Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Kat's Catches -- Holiday Edition (Unredacted)

By John and Kat

This collection of links is heavy with UK publications. Kat does an incredible job of finding news stories providing those of us who blog at Newshoggers a rich trove of fresh content. Something tells me, too, that the recent Wikileaks document dump has been an inspiration to journalists everywhere. 

This first item, by the way, is one to keep in mind as voters are being courted by would-be presidential nominees. Somewhere down the list is another link to a finding that a third of Europeans are subject to some kind of mental disorder. 

"Mental disorders have become Europe's largest health challenge of the 21st century," the study's authors said. At the same time, some big drug companies are backing away from investment in research on how the brain works and affects behaviour, putting the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience.

Anyone who thinks North America is not prone to similar challenges has only to look around and observe the American descent into madness. 

?One in 25 business leaders may be a psychopath, study finds 

Psychopaths really aren't the kind of person you think they are.  In fact, you could be living with or married to one for 20 years or more and not know that person is a psychopath.  We have identified individuals that might be labelled 'the successful psychopath'.

Part of the problem is that the very things we're looking for in our leaders, the psychopath can easily mimic.  Their natural tendency is to be charming. Take that charm and couch it in the right business language and it sounds like charismatic leadership.

The higher the psychopathy, the better they looked � lots of charisma and they talk a good line.  But if you look at their actual performance and ratings as a team player and productively, it's dismal. Looked good, performed badly.

You have to think of psychopaths as having at their disposal a very large repertoire of behaviours. So they can use charm, manipulation, intimidation, whatever is required.  A psychopath can actually put themselves in your skin, intellectually not emotionally. They can tell what you're thinking, they can look at your body language, they can listen to what you're saying, but what they don't really do is feel what you feel.

What this allows them to do is use words to manipulate and con and to interact with you without the baggage of feeling your pain.

?Impulse to conform identified  

?EU spends millions on insects 

Fancy some scorpion soup? How about a mixed locust salad with bee cr� br�for dessert?  It may not sound like the most appetising of prospects but the European Union thinks all these could soon be on the menu.

Experts in Brussels believe insects and other creepy crawlies could be a vital source of nutrition which will not only solve food shortages but also help save the environment. They have launched a three million euro (�2.65 million) project to promote the eating of insects while also asking national watchdogs like the UK's Food Standards Agency to investigate the issue.

Proponents of entomophagy � insect eating � argue that bugs are a low-cholesterol, low-fat protein food source.

?Scorpions, crickets and bees: the creepy crawly taste test

Chocolate covered scorpion: roasted for 20-30 minutes at 180-200C, cooled and dipped in dark chocolate. Served on its own rock.

My scorpion, I am assured, enjoyed a happy life � they are ethically farmed in China, with plenty of stones to hide under. It just doesn't seem that happy as I raise it to my mouth, tail curled as if to sting, pincers open ready to nip.

Presentation somewhat unsettling then, especially as it comes with a warning to chew thoroughly. Otherwise the sting can stick in the oesophagus, "which can hurt". At least the venom has been removed to comply with UK safety rules.

Elsewhere, says Graham Belcher, the restaurant manager, they keep the venom and when the sting nips your throat "that's when you die. Bon app�t."

As I crunch in, I'm not getting much taste, just a quick lick of chocolate. But I am getting texture, a lot of texture. I am getting thin, spindly legs (eight of them, since scorpions are arachnids, not insects), hard, unidentifiable fragments of exoskeleton. I am getting so much texture that hours later, I am still finding scorpion 'bits' in my mouth. (But perhaps that's because I had three extra helpings to get the chocolate.)

At least the warning to chew seems unnecessary � how else could you get the thing down? A nice dessert wine would go well with this. Because you'll need something to wash the 'bits' from your mouth.

God knows where the pincers went. Slightly worried they're still stuck under my tongue.

?Russian wildfires and Pakistan floods were caused by the same weather event even though they are 1,500miles apart, says Nasa. 

