Monday, June 20, 2016

Political Theater: My Senator Strikes Again Chris Murphy from the escapist)
Chris Murphy is the junior senator from Connecticut.  THC wrote of him in 2014 (see My Senator), at which time he referred to him as a callow youth.  He now thinks that unfair to callow youth, since they often shed their inexperience and immaturity as they get older while the now-42 year old Murphy shows no sign of such growth.  In fact, he strikes THC as a younger version of Barack Obama, combining a lack of real world experience, intellectual shallowness and overweening (synonyms: conceited, cocksure, cocky, smug, haughty, lofty, patronizing, arrogant, proud, vain, imperious) self-confidence in his abilities, along with a firm conviction that he is best placed to decide how society should operate.

Let's take a peek at Senator Murphy's resume:

After attending college, and while still in law school, he was campaign manager for an unsuccessful Democratic congressional candidate (1996).  Following that we have:

1997   Works for State Senate Democratic Majority Leader
1998   Elected as State Representative
2002  Elected as State Senator
2006  Elected to U.S. Congress
2012   Elected to U.S. Senate

He has worked diligently to attain political power and gain the ability to requisition and then spend other people's money as he sees fit.  Given the electorate in Connecticut, it is likely he will remain comfortably secure as a Senator until he chooses to retire with a generous, and inflation-protected, pension for the rest of his life, though it is worrisome to this observer that he also harbors national political ambitions.

THC first focused on Senator Murphy because of his astonishingly arrogant and ill-informed comments regarding Obamacare, made on Meet The Press in early 2014.  When pressed about the problems with Obamacare (which this blog has documented), Murphy whined that it was a tough job since "we were reordering one sixth of the American economy" and that "the only way to do it was to make it big". 

What kind of hubris does it take for someone to think they have enough knowledge to reorder one-sixth of the largest economy in the world?  That he can centrally direct such a reordering?  That he will have the ability to quickly obtain information from millions of sources and intelligently adjust as needed?  It is simply insane.  And we can only assume he was comfortable with the bodyguard of lies needed to assure Obamacare's passage, even with a Democrat majority in Congress at the time.

Let's remember that the marketplace is where voluntary collective action happens every day, forcing all participants to adjust quickly and continuously, but where both the direction of collective action and those adjustments are unpredictable.  For Progressives like Murphy, voluntary collective action is intolerable, precisely because it is not guaranteed to go in the direction that they feel it should, regardless of the desires of individual citizens.  Looking with disdain on the disorder of markets, Progressives seek an ordered world, centrally directed by The State.

Senator Murphy's latest "excellent adventure" is his recent 15-hour filibuster in support of legislation regarding gun control and the government terrorist watch list.  As someone remarked, Murphy's filibuster is the longest time anyone has spent on the Senate floor in an attempt to deny citizens their constitutional rights since Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond filibustered civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

THC uses the term "political theater", since the Majority Leader had already agreed to a vote on the measure and even if it had been in effect prior to Orlando it would not have changed anything since the very government that Murphy wants to grant more authority to, had already investigated Omar Mateen and removed him from the terrorist watch list!!!

Don't believe THC?  Read this exchange between Murphy and ABC's Jonathan Karl on Sunday:

MURPHY: So, it may have in the sense that if you partner together with the bill that stops terrorists from getting guns…

KARL: But wait a minute. He didn’t buy those guns at a gun show. And he would have passed the background—he did pass a background check.

MURPHY: He did pass a background check, but if the Feinstein bill was in effect, the FBI could have put him on the list of those who are prohibited from getting guns. And what if he went into the gun store and was denied? He could have just gone online or to a gun show and bought another one.

KARL:  OK. But what I’m trying to get at is that every time there’s one of these terrible tragedies, there’s these proposals. Your proposal would have done nothing in the case of Orlando. It would have done nothing to stop the killing in San Bernardino, and in fact, was unrelated to the killing in Newtown. So why are we focusing on things that have nothing to do with the massacres that we are responding?

MURPHY: First of all, we can’t get into that trap.  I disagree. I think if this proposal had been into effect, it may have stopped this shooting. But we can’t get into the trap in which we are forced to defend the proposals simply because it didn’t stop the last tragedy. We should be making our gun laws less full of Swiss cheese holes so that future killings don’t happen.
By the way, did you pick up on Murphy's cultural insensitivity and microaggression with his reference to "full of Swiss cheese holes", when Switzerland combines a high rate of citizen ownership of firearms with a low rate of gun use in the commision of crimes?

Because of this, the actual proposal under debate is not particularly important, but it's useful to understand some of the terms around this debate which first arose after the San Bernadino Islamist massacre in late 2015.

References to both the "No-Fly List" and the Terrorist Watch List" are being thrown around.  The first has less than 100,000 names while the various terrorist databases that are often collectively referred to as a "Watch List" contain perhaps 1.1 million names.  There is some uncertainty about the specifics since there has never been official confirmation of the numbers on either list and the names are kept secret as well as the process by which they have been placed on either list. We do know the process is flawed as public figures like the late Senator Edward Kennedy have wound up on the No-Fly List.  In addition, most of those on the lists are not American citizens.

The objection to automatically barring firearms purchases by those on the list is precisely because of its secret nature and the known quality control problems regarding placement on American citizens on the list. Among others, the ACLU has objected to the proposed Democratic solution and has led yet another Democrat contemptuous of our Constitutional rights, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, to complain that "due process is killing us".

Unfortunately, last year the Democrats opposed a Republican solution to the problem, supported by the National Rifle Association, would have allowed the government to delay for 72 hours the purchase of firearms anyone on the lists, during which the government would need to show probable cause for placing that person on the list.

[UPDATE:  This afternoon, the Republican measure to allow the government to prevent firearm sales, subject to the 72 hour provision, received a majority vote - 53 Senators voting in favor, but it was filibustered by Democrats, who were more concerned to keep the issue alive than to actually do anything of substance.]

So, how comfortable are you with the Democratic proposal to allow the Executive Branch to unilaterally place American citizens on lists which constrain their constitutional rights without them being afforded due process of law?  Before you answer, remember that our next President will be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, both of whom support restrictions on free speech, unchecked executive power and consistently confuse their political opponents with personal enemies and, at least as to Hillary, also have contempt for Second Amendment (firearms) and Fifth Amendment (due process) rights?

Of course, we all know this discussion is besides the point because what Chris Murphy, Barack Obama and their supporters are after is to ultimately dismantle the Second Amendment and take all privately owned firearms away.  The current effort is just an attempt to "not let a crisis go to waste" and seize some new ground, from which further advances can be made later.

The Democrat position is best summed up by Tom Maguire over at Just One Minute
The Jihadists are coming

We can't stop them

So give up your guns 

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