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Watch: Virtue Signaling Swedes Say They’d Take Refugees Into Their Home Until Presented With One

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-1-1-620x343 Watch: Virtue Signaling Swedes Say They’d Take Refugees Into Their Home Until Presented With One virtue signaling Sweden refugees Rape Politics migrants International Affairs Front Page Stories Europe crisis crime Allow Media Exception

If there’s one thing I love about people who viture signal, it’s that when it comes time to practice what they preach, they suddenly have excuses as to why they don’t practice the virtues they’ve been preaching to you about.

Take, for instance, the good people of Sweden. The country leans so heavily left that it’s fallen over into the muck of its own making. It’s welcomed in refugees from the middle east, and as a result, has seen a spiking crime and rape epidemic that nabbed it the title of “rape capital of the west.”

Instead of helping the people of its country, the Swedish government went about covering up its rape statistics. What’s more, the Swedish people are seemingly proud of their newfound troubles and are outwardly welcoming to the refugees.

Outwardly being the keyword here.

Recently, a small group set out to get the reactions of Swedes when asked if they would be willing to take refugees in themselves. Every person in the video answered they would.

They were likely feeling pretty proud of themselves as they answered the question, but then the video makers suddenly put their convictions to the test as the Swedes were then presented with a migrant they could take in. A grown man named “Ali,” who needed a place to live.

Naturally, the people who were so welcoming just moments ago began desperately searching any excuse in the book to not have to take in the migrant and all their talk about helping those in need looked oh so foolish.

It makes you wonder what kind of society we’d be living in if people were just more honest with themselves and others about their beliefs. If Swedes would just stand up and say that they’re not into the idea of refugees living in their homes because of the fact that they know it may invite all sorts of troubles, then perhaps Sweden would be a country much lower in crime and rape.

But this simple video just unveiled the truth about virtue signaling. It’s many people creating problems for others that they themselves wouldn’t take on. This video may have taken part in Sweden, but it’s a principle that applies to everyone.

The post Watch: Virtue Signaling Swedes Say They’d Take Refugees Into Their Home Until Presented With One appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-1-1-300x166 Watch: Virtue Signaling Swedes Say They’d Take Refugees Into Their Home Until Presented With One virtue signaling Sweden refugees Rape Politics migrants International Affairs Front Page Stories Europe crisis crime Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Think You’ve Heard the Stupidest Thing Ever? I Disagree. Witness the Woke’s New Condemnation of Ikea

Westlake Legal Group meatballs-1994807_1280-620x399 Think You’ve Heard the Stupidest Thing Ever? I Disagree. Witness the Woke’s New Condemnation of Ikea woke virtual signaling Uncategorized Sweden Social Justice outrage Ikea Front Page Stories Food Featured Story environment Culture cultural appropriation Allow Media Exception

 

 

So there you are, thinking you’ve heard of the stupidest thing possible. But then I swoop in with this.

Do you appreciate affordable, well-designed furniture? Are you a fan of modern, minimalist decor? Do you hanker for a hunka Ikea?

Well, your favorite Swedish slinger of Lingonberry soda is in trouble.

In fact, its worse than you may imagine. The assembly-required home goods haven recently had the nerve to…**Trigger Warning**…serve peas.

Yes — it’s that horrible.

Peas, I said.

Calm yourself…

It all started when the backer of the Billy Bookcase decided to be a jerk and serve similar chicken.

Jerk chicken, in case you didn’t know, is a marinated Caribbean dish, and the maker of your favorite fake-fur rug paired it with white rice and the aforementioned panic-inducing spherical seeds.

You see, Ikea should be sensitive to the fact that the Scotch-bonnet-peppered meat isn’t traditionally teamed with dadgum green peas! It’s supposed to be kidney beans in coconut milk, ya neanderthals:

Shame on Ikea for feigning a penchant for diversity.

Let the outrage begin!

It’s shameful cultural appropriation, and they didn’t even hire any Caribbeans to guide them in their theft:

As you can see above, the store’s repented.

How could those white people have ever thought this was okay??

At least one person defended the home of the Klippan loveseat, Färgrik mug, Riktig Ögla curtain rings, Flärdfull candle, Knutstorp chair, and Ödmjuk teapot:

The store can use the support; it just can’t seem to catch a break with the Painfully Conscious — Ikea even made CheatSheet’s list of “5 Stores Where You Should Not Buy Furniture.”