?Paper Disputing Basic Science of Climate Change is "Fundamentally Flawed," Editor Resigns, Apologizes 

?'Gob-smacking' scale of Petermann Glacier break-up. 

?New Nasa airships take to skies 
The space agency is developing the new generation of airships, which it believes will replace lorries, trains and ships as means of carrying freight.

? UK 'traded intelligence with Libya' 
The British security service traded information with Libya in return for ... the regime of the now fugitive dictator on the rendition of terror suspects, ...

? Top secret files reveal Britain's cosy relationship with Colonel Gaddafi's regime 

? Rebel commander blames UK for torture
The Australian - A REBEL commander is demanding an apology from Britain and threatening to sue the government, after fresh allegations emerged yesterday of its complicity in returning him to imprisonment and torture by Colonel Gaddafi's regime in 2004. ...

? Documents link Gaddafi to CIA,

The Central Intelligence Agency and Libyan intelligence services developed such a tight relationship during the George W. Bush administration that the U.S. shipped terror suspects to Libya for interrogation and suggested the questions they should be asked, according to documents found in Libya�s External Security agency headquarters.

The relationship was close enough that the CIA moved to establish �a permanent presence� in Libya in 2004, according to a note from Stephen Kappes, at the time the No. 2 in the CIA�s clandestine service, to Libya�s then-intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa.

Secret documents unearthed by human rights activists indicate the CIA and MI6 had very close relations with Libya�s 2004 Gaddafi regime.

The memo began �Dear Musa,� and was signed by hand, �Steve.� Mr. Kappes was a critical player in the secret negotiations that led to Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi�s 2003 decision to give up his nuclear program. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Kappes, who has retired from the agency, declined to comment. ...

? Britain handed rebel to Gaddafi torturers: Devastating secret files in Libya reveal UK 'crossed the line' to prop up tyrant  Daily Mail - Jack Doyle, Neil Sears 
Damning claims have emerged that Britain helped send a terror suspect into the bloody hands of Colonel Gaddafi. A secret letter found in an abandoned Libyan government building appears to show that MI6 provided intelligence ...

? How CIA Became 'One Hell of a Killing Machine'  
Three years after 9/11, the CIA was an impotent spy agency, humiliated by its failure to stop the terror attacks. Today it's a secret killing machine, lobbing missiles from flying robots halfway around the world. Now the challenge is to get the killing machine out of the shadows and make it accountable -- which requires looking back on how it was built.

? Pentagon Is Undisputed U.S. Champ of No-Bid Contracts 

? Wanna Save Defense Cash? Then Stop No-Bid Contracts 

? U.S. Wasted at Least $31 Billion in War Contracts 

? Russian Firm Got No-Bid Pentagon Contract After Selling Arms to Iran 
For two years, the United States regarded Rosoboronexport, Russia�s official weapons exporter, as an international pariah for selling arms to Iran and Syria. Then, in 2010, the U.S. suddenly lifted sanctions against it. By June of this year, the reversal was complete: the Pentagon awarded the company a no-bid contract worth upwards of $1 billion.

? Giving developers the right to build on Britain's greenery is vital for economy, says Osborne 

? No place like home: The millions of Americans living in long-stay motel 
Either journalists from UK are doing a better job reporting on how the economy is impacting ordinary people than those in the US or Americans simply take such developments for granted.  

They are known as the last resort. Millions of Americans are staying in budget long-stay motels as the country's economic problems get worse. The grisly rooms are seen as the lowest of the U.S. housing ladder, only just above a cardboard box. [Not mentioned here are automobiles. A large population of homeless people live in their cars.]

In tiny rooms with paper-thin walls and nylon sheets, vulnerable Americans are making their homes for a few hundred bucks a month. Many of the people taking advantage of the rock-bottom charges have been made redundant during the recession.

