Live Blogging the State of the Union

Tonight I will be live blogging my responses to the state of the union and the responses by the GOP and tea party.

There are already excerpts being given out on what President Obama is going to say. It seems a major theme is going to be developing the middle class. The proposals he will be giving tonight are supposed to be budget neutral. Regardless of if true or not, I am sure the GOP will deny it.

On national defense, President Obama is expected to discuss reducing nuclear weapons and bringing troops home from Afghanistan. I am sure the tea party response, if not the main GOP response, will be critical of the reduction of nuclear weapons (even though we have more than enough to take out everyone else on Earth).

There is also a suggestion that President Obama will announce a free trade agreement with Europe. I am ok with “free trade” as long as it is “fair trade”. The American worker cannot compete with workers in other countries where labor laws are not equivalent.

Of course, excerpts of the official GOP response is also available. (What an amazing time we live in where we can debate excerpts from two speeches before they even happen.) Rubio looks like he will rest his middle class argument on having a “free economy”. This usually means an economy with less governmental regulation. Of course, it is competition and not a free economy that is good for consumers. The “free economy” supported by Rubio and the GOP (as well as the tea party) allows for large corporations to consolidate power and provide barriers to entry, including economies of scale, that prevent upward mobility for individuals and make it harder for competition to do its job in keeping prices down.

Rubio blames President Obama and government for businesses not giving raises and reducing benefits. It is amazing how Conservatives think. It is not the greed of the business owners that are to blame for this in their eyes. Forget the fact that Wall Street is doing amazingly well. Forget the fact that the disparity between the wealthy and the poor is the highest it has ever been in years. No, to the GOP the reason that these business owners are not sharing in their personal successes is because of taxes and required benefits. I guarantee you that many of these businesses, if they didn’t have their higher tax rates and if they didn’t have to cover health insurance, that the additional revenue gained would not be going into the pockets of the employees. That money would just go into the pockets of the employers.

If the GOP gets its way, no additional employees will be hired, no additional wages would be paid, and no additional benefits will be earned. Most employers are not altruistic. Most employers will not just give away their profits. Unless labor can force them to pay more money, the employers will keep as much as possible. But it has been the main goal of the GOP recently to take power away from labor. And that is why the GOP plans are bad for the economy because they are bad for the worker. They take power away from employees and give it to the employer. And when the employer has that upper hand, the employee gets stuck having to take whatever he/she can get.

Rubio wants growth in the economy. But growth wont happen until we stop making it profitable for US jobs to be shipped overseas. Growth wont happen if we sign free trade agreements with other countries that lack the employee protections that we currently have.

The Tea Party response from Rand Paul is also available online. Unfortunately it is full of straw man arguments and is really not worthy of comment at this time. I will wait until the full speech is given to see if he gets into details or if he is just full of hot air.

The Gun Free Zone Myth

One of the biggest lies told by the Conservatives after Newtown is that shooters will focus their attempts at violence at gun free zones because they will meet no resistance. Their solution is to put armed guards at these schools to keep the potential shooters away.

So why did this happen? That’s right. A gunman entered a police precinct and started shooting.

So much for the theory that having guns at a location will prevent a shooter from attempting gun violence. The truth is that a potential killer will commit acts of violence regardless of the risk of someone else returning fire.

Conservative share “facts” but reach wrong conclusions.

I am a frequent listener to the John Osterlind show on Rush Radio 99.5 FM in New Orleans. I will also call in and set the Conservatives straight when important. This is where I have earned the nickname “Liberal Dan”.

Today he was discussing certain “facts” pertaining to gun control. One set of facts was a listing of all countries in the 20th century that eliminated vast segments of its citizenry. Each of them had taken the guns away from their citizens. I am not disputing those facts. However, the conclusion Conservatives make about these facts are false. By pointing these “facts” out they try to make people believe that countries that enact strict gun control laws are trying to eliminate portions of their populations. But that is absolutely untrue. There are plenty of countries that have enacted stricter gun control laws that we have that are not trying to systematically eliminate portions of their populations.

Another set of facts was that for the most part, mass shootings take place in “gun free zones”. This is true, but again misleading. The point he and others try to make is that these killers search out these gun free zones to commit their acts of violence. However, this is not true. Shooters may choose to commit gun crimes in such areas. Bombers do not care about a lack of gun free zones. Timothy McVeigh wouldn’t have been able to bring a gun into the building in OKC. That didn’t matter to him, because he chose to use a bomb instead. Osterlind tried to say that the facts prove that if a potential killer knows someone with a gun might be there, that they will not go murder people. However, what it tells me is that people who want to murder other people will find a way to murder those people based on the situation at hand. If the killer is less likely to be successful using a gun and instead will be more likely to be successful by using a bomb, the killer will use a bomb.

The response by Osterlind? He suggested that bombs are harder to get so it is less likely that a killer would be able to get the job done with a bomb. Ironic, because that is exactly what an anti-gun advocate would say.

I am more than willing to discuss the issue of gun regulations with people on both sides of the aisle. However, when the pro-gun folks insist on using logical fallacies to promote their agenda, it is very difficult to have an honest discussion with them.