The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

He Was Not a Crook. Historical Amnesia- Volume Four

The lies we are told. The stories the media never tell. The Villains we need.

One of the long-standing media and political myths concerns the press conference where President Nixon uttered the phrase “Well I am not a crook.”

The context of this comment was over taxes. What prompted the writing of this installment of “Historical Amnesia” was a recent New York Times opinion story about Donald Trump not releasing his tax returns. The opinion piece had a blaring headline that President Nixon was a crook. This slander has been perpetuated for decades.

During his first term, the President had the IRS do his taxes. There were no issues. On a later audit it was determined there were problems. The President paid the back taxes and penalties. He wrote a check for over $400,000.

This is not criminal activity. It happens to Americans all the time. When the IRS reverses itself and disallows deductions, you pay what you now owe.

The media, much of academia and many politicians perpetuate the “crook” lie for various reasons.

The lies we are told. The stories the media never tell. The Villains we need.

Comfortably Numb in Palm Beach Schools

Good reading teachers in Palm Beach- and across the state- are being told they must use certain computer programs. It does not matter how successful your students are without these programs. You must use them.  This is mind-numbing but common practice. Excellent teachers are berated into using programs they know are not good for kids.

Students are put on computer programs from an early age and it continues through middle school. Then- not surprisingly- these students end up in reading classes in high school where they are forced back into more computerized torture.

Instead of spending millions a year on computer programs- why not give each reading teacher $10,000 a year to buy kids books to read. There is not ONE skill that cannot be taught or acquired in a reading workshop model.

Leading reading researcher Dick Allington noted that for every 90 minute reading block- about 60 minutes should be used for kids reading whatever they want.

A large majority of time in school consists of sitting in front of a computer and answering questions.

In order to help kids and save lives- you must be very brave.


Stop Teaching the “I Have a Dream Speech.” Historical Amnesia- Volume Three


*The stories the media never tell

*The villains we need

Most Americans are familiar with the “I Have a Dream Speech” made my Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 during a march on Washington. It was, and still is, inspirational.

But what most Americans are unaware of is that this speech was essentially given seven years earlier by an honorary member of the NAACP- Vice President Richard Nixon.

On October 18 1956 VP Nixon spoke at the Alfred E. Smith Foundation Dinner. Here is an excerpt from the speech;

“Most of us will live to see the day when American boys and girls shall sit, side by side, at any school – public or private – with no regard paid to the color of their skin.”

And more?

“Race and religious hatred strike at the roots of that remarkable unity that is the achievement of our nation. For the survival of our highest ideals, we must eradicate them from the face of society.”


“…we should all work to promote understanding, brotherhood and national unity.”

And one last excerpt;

“We know the moral cost – the quiet suffering of millions of our fellow men whose only crime was that they were different in race or religion or color from others in their communities.”

Why do we not focus on this six page speech given at the birth of the Civil Rights movement- just two years after the Brown decision?  I encourage all to read the entire speech. A copy is online at The King Center.

No, we should not stop teaching about the 1963 MLK speech. We SHOULD, learn the 1956 Nixon speech too. Nixon was the leading Civil Rights spokesperson in the Eisenhower Administration. Why will many not discuss it in media or high schools or colleges?

The stories the media never tell and the villains we need…
Writer’s note. This was a kickoff for a push to pass the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction. With Nixon as pointman- and despite attempts to kill the bill by Lyndon Johnson- it passed. But not before LBJ weakened it for political reasons.


Historical Amnesia- Volume Two

I am going to subtitle this series with some phrases I used in volume one.

*The lies we believe

*The stories the media never tell

*The villains we need

At the 1956 Republican National Convention, VP Nixon was nominated to serve another four years with General Eisenhower.  In his acceptance speech- Nixon spoke about Civil Rights goals and said;

  • The White House would work to ensure that “every negro has the opportunity to obtain proper housing, proper medical care and the unlimited ability to live as every American should live.”

What makes these remarks more potent is that shortly before the convention, the KKK had called for Nixon (and Ike) to be removed from office for hinting at integration. Democrats had defeated a Civil Rights Bill. Many Democrats signed the Dixie Manifesto- which called for open opposition to the 1954 Brown Decision.

VP Nixon emerged as the leading Civil Rights spokesperson in the government. The long slog had begun.

If you listen to many in media and academia- you hear LBJ and little else. I argue this is dishonest and perpetuates myths that damage each generation indoctrinated by them.

