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Just so that I can pass it along to the members of my family with various degrees of Native American blood and/or heritage, what shall I tell them is the correct definition of a Native American? You speak so authoritatively, you must have THE rulebook handy. Possibly their tribes or Native Corporations need to be informed of their errors in enrolling them.
The UB often runs features on local businesses. Fortunately, they've decided in this instance not to pander to the bigotry of the gun-ban crowd, for whom any positive mention of firearms, even when it's training for greater safety, is intolerable.
Look, I can't even let an employee or a client light a cigarette in my own office, in my own office building. I can't keep the insurance policy I had for 36 years because it didn't cover things I didn't want it to cover but a bunch of politicians thought it should cover, and whatever policy I do get, I have to report to the federal government about. My doctors can't look me in the eye because they're so busy inputting everything into a federally mandated computer program to be reported to the feds. If I wanted to form a 501(c)(4) organization with the wrong words in the title, I might find my application delayed for years, and demands made for my membership lists and internal correspondence. My mortgage lender has to certify to the feds that I meet the feds' standards, not my lender's standards. In order to pay my taxes, I have to disclose every detail of my financial life to the government including, if I'm audited, how much cash I keep in my house and how much money I spend on dry cleaning each month. (Those were among the questions I was asked at an IRS audit a few years back.) The children in my family can be asked the most intrusive questions imaginable at school, but depending on the luck of the draw, might not get taught how to read unless we do it at home. And now, the federal government tries to control even what those kids eat at lunch in our supposedly "local" school.
Constitutional restrictions under our "evolving" Constitution offer a few protections but most have disappeared under the expansive definition of the commerce clause of the last few decades.
By comparison, the Patriot Act as enforced has NOT suspended "virtually all Constitutional rights" for most of those accused of terrorism (read US vs. Antoine Jones), although I'll grant you that Obama's ability to target Americans abroad for assassination without trial is scary, especially when he gets so much more emotional and vehement when he talks about fighting Republicans than when he talks about fighting terrorists. (At least he doesn't conflate the two groups, as some Dems do.)
Throughout the last hundred years, the biggest oppressors of Muslims have been other Muslims. Some of them were pro-Western Muslims (the Shah, Mubarak, the Sauds) and some were anti-Western Muslims (Quaddafi, Nasser, Khoumeini, Arafat) and some played both sides when convenient (Saddam, for instance). Ironically, Bush's stated strategy behind the Iraq War was an effort to bring true democracy to a Muslim country to give a model to others, and put pressure on the dictatorships that control them. It even has, at times, seemed to be working, but of course, that would have been a long, slow road requiring a long, firm commitment, and that proved impossible here at home. And, I'll grant you, it might not have worked regardless.
As for why so many young Muslim men hate us, well, they hated us even before we began bombing. We licked our wounds after the Iran Embassy seizure and didn't drop a single bomb on Iran. In fact, we even sold them armaments during their war with Iraq (remember the Iran-Contra deal) and in the 35 years since then they've never even sent us a birthday card, and still chant "Death to America" regularly.
I speculate that they hate us because their religion calls on them to regard themselves as superior to non-believers, and it is humiliating to be less successful than those who are your inferiors. (I don't say all Muslims hold this view of their religion, but the radicals clearly do.) Bombing doesn't help, I'm sure, but neither would "licking our wounds and burying our dead." If I recall correctly, by Osama's calculation, we'd have to bury 4 million dead before he'd consider it a wash, and even then, we'd still have to submit our entire country to Islamic rule to earn that birthday card.
Since we can't see what would have happened had different choices been made, we really don't know if your first point is correct. If the Al-Qaeda success of 911 had been followed merely by "licking our wounds and burying our dead", that alternate reality would surely have included further attacks and might have had the entire Arab peninsula in the hands of Osama, and a caliphate a full decade into enlarging its reach by now. Success without cost is an enormously powerful motivator.
We could as easily say that if the Democrats had not chosen to make the Iraq War a political football, Iraqi and Afghan insurgents, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc., would have concluded that the US was no longer infected with the "Vietnam" Syndrome and there was no point in trying to win the way Ho did. Of course, that wing of the Democratic party died with Henry Jackson, and my biggest opposition to the Iraq War was that I thought Bush was being naïve about the staying power of Democrats. Coming from Texas where such things happen, he still believed into his second term that he could actually build effective single-issue coalitions with Democrats around critical issues.
The individual liberties we might have lost in fighting terrorists, to the extent we still had any, were doomed to be lost anyway, to the EPA, the DOE, the IRS, the HHS, the CFPB, the ACA, etc. Most of the population already accepts it as not just right but necessary that individuals be "protected" not only against terrorists, but against all of their own bad, foolish, eccentric or self-responsible decisions.
More vigilant? More vigilant than what, and how, without losing more liberties, and all of our self-respect.
We still spend far more than China, India, Korea and other emerging economies (and possibly more than all of them put together) on "education", infrastructure, etc. Yes, our budgetary limitations will affect our ability to throw even more money at those failed systems, but the mediocrity was going to be there regardless.
But I agree completely with your last line.
Talking about "wars on terrorism" encourages muddled thinking, including in Presidents Bush and Obama. Terrorists are simply those who engage in a particularly brutal and civilian-engaging style of war, and one doesn't make war on them because of their style, but because they are making war on us.
And I don't know how you define success, but I'd say either Obama's formulation of "degrade and ultimately destroy" or a less decisive but still valuable "contain and keep from becoming more than an occasional annoyance" would satisfy me.
