled by revulsion over multiculturalism in towns like Filipstad, where Muslim women in headscarves now wheel toddlers down sidewalks.

“These immigrants don’t speak the same language,” complains Mr. Pettersson, a Sweden Democrat, over coffee in a downtown cafe specializing in Swedish pastries. “They have different religions, different ways of life. If there are too many differences, it’s harder to get along. It’s interesting to meet someone from another country for maybe half an hour, but if you’re going to live together, it’s tough.”

He favors sending refugees back to their home countries through “voluntary repatriation,” he says, rather than squandering public money on doomed efforts to integrate them.

Saadia Osman, a mother of three, arrived in Sweden six years ago, having fled the war in her native Somalia.CreditNora Lorek for The New York Times

“We don’t have infinite resources,” Mr. Pettersson says. “Either it’s higher taxes, or you have to cut something.”

Sweden has long had a reputation for welcoming the exiles of war. And it also claims distinction as the nation that spends the largest percentage of its wealth on aid for developing countries.

“We’ve seen ourselves as a superpower in terms of doing good things,” says Marten Blix, an economist at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Stockholm.

When the national government began bringing refugees to Filipstad in 2012, local officials received assurances they would not be left to fend for themselves.

The state was eager to put refugees in small towns rather than in cities like Stockholm, where housing was scarce and expensive. National authorities agreed to cover rent, food, clothing and specialized medical care for the first two years. After that, municipalities would inherit responsibility, though costs were assumed to be minimal: By then, most refugees would supposedly be able to support themselves.

That was a fantasy, says Hannes Fellsman.

He manages work and education programs at a unit the local government set up in 2015 to prepare refugees for careers. He and his colleagues quickly grasped this was going to require substantial resources.

Early waves of refugees from Syria and Iraq included doctors, accountants and other professionals. Language training allowed them to resume their careers. The people arriving later tended to have little education. Many had suffered trauma, requiring mental health counseling.

Hannes Fellsman manages work and education programs at a unit the local government set up in 2015 to prepare refugees for careers.CreditNora Lorek for The New York Times

Roughly one-fifth of Filipstad’s nearly 11,000 inhabitants are now foreign-born. Among the 750 working-age people, 500 have received less than a high school education. Two hundred are illiterate.

“The state keeps saying we need to prepare people to get jobs fast,” Mr. Fellsman says. “That’s impossible. You have to educate them.”

Preparing lower-skilled refugees for work would be a challenge anywhere. In Sweden it is uniquely difficult, given how the economy is centered on highly skilled, highly paid pursuits. It has been engineered to minimize the sorts of low-paying service sector jobs that consign people in other countries to the ranks of the working poor.

Some argue that Sweden must allow lower-wage service sector jobs to emerge, enabling immigrants to secure a hold in the economy by cleaning homes or taking care of children — ideally with a government subsidy.

But unions are hostile, seeing this as a dangerous precedent that could expose Sweden to the forces of downward mobility at work in other countries. Until recently, Swedes were not accustomed to hiring people for menial work, typically preferring to clean their own homes.

Yet absent some fresh approach to increasing employment, an alarming divide seems certain to widen.

The unemployment rate was only 3.8 percent among the Swedish-born populace last year, but 15 percent among foreign-born, notes Marika Lindgren Asbrink, a researcher at LO, Sweden’s largest labor union. Roughly half of all jobless people in Sweden were foreign-born.

Among supporters of the Sweden Democrats, these sorts of numbers are cited as evidence that refugees have flocked here to enjoy lives of state-financed sloth.

A Flag Day barbecue hosted by the right-wing Sweden Democrats in the southern town of Horby.CreditCarsten Snejbjerg for The New York Times

“We have to demand that people work or they cannot get benefits,” says Ted Bondesson, a 22-year-old university student, as he celebrates Flag Day at a barbecue thrown by the Sweden Democrats in the southern town of Horby. “We can’t pay for the whole world.”

The mayor of the town, Cecilia In Zito, a Sweden Democrat, says refugees have refused to assimilate. “I would start by forcing them to learn Swedish,” she says.