The lies we believe. The stories the media never tell. The villains we need.



Historical Amnesia- Volume One

The lies we choose to believe. The stories the media never tell. Many Americans were raised on the lie that Richard Nixon claimed to have a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. That is what we have been told over and over again. Here is what happened.

From early on in 1968- former VP Nixon was clear that his goal in Vietnam was not to cut and run but to end the war with honor. One just need to view old commercials and read speeches to see this. Yet- the myth of a secret plan persists. This was pure media invention in 1968 and the myth persists today.

And now, the rest of the story…

During the presidential campaign of 1952 – Democratic Nominee Adlai Stevenson claimed to have a plan to end the Korean War but would not reveal it since it would alert the enemy. This makes some sense but it was a “secret plan.” The VP candidate for General Eisenhower was Richard Nixon- who challenged Stevenson to offer his plan if it would help our boys.

I bet you did not know that. You never see it in textbooks or media reports. Just as Ike and Nixon were elected – in part- to end the Korean War ( and they did), Nixon would end the Vietnam war at the end of his first term in 1972.

History can be a menagerie of agreed upon myths.

The lies we believe. The stories the media never tell. The villains we need.

Trump following the Humphrey/Wallace Playbook of 1968

The media and court historians will try to convince you that there was one law and order candidate in 1968. And they want you to think this is a bad thing. In fact – all three main candidates in 1968 ran (understandably) as law and order candidates.

The media and court historians want you to think Richard Nixon was somehow evil and racist for a law and order campaign. As I have mentioned in previous essays, America was burning in 1968 and our soldiers were dying in record numbers in Vietnam. 2016 is not 1968.

Here is what Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey said in August of 1968.

“I put it very bluntly. Rioting, sniping, mugging, traffic in narcotics and disregard for law are the advance guard of anarchy and they must and they will be stopped. But may I say most respectfully, particularly to some who have spoken before, the answer lies in reasoned, effective action by state, local and federal authority. The answer does not lie in an attack on our courts, our laws or our Attorney General. We do not want a police state, but we need a state of law and order. And neither mob violence nor police brutality have any place in America. And I pledge to use every resource that is available to the President to end for once and for all the fear that is in our cities.”

Here is what Democratic candidate George Wallace said in 1968.

“The first thing I would do as President is to make an announcement that I’d give my moral support as President to the policemen of this country and to the firemen of this country. I’d say, “We stand behind you because you are the thin line between complete anarchy  in the streets and the physical safety of our person.”


I covered much of Richard Nixon’s comments in my last essay. Here is an additional portion.

“When the nation with the greatest tradition of the rule of law is plagued by unprecedented lawlessness; When a nation that has been known for a century for equality of opportunity is torn by unprecedented racial violence; And when the President of the United States cannot travel abroad or to any major city at home without fear of a hostile demonstration — then it’s time for new leadership for the United States of America.”

The need to vilify and libel President Nixon by those not well read or those with an agenda – continues. 1968 was a law and order campaign by all –  along with Vietnam and other smaller issues.

The next time you hear someone libel President Nixon over 1968 or try to smear him by using the 2016 campaign – call them out. Bob Dole once remarked that the second half of the 20th century would be known as the “Age of Nixon.”  Well – not if the media and academia can help it.

America owes President Nixon an apology.





Nixon Inspires -Miami ’68 but Media Still Libels Him in ’16

By August of 1968 the US had exploded in violence over the Vietnam War and Civil Rights. With over 100 US cities on fire and 540,000 troops in Vietnam – things were spinning out of control. The need to bring the nation together and have order was the main goal of all three main Presidential candidates in 1968.  Democrat George Wallace was the most vocal law and order candidate but the media will not tell you that.

Just recently the media has compared the Trump convention with what they call the “Nixon law and order playbook.” The media wants you to infer something nefarious from this comparison. The media wants you to infer Nixon was playing on fears or using race. This is a libel I am always happy to confront.

Democrat George Corley Wallace was the candidate of fear and race in 1968.

Law and order was only one part of the Nixon campaign in 1968. Another part was ending the inherited war in Vietnam. Nixon never spoke of a secret plan. He promised an honorable peace – not cut and run. He would deliver on this promise.

You might think Mr. Nixon gave a divisive speech in August of 1968 in Miami. The media- many who never heard it or even read it later – are hoping you won’t look at it either.

