Denis Smith: If We Lose Public Schools, We Lose Our Democracy

To hell with elections! To hell with vaccines! To hell with masks! To hell with working together for the common good!
“We don’t want that tyranny!” they shout as they set fire to the country spreading and supporting tyranny.

Who is to blame for this “me only” type of thinking?

Well, this “me” mindset started with Ronald Reagan (Reagan did not do it alone) and led to Traitor Trump and his dangerous MAGA mob.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Denis Smith worked for many years in the Ohio State Department of Education, finishing his career in the Office of Charter Schools. He writes in the Ohio Capital Journal about the existential threat posed to our democracy and our society by the privatization of public schools. His advice: Be careful what you wish for.

In the last few months, Americans have witnessed a series of assaults by the political right on key parts of the bedrock principles of democracy. Those attacks include new restrictions on voting rights in more than half of the states, the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by thousands of insurrectionists, and most recently, clear evidence that the former president pressured the top leadership of the Justice Department to help him overturn the 2020 election results.

Certainly these scary developments are newsworthy and have garnered banner headlines and filled airtime on the evening news…

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The End of the Forever War, leaving Afghanistan in 2021

I’m a former U.S. Marine and was sent to Vietnam in late 1965. I returned home to the states in December 1966.

At the end of the Vietnam War, according to History.com, about 7,000 people were evacuated by helicopter from various points in Saigon. And “Inside the South Vietnamese capital, U.S. ambassador Graham Martin rebuffed repeated calls to even consider an evacuation, let alone execute one.” In 1973, the president was a Republican. His name was Richard Nixon, and he was a much better human, regardless of his flaws, than Traitor Trump will ever be.

Before anyone climbs on the blame Biden wagon for what happened at the end of the Forever War in Afghanistan, click that History.com link above and read about the end of the Vietnam War. While reading, don’t forget that I was sent to fight in that war when I was 20. What happened over there changed my life.

Because of those changes, I don’t think like most Americans that never served in the military let alone fought in one of this country’s endless wars.

Pew Research reports, “There are around 19 million U.S. veterans as of this year, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, representing less than 10% of the total U.S. adult population.”

And not all of those veterans served in combat. Combat Wounded.org clarifies the number of combat vets vs veterans that did not end up in combat. “There are more than 2.5 million post 9/11 military veterans that have served our nation, which is less than 1% of the population. 80 percent of those spent some time in an overseas combat zone. Over 2 million served in Afghanistan and Iraq, spending 1 out of 3 years serving overseas. 60% are under the age of 34.”

Because of my experiences in Vietnam, I belong to two PTSD support groups. One through the VA and the other at a Vet Center, and I have never met one single combat vet that doesn’t think more like me and what I’m going to say in this post. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I’m sure there are some that will disagree with me.

Reuters reported, “Pulling the numbers from the daily updates shows that more than 100,000 people have been airlifted out of Afghanistan since Aug. 1. The White House refers to this total as the number of people the United States evacuated or whose evacuation it ‘facilitated,’ referring to those nonmilitary flights. The most evacuations happened in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday morning, when 21,600 people were evacuated. In the 24 hours before Thursday morning, the number was 13,400.”

Probably because I’m a former Marine and combat vet, I have been following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning.

It was apparent to me early on that both wars were lost the day they began. The U.S. should have never invaded Iraq. After 9/11, once we knew who was behind the attack in New York, all of our military efforts to stop an attack on the US like that from happening again should have been focused on Afghanistan, not Iraq.

After both countries were invaded, the Bush administration focused on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan became an orphan. From the beginning, almost every decision by U.S. presidents was focused on nation-building in both countries and those efforts failed just like they did in Vietnam.

The American Taliban, Traitor Trump’s dangerous and violent MAGA mob says President Biden blundered and should resign or be impeached.  To all those armchair generals and REMFs, I say, “Bull Shit!” If you want to know what REMF means, Google it, or just click the link and/or watch the video.