Such depictions astonish Babak Jamali.

Six years ago, when he was 13, he left his home in war-torn Afghanistan, riding in the trunk of a car through Pakistan and into Iran. There, he found construction jobs for about $2 a day, squatting in half-finished apartment blocks while struggling to evade police.

He paid a smuggler to truck him into Turkey. He rode buses up the Balkan Peninsula and eventually to Germany, where he slept on the floor of a mosque. He rode a train to the Swedish city of Malmo and applied for asylum. For the last year, he has lived with a pro-refugee activist in the fields outside Horby in a house heated by a wood stove and lacking plumbing.

On paper, Mr. Jamali, 19, is the worst case for Sweden. Before arriving, he had no formal schooling, making him another illiterate, unskilled person ill-suited for work. But he chafes at the notion that he is a drain on society.

He cannot work while his asylum case is pending, so he goes into Horby six days a week to study Swedish. He walks 15 minutes up a dirt road to the highway, even in subzero temperatures, and then waits for a bus that takes 40 minutes. One bus driver refuses to pick him up. Swedes holler at him from passing cars, telling him to go home.

“What home?” he says. “I have no home.”

His first asylum claim was denied. He has filed an appeal. If he loses, he faces deportation.

In Sweden, Babak Jamali, who left his home in war-torn Afghanistan, is a full-time student, nearly fluent in Swedish, and keen to forge a career as an electrician.CreditCarsten Snejbjerg for The New York Times

This possibility fills him with dread. If he lands back in Afghanistan, he will be just another jobless young person. In Sweden, he has become a full-time student, nearly fluent in Swedish, and keen to forge a career as an electrician.

“I want to live the way other people live,” he says.

For most Swedes, the benefits of immigration remain intact. The Nordic model is proven, justifying taxpayer investments toward settling refugees, say economists. Many will struggle to work, but their children will grow up speaking Swedish. They will graduate from Swedish schools into jobs.

“Immigration doesn’t shake the Swedish welfare model in any way,” says Claes Hultgren, the municipal manager in Filipstad. “When we have succeeded with these people, this is a huge resource for Sweden.”

The average refugee in Sweden receives about 74,000 Swedish kronor (about $7,800) more in government services than they pay into the system, Joakim Ruist, an economist at the University of Gothenburg, concluded in a report released last year and commissioned by the Ministry of Finance.

Over all, the cost of social programs for refugees runs about 1 percent of Sweden’s annual national economic output, about as much as Sweden now spends on international aid. The economy is growing. The government’s finances are solid.

“Sweden can bear this cost,” Mr. Ruist says. “This seemingly unsolvable refugee crisis is fully solvable.”

In Filipstad, refugee families of five and more are packed into apartments built for two. Local schools have seen multiplying reports of concern — anything from students missing class to evidence of hunger. Violent crime is increasing. So is drug use.

For the last year, Mr. Jamali has lived with a pro-refugee activist in the fields outside Horby in a house heated by a wood stove.CreditCarsten Snejbjerg for The New York Times

The job training unit represents an effort to arrest that trajectory.

On a recent morning, Saadia Osman sits in a classroom on the second floor of a government building overlooking a lake. She and 11 other refugees are learning Swedish tailored to work in a restaurant kitchen.

A mother of three, Ms. Osman, 39, arrived in Sweden six years ago, having fled the war in her native Somalia.

At first, the government paid the 6,400 kronor a month rent (about $675) on their two-room apartment. It gave them money for food and clothing.

Her husband studied Swedish and attended city-run work trainings. Three years ago, he landed a job at a nearby factory that makes Swedish crisp bread, earning 20,000 kronor a month (about $2,100). They now pay their own rent. Ms. Osman, a preschool teacher in Somalia, wants her own job.

“We are all eager to work,” she says. “It’s not good to sit around at home and do nothing.”

But as the local government seeks to multiply such successes, it is operating with a shortage of money. Most refugees can study only part time.

“We don’t have the money for more,” says Mr. Fellsman.

