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.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

About that John Edwards Circus

By John Ballard

The salacious details of the John Edwards show trial are like raisins in the pudding for news organizations. No matter what the rest of the news may be, from weather disasters to terrorism plots, that circus in North Carolina is like money in the bank on a slow news day. It's the political equivalent to those scandal magazines at the grocery line. Few customers actually buy them but nearly everybody looks.

This column by Rob Schofield in Facing South puts L'affaire Edwards into balance.

...there's no criminal statute in the United States against behaving like a scoundrel in one's personal relationships. If there were, dozens of national political figures -- from Bill Clinton to Newt Gingrich to Elliot Spitzer to Mark Sanford -- and millions of other less well-known individuals would have served or be serving time right now.

Fortunately, however, this is not Saudi Arabia or 17th century Massachusetts. Modern Americans may often be a holier-than-thou bunch, but we do not (and hopefully never will) send people to jail for adultery or lying to their spouses or getting their friends to help them conceal an affair.

So, if not to punish a scoundrel, what else? What other objective could the federal prosecutors have in targeting Edwards?

Is it to send a message of deterrence to current and future politicians that they can't evade campaign finance laws by having their friends make expenditures that will benefit them and their campaigns?

If so, it's hard to see how that will work. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered such message-sending completely obsolete with its infamous decision in the Citizens United case. That decision, of course, opened the floodgates to unlimited expenditures from wealthy individuals and corporations to directly benefit political candidates. Had the court's decision been issued prior to Edwards' ill-fated cover-up of his affair with Rielle Hunter, it's hard to see how the issue would have ever even arisen as a possible violation of the law.


...it's one of the great and under-reported ironies of the Edwards trial that the very man who indicted Edwards -- former U.S. Attorney turned wannabe congressman George Holding -- is himself a daily beneficiary of massive amounts of unreported super-PAC spending that is specifically designed to evade "caps" on campaign contributions and is in many essential ways indistinguishable from the money spent by Mellon on Edwards!

Think about that for a minute: How does a man in such circumstances look himself in the mirror every morning knowing that he has helped to inflict such intense agony upon so many already long-suffering humans? Seriously, what is the point? What principle is possibly being vindicated? What possible good would it do for anyone connected with this mess -- most notably Edwards' children -- if the former senator were to go to prison? What public figure is going to be deterred from future skullduggery?

Especially given the radical shift in campaign finance law, it's as if prosecutors had decided to prosecute someone for being an alcoholic during prohibition�two years after its repeal.

1 comment:

  1. Diane Al-HabieliMay 7, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    I have wondered if all of this was to derail Edward's taking up the cause of Poverty.