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, January 1, 2012

C-SPAN Book TV -- Panel on American Debt

By John Ballard

Unfortunately this one-hour program from C-SPAN's Book TV is not embeddable but after watching it this morning I am passing the link on to readers who may have time to watch it.  I'm putting this post together as I listen to the audio with a view of recommending choice parts to whet the appetite of those who find this sort ot TV too dry and time-consuming to consider.

ShowPicture[1]Two writers are pushing their books. H.W.Brands is a history professor, University of Texas at Austin. David Graeber is identified as a "Reader" with the University of London, Goldsmiths' College, Anthropology Department.

I don't know what a reader is but I learned in my own undergraduate years that Europeans don't have the same hang-ups that Americans do about titles and piles of publishing. One of my classes was with a visiting Oxford professor, a Mr. Wilson, about whom the head of our history department remarked that the title of Doctor doesn't have the same cache in the UK as it does here, and a scholar addressed as Mister can have just as much academic respectability as one called Doctor.

In the case of David Graeber the distinction is even more irrelevant since the C-SPAN moderator mentioned in his introduction that in doing research about these two writers he came across the article in  300px-David_Graeber[1]Wikipedia which describes David Graeber as

...an American anthropologist and anarchist who currently holds the position of Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Both of these men are stimulating speakers, mutually complementary, taking turns in front of a standing room only crowd of appreciative listeners whose questions during the Q&A period were intelligent and stimulating for both writers.

Here are a couple of appetizers that may capture the imagination for readers.

==> At 36 minutes Graeber talks about the moral equivalence of debt, guilt and sin as a historical method of power and control over others. Listen for three minutes. A couple of minutes later somebody mentions that great aphorism that If you owe the bank a thousand dollars you have a problem but if you owe the bank a million dollars the bank has a problem.

==>  At 51 minutes Brands responds to a question about banking regulations. He outlines the history of banking regulations with clarity and humor, bouncing the response to Graeber for further elaboration.  The next question about the Federal Reserve also gets a crystal-clear response.  At the end of the program in the last three or four minutes Graeber identifies himself as one of the original 80 participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This program was aired in October, by the way. I find it interesting that whoever selects the programming schedule at C-SPAN didn't let it get lost in the archives. I'm not a card-carrying C-SPAN junkie, but it is one of the under-appreciated resources of our time and those who fail to take advantage of it do themselves a big disservice.



  1. For interest sake there are a number of other interviews with Graeber available online. Lewis Lapham interviewed him in Sept past, it's number 15 in this list titled Beheading cost German Morgrave many florins: http://j.mp/swXwfG
    & Doug Henwood interviewed him in the middle of August. Link here on August 13th buried in amongst Henwood's radio archives of real treasures :

  2. Yeah, I watched it the first time but was very pleased to see it aired again over the weekend. Good stuff.
    AND there was an In Depth yesterday...3 hours of Chris Hedges. He was in fine form. Plus none of the folks who called in made me cringe or change the channel. The whole thing was EXCELLENT.
    Those two programs reminded me of how outstanding CSPAN can be. No other network can touch it. (but I still get tired of all the stuff from AEI and Cato and Heritage and Hoover. gag.)

  3. Brian Lamb is the Steven Spielberg of journalism, a living national treasure. I'm also impressed with his stable of hosts. When I hear some of what is said and watch how they remain unfailingly courteous and non-judgmental it blows me away.

  4. I like most of the CSPAN hosts because they do a great job of hiding their POV...except for Steve Scully. I have a pretty good idea of which side of the aisle he hangs out on.

  5. I finally got my computer speakers fixed and watched the program. Graeber is, for one thing, a really lousy speaker, what with all of the "um"'s and laughing at his own inane jokes that nobody else thought were funny, but then most writers are lousy speakers; too accustomed to being able to edit. But some of his thoughts are a bit odd, such as his description of debt and the slave trade, his concept that money represents the distribution of government debt, and the idea that the elimination of government debt would create chaos and economic ruin.
    His cracking up at his theory that "Clinton's surplus" was going to lead to socialism because the government was going to have to "buy things that people wanted" was sort of a trip into lala land.
    The greater oddity is his concept is that lending money is inherently evil to the point that debt should not be repaid, but that borrowing money is okay and that the proceeds of borrowing should be retained. That just seems wierd to me. He was sort of in love with the Mesopotamian idea that each new king just cancelled all outstanding debts.
    I can see removing the moral burden from debt and deciding repayment based on business ethics, but that's not what his point seems to be. If lending is evil and morrally repugnant, then how can borrowing not be equally so? Further, if debt is such a bad thing, why is the financial goal of the government policy so heavily aimed at forcing banks to resume lending more money and creating more debt?