Three years ago, the national government gave Filipstad 55 million kronor (about $5.8 million) to cover the extra costs of supporting refugees. That money runs out this year. National authorities recently approved plans for an additional $34 million in aid for local governments, less than initially proposed.

Sweden sits at a crossroads. Taxpayers can swallow the costs of integrating refugees, or reject that burden and risk a defining division: White, native-born Swedes will retain jobs and comfortable lives, while dark-skinned immigrants sink into poverty and joblessness in isolated ghettos.

Johnny Grahn, a bus driver, occupies a seat on the Filipstad government council, representing the Sweden Democrats.CreditNora Lorek for The New York Times

“We are creating more and more hostility in our country,” says Dan Andersson, a former chief economist at LO. “We are creating an underclass of unskilled people, because we aren’t helping them with resources.”

From where Johnny Grahn sits, Sweden is already helping too much.

A bus driver by profession, he occupies a seat on the Filipstad government council, representing the Sweden Democrats. His face tightens at mention of the refugees. As he describes it, they have overwhelmed the community.

The mosque established in the former home of a prominent Swedish conservative intellectual, Sven Stolpe, rudely awakens neighbors with the call to prayer, Mr. Grahn complains. Local housing complexes are full of foreigners, he says, while preschools have been “inundated” with refugee children.

But the greatest indignity is the impact on the local budget, Mr. Grahn says.

People are waiting weeks to see dentists. The council recently cut a popular activity coordinator at a local senior center. At the same time, the local government’s welfare payments have soared over the past decade from 6 million kronor (about $632,00) to 29 million (more than $3 million).

To Mr. Grahn and his allies in the Sweden Democrat party, the takeaway is obvious: Refugees are absorbing an outsize share of resources, leaving less money for everyone else.

“The services that you pay taxes for have been reduced drastically,” he says. “There is almost a collapse in the system. When there are so many people arriving who don’t work, the whole thing falls apart.”

In fact, public dismay over cuts to government programs is an old story in Sweden, one that long predates the recent influx of refugees.

In Filipstad, as in other communities, some native-born Swedes have come to see the refugees as a drain on public finances.CreditNora Lorek for The New York Times

After an economic crisis in the early 1990s, Sweden lowered taxes and reduced spending, trimming unemployment benefits and pensions. Complaints about delays in the health care system have become legion, with wealthier people resorting to private insurance.

But that picture is complicated, involving history, the changing ideological whims of the electorate and the complexities of national programs.

In Filipstad, as in other communities, a simpler, readily identified culprit now takes blame for nearly every social problem — the refugees. Driving the narrative is an assumption shared widely among Sweden Democrats that money spent trying to integrate refugees is money wasted.

“We are taking in people who don’t want to learn Swedish and don’t want to enter society,” says Mr. Grahn. “Integration isn’t just about us helping them. They have to want it.”

Beyond Sweden, this sort of thinking tears at the foundations of the Nordic model in an era of mass migration.

“People’s willingness to continue paying the very high taxes needed to finance the social welfare programs is not something that can be taken for granted,” says Mr. Blix, the economist. “We are now beginning to see the emergence of some serious cracks.”

To outsiders, the Nordic model may seem governed by benevolence, by a collectivist spirit that places value on ensuring that no one goes without fundamental needs like health care and housing.

But Sweden’s experience with refugees suggests a more pragmatic, even transactional conception of the social welfare state, a sort of membership club in which people pay dues for expected services. If too many people get the benefits for free — especially people who stand out as different from the majority — faith in the system is imperiled.

“Before, we got something back,” Mr. Grahn says. “Now, we’re not getting back what we paid for.”

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Judge Andrew Napolitano: Census asks too many questions – it’s just supposed to determine our population size

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6057595672001_6057592360001-vs Judge Andrew Napolitano: Census asks too many questions – it’s just supposed to determine our population size fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc bb5d5b67-29e9-5abd-b2a5-18b13a209fc3 article Andrew Napolitano

Late last month, the Supreme Court ruled on a challenge to a question that the Commerce Department announced it would add to the 2020 census. The census itself has been mandated by the Constitution to be taken every 10 years so that representation in the House of Representatives could be fairly apportioned to reflect population changes.