Those who have fought in war, like Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who coined the phrase, “War is hell,” know it better than the fools blaming President Biden for not conducting a perfectly organized withdrawal from the Forever War in Afghanistan.

There was never going to be a perfect ending to that war. There has never been a perfect ending to any war. Someone always loses. Own it.

Now, I’m going to make a few comparisons:

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as Saigon in 1973. In Kabul, the US evacuated more than 100,000 people in a little over two weeks. How many did the U.S. evacuate from Saigon? The answer is mentioned earlier in this post.

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as the Kuwait airlift by Air India of 170,000 Indians in 1990. That airlift was carried out before the U.S. started the Gulf War the same year.

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as the U.S. military evacuation of 91,000 people out of a North Korean port by the U.S. Navy in 1950.

Kabul in 2021 was not the same as the Berlin Airlift (supplies not people) in 1948 – 1949, and that happened during the Cold War. I wonder how many people know what the term Cold War means.

It’s so much easier to plan an airlift when no one is shooting at you or threatening to attack if you don’t leave by a certain date.  It’s so much easier to  complain and assign blame when you are a member of Traitor Trump’s American Taliban, an armchair general, or an REMF.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and combat vet. He’s the author of the award-winning novels My Splendid ConcubineRunning with the EnemyThe Redemption of Don Juan Casanova, and the memoir Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé. His short story, A Night at the Well of Purity was named a finalist in the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

His latest novel is The Patriot Oath.

After 24 years, Special Forces legend Josh Kavanagh has retired from the military and is going home. But his oath to the Constitution didn’t end there. His sister Suki wants Josh to help her get revenge. He still loves the tough girl he left behind, but can Rachel trust him?

George Washington Was First to Mandate Vaccinations

George Washington was not only “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” he was also first to impose a vaccine mandate.

Diane Ravitch's blog

To all those patriots out there who are “resisting” mandates for vaccines and masks, please read this.

George Washington was not only “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” he was also first to impose a vaccine mandate. A reader called “Quikwrit” sent the following comment, which I fact-checked. It is true.

The United States Supreme Court has twice ruled that states and school districts have the constitutional right to mandate vaccinations, rulings that also apply to masks — and those who would like to see those rulings overturned had better think twice because those rulings are also the basis for states having the power to regulate abortions: If state authority to mandate vaccinations is overturned, so is state authority to regulate abortions.

The key Supreme Court ruling that recognizes the authority of states to mandate vaccinations is Jacobsen v. Massachusetts. In this…

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The Patriot Oath post I should have written 8 days ago.

On August 8, my latest novel, The Patriot Oath, was published and released. The e-book is still on sale for $0.99 until Monday, August 16, ends at midnight.

The Patriot Oath’s launch is the best I have ever experienced.

When My Splendid Concubine came out in December 2007, it only sold 221 copies its first full year in print. However, over the next 13 years, this historical fiction thriller and romantic suspense novel would go on to sell more than 24,000 copies — not counting the 41,243 that were given away free during a Book Bub Promotion in  2015.

Running with the Enemy has been out since December 2013 and has only sold 320 copies.

Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, was published in June 2014 and has only sold 405 copies.

The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova arrived in February 2015 and has only sold 142 copies in its first six years.

What makes this book launch different from the others?

The Patriot Oath has sold more than 290 copies in its first nine days, and the Kindle Countdown Deal doesn’t end until midnight on the 16th.

Here are the first three reviews, the only reviews at this time. The other three are only ratings with no reviews.

Daniel Pyle

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read

Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2021

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great story and unforgettable characters!

wdnleg

4.0 out of 5 stars good book

Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2021

Verified Purchase

excellent characters, interesting moral ambiguity. sad ending. but one of the best books of its type that i have read in a long time.

Joe D

4.0 out of 5 stars I hope this is just the beginning

Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2021

I really enjoyed this book, particularly the characters. I will be disappointed if this not book 1 of a multi-book series.