Let’s see what Nixon did to heal and inspire the nation in 1968 by examining the acceptance speech. Below is an excerpt that captures the beauty of America and a vision for unity.

“As we look at America, we see cities enveloped in smoke and flame. We hear sirens in the night. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad. We see Americans hating each other; fighting each other; killing each other at home. And as we see and hear these things, millions of Americans cry out in anguish. Did we come all this way for this? Did American boys die in Normandy, and Korea, and in Valley Forge for this? Listen to the answer to those questions. It is another voice. It is the quiet voice in the tumult and the shouting. It is the voice of the great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans — the non-shouters; the non-demonstrators. They are not racists or sick; they are not guilty of the crime that plagues the land. They are black and they are white — they’re native born and foreign born — they’re young and they’re old. They work in America’s factories. They run America’s businesses. They serve in government. They provide most of the soldiers who died to keep us free. They give drive to the spirit of America. They give lift to the American Dream. They give steel to the backbone of America. They are good people, they are decent people; they work, and they save, and they pay their taxes, and they care. Like Theodore Roosevelt, they know that this country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless it is a good place for all of us to live in. This I say to you tonight is the real voice of America. In this year 1968, this is the message it will broadcast to America and to the world. Let’s never forget that despite her faults, America is a great nation. And America is great because her people are great.”

Nixon mentioned that the US should be a shining example for the world- a phrase Reagan would pick up on later. But there were no grandiose promises- just a promise to action- as FDR had done.

“And so tonight I do not promise the millennium in the morning. I don’t promise that we can eradicate poverty, and end discrimination, eliminate all danger of war in the space of four, or even eight years. But, I do promise action — a new policy for peace abroad; a new policy for peace and progress and justice at home.”

And finally this excerpt.

“Tonight, I see the face of a child. He lives in a great city. He is black. Or he is white. He is Mexican, Italian, Polish. None of that matters. What matters, he’s an American child. That child in that great city is more important than any politician’s promise. He is America. He is a poet. He is a scientist, he is a great teacher, he is a proud craftsman. He is everything we ever hoped to be and everything we dare to dream to be. He sleeps the sleep of childhood and he dreams the dreams of a child. And yet when he awakens, he awakens to a living nightmare of poverty, neglect and despair. He fails in school. He ends up on welfare. For him the American system is one that feeds his stomach and starves his soul. It breaks his heart. And in the end it may take his life on some distant battlefield. To millions of children in this rich land, this is their prospect of the future. But this is only part of what I see in America. I see another child tonight. He hears the train go by at night and he dreams of far away places where he’d like to go. It seems like an impossible dream. But he is helped on his journey through life. A father who had to go to work before he finished the sixth grade, sacrificed everything he had so that his sons could go to college. A gentle, Quaker mother, with a passionate concern for peace, quietly wept when he went to war but she understood why he had to go. A great teacher, a remarkable football coach, an inspirational minister encouraged him on his way. A courageous wife and loyal children stood by him in victory and also defeat. And in his chosen profession of politics, first there were scores, then hundreds, then thousands, and finally millions worked for his success. And tonight he stands before you — nominated for President of the United States of America. You can see why I believe so deeply in the American Dream.”

I encourage you to watch or read the entire speech. This is the man the media is trying to vilify- even today. The next time you see an attempt to smear President Nixon- don’t follow the court historians and kennel-fed media. For them- Nixon has to be the villian. A lot of folks owe Mr. Nixon an apology.

I say, “Nixon Now. More than Ever.”






The Purposeful Misremembering of 1968

2016 is not 1968. There is a lot of anxiety today but not at the level we saw in 1968 with over 100 US cities burning and 540,000 troops in Vietnam. The Great Society that LBJ wanted was crumbling on streets around America and in the jungles near Bong Son. 

Recently, many in media have tried to compare the Donald Trump candidacy of 2016 to the Nixon campaign of 1968.  I argue that this is not valid and an attempt to slander the 37th President. 

First, let’s be clear that all three 1968 candidates spoke about law and order. Can anyone doubt that this was appropriate in 1968? 

Democrat George Wallace -more than anyone – ran on law and order.

Democrat Hubert Humphrey was in a tough spot since he was part of an incumbent administration that lost control of the nation. His campaign literature was full of references to working with police but he was often a bit of a Mugwump.

Republican Richard Nixon made law and order an important part of his campaign. Humphrey had a hard time trying to convince folks that Nixon was wrong.