Over the years, the folks who prepare the census developed an appetite for peering into the personal lives of everyone living in America, and Congress – which has the same mentality as the census bureaucrats – permitted this. So, the Census Bureau began adding personal questions in the census itself.

The First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments constitutionally limit the only question that the census may ask, and the only question the recipient of the census must answer: How many persons reside in the responder’s home?

BOOKER INTRODUCES BILL TO RESTRICT USE OF CENSUS CITIZENSHIP QUESTION

Yet, that constitutional question was not good enough for the bureaucrats. In addition to asking about bedrooms and toilets and education, this year, the census folks were instructed by President Trump to ask the citizenship status of all persons. But the Supreme Court ruled that, on the justification offered by the Commerce Department, the question may not be asked.

Here is the backstory.

Though this has taken on serious political overtones, it is simply an issue about the government rejecting personal liberties – again. So, when the census folks first revealed their intention to ask the citizenship question, two challenges were filed in different federal courts, and each sought to ascertain the reason for the question.

That’s because – even though the Constitution only mandates and only permits one question: “How many persons live here?” – federal law, in defiance of the Constitution, permits ancillary questions if the answers to those questions will assist the mission of the Census Bureau or the broader federal government.

Thus, the lawsuits challenging the proposed citizenship question forced the federal government to explain how the answers received from this question would help the government to do its work.

Both federal courts enjoined the printing of census forms until the feds explained themselves. When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross refused to be interrogated at a deposition, a bureaucrat unfamiliar with the secretary’s and the president’s thinking came and testified. He told lawyers for the challengers and the Department of Justice that the feds needed citizenship data to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

In addition to asking about bedrooms and toilets and education, this year, the census folks were instructed by President Trump to ask the citizenship status of all persons. But the Supreme Court ruled that, on the justification offered by the Commerce Department, the question may not be asked.

All courts that examined that basis for the citizenship question — including the Supreme Court — disbelieved it. The Supreme Court characterized the stated reason as “contrived” and it directed the lower courts to keep their injunctions in place while they sought to determine the true motivations for the question.

When senior officials at the Commerce Department and the Justice Department read the Supreme Court decision and examined the relevant law, they instructed the Justice Department lawyers who were trying the cases to inform the judges in each case that the government recognized its defeat; the census would proceed without the citizenship question.

Then the president got involved and characterized what Justice Department lawyers – his Justice Department lawyers – told two federal judges as “fake news.” The Justice Department then pulled these career lawyers off the cases and sent in new teams of lawyers to try to come up with a lawful and credible reason to justify the citizenship question.

The Department of Justice is in a pickle on this because judges are always skeptical when lawyers – particularly government lawyers who needn’t worry about collecting a fee from a client – are replaced during a case with no rational explanation. It is far more likely that the career Justice Department lawyers resigned from the cases – rather than reverse or contradict themselves – than it is that the department brass removed them.

Can new Justice Department trial teams salvage the department’s cases? I don’t see how. The Commerce Department alleged that the reason for the census question was to assist in the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court declined to accept that explanation because the Voting Rights Act does not apply to three-quarters of the states and there was no request from the Justice Department – which enforces the Voting Rights Act – asking for this.

Moreover, federal courts uphold a doctrine that prohibits the government in a constitutional challenge from supplying reasons for its behavior as an afterthought – an after-the-fact rationalization. That doctrine will bar the judicial consideration of any reason that has not already been offered to support the citizenship question.

Compounding this is a statement that the president made last weekend; namely, that the citizenship question was being asked for reapportionment purposes. Hold on. That statement directly defies the consistent Justice Department arguments that reapportionment has nothing to do with this.

Does the census count only citizens, citizens and lawfully resident noncitizens, or all persons? It counts all persons. Thus, citizenship is irrelevant to its counting mission and to the government’s enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, as noncitizens cannot vote.

Can the president rectify this with an executive order? In a word: no. The judicial injunctions against asking the question would apply to and supersede an executive order.