The SuperWoke list excoriated the furniture retailer for having the nerve to:

  • Use wood
  • Not be located as pervasively as McDonalds

See for yourself:

However, the larger concerns around Ikea have more to do with environmental and other costs, not necessarily the furniture itself. “Can we afford to keep shopping at places where an item’s price reflects only a fraction of its societal costs?” one Atlantic column asked in 2009.

Seven years and counting after the article was published, it appears we can. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we should. For one, IKEA has pushed many transportation costs onto the consumers themselves, likely without them even thinking about it. The average consumer drives 50 miles round trip to make it to the assembly-required mecca, often far away from city centers so the business can avoid higher taxes. At the time the article was written, the retailer was also the third-largest consumer of wood, used in the particleboard now ubiquitous with the brand.

But the bigger issue, as the Atlantic points out, is that the cheaper furniture invites us not to invest or repair the items. When a bookcase breaks or a dresser becomes unusable, we throw it away instead of repairing it, like we would an heirloom armoire. It might get recycled, or it might not. Either way, we’re using more natural resources without adding lasting value. For those reasons, “IKEA is the least sustainable retailer on the planet,” said Wig Zamore, a Massachusetts environmental activist who worked with IKEA and supports some of the company’s regional green initiatives.

Did the person who wrote that article stop to think that perhaps people drive far to get to Ikea because they love it so much?

Perhaps the author could’ve also considered that if you open a store in New Jersey, it’ far from New York; if you open one in New York, it’s far from New Jersey.

All places are close to some things and far from others.

Oh well, who needs reason when you’ve got an outrageous signaling of virtue at hand?

I’m keen on the Swedist store, evil Nazi peas notwithstanding.

The next time you’re there, take my advice: getcha a softserve vanilla cone. Those things are delicious.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article:

See 3 more pieces from me:

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

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The post Think You’ve Heard the Stupidest Thing Ever? I Disagree. Witness the Woke’s New Condemnation of Ikea appeared first on RedState.

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What is the White House’s special envoy on hostage affairs doing at the A$AP Rocky trial in Sweden?

Westlake Legal Group ar What is the White House’s special envoy on hostage affairs doing at the A$AP Rocky trial in Sweden? white house Trump The Blog Sweden robert o'brien rapper kardashian Kanye West criminal a$ap rocky

So embarrassing. And doubly embarrassing is the fact that every righty in the country would have taken a rhetorical flamethrower to Obama if he had pulled this swampy garbage.

Read this post for background if you haven’t been following the A$AP Rocky saga. Short version: He’s a famous rapper with even more famous friends, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who themselves have the most famous friend of all in Donald Trump. Rocky and his pals got into a fight while visiting Sweden in which they may or may not have been the aggressors; Sweden’s holding a criminal trial for them right now to determine their guilt, as one would expect. Problem: West, Kardashian, and Trump think celebrities should get special favors from governments so Trump dialed up the prime minister of Sweden and asked if something couldn’t be done to secure Rocky’s release. Uh, no, he was told. It’d be grossly improper for a politician to meddle in a criminal proceeding.

Trump didn’t like that and naturally registered his annoyance on Twitter. After all we do for Sweden, how dare they not corrupt their judicial system for a well-connected American entertainer?

Which is where Robert O’Brien comes in. He’s the president’s special envoy for hostage affairs, the sort of person who might normally be tapped to talk to the Taliban if a soldier was kidnapped in Afghanistan or a U.S. citizen arrested in North Korea a la Otto Warmbier. What he’s doing this week is … attending A$AP Rocky’s trial. Not because we think the Swedish criminal justice system is unfair or anything, but just so that Trump can impress Kim and Kanye by showing them how seriously he’s taking this very important crisis. And, I guess, to extend a middle finger to the prime minister by treating a European ally’s judicial process as if it’s some third-world kangaroo court that needs American supervision.

As I say, no doubt Obama dispatching a U.S. crisis negotiator to the trial of a rapper as a personal favor to another rapper would sit very well indeed with the opposition party.