The motels have strict rules. Drugs are banned, but alcohol is allowed. Rent must be paid on time, but every 28 days guest must clear everything out of their rooms and check in again so as not break hotel licensing rules. There is no room service and guests have to clean their rooms and wash their own sheets.

But the popularity of what should be temporary accommodation is apparently causing problems for police. Officers in Dickson, Tennessee, said there are motels there that have had the same people living in them for years. Police said the city's two live-in motels are keeping them very busy and they have responded to almost 250 emergency calls between them in the past year. 911 calls have included reports of assault, meth labs and recently even murder.

'I'm sure it is the economy. A lot of people can't afford their homes no more,' Detective Sergeant James Lyell of the Dickson Police Department told local station News Channel 5.

Chief Ricky Chandler believes the motel population is creating an unsafe environment. 'It's not like a regular motel where someone stops overnight and then leaves,' he told the local station. 'This brings in people, friends, relatives, etc. And when you bring those in, that potentially increases the problem.'

? Bomber freed to avert 'holy war': Lying Labour's key role in handing Megrahi to Libya 

? How covert cameras detecting hot flushes will reveal who is lying at airport security 

? Iraqis Want Mercs, Not U.S. Troops, To Stick Around 

Baeboeinglazer[1] ? Laser�Machine Gun Mashup Tested on �Pirate Ships� 

Now we know what the Navy plans to do with its experimental hybrid of laser cannon and machine gun: zap pirate ships.

Two defense giants, Boeing and BAE Systems, announced late last month that they would team up on a $2.8 million Navy contract for a prototype version of BAE�s Mk-38 25-mm machine gun with a little upgrade: a death ray.  

As the companies excitedly explained, the new gun would protect surface ships from pretty much everything, from enemy boats to small drones.

What the companies weren�t letting on was that they had *already* tested the machine-laser-gun a month before the announcement. And in tests that BAE � hardly an uninterested party � claims were successful, the new Mk-38 took on its most likely adversary: pirate skiffs. ...

?In the End, Petraeus Really Was That Good  By Spencer Ackerman - August 31, 2011

The legacy of David Petraeus is difficult to extricate from the politics of the moment. Praise Petraeus� performance as a division commander or counterinsurgency visionary, and you�re bashing George W. Bush. Praise his performance as commander of the Iraq surge, and you�re apologizing for Bush or the Iraq war. Praise his performance as commander in Afghanistan, and you�re undermining Barack Obama. Criticize him for any of these things, and you�re pushing the opposite points.

During the national security debates of the 9/11 era, Petraeus has been a cipher for all of these positions, frequently co-opted � or derided � by opportunistic politicians and journalists. As he rose higher in the military, he wasn�t above playing along at times. That media presentation often overlooked a basic fact � one that looks clear on Wednesday as Petraeus retires from the Army. Even while his greatest successes revealed his flaws, Petraeus really was that good . ...

?Libyan 'extremist� Britain allowed to stay was link to al-Qaeda in Iran 
Exclusive: Alleged extremist who sought political asylum in Britain regularly travelled to Iran to provide forged documents to al-Qaeda.

? MI6 worked with Gaddafi government on rendition 

? Secret documents link Blair to Gaddafi son al-Islam 

? Tony Blair is godfather to Rupert Murdoch�s daughter
Tony Blair is godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch�s young children, it emerges in interview with media tycoon�s wife.

?American Way: Barack Obama, 2008 man of hope and change, becomes 2012 candidate of fear and status quo

? Students 'preparing to flock to cheaper foreign universities' 

? More than a third of EU population suffer mental health problems 

? The nationwide fight against superstores
Across the country [UK] towns and villages are trying to stop supermarkets moving in. We look at five examples

Cows_1984161c[1] ? Brussels propose spending millions on homeopathy for cows 
This is included on purpose. Don't sneer. Congressional appropriations are not exempt from such madness. And recent political issues far more serious have been subject to far more stupidity.  You know what they are. 

