Currently before the House Judiciary Committee, “The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009 would authorize Attorney General Eric Holder to deny the sale or transfer of firearms to known or suspected terrorists—a list that could extend beyond groups such as radical Islamists and other groups connected to international terror organizations,” Fox News reported.
Who could argue about denying arms to terrorist? No one. Yet, with this bill, the devil’s in the details.
“Critics say the names of suspected terrorists could be drawn from existing government watch lists that cover such broad categories as animal rights extremists, Christian identity extremists, black separatists, anti-abortion extremists, anti-immigration extremists and anti-technology extremists.”
In effect, any group or people who someone might want to label as “extremist” or “anti.”
At best, the rising cost of the debt would intensify pressures to increase taxes, cut spending — or create bigger, unsustainable deficits. By the CBO's estimates, interest on the debt as a share of federal spending will double between 2008 and 2019, to 16 percent. Huge budget deficits could also weaken economic growth by “crowding out” private investment.
At worst, the burgeoning debt could trigger a future financial crisis. The danger is that “we won't be able to sell [Treasury debt] at reasonable interest rates,” says economist Rudy Penner, head of the CBO from 1983 to 1987. In today's anxious climate, this hasn't happened. American and foreign investors have favored “safe” U.S. Treasurys. But a glut of bonds, fears of inflation — or something else — might one day shatter confidence. Bond prices might fall sharply; interest rates would rise. The consequences could be worldwide because foreigners own half of U.S. Treasury debt.
The Obama budgets flirt with deferred distress, though we can't know what form it might take or when it might occur. Present gain comes with the risk of future pain. As the present economic crisis shows, imprudent policies ultimately backfire, even if the reversal's timing and nature are unpredictable.
The wonder is that these issues have been so ignored. Imagine hypothetically that a President McCain had submitted a budget plan identical to Obama's. There would almost certainly have been a loud outcry: “McCain's Mortgaging Our Future.” Obama should be held to no less exacting a standard.
A fun (and hypnotizing) audio/video mashup using Alice in Wonderland:
This music and video mash by Aussie band/guy Pogo is apparently built almost entirely from Alice in Wonderland audio/video.
via Yeah Right: Pogo.
Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine talks about how he became a libertarian in two posts:
First sign of a gun grab?
The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009 would authorize Attorney General Eric Holder to deny the sale or transfer of firearms to known or suspected terrorists — a list that could extend beyond groups such as radical Islamists and other groups connected to international terror organizations.
Critics say the names of suspected terrorists could be drawn from existing government watch lists that cover such broad categories as animal rights extremists, Christian identity extremists, black separatists, anti-abortion extremists, anti-immigration extremists and anti-technology extremists.
Glad I have my Unholy Trinity already: .40 pistol, 12-gauge shotgun, and .223 semi-auto rifle. Maybe it’s time to stock *more* ammo.
Here are two totally intuitive common sense arguments:
“Buying local is better than buying from a chain store—the money stays in the community.”
“New products only benefit the inventor—the money he receives necessarily reduces the money available to other producers.”
Both are intuitive and common-sense. Both are wrong. Both illustrate an additional fallacy—that economics is “just common sense.”
Wait, I thought it was only the evil Republicans who wanted to limit freedom of speech?
A private citizen objects peacefully to a proposed government action, and, as a result, is not only forced to appear before Congress to explain but also to be threatened with further burdens if he doesn't cooperate with the arrogant power-mongers on Capitol Hill.
And here I thought that dissent was the highest form of patriotism.
Here is Adam Smith speculating in The Wealth of Nations on the dynamic nature of the British labor market if all tariffs and barriers to imports were removed. Surely, there would be mass unemployment and catastrophic disruption. Not so, says Smith. And he uses a very elegant natural experiment to make his case:
In short, “free trade now” is an excellent plan, one that we stand only to gain from.
Meanwhile, what does it say that the Administration has resurrected or maintained the core elements of so many Bush Administration national security policies while OLC nominee Dawn Johnsen sits in limbo? And would the Administration's policies be any different were she already confirmed?
I'm laughing at Obama, but I'm also thanking him for doing the right thing and reasonably tolerant of the way he's tried to save face by pretending he's not doing exactly the same thing Bush did.
Hope and change!