Whether appropriate or not, the framing of Rocky’s case as akin to a hostage situation appears to have taken hold at the White House. A senior administration official said the main motivation for Mr. Trump is continuing his track record of getting hostages freed. Mr. Trump has taken pride in the freeing of hostages from Iran, North Korea and Turkey, including Andrew Brunson, a pastor who had been held by Turkish authorities for years…

James C. O’Brien, no relation [to Robert O’Brien] and the first person to hold the [hostage envoy] position, said in a phone interview that his successor’s efforts in Sweden did not fit the job’s original framework. The envoy, he said, should work to free Americans being held without good reason, oftentimes when there are no diplomatic alternatives.

There has to have been another way of handing the situation, James O’Brien said, especially since Sweden is an ally who could be a partner in working to release an actual hostage.

“The envoy’s presence in Sweden is a tweet come to life,” James O’Brien, the vice chairman of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global consulting firm, said.

Robert O’Brien gamely tried to defend his presence at the trial to reporters who asked why a hostage negotiator was involved in a non-hostage non-negotiation situation: “I also help free people that are held by governments, so unjustly detained Americans.” But that’s just it. There’s no evidence that Rocky has been unjustly detained, whatever Kanye might think about the situation. And there’s no reason to believe that he will, or should, go free if he’s convicted.

There’s this too:

On Wednesday, the United States Embassy in Stockholm asked that the three defendants be released from detention and allowed to reside at a hotel for the duration of the trial, according to a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, who called the request unusual.

Not gonna happen, Swedish officials told the Times. Trump had also asked about Rocky potentially being released on bail, whereupon he was informed that Sweden doesn’t do bail since it would be unfair to criminal defendants who can’t afford to pay. It’s the Swedes who have insisted repeatedly during this process on treating a rich, famous defendant the same as everyone else and our supposedly populist president who’s repeatedly asked for special privileges on his behalf.

But so what, you might say? If the White House can help out an American who’s in trouble, so much the better. Right, but the thing is that Rocky isn’t the only American out there who’s in trouble. Dan Drezner points to this list of U.S. citizens currently detained in several sh*thole countries — i.e. not Sweden — who might benefit from a presidential-level intervention in the person of Robert O’Brien. But they aren’t getting that, at least not this week, because the Kardashian family and their presidential enabler are preoccupied with a cause celebre. Exit quotation from Drezner: “President Trump has always prioritized celebrity over the national interest. This episode merely gilds the lily.”

The post What is the White House’s special envoy on hostage affairs doing at the A$AP Rocky trial in Sweden? appeared first on Hot Air.

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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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US submits formal extradition request with UK for Assange — just under the wire

Westlake Legal Group Assange US submits formal extradition request with UK for Assange — just under the wire United Kingdom The Blog Sweden Julian Assange Jeremy Hunt extradition

Will the US get to try Julian Assange? At least we’ve finally gotten in line, and not a moment too soon. As a deadline for an extradition request loomed, the Trump administration finally filed its formal paperwork with the United Kingdom to gave Assange sent here for trial:

The United States has submitted its formal request to the United Kingdom to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a US official with knowledge of the matter.

Assange was arrested in April at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and the US had roughly 65 days — or until mid-June — to send in full extradition papers.

Prosecutors initially charged Assange with a single count of computer intrusion, but last month added 17 new counts, including controversial charges under the Espionage Act for encouraging, receiving and publishing national defense information in concert with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

That indictment had to get filed before submitting the extradition request, the Washington Post explained last night. Otherwise, the treaty between the US and the UK would have prohibited any further charges from being added. That means Assange won’t have to wonder what else American prosecutors might have up their sleeves.

For instance, it appears that Assange won’t play a role in another high-profile case involving Wikileaks:

The same treaty bars the United States from prosecuting Assange for any alleged crimes beyond those outlined in the extradition request, unless those acts occur after his extradition. In an 18-count indictment filed last month, prosecutors charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to hack into a government computer.

The Justice Department did not pursue Assange for the 2017 exposure of Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools known as “Vault 7,” according to government officials, out of concern that doing so would do more damage to national security. Joshua Adam Schulte, a former CIA employee, is accused in New York federal court of leaking that information to WikiLeaks.