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This mess is yet another example of personal liberty versus government power. On one side is the right to privacy in the home, expressly guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, and the right to silence, expressly guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment and by implication in the First Amendment. On the other side is an avaricious government that wants to know all it can about persons in America – whether constitutional or not.

Could a future Commerce Department ask how many guns are kept in the house or who living there goes to Mass on Sunday or if any resident has had an abortion? How much longer will a free people permit these intrusions? How much longer will we be a free people?

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6057595672001_6057592360001-vs Judge Andrew Napolitano: Census asks too many questions – it’s just supposed to determine our population size fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc bb5d5b67-29e9-5abd-b2a5-18b13a209fc3 article Andrew Napolitano   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6057595672001_6057592360001-vs Judge Andrew Napolitano: Census asks too many questions – it’s just supposed to determine our population size fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox-news/politics/judiciary fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc bb5d5b67-29e9-5abd-b2a5-18b13a209fc3 article Andrew Napolitano

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If everyone had voted, Hillary Clinton would probably be president. Republicans owe much of their electoral success to liberals who don’t vote

Westlake Legal Group KKjHnSpvyDiByceFsj-EWZYVZv_BkqUhVM-vHIgTZHU If everyone had voted, Hillary Clinton would probably be president. Republicans owe much of their electoral success to liberals who don’t vote r/politics

Sorry, I really hate to hijack your comment, but voter suppression is such a soft excuse.

2008

Obama: 69,498,516 McCain: 59,948,323

2012

Obama: 65,915,795 Romney: 60,933,504

2016

Clinton: 65,853,514 Trump: 62,984,828

Hillary had just roughly only 60,000 fewer votes than Obama did in 2012. Her problem? She failed to properly identify swing states. She ran an absolutely terrible campaign. Pair that with Trump getting 2M+ more votes than Romney did, campaigning in the right places, it’s clear to see how he won.

I’m sick of Democrats trying to put the blame on everything and everyone by ourselves. Obama in 2008 was a transcendent candidate. He was younger, black, charismatic, and he inspired hope. We won that election going away because the people took it upon themselves to vote for him.

And if I’m really digging deep and getting unpopular, I’m looking directly at the African-American community for not getting out to vote in 2016. They may be a minority, but with margins of victories so slim, their voice matters and their voice makes an enormous impact.

*Edit for formatting

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Odell Beckham Sports A New Look At The ESPYs, And Twitter Users Are Confused

Westlake Legal Group 5d269e482400009d179352d9 Odell Beckham Sports A New Look At The ESPYs, And Twitter Users Are Confused

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made a splash off the field by unveiling a whole new look at the 2019 ESPY Awards on Wednesday. 

And it left people a little confused. 

Beckham sported a white shirt and a tan sleeveless top over it with what looked like a large pouch in the front, and he completed the look with matching tan Bermuda shorts.

He also cut his trademark blond locks: 

Twitter users had some strong feelings about the football star’s look: 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

260K alien hunters sign up for joke Facebook event to breach Area 51: ‘They can’t stop all of us’

More than 260,000 Facebook users have signed up – and nearly 300,000 more are interested – in an upcoming event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.”

On September 20 at 3 a.m., the group, according to the event details, plans to meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction to “coordinate our entry” inside the restricted military installation.

‘WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF WE FOUND ALIENS?’ SURVEY ASKS

“If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens,” the tongue-in-cheek event details say. A ‘naruto run’ is associated with an anime character.

