Monday Miscellany, 10/23/23

Monday Miscellany, 10/23/23 October 23, 2023

DeSantis evacuates Americans, Sweden is overrun with gang violence, and President Biden sells off half of the nation’s oil reserves.

DeSantis Evacuates Americans

Americans stranded in Israel because of the war and the cancellation of all commercial flights got bad news from the American Embassy.  They were told that “it will take some period of time to schedule everyone seeking to depart.” Also, “You will not be able to choose your destination. We will assign you to the next available flight or ship.”  Evacuees must “sign an agreement to repay the U.S. government prior to departure.”  And pets would have to be left behind.

So the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, mobilized the state’s Department of Emergency Management to charter flights to evacuate not only Floridians but all Americans.  That was on Thursday.  On Sunday night, a plane with 270 Americans landed in Tampa, including 90 children.  And their pets.  And nobody had to pay.  The flights and evacuations are continuing.

In his campaign for the presidency, DeSantis has been running on culture war issues and trying to attack Donald Trump from the right.  But presenting himself as a Trump-like figure doesn’t work very well when Republican voters have the real thing.  The thing is, DeSantis, by all accounts, is a very effective governor.  He can actually get things done.

Being chief executive, whether of a state or a nation, involves more than holding the right opinions and making speeches about them.  Running a government requires management skills and practical savvy of a high order.  Voters would do well to look for effectiveness as well as ideology.

Sweden Overrun with Gang Violence

The Scandinavian countries have long been held up as a model of social harmony.  But immigrant gangs, fighting each other over the drug trade, have brought violent crime to societies not used to handling it.

The problem is especially severe in Sweden. Two decades ago, Sweden had the lowest rate of gun violence in Europe.  Today, though, it has the highest.  The weapon of choice is not just guns but explosives, as some 100 bombs have demolished homes and devastated neighborhoods.

The Sun, a UK tabloid, tells the tale in a story with a florid but accurate headline: Executions, bombings & child assassins – how Sweden became a gangland hell ruled by druglords Kurdish Fox & The Greek, with the lede,

SWEDEN has become a gangland bloodbath plagued by executions, bomb attacks, and child soldiers rampaging the streets.  Innocent bystanders – including a 12-year-old girl – are being gunned down as a country that was once deemed peaceful and safe becomes a terrifying gangster paradise.

The rise of gangs has been going on for years, with the violence intensifying.  The main war now is between members of Foxtrot, a Kurdish Muslim gang, and Dalen, led by a Greek. Reporter Taryn Pedler quotes one ex-gang member who blames lax law enforcement:  ”

“It’s been a slow process, but it started in Malmo, south of Sweden, around 2010,” says Nikoi Djane, a gangster turned criminologist who grew up around gangs in Stockholm.

“And the conviction rate is extremely low for these crimes, which has contributed in people continuing and killing each other.”

Last year there were 116 killings.  This year there have been 60 already.  The average in the 2000s has been 98 per year.

The most chilling aspect is that much of the killing is being done by children:

The violence is now unusual not only in its intensity but also in the extreme youth involved, who are sometimes as young as 13 or 14.

Official estimates suggest half of suspects are under 18 and three-quarters are under 21.

Convicted criminals under the age of 18 are sent to care homes or young offenders institutions, while those under 21 have their age taken into consideration – meaning significantly shorter sentences. . . .

Gangs are hiring child assassins, “furnishing them with weapons” and giving them the addresses of targets, according to police chief Anders Thornberg.

Children have also been contacting the gangs themselves to offer their services as contract killers, he said.

Sweden’s government is now planning to use the military to battle the gangs.  Police estimate that about 30,000 people are involved with the criminal gangs.  And we see why Europe, for all of its tolerance, is having second thoughts about unlimited immigration.

Selling Off Nearly Half of the Nation’s Oil Reserve

In his effort to lower gasoline prices, which shot up during the Ukraine war, President Biden has drained 45% of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  That’s the lowest it’s been since the 1980s.    The reserve was established 50 years ago to ensure an energy supply in the event of a national emergency.  There are still 351 million barrels left, which could make up for a 56-day cutoff of oil imports.



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