Observing Sweden – Immigration News – 8 Feb 2016

Exerpt from The Local.se & Dagnes Nyheter.

Sweden For Immigration concerns swell among Swedish voters

Published: 08 Feb 2016 07:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2016 12:49 GMT+01:00

40 percent of Swedes now believe ‘integration and immigration’ is the biggest issue facing the Nordic nation. Immigration has overtaken education as the single most important issue for voters selecting a political party, a new poll for Swedish newspaper, Dagnes Nyheter (DN) by Ipsos suggests.

The poll shows that 40 percent of Swedes selected ‘integration and immigration’ as the key political topic when deciding who they would vote for if there was an election. This compares to 20 percent in June 2015 and just five percent in 2010.

“It’s the biggest change for an individual issue we’ve ever seen in our measurements,” Johanna Laurin Gulled, a spokesperson for Ipsos, told DN.

The poll also suggests that only 17 percent of voters think that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s Social Democrat party has the best policies on immigration. Meanwhile, 21 percent favor the approach of the nationalist Sweden Democrats.
“There is a favorable position for the Sweden Democrats, who own the question which now ranks as the most important to voters,” said Gulled.

The poll comes as Sweden’s center-right parties seek to toughen their approach to immigration, with the largest opposition party, the Moderates, last week suggesting an “asylum pause”.

However according to Ipsos’ results, this is not having an impact on their popularity in this area, with just 13 percent of voters suggesting the Moderate party has the best immigration policies.

Education was bumped into second place in the list of concerns, with 18 percent selecting ‘schools and training’ in the survey.

The representative survey was carried out at the end of January, following a year in which Sweden took in a record 163,000 asylum seekers.

Around 100,000 more refugees are expected to travel to the Nordic country in 2016, according to a recent forecast by Sweden’s migration agency.

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How & Where to Promote Your Book(s) Infographic…

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Fire oney 2Year Of The Fire Monkey

The Year of the Fire Monkey is good for taking risks and being rebellious, a year where agile, inventive minds, sheer guts and bravado will win out. Now is the time of courage, action, anarchy, and true devotion to even the wildest of schemes. New endeavors are destined to succeed under Monkey’s influence. But a word to the wise: those who can hang on for the wild ride, outsmart the confidence-trickster, and bluff their way through will come out unscathed. Those who are dull or slow witted, and can’t handle the stress will come unglued.

The Fire Monkey holds many surprises.

Do you feel lucky?

The five elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth, make it possible to determine the date of a particular year. For example: Metal Tiger – 1950, Water Tiger 1962, Wood Tiger – 1974, Fire Tiger – 1986, Earth Tiger– 1938, 1998, etc.

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Observing Sweden – Pendulum Swings

Swedish PMs to be called to scrutiny committee
Published: 30 Jan 2016 15:29 GMT+01:00

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven and his centre-right predecessor Fredrik Reinfeldt will be called before a scrutiny committee to explain their handling of the refugee influx of recent years, a committee member said on Saturday.

Jonas Millard, an MP for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats and member of the Constitutional Committee (KU), confirmed the plans as he announced that his party would report both men to the committee. “In a sense it is both the present and the previous government who bear responsibility for the situation that has arisen,” he said.

“We will send a battery of questions to both the current and previous governments,” he told the Dagens Industri newspaper. “Ultimately, it may also be the case that we call both Stefan Löfven and Fredrik Reinfeldt to hearings. We may also request documents which are not public.”

The Sweden Democrats’ move follows similar actions from the center-right Moderate Party, whose parliamentary leader Jessica Polfjärd, on Friday morning reported Stefan Löfven and a several other government ministers to be investigated.

The Sweden Democrat’s referral came as party activists organized a street protest in central Stockholm where they called on the government to resign over its handling of last year’s refugee crisis. The so-called “People’s Demonstration”, was organized by Sweden Democrat activists Johan Widen and Therese Larsson. According to Expressen newspaper several demonstrators were restrained by handcuffs, and ten police vans and a police helicopter were present to monitor the protest. .