“[T]he Rock Throwers will throw pebbles at the inevitable resistance (we dont want to hurt them, we just want to annoy,” one interested poster suggested as a strategy for gaining access to the base’s extraterrestrial secrets.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The secret Nevada Air Force base, a detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, has been a hotbed of alien conspiracy theories for more than half a century, likely due to its history of testing new military aircraft, including the U-2 spy plane in 1955, inside the hush, hush facility.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-609845268 260K alien hunters sign up for joke Facebook event to breach Area 51: 'They can't stop all of us' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/entertainment/genres/viral fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 51ce5d3d-e028-53d8-ac57-b3e90db63317   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-609845268 260K alien hunters sign up for joke Facebook event to breach Area 51: 'They can't stop all of us' fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/entertainment/genres/viral fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 51ce5d3d-e028-53d8-ac57-b3e90db63317

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New Orleans is already flooded — and the worst may be yet to come: Forecasters are predicting a hurricane

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close New Orleans is already flooded — and the worst may be yet to come: Forecasters are predicting a hurricane

USA TODAY’s Doyle Rice talks about the dangers of cars that are flooded or submerged in natural disasters, and how to make sure you don’t buy one. USA TODAY

New Orleans is prepping for a hurricane. The flooding has already hit.

On the same day that a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration report warned Americans of a “floodier” future, some streets in Louisiana’s largest city, including in the famed French Quarter, looked more like rivers.

Lines of thunderstorms associated with a weather system that is predicted to develop into a hurricane by Friday struck New Orleans with as much as 7 inches of rain within a three-hour period Wednesday morning, forecasters said.

The city was engulfed with water, leaving residents to contend with swampy streets, overturned garbage cans and flooded vehicles. Some even paddled their way down the street in kayaks. 

Chandris Rethmeyer said she lost her car to the flood and had to wade through water about 4 feet deep to get to safety. 

Rethmeyer said she was on her way home after working an overnight shift when she got stuck behind a car accident in an underpass and the water began to rise. 

“I was going to sit in my car and let the storm pass,” she said. “But I reached back to get my son’s iPad and put my hand into a puddle of water.”

And Valerie R. Burton woke up Wednesday to what looked like a lake outside her door.

“There was about 3 to 4 feet of water in the street, pouring onto the sidewalks and at my door,” Burton said. “So, I went to my neighbors to alert them and tell them to move their cars.”

The tides were reminiscent of sudden flooding that took the city by surprise in August 2017. That flood not only required major repair efforts, but also exposed significant problems within the agency overseeing street drainage and lead to personnel changes at the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. 

Forecasters said that Louisiana could see up to 12 inches of rain by Monday, with some isolated areas receiving as up to 18 inches.

That heavy rain could push the swollen Mississippi River dangerously close to the top of the city’s levees, officials cautioned.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans said the agency was not expecting widespread overtopping of the levees, but there are concerns for areas south of the city.

The river was expected to rise to 20 feet by late Friday at a key gauge in New Orleans. The area is protected by levees 20 to 25 feet high, he said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency: “The entire coast of Louisiana is at play in this storm,” Edwards said.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

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Conrad Black: 2020 Dems are ‘ludicrous troop of unqualified candidates’; Biden ‘not up for the job’

Westlake Legal Group Iingraham-Black_FOX-Getty Conrad Black: 2020 Dems are 'ludicrous troop of unqualified candidates'; Biden 'not up for the job' fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz b5f61af8-1075-5902-ba41-e54e191809d7 article

The 2020 Democratic field is a collection of nearly two-dozen unqualified presidential hopefuls — led by former Vice President Joe Biden, who is not ready for the job, Conrad Black said Wednesday.

“This ludicrous troop of unqualified candidates is kind of an astonishing herd of people that cannot be taken seriously,” the former media mogul claimed on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Black, 74, shared his assessment of the Democratic primary field after having spent several weeks abroad, without checking in too much on American news, he said.

CONRAD BLACK BLASTS PROSECUTORS, FBI IN FIRST US INTERVIEW SINCE PARDON FROM TRUMP

“I’ve been in England for six weeks … so you do not get a clear picture” of news events in the U.S., he told host Laura Ingraham.

“It’s striking to me, six weeks after I left, how certain trajectories have confirmed themselves,” he added. “Specifically, the president, as far as I can see, three points up from where he was in the polls and the Democrats are falling out amongst themselves.”

Black, a Canadian-born businessman who was convicted of fraud and later pardoned by President Trump, noted how only a few of the Democratic candidates are getting any solid media attention.