That probably won’t help Chelsea Manning in getting out of jail. Manning refuses to testify to the grand jury issued the broader indictment on Assange, but their work isn’t done yet — and neither is Manning’s:

A grand jury investigation of Assange has remained active in recent weeks. Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, whose interactions with Assange form the basis of the charges against him, remains in jail for refusing to testify before the grand jury. Sigurdur Thordarson, a former WikiLeaks associate who became an FBI informant, says he voluntarily met with prosecutors in Virginia late last month and was asked detailed questions about Assange’s relationships with hackers. A spokesman with the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria declined to comment on Thordarson’s account.

About the only thing that will help Manning at this point is the trial of Assange, at which point the grand jury will close its involvement in the case. Can we expect to see that process begin with Manning’s arrival in the US? Until last week, it appeared we’d have to compete with Sweden in the gold-medal round of the Assange Olympics. A court ruling on June 3rd may have taken the Swedes out of contention and handed us the prize by default, with judges ruling that prosecutors should not pursue extradition. The government has yet to file an appeal to that ruling, and until they do, the US extradition request would stand alone.

Even so, the demand would likely be controversial. Fortunately for the US, the Tories are in the middle of a leadership fight in which hopefuls for the prime minister position are vying to see who can give the biggest middle finger to the EU. Current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is one of the candidates and the person with the most influence now on any decision to fight extradition, and Hunt made it clear two Sundays ago that he carries no brief for Assange:

“Well, we would have to follow our own legal processes, just as the U.S. has to follow its own legal processes,” Hunt told “Face the Nation” Sunday. “But would I want to stand in the way of Julian Assange facing justice? No, I would not.” …

Asked about concerns raised by United Nations officials about Assange’s imprisonment and possible extradition, Hunt said what has has happened to the Wikileaks founder in recent weeks is the “right thing.”

“Julian Assange is someone who is alleged to have committed some very serious crimes, alleged to have led to people’s deaths,” he added. “And so it is absolutely right that he faces justice, and he has no more reason to escape justice than anyone else who is alleged to have committed crimes.”

In other words … pack your bags, Mr. Assange, and get ready for a long plane trip.

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Sweden makes up their mind about Assange

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Color me surprised, because events in the Julian Assange extradition saga are moving more quickly than I’d anticipated. This week we’ve already learned that most of the likely contenders to be the next British Prime Minister aren’t opposed to extraditing Assange and may allow the process to take place without intervention. (Assuming a court agrees, of course.) But when writing about that event, I pointed out that Sweden might have first dibs on collecting the Wikileaks founder and putting him on trial for rape.

I don’t know if someone from the White House has been putting a bug in the Swedes’ ears, but they are reportedly backing down on their claim now and passing on extraditing him themselves. (Associated Press)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to Sweden for a revived rape investigation, but should still be questioned in the case while he is imprisoned in Britain, a Swedish court ruled Monday,

The ruling by the Uppsala District Court doesn’t mean the preliminary investigation must be abandoned, only that Assange doesn’t face extradition to Sweden any time soon.

Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, said she has not decided whether to appeal.

That strikes me as more than a little confusing. The prosecutors in Sweden want to reserve the right to question Assange in England, presumably in relation to the rape charges. But what benefit do they receive from questioning him if they’re ruling out bringing him back to stand trial? I suppose they could convict him in absentia and just wait to see what the United States does with him, but that’s probably not going to provide much consolation to the victim.

In any event, that’s Sweden’s business and I suppose we should leave them to handle the case as they see fit. In the meantime, their decision clears yet another major hurdle in terms of getting our hands on Assange, bringing him to Quantico and putting him on trial. That’s not a done deal, however, because a Britsh court will still have to go along with the plan and Assange will be fighting extradition every step of the way.

To complicate matters, as we’ve discussed here previously, the clock is still ticking in terms of the statute of limitations. The five-year limit for most federal crimes has already expired. But as Andrew McCarthy reported back in April, there is one exception to that rule found in Section 2332b of the penal code, that pushes the deadline out to eight years in cases of “acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.”

Even under the eight-year standard, we’re still cutting it close. But if the Brits can manage to get things wrapped up efficiently, we might still have a shot at him. And then all of the people in the United States who are insisting Assange is a journalist and thereby protected from prosecution will start an entirely new chapter in this debate.

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It Looks Like Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange May Never Face the Charges the U.S. Levied Against Him

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Julian Assange is currently sitting in jail in the U.K. and he’s got quite the list of suitors pining for his time.