? Jacques Chirac trial on verge of collapse after being diagnosed with 'anosognosia' 

Jacques Chirac's historic corruption trial, due to start on Monday is on the verge of collapse, after doctors diagnosed him with "anosognosia", a brain disorder in which the patient "forgets he forgets".

The 78-year old Gaullist is due to become the first French president ever to stand trial on charges arising from two investigations into financial abuse when he was mayor of Paris before he became President in 1995.

In his 40-year career, he has been linked to a string of corruption cases, but has never been convicted.

It now looks almost certain he will again avoid a court appearance after his lawyers submitted a medical report to the presiding judge suggesting he could not attend.

"President Chirac indicated to the court his wish to see the trial proceed to its end and his willingness to assume his responsibilities, even though he is not entirely capable of taking part in the hearings," they said.

The neurological report that his family requested found that Mr Chirac was in "a vulnerable condition which will not allow him to answer questions about his past". ...

? US plan to delay Palestinian bid for statehood  
A senior Israeli official has confirmed that the US administration has launched a new campaign to delay Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from applying for recognition of as a state at the United Nations.

? First we fete them, then we bomb them - but that�s politics 

? Bill Clinton aide nominated for Haiti PM 

? BBC plan film on Tory links of vice girl in George Osborne �cocaine� pictures

The BBC has had talks with a self-confessed prostitute and drug user who was pictured posing with George Osborne in front of an alleged line of cocaine.

A member of the flagship Panorama investigative team met Natalie Rowe, 47, with a view to making a film about her links with the Chancellor and former Downing Street spin doctor Andy Coulson.

The meeting was part of a new BBC probe into claims about phone hacking on the News of the World when Mr Coulson was editor.


Mr Osborne was severely embarrassed in 2005 by the pub�lication of a picture of him as a 22 year-old Oxford student, smoking a cigarette with his arm draped around Ms Rowe. According to some claims, cocaine and rolled-up papers, allegedly for snorting the drug, could be seen in the picture taken at a party.

Mr Osborne confirmed he knew Ms Rowe, who ran an agency called Black Beauties supplying prostitutes to clients paying from �350 an hour.

He said he came into contact with her through a friend who had a relationship with her and went on to become a drug addict.

But he strenuously denied that he took cocaine with her, saying the allegations were �defamatory and completely untrue�.

A BBC spokesman said: �Panorama is continuing to look into the phone-hacking story and we have been pursuing a number of lines of inquiry, of which this was one element. However, there are no immediate plans for a programme.�

A spokesman for Ms Rowe said: �She declines to comment.�

? Bosses of banks saved by taxpayer earn more now than before crisis 

? Cherie told off prosecutor for being unpleasant to me says freed drug smuggler 

? Britain handed rebel to Gaddafi torturers: Devastating secret files in Libya reveal UK 'crossed the line' to prop up tyrant

? Revealed: MI6 saved Saif Gaddafi from death threat
MI6 involved in an operation to protect dictator's son.

? BBC's new home is named worst building in UK 

? Robert Fisk: For 10 years, we've lied to ourselves to avoid asking the one real question 

? Soldier escapes slavery after 11 years � and is arrested for desertion 

? Double-dip recession fears grow 

? China moves in on Western solar power industries 
Stephen Foley: China is emerging as the dominant force in the manufacture of solar panels in a world desperate for renewable sources of energy, as collapsing prices and disillusion over government subsidies has hobbled US efforts to take a lead in the development of the new industry.

? Sir Mark Allen: link between MI6, CIA and Gaddafi 

? Text of CIA document indicating UK rendition role  

? Boardroom pay soars to �4.5m  
FTSE 100 chiefs enjoy record windfalls from complex and opaque bonus deals and stock market bounce

? Politics: How Tony Blair was taken into the Murdoch family fold

? The secret soldiers 
Squads of elite Australian troops are on missions to hunt down leading insurgents in Afghanistan with orders to capture or kill them.