“You’ve got the far left of the Democrats making most of the noise and finally getting smacked down a bit by the establishment,” he said.

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“The front-runner Joe Biden, in my opinion, [is] not up to the job, but not for the reasons that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez … gives. It’s an absurd situation.”

He added he believes Trump has been a very successful president but admitted the president’s “style” leaves a lot to be desired by some critics.

However, any of Trump’s shortcomings pale in comparison to the “discordant gang of people with very little distinction to it in political terms” running against him, Black claimed.

Westlake Legal Group Iingraham-Black_FOX-Getty Conrad Black: 2020 Dems are 'ludicrous troop of unqualified candidates'; Biden 'not up for the job' fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz b5f61af8-1075-5902-ba41-e54e191809d7 article   Westlake Legal Group Iingraham-Black_FOX-Getty Conrad Black: 2020 Dems are 'ludicrous troop of unqualified candidates'; Biden 'not up for the job' fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz b5f61af8-1075-5902-ba41-e54e191809d7 article

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Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for ‘El Chapo’

Westlake Legal Group Chapo-RT Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for 'El Chapo' Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc article 8209d5f7-f557-5ab9-91c7-b20bd2e4dfe1

The captured Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman should spend the rest of his life in prison plus another 30 years, federal prosecutors wrote in court documents filed Wednesday.

In a letter sent to Judge Brian Cogan, the prosecutors portrayed Guzman as a “ruthless and bloodthirsty” leader of “one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.”

Prosecutors wrote, “The horrific nature and circumstances of the defendant’s offense, his history and characteristics and the fact that the defendant committed some of the most serious crimes under federal law make a life sentence warranted.”

EL CHAPO’S BEAUTY QUEEN WIFE DISSES MEDIA’S ‘UNFAIR’ CARICATURE OF HER DRUG-LORD HUSBAND IN RARE INTERVIEW

“The letter is unnecessary because we all knew that if found guilty of the main charge of criminal enterprise then he would spend life in prison which is mandatory,” Guzman’s attorney Mariel Colon Miro told Fox News on Wednesday. “There is nothing less he could get on that charge”

Earlier this month, the judge denied Guzman’s request for an evidentiary hearing, saying the amount of evidence was overwhelming and even without other influencing factors, including media reports, a jury still would have convicted him because of all the evidence.

This past Friday, prosecutors proposed that the convicted kingpin give the U.S. government $12.7 billion, suggesting that Guzman made that money through his drug trafficking empire, Colon Miro confirmed to Fox News.

CRUELTY OF EL CHAPO’S SINALOA CARTEL KNOWS NO BOUNDS

Witnesses testified in court during Guzman’s trial that the drug lord lived a lavish life, owned personal planes and had a private zoo with a tiny train inside it, along with other over-the-top assets.

“It’s ridiculous for the government to think he has all this money,” Colon Miro told Fox News on Wednesday. “The government hasn’t been able to locate a single penny.”

Guzman, 62, was found guilty in February of trafficking tons of cocaine and other drugs into the U.S. as the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. The three-month trial detailed grisly killings, a bizarre escape and drugs hidden in jalapeno cans.

“El Chapo” was said to have escaped from a Mexican jail in 2001 by hiding in a laundry bin and managed to evade the law by stowing away in one of his mountainside hideaways.

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He was recaptured in 2014 but escaped a year later through a mile-long lighted tunnel. Guzman was captured again nearly six months later.

Guzman is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17.

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis, Lukas Mikelionis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Chapo-RT Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for 'El Chapo' Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc article 8209d5f7-f557-5ab9-91c7-b20bd2e4dfe1   Westlake Legal Group Chapo-RT Federal prosecutors ask for life in prison plus 30 years for 'El Chapo' Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/trials fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc article 8209d5f7-f557-5ab9-91c7-b20bd2e4dfe1

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All the winners from the 2019 ESPY Awards

The ESPY Awards, ESPN’s annual celebration for all things sports, were held Wednesday in Los Angeles. Comedian Tracy Morgan was the host for the 27th edition of the event.   

And the ESPYS went to:   

Best Breakthrough Athlete: Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants.