That being said, I'll try to answer your question:
Successful U.S. efforts to defeat enemies, including non-conventional combatants, by military campaigns included the Barbary Wars, the Indian Wars, the War of 1812, arguably the Mexican War, arguably the Civil War, the Philippine-American War, the Banana Wars, the Mexican Border War, the Moro rebellion (not entirely successful, but pretty good), the Korean War, militarily though not politically the Vietnam War, the Panama and Granada incursions, the first Gulf War, the Taliban, militarily though not politically the Iraq War, and arguably some of the biggest "terrorist" enemies ever, the Nazis, the Soviets, and the Japanese militarists.
Maybe we should have put in place, in Iraq and Afghanistan, a friendly, slightly benevolent dictator, a MacArthur or Pinochet-type, rather than try to grow democracy in such harsh climes, but our credibility in propping up friendly dictators went downhill after the Shah, so we might not have had any takers. And don't tell me you would have liked that any better.
For six years, there have been no "Bush wars on terrorism," only Obama wars. Militarily, they've been handled no worse than SNAFU. If the opposition party - and particularly Howard Dean - had behaved differently during Bush's wars, the political situation might have been vastly different, and that might have made the military situation far less inciting for the enemy, but "woulda, coulda, shoulda" as they say.
ISIS is a direct threat to the US in the same way Al Qaeda was. Neither could defeat us militarily, but either could inflict severe damage on our economy and our civilian populations. 911 was nowhere near the worst they could and probably will do.
How effective it is to drop bombs in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere just depends on how good our targeting is, doesn't it? If Obama is just doing that for show as I suspect, then you're right, it won't be very helpful. But if there is decent intelligence and good target selection, then it will do a lot of good.
You are incredibly naïve if you think that the only thing that motivates our enemies to try to damage us is what Bush did. Radical Islamists have been growing in strength, wealth, coordination and determination over several decades. A more pacifist West would not have avoided a confrontation with them, it just would have faced a more difficult one.
Everything you know about health insurance in "the ol' days" you learned from Democrat propaganda. Like most propaganda, it had little to do with reality. Before Obamacare, 85% of Americans had health insurance and about 85% of those were quite happy with their health insurance. Only in the mind of an ideologue or someone who can't think for himself does that translate into "non-existent" health care.
FYI, I was self-employed all my working life and had health insurance purchased in the individual market place for 36 years - starting, by the way, before I was 19 years old. It was "guaranteed renewable" which meant that no matter how sick I got, I would not be canceled as long as I paid my very reasonable and affordable premium. It had a reasonable deductible ($1500 for most of those years), a reasonable out of pocket maximum ($3500 for most of those years), a huge network of providers, and I never once in 36 years had to dispute any of my insurer's handling of my claims, nor did I have to endure "gate-keepers" and "referrals" and the rest of that bureaucratic nonsense.
What I have now after Obamacare is not better, it's far worse and far more expensive. Maybe it's better for you, but any gains you've made have been at my expense and millions of others like me. What part of the Constitution gives the government the right to punish me in order to help you?
Sure. And incarcerating criminals won't end crime. Let's stop arresting, trying and locking them up and impose economic sanctions on them instead. Imagine how much more acceptable it would have been to Ms. Capistany's delicate sensibilities if we had threatened to cut off Ted Bundy's Social Security benefits instead of executing him.
I see no reasonable prospect that Obama will be able successfully to execute a military solution to ISIS, because at heart, his thinking about war is as muddled as Ms. Capestany's, but sooner or later, an effective military response to ISIS will be required. And it may well be that it will take decades to prevail, as did the Cold War. And just as in the Cold War, ultimately success is less about bringing about "Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men" than surviving to face the next threat human beings tend to unleash on each other.
As for history -- well, it's true Rome didn't survive forever, but it did survive the Carthaginians. When it comes to militant Islamists, like Carthage, they'll keep popping up until "delenda est."
Our current spending per pupil in Washington is about $11,000 a year NOT COUNTING teacher, staff and administrator pensions, capital costs (buildings, buses), debt service (interest on bonds). Schools employ one certificated teacher for every 17 students, at an average salary of about $65,000 NOT COUNTING pension and health care benefits.
How that can be considered insufficient to provide a BASIC education just boggles my mind.
Wisely and effectively spent, $11,000 a year per pupil plus capital costs, debt service and pensions is more than ample. Key words: "wisely" and "effectively".
And I fail to see how a Supreme Court justice's opinion on whether it's ample should count for more than mine or any other voter's, but if that's what they're reading into the State Constitution, maybe it's time to amend the State Constitution, before the sinkhole of public education swallows us all. The extra $4 billion per biennium to be added per the Court, plus the $1 billion already added means nearly a 25% increase in per pupil spending over just a few years. And for what?
There are states right now that are paying $20,000 a year per pupil, and getting results no better than ours, and we don't do as well as a state like Utah, that pays about $6,000 a year.
Japan pays about 80% of what Washington State does per student, but gets far superior results.
About 50% of our state's high school graduates who go on to a state community or technical college need remedial classes in math (and that's not calculus, but basic algebra), and 25% in English.
When I taught a course at a community college a few years back, I was appalled at the poor reading, writing and comprehension skills of some of my students. About 20% could not even write a comprehensible paragraph, and half the rest lacked basic skills of punctuation, grammar and sentence structure that in earlier times would have been required to pass out of middle school. This despite year after year of increased spending on education, well above inflation rates.
Our education problem, and we do have a serious one, is not a lack of money.
If someone says a prediction is grossly over-estimated, they are saying it's wrong, i.e., false.
Politics is about the search for power, an infamous corrupter; science is about the search for truth. When scientists turn politician, they are entitled to just as much respect as any other politician, and just as much suspicion. I read some of the early IPCC reports, and found that the political summaries vastly exaggerated the strength of the scientific reportage. I'm sure the politicians have since corrected that problem.
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