Which English newspaper copies which?

Today I ran into a strange phenomenon: multiple British newspapers were claiming that the Finnish government is "planning a four-day week". The story is bogus.

This is The Guardian:

A similar story is run by Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Metro, ITV and others. ITV even claims that Sweden would have adopted a six-hour working day earlier. That is not true either - the Swedish trial was extremely limited, and was stopped after finding out that it was economically unsustainable even in the small scale of one hospital's nurses where it was tried, although most of those who enjoyed shorter working days obviously liked the trial very much.

I suppose this is a stark reminder: do not trust very much the foreign reporting - even newspapers that are generally considered reputable, like the Guardian, may run completely bonkers stories if it fits their agenda. And you just won't know about it, because you rarely know the country in question.

In reality, Sanna Marin mentioned the idea of a four-day week back in August 2018, when she was just another government minister, not the prime minister. She presented it as a "vision", not a plan, and it certainly isn't a commitment by the government she currently leads. The government's program can be checked  on the government pages (in Finnish). Marin's government continues to use the same policy paper as the cabinet lead by Antti Rinne, who had to resign due to mismagement of the postal service.

But I am curious: is Guardian copying Daily Mail, or is Daily Mail copying the Guardian? Well, more likely, they both are trusting a single source that is not trustworthy, and they fail to do even basic check-ups of the viability of the story. Perhaps the story fits their preconceptions - these may be different preconceptions, but the outcome is still that all these papers publish a bogus story. And very many British seem to fall for it. Guardian readers seem particularly aggressive.

Timmermans and timber

In today's Helsingin Sanomat, the Dutch EU commissioner says:

"IF it is up to us, there will be two billion new trees in Europe".

Currently, Finland plants 150 000 000 trees annually. This is without any involvement from Mr. Timmermans.

If all European countries did plant as many trees per capita, there would be 14 billion trees planted each year.

And now Mr. Timmermans is, according to HS, "responsible for" what we do in our forests.


The Finnish minister rotation

People all over the world are at awe looking at the new Finnish government, which is all about young women. Yes, I agree it's great that women can be party leaders and ministers.
But just so you know how we can to this situation, here's some background.
The previous Social Democrat prime minister, a man who has strong trade union background, messed up some trade union negotiations which he should not have been meddling with in the first place. He then tried to blame it on the municipalities minister, a woman, whom he forced to resign. But as it turned out that the prime minister was lying and it was obvious to everyone not only in the parliament but also to all of the general public, the junior government partner Center party announced they have lost confidence. So the prime minister has to resign.
However, the main goverment parties have let down so many of their election promises that their gallup ratings are horrible. So they absolutely don't want new a election. And therefore they come up with some changes:
The prime minister, who lied, lost confidence completely and has to resign, now becomes the 2nd speaker of parliament, and the 2nd speaker of parliament becomes minister of labour, and the minister of labour becomes the minister of traffic, and the minister of traffic becomes the prime minister. The municipalities minister, who was forced to resign, but in fact did not yet even hand in her resignation, gets to keep her place, which is just fine.
And now everyone has full confidence again in this party and its ministers. And in the meanwhile, two ministers of the Center party exchange places.
So we have a rotation:


I hope the centrifugal force won't throw any of the participants in the general direction of actual humans who might get hurt.
The new prime minister is so far left that in the value map of candidates and parties, that her own party is the 5th closest party to hew own opinions. The far-left fringe feminist and leftist parties are closer to her than her own party. Even the full-blown stalinist Communist party is almost as close to her as her own party. Likewise, the feminist party (that got 0,2 % of votes i nthe general election) is closest to the leaders of two other government parties (the Left party and the Green party). 
Now, do I have a great confidence in this circus? Not really.


Creationism doesn't come from where you thought

A sort of creationism creeps into university teaching.
According to The Australian, science lecturers in Australia are told to not to mention that Aboriginees came to the continent about 40 000 years ago (which is the best scientific understanding).
Among Aboriginees, there is a thought that "they have always lived here" and therefore "putting a limit into the occupation of Australia" is "inappropriate".
So it is “more appropriate” to say Aborigines have been here “since the beginning of the Dreaming/s”
In effect, this is like saying that the rest of the world may have had evolution and migration of humans, but Aboriginees have been created along with the continent, and there is no timeline that can be discussed.
Creationism and science-denialism used to be coming from the religious right. Now it comes from the "inclusive" progressivists.


Om inkomstskillnaderna (About income differences: an excercise in Swedish)

I wrote the below text to a Swedish-language discussion about income differences, partly to exercise my Swedish. Brief summary: journalists keep repeating a message that income differences in Finland are growing at an alarming pace right now. They repeat this from year to year. Below are examples from a period of more than a dozen years.

But when you look at the actual statistics, the net income differences (disposable income) have been roughly the same since the end of Finland's huge 1990's recession.

Papers and television create an alternative truth by repeating and repeating claims that effectively are a lie. FAKE NEWS.


Om du läser media kommer du säkert att tro att inkomstskillnaderna växer väldigt snabbt hela tiden. Journalisten fortsätter att upprepa och upprepa detta. Se exempel nedan.