? Anger After a Raid Kills a Wealthy Afghan With a Murky Past 
Like so many aspects of Sabar Lal�s life, even the details of his death during a night raid on Friday are in dispute.

? Stung by the President on Air Quality, Environmentalists Weigh Their Options 
Analysts said the president could face repercussions from what environmental groups see as his brazen political sellout in abandoning stricter air-quality rules.

?Few Treatment Options for Afghans as Drug Use Rises 

?Do Happier People Work Harder?
Employees' apathy and disengagement cost American businesses a fortune. 

?Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount 
The agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress acts to stabilize its finances.

? Inmate Visits Now Carry Added Cost in Arizona  
Arizona is beginning to charge a $25 fee to those who wish to visit inmates at any of the state�s prisons.

?Scanning 2.4 Billion Eyes, India Tries to Connect Poor to Growth 
Using the same powerful technology that transformed the country�s private economy, the government is creating a vast identity database that it hopes will help relieve chronic inequality.

?Indian politican 'sent plane for shoes' 

The chief minister of India's Uttar Pradesh state sent an empty private jet to get a pair of sandals from Mumbai, leaked US diplomatic cables say.

Ms Mayawati, an icon to millions of low-caste Dalits, rules over India's most populous state which is also one of the poorest in thecountry.

But the cables on whistleblower site Wikileaks described her as "obsessed with becoming Prime Minister". ...

? China Aims to Rein In Car Sales
Government officials called for the country�s automakers to shift away from making more cars and toward producing more fuel-efficient and technologically advanced ones.

? Floods Kill 136 in Pakistan 

? Summer of Protest in Israel Peaks With 400,000 in City Streets 

? Accountability -- what a concept. Memo From Iceland: Ex-Premier Faces Charges for Iceland�s Fiscal Woes 

? Rights Chief Urges Probe of CIA Detention Centers 
Europe's human rights chief urged Lithuania, Poland and Romania on Monday to investigate the roles their governments allegedly played in the CIA's program of "secret detention and torture" of terrorism suspects.

? In Home of Arab Spring, a Desire for More 
In the offices of one of Tunisia's many political parties, a poster captures the fear that keeps people returning to the streets. It shows a woman in the midst of a protest. She holds up a simple sign: "The martyrs did not die for a new dictatorship."

? China Says Didn't Know of Arms Sales Talks With Gaddafi Forces 

? Nearly 40 Per Cent of Europeans Suffer Mental Illness 
Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.

? All-American, Floor to Roof? Not So Simple  
Anders Lewendal, a general contractor in Montana, thinks building houses with only American-made materials would help revive the construction industry. But it is not as easy as it sounds.

? Somalia famine 'may kill 750,000' 

? Has Las Vegas's luck run out? 

? South Korea suicide toll doubles 

1 comment:

  1. Ackerman's piece on Petraeus is propaganda of the very worst sort. For one thing "redefining the war's aims" in defiance of the Commander in Chief is hardly a praisworthy act. It's actually called "mutiny."
    He subdued Mosul by buying off the local warlords and as soon as he left Mosul became one of the most deadly and violent places in Iraq.
    His stint of training the Iraqi Army was not merely "less that stellar," it was an unmitigated disaster. Hundred of tons of weapons were lost to the insurgents and a senior commander under his command committed suicide because he could not get the attention of Petreaus to correct major problems in the command.
    In Lawrence he rewrote an existing manual, took credit for the work of his subordinates, and produced a CION doctrine that he does not follow and which would not work if he did.
    The "Sunni Awakening" began several months before Petraeus took command in Baghdad, and the decrease of violence there was largely because the ethnic cleansing had been completed, and because Al Sadr decided to call truce.
    His command in Afghanistan has increased violence and death and has accomplished nothing.
    The man is a "political general" of the worst sort. The only things he is good at are taking credit for things that other people do, shovelling bs to politicians and the media to make himself look good, and kissing the butts of his superiors.