Best College Athlete: Zion Williamson, Duke basketball player. 

Best Record Breaking Performance:  Drew Brees. Saints quarterback broke NFL all-time record for passing yards in monster Monday night performance against the Redskins.  

Best Comeback:  St. Louis Blues. The Blues went from last in the league in early January to winning the franchise’s first championship in their 52-year history in June. 

Best Moment: Lindsey Vonn, Rob Gronkowski and Dwyane Wade cap incredible careers.

Best Female Athlete: Alex Morgan, USWNT.

Best Play: Katelyn Ohashi’s perfect 10.   

Best Game: Los Angeles Rams’ record-setting victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on “Monday Night Football.”    

Best Male Athlete: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks forward and 2018-19 MVP. 

Best Team: U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, which won 2019 World Cup.   

Special Awards

Jimmy V Award for Perseverance: Rob Mendez.

Pat Tillman Award for Service: U.S. Marine Sgt. Kirstie Ennis.

Best Coach: Jim Calhoun, the 77-year-old, three-time Division I national champion at UConn and Basketball Hall of Famer, is now coach at the University of Saint Joseph at the Division III level. 

Arthur Ashe Award for Courage: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics legend and Basketball Hall of Famer.  

Capital One Cup winners: Stanford women and Virginia men.   

The rest of the awards

Best Viral Sports Moment: Ohashi. 

Best Upset: Andy Ruiz Jr. defeats Anthony Joshua.  

Best International Men’s Soccer Player: Lionel Messi.

Best International Women’s Soccer Player: Sam Kerr.

Best NFL Player: Patrick Mahomes.

Best MLB Player: Christian Yelich.

Best NHL Player: Alexander Ovechkin.

Best Driver: Kyle Busch.

Best NBA Player: Antetokounmpo.

Best WNBA Player: Breanna Stewart.

Best Boxer: Canelo Álvarez.

Best MMA Fighter: Daniel Cormier.

Best Male Golfer: Brooks Koepka.

Best Female Golfer: Brooke Henderson.

Best Male Tennis Player: Roger Federer.

Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams.

Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Nyjah Huston.

Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Chloe Kim.

Best Jockey: Mike Smith.

Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Mark Barr.

Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Allysa Seely.

Best Bowler: Norm Duke.

Best MLS Player: Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Best NWSL Player: Sam Kerr. 

Best Esports Moment: oLarry returns to NBA2k.

Best WWE Moment: Roman Reigns returns to WWE Raw.

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Nevada train derailment wrecks dozens of new cars, pickup trucks

Dozens of brand-new cars and pickup trucks were destroyed Wednesday in a stunning train derailment in Nevada.

The 33-car Union Pacific train was carrying mostly Jeeps and pickup trucks when it derailed just after 9 a.m. in Caliente, a town about 30 miles away from the Nevada-Utah border.

Westlake Legal Group Train Nevada train derailment wrecks dozens of new cars, pickup trucks Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox-news/auto fox news fnc/us fnc article 76049dd5-44c9-50bd-8308-2d0793b02f6b

Dozens of cars and pickup trucks were damaged Wednesday when the train they were being transported in derailed in Nevada.  (Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office)

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee told Fox 13 said some train cars had been hauling hazardous material, but those cars weren’t affected in the crash.

County Road 4230 in Nevada from Elgin to Carp was expected to remain closed for seven to 10 days because of train cars, construction equipment and debris blocking the road, the station reported.

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Union Pacific was investigating the incident and was expected to turn over its results to the Federal Railroad Administration. The rail company did not immediately respond Wednesday to a Fox News request for comment.

Westlake Legal Group Train2 Nevada train derailment wrecks dozens of new cars, pickup trucks Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox-news/auto fox news fnc/us fnc article 76049dd5-44c9-50bd-8308-2d0793b02f6b   Westlake Legal Group Train2 Nevada train derailment wrecks dozens of new cars, pickup trucks Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox-news/auto fox news fnc/us fnc article 76049dd5-44c9-50bd-8308-2d0793b02f6b

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