Men i verkligheten, när man tittar på folkets verkliga netinkomst, är det inte så. Inkomstskillnaderna har varit ungefär på samma nivå sedan år 2000.

Inkomstskillnaderna ökar lite i högkonjunktur och minskar lite i lågkonjunktur. Det här är inte en bra anledning att önska att ha en lågkonjuktur.

I stället för att lyssna på journalister, vars arbete är att hitta en skandal och lura klicker, titta på statistiken. De kommer från officiella siffror - skatteuppgifter och information om sociala överföringar som betalas ut till människor.

Här har vi exemplar av vad journalister skriver genom åren. Det är klart att de har hört en lögn så många gånger att de tror den själv, och sedan upprepar de det igen, för det är vad publiken vill höra. Deras publik tycker inte om sanningen.

2002: Tupo lisää taas tuloeroja

2004: Miksi Suomen tuloerot ja köyhyys ovat kääntyneet kasvuun?

2006: Kotitalouksien tuloerot kasvussa

2008: Kotitalouksien tuloerot kasvoivat



2012: Halonen epäilee: Tuloerojen kasvua ei haluttu tunnistaa

2014: Maailma on rikkaampi kuin koskaan, mutta tuloerot kasvavat

2015: Tuloerot kasvavat – tämä syy pysyy piilossa

2017: Köyhät köyhtyvät ja rikkaat rikastuvat: Laskelmat todistavat tuloerojen kasvavan

2018: Inkomstskillnaderna ökar i Norden


Men om du vill titta på siffrorna, gå till Statistikcentralen. Inkomstskillnaderna gick ner på 1970-talet, de gick upp på 1990-talet när de återhämtade sig från den hemska recessionen, och efter år 2000 har de förändrats väldigt lite.

Här är hur den ser ut:

Och här är hur det jämför med andra europeiska länder idag:

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Alltså våra inkomstskillnader är bland de lägsta i Europa.


The bizarre leaflet for those who have married a child

At the end of March, Sweden had quite a media storm due to a leaflet published by the country's National Board of Health and Welfare: "Information to you who are married to a child".

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After media outcry, the brochure was pulled from distribution on the Board's Web pages, but it is of course available in original form in many places, e.g. here.

Some people have pointed out that there is nothing wrong with this, it is what the authorities should do  - inform newly arrived migrants about what is not legal nor allowed in Sweden.

But the problem with this brochure is not that it informs about what is suitable in Sweden. It is the job of authorities to inform. But the way this brochure was written seems to indicate a huge level of naivety. It's written as "information to you who are married to a child", much as you would write a brochure "information on how to apply for child benefits" or "information on available interpreting services". It says that marriage to a child is "olämplig", which translates "inappropriate" or "improper".  Nothing about the possible consequences - probably, because there are none.

Child marriage should be a crime in Sweden. What the brochure  should have is a big red headline "Child marriage is forbidden in Sweden" and "Sex with minors is punishable with a jail term".

Of course, it cannot say this because it's not how things really stand.  Swedish law is a bit weak here, and authorities are rather inefficient in working against child marriages, even forced marriages.

In 2016, the UN Association in Sweden complained that the legislation against child marriages is "toothless" in Sweden.

Göteborgsposten reported how 12-year-old Alicia was sent from Sweden to a forced marriage with a cousin in Iraq, where she had to submit to sex and give birth to children. Not on first try though; first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, simply because her reproductive organs were not quite ready yet at the age of 13. Then she had two children. When she finally managed to come back to Sweden some years later, her rapist (which is how I rather call the "husband") applied for custody of her children. And bizarrely, a Swedish court granted him  joint custody, and because of this, he also got residence permit.

Also bizarrely, although child marriages are theoretically forbidden, the rules for child benefits specifically list that being married  disqualifies a child from child benefits.


The brochure would surely serve its audience better if it had been published in Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, but then it maybe would not have quite got the media attention it now got. It is normal that controversial things get a lot of attention in Sweden if they are written in Swedish or English, but mosques are quite free to preach for murdering Jews if they do it in Arabic - even the state subsidies for organisations doing this are not impacted.

As such, the brochure indicates a sort of "racism of low expectations". Its infantile tone is directed at people who can read three-word sentences and then believe and trust them blindly. This is the actual shortcoming of the National Board of Health and Welfare. They think those brown people are not quite adults. Regardless of language, you would never write a brochure in this way to an ethnic Swede who plans to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. You would threaten him with prison.

Sweden is perhaps waking up. Just a few days before this outcry, the parliament accepted a motion to ban child marriages, although the government coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party voted against it because the motion was initiated by the majority opposition. The media storm has then inspired many copycat brochure covers for related problems in Sweden:

"Information to you who are married to several children"

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"Information to you who stone women to death for adultery"
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"Information to you who are considering to throw your sisters off the balcony"

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"Information to you who are throwing hand grenades in residential areas"

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"Information for you who are evading taxes"

(Mona Sahlin, former chairwoman of Social Democrats, had some tax trouble).