Speakers at the demonstration included Gothenburg priest Axel W Karlsson, who was in 2014 expelled from the Sweden Democrats for his articles in the far Right Nya Tider magazine, and Hans Erling Jensen, who was expelled from the party for his extreme views on Islam.

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Norman Mailer’s Birthday

Norman Mailer’s Birthday


Excerpt from: Writers Almanac

He wrote by hand – he usually wrote in the morning and then typed it up in the afternoon, or gave it to an assistant to type. He said: “I used to have a little studio in Brooklyn, a couple of blocks from my house – no telephone, not much else. The only thing I ever did there was work. It was perfect. I was like a draft horse with a conditioned reflex. I came in ready to sit at my desk. No television, no way to call out. Didn’t want to be tempted. There’s an old Talmudic belief that you build a fence around an impulse. If that’s not good enough, you build a fence around the fence.

So, no amenities. (But for a refrigerator!) I wrote longhand with a pencil and I gave it to my assistant, Judith McNally. She would type it for me and the next day I would go over it. Since at my age you begin to forget all too much, I would hardly remember what I had written the day before. It read, therefore, as if someone else had done it. The critic in me was delighted. I could now proceed to fix the prose. The sole virtue of losing your short-term memory is that it does free you to be your own editor.”

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Observing Sweden – Cash, The Poor Man’s Money


Cashless Society – 1


I bought a shirt here in Sweden last month, and paid cash.

“Do people in America still pay for things with cash?” The clerk asked.

“I’m the only one left,” I told him. Last man standing.

I grew up in the fifties. Parents opened up a bank account for me, taught me to save. I stashed my paper route earnings at something like 3% interest . . . sixty years ago. Now banks charge a yearly fee to compensate them for the inconvenience of holding our money.
In the early sixties I ran into to two guys working with a company that was creating credit cards. They were enthusiastic. “Cash is a thing of the past,” they told me. Right. Good luck with that, I thought.

It turns out they were right . . . or wrong. I’ve never really understood the credit card convenience as I stand in line waiting for someone ahead of me at the cash register fumble with their cards, then punch in incorrect secret numbers.

It will be convenient for our governments who’ll know our every move, and for the banks, who profit from every transaction. We will be more able to spend what we don’t have. Debt is the lever that controls us all.


Excerpt from: Daily Good

Sweden Is Developing the World’s First Cashless Economy – by Mark Hay
In 1661 Sweden became the first European country to mint a national paper currency. Now, according to a report released last month by researchers at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), the nation may soon become the modern world’s first cashless society. One researcher involved estimates that by 2030 every transaction in Sweden could be digitized, thus effectively antiquating hard currency.

Sweden’s rapid shift to virtual money is especially striking because it’s not the result of one coordinated government program, but an emergent phenomenon arising from many national legal, social, and technological trends. And it’s had a host of unexpected positive effects on Swedish life, beyond just convenience for consumers, with surprisingly minimal drawbacks. Unfortunately for those in other nations who might want to experience these benefits, for now this appears to be an isolated phenomenon rooted in a uniquely Swedish experience. But as the Swedes work out the kinks in this system and create a comprehensive, proven model, the world’s doggedly cash-rooted societies may begin to move towards a cashless existence with greater speed and confidence.

Evidence of the Shift

The KTH study primarily draws its conclusions from the observable decline in the amount of hard notes in the Swedish economy. According to data from Sveriges Riksbank, or Riksbanken, Sweden’s central bank, there are currently less than 80 billion kronor ($9.4 billion) in circulation in the country of 9.6 million people, down from 106 billion kroner in 2009 (about $14.8 billion). Riksbanken has also predicted that between 2012 and 2020, the amount of cash in circulation will decline by 20 to 50. And of the cash in circulation, only 40 to 60 percent is actually in active circulation, with the rest just rotting away in lock boxes or under citizens’ mattresses. Bills and coins currently make up, at best, three percent of the Swedish economy. Put another way, there is likely less than $500 in cash per Swede in active use.