For Joe D: I’m working on the sequel to The Patriot Oath. The title is Never for Glory and there are 24 chapters completed with more to come.

The Patriot Oath is the first book I’ve written that started from a prompt in a Veteran’s Administration PTSD support group. Writing helps combat vets manage the trauma that followed them home from war. Some groups use music, others rely on horses or dogs, and then yoga and art.

That PTSD writing support group meets once a week. Back in March 2018, in one Wednesday morning session, I didn’t have anything new to share, so I decided to write to one of the prompts (long forgotten) we were offered at the end of every session.

My short piece for that forgotten prompt was about a Special Forces combat vet on his way home after being in the military for 24 years. That’s when Josh was born as the main character. After sharing my first piece with Josh as the main character, I featured him in every weekly prompt. That worked great for about five weeks until Josh, and the other characters in his story took over. At the time, I had no idea what was going to happen to Josh and the others. I didn’t know their stories would turn into a novel with The Patriot Oath as its title.

Fast forward to today, Sunday, August 15, 2021. The Patriot Oath has been featured in an author interview by Many Books., established in 2004. The interview starts here: Lloyd Lofthouse – Thriller and Romantic Suspense Inspired by PTSD. The interview explores the story behind the novel.

If you are a reader, you might want to stop here, but if you are an author, too, keep reading to learn a bit about how I promote my work to find readers that might be interested.

 Many Books is ranked at #24,842 by ALEXA, out of more than 30,000,000 websites and Blogs. Founded in 1996, Alexa is a global pioneer in the world of analytical insight. Alexa’s traffic estimates are based on data from its global traffic panel, a sample of millions of Internet users using one of many different browser extensions. Its global traffic rank measures how a website is doing relative to all other sites on the web over the past 3 months.

You might be curious why I’m mentioning ALEXA and ManyBooks global traffic rank.  When I’m setting up a book promotion, I use ALEXA to determine if the sites I’m using are doing better than most sites on the web. I don’t want to invest my time and money in sites that have little or no traffic. I also promote through BookBub and Amazon. BookBub ranked at 8,511 by ALEXA. Amazon is ranked #11.  As a flexible rule, I usually promote my work through sites ranked less than #500,000.

Twitter Reflections from Reporter Who Broke Nikole Hannah-Jones Tenure Story

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

Joe Killian is the reporter with NC Policy Watch who broke the story (byline shared with Kyle Ingram) of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ UNC-Chapel Hill tenure slight. He was also the first to report on Hannah-Jones’ declining UNC-Chapel Hill’s belated tenure offer and her decision to join the faculty at Howard University.

At the center of Hannah-Jones’ tenure denial is UNC-Chapel Hill megadonor, Walter Hussman, who Killian also interviewed in this June 03, 2021, NC Policy Watch piece in which Hussman denies “pressuring anybody.” (UNC’s school of journalism is now the UNC Hussman School of Journalism.)

Nikole Hannah-Jones

In a thread on Twitter on July 06, 2021, Killian insightfully reflects on the two individuals central to this tenure story, Hannah-Jones and Hussman– and who among the three of them built journalism careers from the bottom up.

He also talks boxing (“Stay with me here….”)

It’s a great read. (Note: I…

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If We Want Better, We Must Do Better

Restore Reason

Hello. Let me reintroduce myself. Linda Lyon. Retired Air Force Colonel, school board member, very happily married to my best friend, who is also a woman. Previously married to a great guy. Enthusiastic fly fisher, own a gun, love to camp. A patriot who believes in our Constitution and progressive policies but also that our system works best when we have a balance of power between two parties so they must compromise to get things done. In other words, please don’t write me off with just one label. You’d be wrong. That is of course, true of all of us.