The Wikileaks founder was finally kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy about a month ago. Given his mental state and some of the stories of his time there, there wasn’t much of a path for him to stay there anyway. Shortly after his arrest, the United States unveiled a list of charges against Assange, including conspiracy revolving around the hacking efforts of Bradley Manning.

Ironically, while the Obama administration was seeking to put Assange away for life, they were granting clemency to Manning, allowing his release just seven years into his sentence. None of it made much sense and was probably wholly driven by the fact that Manning had become a pop-culture figure on the left due to his transgenderism.

The current charges against Assange are very flimsy and seem to rely on an extremely stretched idea of what conspiracy is.

He rejected the notion that Assange could claim to be a mere journalist with free-speech protections. “WikiLeaks is more than just a repository for classified information, they’re actually out actively seeking it. And the question is whether Assange was enabling individuals like Chelsea Manning to steal classified information. That would make him a co-conspirator.”

It is not illegal to actively seek out classified material as long as you aren’t the one illegally obtaining it. If it were, The New York Times, among many others, would no longer exist. Does that make Assange a “journalist?” Not in the traditional sense, but it doesn’t really matter because the protections under the law apply to everyone, not just self-appointed mainstream reporters. The only real question is whether Assange assisted in any hacking and the evidence of that appears non-existent.

It may not matter though because it doesn’t look like Assange is headed to the U.S. anytime soon. The Swedish Government has decided to re-open the rape case against him that they had originally dropped some years ago and that puts a wrench in the situation.

Sweden will re-open its investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s deputy chief prosecutor announced on Monday.

Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson told reporters in Stockholm that the investigation into the alleged rape had been suspended in 2017 not for lack of evidence but as a result of Assange’s continued residence in Ecuador’s London embassy.

Sweden pretty much has first call on Assange. They’ve already got a court ruling from the U.K. authorizing his extradition while the U.S. would still have to fight those battles. Because of this, it’s likely any statutes of limitations will have run their course by the time the U.S. gets their shot at him.

There’s some hint that this could be gotten around by claiming an exemption in the law dealing with terrorism across international borders but that’d be ludicrous in my opinion. While Assange is clearly a bad actor and it’s perfectly acceptable to oppose his tactics, that doesn’t mean we should massage the meaning of the law to absurdity just to target him. He’s clearly not a terrorist nor has he participated in terrorist acts.

In the end, what I think this looks like is the U.S. overplaying their hand. As much as a lot of people would like to haul Assange in, I think the technicalities of the law will preclude that from happening. That leaves the real threat to Assange’s freedom residing in Sweden and I’m guessing they’ll make whatever they’ve got stick for obvious reasons.

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The Assange case just hit another snag

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The last we heard from Julian Assange involved a year in jail in London on failure to appear charges and a pair of extradition hearings to determine if he could be shipped to the United States. That process was already estimated to last well into next year, but now another complication has arisen. After previously dropping rape charges against him, Sweden is reopening their case against Assange and may want to jump in line in front of us and have him extradited over there first. (CNN)

Sweden will reopen the investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s deputy chief prosecutor announced on Monday.

Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson revealed Sweden would resume proceedings at a press conference in the capital of Stockholm on Monday morning.

The Australian whistleblower was accused of sexual assault and rape by two women in Sweden after visiting the country in August 2010.

The Swedish claim is a little complicated, but they may have a better case than the United States and a reason to get their hands on Assange first. The UK Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that he could be extradited to Sweden and that hasn’t changed, despite his seven-year stay in the embassy. And while the statute of limitations on a sexual assault charge in Sweden has run out, the rape charge hasn’t, but they have to get him into a courtroom by August of 2020. When you add all of that up, Sweden has a pretty strong case and a reason for their claim to be heard before the United States’ request.

That brings us to the matching question back here in the United States. The actions Assange allegedly took while conspiring with (then Bradley) Manning occurred in 2010. Hasn’t the window closed on that one? Andrew McCarthy examined that question last month at National Review and the answer is no better than a definite maybe. The sections of the penal code that would most likely apply here (covering conspiracy and computer fraud) would normally have a five-year statute of limitations. But they contain exceptions for “acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.”

