Monday, January 14, 2013
I went to see “Zero Dark Thirty”yesterday afternoon and found it amazing how the movie filled in so many blanks, that I was not aware of. I had read a couple of articles about the effort to get Osama Bin Laden, so I thought I knew how the raid went down. For example, it was a miracle that the mission was a successful, considering all the noise that was made when on of the helicopters crashed and the demolition it took to get through the locked steel doors at the Bin Laden compound. The compound looked more like an old warehouse than a mansion the CIA described.
I took away an important lesson from the movie. I think we need to be more receptive in dealing with those who have a different opinion. In the movie, the main character, a CIA agent simply known as Maya, listened to every word one detainee said and compared it to what other detainees said and came to a conclusion that they all knew the importance of Osama’s mail courier. She found a common behavior pattern among all the detainees who were asked the whereabouts of Osama’s mail courier. I disagree with those who said the movie glorified torture because to me, it was more about the emphasis on patience,listening,cooperation,and belief from those in authority.
That doesn’t mean we have to always agree but we have to listen if we are ever going to come to a solution or even a plan.You have to know as much as possible about your opponents.
Politico is reporting that the GOP is planning to default and possibly shut down the government. I get and agree with their concerns about the amount of spending over the past decades but differ when it comes to solutions because I’m adamantly opposed to shutting down the government or disrupting the world financial markets with unnecessary draconian moves. At least we have heard their complaints and proposals.
I think the president needs to go on an education trip around the nation informing the public about our challenges and the severity of defaulting or austerity only solutions. He could start by informing the public that we have already started deficit reduction. He should be truthful and say if we do nothing we will be at 90% debt to GDP and are currently at 79% debt to GDP. If we followed the recommendations of Simpson-Bowles, we could be at 65% debt to GDP, but president can say that he has a balanced plan that could get us to 72% of debt to GDP. As I’ve said we will never reduce the debt to zero, but we can get an acceptable downward trajectory in outlining years.
People should know that 77% of Social Security goes to retirees and their defendants,19% goes to the disabled and the remaining 4% goes to minor children of deceased parents. We have already made steep cuts in discretionary spending, and besides it’s only 6% of the budget, and more cuts in those programs will not make a dent in our overall problem. It’s still all about the big three;defense spending, Medicare and Medicaid. We know a voucher system will not pass but there are numerous ways of reducing costs of two of those programs, like means testing, bulk purchase of prescription drugs, age requirement, discussing the impact of chained CPI but a lot of it is implemented and adjust.
The most common complaint I get from those not wanting any additional gun laws is that they fear it will lead to gun confiscation. The president should refer them to the 2008 Supreme Court case “Heller” where Supreme Court Justice Scalia spelled out the reason a citizen's right to bear arms will never be taken away.