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.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Protest in a new age

By BJ Bjornson

You can treat this as basically my own follow-up to John�s post on the Zuccotti Park Raid below. First off, a dampening word on the whole �DHS coordinated the OWS takedowns� meme. Over at Balloon Juice, ABL has noted that the only real source for this particular tidbit seems to be an unnamed Justice official in the Examiner.com article, which doesn�t appear to be the most credible of news agencies. Doesn�t mean it isn�t true, or that there wasn�t some coordination of efforts, but it was hardly necessary or, I would argue, even all that important in the scheme of things. The pushback from the elite was going to come in some fashion, and with interest and support for the OWS movement on the wane, its not a surprise that many cities took it upon themselves to do so now.

It also doesn�t make the following any less true when you remove the references to DHS:

Remember when people were freaking out over the Patriot Act and Homeland Security and all this other conveniently ready-to-go post-9/11 police state stuff, because it would obviously be just a matter of time before the whole apparatus was turned against non-Muslim Americans when they started getting complain-y about the social injustice and economic injustice and income inequality and endless recession and permanent unemployment? That day is now, and has been for some time.

Still, probably the scariest thing I�ve read today comes from John Robb, who posits the all-too-plausible and near-term future of protest movements.

* Software bots monitoring CCTV footage and social media traffic (as well as GPS info from every cell phone) detect a "signature" of a protest (aka a "riot/mob" to plutocrats).   
* The signature is confirmed by human analysts in a corporate facility (this capability was outsourced) located in xyz remote country getting paid (low single digits $ per hour).
* Spy drones would be dispatched to confirm data via electromagnetic sensors (including a sniff check for weapons/drugs and remote sensing of IDs).  
* The "signature" of a "riot" is confirmed by software bots that pattern match it against pattern guidance from the Mayor's office (in particular, it's important to make sure that this "riot" isn't a Tea Party or pro Wall Street gathering).  At that point, regulatory bots would produce the needed e-paperwork to disperse the "riot."
* Drones, both ground and air, with non-lethals would be dispatched/released.  Arrival in minutes given urban launching points.  
* Audio warning to protesters, "You are attempting to conduct a demonstration in violation of xyz regulation and code.  Disperse immediately or face discomfort."
* 1 minute later, the drones use non-lethal but painful doses of sound/heat to force those people unwilling to leave out of the area.

As noted by Robb, all of the tech needed is already available. This may be coming to a city near you all too soon.

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