I’ve been blogging on RestoreReason.com since 2013, with a hiatus since mid-2019. There are multiple reasons for my break to include some hard-fought political losses that were near and dear to my heart. More than anything though, I thought there was just too much craziness in the news and I…

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My Choice for Mayor of New York City

Maya Wiley should become the next mayor of New York City … if the working class that makes up the majority of voters want to take the power away from the greedy, extremist billionaires that control the city as if they are all Darth Vaders.

Diane Ravitch's blog

I endorse Maya Wiley for the Democratic candidate for Mayor of New York City.

There are many candidates in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City. Whoever is chosen will be the next mayor because the city is 3/4 Democrat and the Republican field is weak (Michael Bloomberg spent $100 million of his own money to win the mayoralty as a Republican and one of his top priorities was to persuade the state legislature to give him total control of the public schools).

My first choice initially was Scott Stringer, the City Comptroller, who has deep experience as a citywide official. Stringer was endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers because of his strong support for public schools. But his chances began to fade when a woman stepped forward to accuse him of groping her twenty years earlier.

Then two men emerged at the top of the polls:…

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My View of the 1619 Project

Diane Ravitch's blog

When I grew up in Houston, Texas, I attended segregated public schools. Everything was segregated, including movie theaters, drinking foundations, churches, restaurants, public transit (the sign “colored” divided passengers, with blacks in the back of the bus; if there were more white passengers than black passengers, the sign was moved back and black passengers gave up their seats and stood), and everything else. Even newspaper ads were segregated, by both race and gender. Blacks entered white homes through the back door. Blacks were expected to step off the sidewalk and into the street when passing a white pedestrian.

In my high school American history class, we learned almost nothing about black history. Our textbooks recognized George Washington Carver and his discovery of the many uses of peanuts. That was about it. In eleventh-grade U.S. history, the textbook taught the now-discredited Dunning theory of the Reconstruction Era (William Archibald Dunning was…

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The Extremist Danger to Our Country

Who are the MAGA people that threaten our Constitutional republic and democracy?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Neil MacFarquar wrote this story in the New York Times. It is a chilling warning.

Many Americans fought and died to protect our democracy and preserve our rights. Sadly, there extremists within the country who threaten the ideas and values we hold dear. They are haters and white supremacists who betray the national idea of e pluribus unem.

They robbed an armored car outside a sprawling Seattle shopping mall.

They bombed a synagogue in Boise, Idaho, and within weeks assassinated a Jewish talk radio host in Denver.

Then a month later, they plundered another armored car on a California highway in a spectacular daylight heist that netted more than $3.6 million.

What initially seemed to F.B.I. agents like distant, disparate crimes turned out to be the opening salvos in a war against the federal government by members of a violent extremist group called the Order, who sought to establish a…

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Michael Gerson: The Only Republican in Good Standing Must Be a Liar or Resign

Trump’s Big Lie and the support of many in the Republican Party is a serious threat to U. S. Democracy.

The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.”

If Traitor Trump and his willing MAGA minions get away with calling “evil good and good evil”, who will be willing to step up and fight to defend the U.S. Constitution against Trump’s Big Lie? Will you stay home and pray/hope that Trump’s MAGA Storm Troopers don’t come knocking on your door.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” — Martin Niemöller

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists

Diane Ravitch's blog

Michael Gerson has been active in Republican politics for many years. He is appalled now that national and state leaders have created a loyalty test based on the Big Lie, the lie that Trump won the election, and Biden stole it. Liz Cheney was ousted from her senior role in the House Republican Caucus because she spoke the truth: Biden won, Trump lost, and its time to move on. Mitt Romney was booed by Utah Republicans for refusing to endorse the Big Lie. Very few Republicans, other than Cheney and Romney, have acknowledged that the election is over, following multiple recounts. Trump lost. Trump’s loss is now known as the Big Lie. However, in true Trumpian fashion, he calls Biden’s victory “the Big Lie,” once again trying to rewrite history.

Gerson wrote in the Washington Post:

For the activist base of the Republican Party, affirming that Donald Trump won…

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