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.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

2012 and the Mayan Calender

Commentary By Ron Beasley

We have been hearing that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012.  Scholars are now saying that's not true:

A new reading of a Mayan tablet mentioning the 2012 date suggests that it refers to the end of an era in the calendar, and not an apocalypse.

The date was "a reflection of the day of creation", Mayan codes researcher Sven Gronemeyer told AP.

The day also marked the return of a Mayan god, Mr Gronemeyer added.

Bolon Yokte, the god of creation and war, was expected to return, according to Mr Gronemeyer's reading of a Mayan text carved into stone 1,300 years ago.

The date marks the end of one of the periods of roughly 400 years into which the Mayan calendar is divided.

I'm not convinced that a Mayan or any other God is going to return in 2012 but it may well represent an end of an era.  For the last 40 years or more the worlds finance and economy has been based on ever increasing debt paid for with ever increasing economic growth.  That economic growth was fueled with cheap oil.  While there is probably a lot of oil left there is little cheap oil left so the economic growth we have experienced is over.

The European Union and the Euro are in a death spiral.  The Germans and the French leaders are going to unveil a plan that requires members of the European Union to surrender economic sovereignty to save the too big to fail banks.  I suspect this isn't going to fly since it will require treaty changes and there is no indication that the 99 percenters in Europe will go along with this band aid.  And band aid it is - it will only kick the inevitable down the road for a few months.  So what is the inevitable you ask?  The answer - there is a hell of a lot of debt that is never going to be repayed and eventually the banks that hold the debt are going to find they are not to big to fail because the government will not have the resources to cover their losses.

Over at Zero Hedge Charles Hugh Smith says:

It's Your Choice, Europe: Rebel Against the Banks or Accept Debt-Serfdom

The European debt Bubble has burst, and the repricing of risk and debt cannot be put back in the bottle.

It's really this simple, Europe: either rebel against the banks or accept decades of debt-serfdom. All the millions of words published about the European debt crisis can be distilled down a handful of simple dynamics. Once we understand those, then the choice between resistance and debt-serfdom is revealed as the only choice: the rest of the "options" are illusory.

The EURO was never more than a ride at Disney's Fantasy Land.

The euro enabled a short-lived but extremely attractive fantasy: the more productive northern EU economies could mint profits in two ways: A) sell their goods and services to their less productive southern neighbors in quantity because these neighbors were now able to borrow vast sums of money at low (i.e. near-"German") rates of interest, and B) loan these consumer nations these vast sums of money with stupendous leverage, i.e. 1 euro in capital supports 26 euros of lending/debt.

The less productive nations also had a very attractive fantasy: that their present level of productivity (that is, the output of goods and services created by their economies) could be leveraged up via low-interest debt to support a much higher level of consumption and malinvestment in things like villas and luxury autos.

Yes, 2012 may prove the Mayans were right - it may well be the end of an era - a new paradigm.  The leverage party is over - get used to it.


  1. "based on ever increasing debt paid for with ever increasing economic growth."
    What? How do you "pay for" debt? And how do you pay for anything with economic growth?
    "That economic growth was fueled with cheap oil."
    Actually, it was fueled with debt as, for instance, homeowners used the "equity" in over-valued houses as piggy banks.

  2. The Long Count was used by the Maya to document past and future events. Their other calendars were simply too short to document any date beyond 52 years. The 52-year calendar -- known as the "Calendar Round" -- was used as it spans a generation, or the approximate lifetime of an individual.

  3. @Bill H. - debt is created by the flick of a switch under the fractional reserve loan scheme (scam). New products and services (economic growth) need to be generated to pay for it. Cheap oil allowed the production of these goods and services. SOME people, too poor to be able to generate any new growth, raided their savings to pay the debt.