So it’s possible that we could still get Assange in handcuffs in America, but as McCarthy points out, we’ll have to win the statute of limitations argument twice… once in London and once in Virginia. And assuming Assange has an even marginally competent legal team, that’s not going to be easy at all.

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Appeals court to Manning: If you want out of jail, start talking

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Chelsea Manning may not believe in the grand jury system, but the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals certainly does. In a terse, unanimous decision handed down this morning, the court rejected Manning’s appeal of a contempt citation for refusing to testify while immune to prosecution. It didn’t take long for the three judges to dispense with Manning’s conspiracy theories and keep her in jail for as long as the grand jury continues its investigation:

Appellant Manning argues on appeal that the district court improperly denied her motion concerning electronic surveillance, failed to properly address the issue of grand jury abuse, and improperly sealed the courtroom during substantial portions of the hearing. Upon consideration of the memorandum briefs filed on appeal and the record of proceedings in the district court, the court finds no error in the district court’s rulings and affirms its finding of civil contempt. The court also denies appellant’s motion for release on bail.

Manning can ask for an en banc hearing or appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, but the issue is so straightforward that it’s hardly likely to get a grant of certiorari. The full Fourth Circuit won’t be much more sympathetic either. After having been convicted of transmitting classified material, Manning has a double-jeopardy defense against being tried on any charges related to that operation. That means a grand jury can subpoena her testimony and Manning has no Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify. Manning can toss around any excuses and conspiracy theories she likes, but the grand jury has the power to compel testimony, and judges have the authority to impose jail time without bail for refusing to do so.

Politico court reporter Josh Gerstein notes that the Department of Justice’s full-court press on Manning is clearly related to their attempts to shore up a case against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange:

Prosecutors appear to be pressing for Manning’s testimony in order to bolster their case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was expelled earlier this month from London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, where he’d been holed up for seven years.

After he was ousted from the embassy, Assange was arrested on a longstanding bail-skipping charge and prosecutors revealed that Assange was secretly indicted by a U.S. grand jury back in March 2018 on charges of conspiring with Manning to hack a password for a military computer system. He now faces extradition proceedings in England.

Many U.S. lawmakers have said they also want the Australian citizen and transparency activist prosecuted for conspiring with the Russians to hack Democratic Party emails in advance of the 2016 presidential election. However, adding those charges or others could complicate the extradition process and give Assange’s defense fresh arguments that he’s being accused of “political” crimes excluded from the extradition treaty between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Manning had nothing to do with the DNC hack, though. By the time that got perpetrated, Manning had been cooling heals in Fort Leavenworth for years, having been first arrested in 2010 and sentenced three years later. Gerstein makes a good point about the Trump administration’s interest in keeping a narrower focus for Assange, and the demand from Manning falls well within that more limited scope.

While the US has played its cards close to the vest after announcing Assange’s indictment and extradition demand, Ecuador has begun broadening its effort regarding Assange. The New York Times reported this weekend that Ecuadorian police arrested an Assange associate over hacking attempts in the country. Others accuse the Lenin Moreno administration of running roughshod over privacy activists:

The man arrested, Ola Bini, a Swedish cybersecurity expert and digital privacy advocate, was detained April 11 on charges that he had attacked computer systems in the country.

As evidence, prosecutors pointed to the laptops, iPads, iPods, encrypted USB sticks and credit cards they found when they searched Mr. Bini’s home and possessions. They noted that Mr. Bini traveled often and had spent more than $230,000 in internet services over the past five years.

Ecuador’s officials particularly cited Mr. Bini’s contacts with Mr. Assange, who faces extradition to the United States on charges of conspiring to hack an American government computer to obtain national security information.

Last week, President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador said that Mr. Bini was one of “many hackers” who had visited Mr. Assange at the country’s embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder had sought refuge. “Probably to receive instructions,” Mr. Moreno added.

But as news of the detention has spread, human rights and digital security advocates have begun to question the grounds for the detention, arguing that Mr. Bini, 36, worked to prevent illegal access to private information.

Bini’s girlfriend claims that the government misunderstood his work, and that he was trying to safeguard against government hacking rather than the other way around. That kind of work certainly can produce some gray areas, and perhaps Bini’s contacts with Assange on his descent into persona non grata status convinced Ecuadorian officials that Bini landed more on the wrong side of the law. Moreno certainly has incentive to push that line, too; at least for a while, Assange’s asylum was popular in Ecuador and his graceless exit might create some real problems for Moreno. The more he can convince people that Assange was running a massive hacking operation while exploiting their hospitality, the better off he will be.