While Democrat George Wallace was threatening violence and running a campaign of segregation, Democrat Hubert Humphrey was hugging notorious race baiter Lester Maddox. Maddox would later go on to serve as Lieutenant Governor under Jimmy Carter.

Richard Nixon- on the other hand- did something that few Republicans had tried. He challenged the racist control of the South that the Democratic Party enjoyed for decades.  

Nixon went South and tried to convince folks that they belonged with the GOP. Nixon never agreed with the South on race. Nixon’s argument was based on jobs, morality, the war in Vietnam, safety from violence and New Deal cronyism. This was the real “Southern Strategy.” And it is a libel to suggest it was race based. 

Democrats controlled much of the West until the Ike/Nixon coalition came to Washington in 1952. Now – Nixon aimed to expose the racist Solid South the Democratic Party started during Reconstruction and perfected under Wilson and FDR. 

Those who claim a racist strategy by President Nixon and flip of the parties (based on race)  in 1968 are woefully ignorant of history – or deliberately in denial.

In 1968 the two Democrats and one Republican split the states of the former Confederacy. In states won by Democrat George Wallace – the Humphrey/Muskie ticket garnered the second highest overall vote total.  

As Irv Gellman points out, Richard Nixon was the leading voice for Civil Rights in the government throughout the 1950s. Nixon would later double down on his commitment when – as President – he would virtually end segregation in Southern Public schools, focus on Sickle Cell, drug treatment and minority hiring.

The Trump campaign appears to be a mix of all three 1968 campaigns with Wallace -by far- the closest match.

Why was there no uproar when the GOP took the West in 1952? The Democrat “Solid West” fell without a whimper but press and academia  continue to obsess about the South. Why? The Democrats are trying to get right on race  – after the fact.  

 Nixon Democrats were created in all regions of the nation and would help Reagan in 1980. “Peace through Strength” was Nixon ’72 and not Reagan ’84.  Not even the hard right media  will give President Nixon his due. 

The media (even many on FOX)  and court historians have smeared President Nixon at every chance and it is dishonest. Nixon has to be the villian. Why? Because President Nixon accomplished all the things the Democrats were supposed to do and achieved more generational change than Reagan. He has been punished for it ever since. 

The Goldwater Slander

Many in the media and academia engage in a persistent slandering of Barry Goldwater. Why? They claim his opposition to federal civil rights legislation took the party away from its historical roots of progressive activism on behalf of African-Americans. But did it?

Goldwater was for civil rights legislation – but at the state level.

Franklin Roosevelt had the exact same ideas about federal anti-lynching laws. He felt to be accepted the laws had to come from the states. Roosevelt also needed the Solid South to get his New Deal legislation passed.

African-American voters began to flock to the Democratic party in 1936. The appeal of the New Deal drove African-Americans to FDR and they never really left.

In the 1950s, Ike enforced Brown v. Board and Vice President Richard Nixon became the leading progressive spokesperson for civil rights in the government. Nixon would later desegregate a vast majority of Southern schools using cabinet level committees from the states and not the fist of the federal government. He did this peacefully despite constant threats of violence from Democrats like George Wallace. JFK and LBJ ignored this issue. It was left to Richard Nixon to help revive hope for the Great Society in 1970.

Despite the GOP achievements listed above – they never came close to winning the Black vote.

Nobody had a chance to defeat LBJ in 1964.  It was the late JFK running in 1964. Had voters known LBJ would send over 500,000 souls to Vietnam in just four years the election might have been closer.  But they did not know.

Let’s stop blaming Barry Goldwater for following the lead of FDR. LBJ won six Confederate states in 1964 and Democrats won six again in 1968.  When the South finally went more heavily to the GOP it had little to do with race and more to do with national security, war policy and its natural conservative roots.

Why the racist charges against Mr. Goldwater? Is it because the Great Society promised us by LBJ went up in flames?



Who Weeps for Gordie Howe?

With the media giving a state funeral for Muhammad Ali, you might have missed the death of hockey legend Gordie Howe. 

Howe did not endear himself to the near-sighted media of today. He played hockey.

Howe did not talk about killing people in his own country as Ali did. He played hockey.

Both men were legends in their fields. One got a media state funeral – one did not.  

I think Howe would be fine with that. He was a child of the depression who played hockey.

Who weeps for Gordie Howe? 

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