Beyond the amount of cash in Sweden, there’s also good data to show that people aren’t becoming ascetics and hermits with no need for cash—they’re just spending more digitally. This year, 85 to 90 percent of all transactions in Sweden will likely be electronic, using cards, apps, wire transfers, or some other modern mode of transfer. That number’s even higher—95 percent—for retail sales. Swedes are so heavily addicted to cards and apps (more so than any other nation) that five or six major banks in the nation have gone cashless; from 2010 to 2012, 500 bank branches moved to all-digital transactions, and removed 900 ATMs from around the nation, making Sweden Europe’s second worst country for cash machine coverage. The last reliable place to get cash in the nation is the supermarket checkout line, where you can get up to 500 kronor ($57) back per transaction when paying with a card. Even Sweden’s church collection plates have gone digital.

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Going All In – Part 1


Not Knowing is the strength of man and beast.

What was it Kipling said, wagering everything on just one turn of pitch and toss, and lose, and never talk about the loss. Something like that. Putting it all on the line. Most often we don’t make that bet, the irrevocable decision.

There was a thing on Facebook last week, cell phone movie of a black girl being beat up by two other black girls who were trying to take her cell phone. This happened on a bus filled with people, who watched, and took photos. As heartless or cowardly as they seem, it’s not hard to forgive the bystanders. What would we have done? No way to know until you get a chance to make that bet. One of the would be thieves might well have had a gun, or a knife, but they were only using hands, giving their victim a good beating.

Facebook respondents were disgusted. “They could have done something, all of them, together.” Right, if there was time to talk about it. I’m sure many passengers were thinking about making some kind of move, or to say something? Hoping somebody else would beat them to it.

There was a great song back in the fifties called, Somebody Else, Not Me. I can’t find it on Google, but remember part of the lyrics, something about a Bengal tiger that had gotten loose in town. ‘It was a chance to be a hero, man of great renown. A wonderful chance for somebody. Somebody else, not me.’

A reasonable decision, not to get involved. Can’t fault someone for that. We all have much to lose. What would our loved ones say about the choice, to get involved, or not? One thing I learned the hard way, never bet on being helped by strangers.

I was walking home one Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, 1965. Haight Street was crammed with tourists come to see hippies, or pretend they were ones. At the corner of an intersection on my way, a hulking, brute sized guy was beating up a skinny Asian kid. The kid was making no attempt to fight back, probably a good move on his part. A crowd of people were observing from about eight yards way, all standing, silent, in a semi circle. I was also watching as I crossed the street. The kid was down by this time, cowering.

A woman with a camera yelled, “I took your picture, bully. And I’m going to show it to the cops!”

I stopped on the other side of the street, and was leaning against the wall of a storefront, watching to see what happened next. The brute strode over to her with a few long strides and grabbed the camera from her hand.

“Now you don’ t have a picture, or a camera.” Bruto held it openly in his right hand and started up the sidewalk, passing by me, holding the device before him like a trophy.

I reached out and grabbed it from him easily, no problem. He was totally surprised, perhaps as much as I. I tossed the camera into the crowd, toward where I thought the woman was. I had no time to look as Bruto turned to face me, and I thought, I’m going to get hurt, but the crowd will stop things if it gets too bad. Why the hell did I think that?

He swung on me and missed. Then missed again. The man was big, but clumsy. Wow, I’ve got a chance, I thought, and stood my ground. From half a block away I saw two guys were running towards us. Ha! At last somebody had the guts to get involved, at last. The first one threw a block into me, worthy of a football lineman. I went down and then the three began to kick me in the back and legs, and head. I covered up as best I could, fetal position. Damn. It went on long enough for me to notice people watching, silently. It finally stopped and one of my abusers said, “You don’t fuck with the major.”

They left me alone with the crowd. I got up with a nose bleed, and some bruises, but was more or less okay. I later learned the ‘Major’ and his buddies were Hell’s Angels, and the skinny kid had cheated on some kind of drug deal. I forgave the Major, but had trouble getting over the crowd. I was twenty-nine then, and single. Being young and single helps.

What would I do today, in my late seventies, and married? Now? You never know. I didn’t know back then, but I was never sorry for the lesson learned.

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