If that’s the case, though, one could wonder why Moreno didn’t just haul Assange to Ecuador to face prosecution there. The likeliest answer is that the headache that would have produced would have been far worse, and a public trial potentially destabilizing. Better to let the Brits deal with Assange, and then the Americans, while Moreno conducted a little payback to Assange’s allies already in his jurisdiction. Moreno had better be careful — not too many Ecuadorian politicians get ahead by giving the US political cover.

However, the US might not get first crack at Assange after all. The Swedes are clearing their throats about reinstating rape charges against the Wikileaks founder, and British MPs want the government to prioritize that extradition over ours:

British lawmakers are heaping pressure on the government to make sure that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces Swedish justice if prosecutors there reopen a rape investigation against him.

There is mounting concern that Assange should not be allowed to sidestep the Swedish investigation stemming from his 2010 visit to Sweden. The complaints from two women eventually led him to seek refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London rather than return to Sweden for questioning.

Some are calling for the British government to extradite Assange to Sweden, if it makes an official request, rather than to the U.S., which seeks him on conspiracy charges.

More than 70 British lawmakers signed a letter late Friday urging Home Secretary Sajid Javid to “do everything you can to champion action that will ensure Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden in the event Sweden makes an extradition request.”

Who’d be the biggest beneficiary of that decision? The same person who just lost in the Fourth Circuit.

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Ecuador accuses Assange of spying… sort of

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Was Julian Assange using the facilities at the Ecuadorian embassy in London to engage in espionage, spying on his hosts and people from other countries? That’s the accusation being leveled by the president of Ecuador, and it could potentially be one of the reasons that Assange’s asylum was abruptly revoked, followed by an invitation to cool his heels in a British jail cell for a while. (Reuters)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange repeatedly violated his asylum conditions and tried to use the Ecuadorian embassy in London as a center for spying, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno told Britain’s Guardian newspaper…

Moreno denied to the Guardian that he had acted as a reprisal for the way in which documents about his family had been leaked. He said he regretted that Assange had used the embassy to interfere in other country’s democracies.

“Any attempt to destabilize is a reprehensible act for Ecuador, because we are a sovereign nation and respectful of the politics of each country,” Moreno told the Guardian by email. “We cannot allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a center for spying,” the Guardian quoted Moreno as saying.

At first glance, you might think to yourself that of course Assange was spying. He’s the Wikileaks guy, right? That’s sort of their calling card after a fashion. And I suppose we can’t rule it out entirely, but I’m going to hold off judgment on that question, at least for now.

First of all, the word “spying” might be a bit of an exaggeration here. Unless some other, more official leaked documents come to light, Moreno’s denials about what upset him seem suspicious. While he’s claiming it wasn’t the case, other journalists suspect that what truly angered Moreno was the leak of a large trove of personal emails and photographs of the president and his family. One showed Moreno lounging in bed and feasting on a huge meal of lobsters and other delicacies. Others depicted his wife and children dancing and partying on expensive vacations to Europe.

With Ecuador facing a serious financial crisis at the moment, that’s not exactly the image their president would want to see splattered all over the newspapers. It was a serious embarrassment for him, but can he really pin it on Assange? That would have required the Wikileaks founder to use the wifi in the embassy and his own laptop to crack into Moreno’s private data. Even if Assange has the skills to pull that off, it would have been quite the feat to not leave his fingerprints all over it. The idea strikes me as unlikely. And even if it turns out to be true, that’s not exactly “spying” in the classical sense of the word.

I suppose somebody else in the Wikileaks roster could have done it, but unless they’ve been tracking Assange’s own emails to see if he ordered the hack, how could they pin it on him? This might just be a case of Moreno growing angry over this exposure and lashing out in search of a suspect to blame. Of course, he was already on record saying that he wanted Assange out of the embassy, so perhaps this was just a convenient excuse?

Either way, the end result is a win. Assange is out and the extradition process has begun. Now Sweden is suggesting they still might want another crack at Assange, but they previously dropped the rape charges against him. It sounds like America should have first dibs.

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