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"Information to you who are still a Social Democrat"

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"Information to you who are planning to hire black market workforce"

(This refers to a comedian who hired Rahmat Akilov to do some renovation for him, paying direct cash; later, Akilov became known as the terrorist who killed five people with a lorry in Stockholm)


"Information to policemen who are stabbed by children who arrive without parents"

(The man in picture tried to kill a policeman by stabbing him in the neck near a demonstration of young Afghans who were demanding a right to stay. Support groups call them "children".)


"Information to you who have pineapple in your pizza"

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"Information to you who wonder what happened to your country"

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PS. Why do I care? Why do I write this? Because my country tends to follow Sweden in most things, and because we're probably heading towards similar silliness. We and others are not going to fare much better than the Swedes.

Also, I hear a lot of relativisation "but there are child marriages in Finland an USA". Well, USA is slowly getting rid on them through legislation, and Finland has effectively done so; there are annually less than 10 marriages where one party is minor, and recently, in all cases the minor has been 17 years, usually marrying a spouse who is 19 or so - which is really quite different from a 15 or 13 or 12 year old child being married to a 40-year-old. The problem is not marriages entered to in Finland; it's the actual child marriages abroad which are then respected by authorities when they should not.


The triple betrayal of not doing age tests


The Finnish police now reports that that it can confirm the identity of the man who stabbed two people to death and wounded 8 in Turku a week ago. The police also reports that his real name is not Abderrahman Meckah, and that the man is not 18 years of age, as he had himself earlier claimed. He was born in 1994, so he he's about 23.

This is in no way surprising. Many have been suspecting that some of the young men in children's asylum centers are not actually children at all.  In fact it was obvious from the start. Look at the "17-year-old" who posed together with PM Juha Sipilä, in front of TV cameras. It very soon emerged that we was 20 at the time, not 17.

On the other hand, I've spoken to many of these boys when we arranged football trainings for unaccompanied minors at the time of the great influx in 2015-2016. I believe most of those I saw have reported their age at least approximately correctly. Young people's center was the right place for them. They were nice lads, just alone out in the wide world. It was easy to sympathize with them. I wish well to them. But some were obviously much older than they claimed.

Not outright believing everything they said was deemed bad. Many politicians told everyone with suspicions to shut up. Suspecting what these men told us would be racist, bigoted and stupid, hate speech, not tolerated. Suggestions for age testing were turned down, often quite scornfully, e.g. by Li Andersson (Left Alliance) . This was despite that fact that when testing was done, about 70 % of those tested were deemed not minors. (For the others who were tested, it remained sometimes doubtful, sometimes not).

But this whole mess makes me consider three different betrayals, done in the same deed.

Betrayal of the taxpayer

This may not be the most important point, but it is the most obvious. It is a colossal waste of government funds to put a 20- or 25-year-old man to a children's refugee center and treat him as a child, because the resources we expend on children are vastly more expensive than what we can afford to take care of able-bodied and able-minded young men. As taxpayers we have the right to be indignant.

And of course, in principle it was also a betrayal of security, although I don't think that's a big deal in practice.

Government: we told you we can see this is waste, and you turned us down. The biggest twats here are the Left Alliance, Swedish People's Party and Greens. But most of the others were similarly populist.

Betrayal of children

But if we forget the petty matters of money and resources, we also notice that we have put grown up men, 20 or 22 years old, or much older, to live in the same housing and go to the same schools with actual children of 12 to 14 years who just honestly reported their correct age. Is this appropriate? 

I think not. There are several risk factors. There is the risk of different kinds of exploitation. Sexual abuse is not unheard of, particularly among some of the ethnic groups involved here. There is risk of indoctrination and radicalization. Or just crime, petty crime or serious.

Betrayal of Abderrahman Meckah

On the level of individual people, in addition to the two women who were killed and several who were wounded, the one most betrayed by this situation is Abderrahman Meckah. Or whatever his real name is -- his identity is actually unimportant. But there are many young men like him. They have been lured to come to the northern lands, with the banners "Refugees welcome", with promises of a house offered by the extremely naive Prime Minister in our country, and of jobs, suggesting that they are actually welcomed by the receiving countries  and societies. That there were no jobs that they could do was not told to them. That the local job market is very specialized and needs high levels of education and language skills to participate, was not told to them. That there is ample resentment towards them was not told to them by the xenophilic activists, nor was it of course shared to them by the traffickers -- presumably mafias in many countries -- who made plenty of money when arranging the travel.

In a way, our political system created Abderrahman the pathetic killer.  And created Abderrahman the jihadist who sought meaning to his useless life by shouting Allahu Akbar when stabbing people. Abderrahman the despised prisoner who will have to watch his every step over the next decade or two, to avoid being cut to pieces by fellow inmates in his prison.

He alone carries the criminal responsibility, but he was set up by naive politicians. Perhaps good-meaning politicians, perhaps cynical and calculative populist "Refugees welcome" types, but in any case, those who sent the invitation are responsible for what became of Abderrahman, the knife and the market square in Turku.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle turku knife attack candles
Candles at  the square in Turku where two people were killed (Helsinki Times)