A Distant Echo on Race and Police

“Detroit” is a new movie that reminds Americans that the issues of racism and police brutality are nothing new, blights on the nation that have never been properly addressed, as James DiEugenio describes.

By James DiEugenio

The new film Detroit by director Katherine Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal is about an event that took place in 1967. But with what has happened in America over the past couple of years, it could not be more timely, particularly the fatal police shootings of male African-Americans, such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Philando Castile in St. Paul. In all three cases, the officer involved was either acquitted, or no charges were filed.

The Bigelow/Boal film reenacts another infamous event in which three African-American youths were killed in one night at the hands of Detroit police officers, a particularly ugly episode amid the larger Detroit riots of July 1967. To quell those disturbances, Michigan Gov. George Romney and President Lyndon Johnson dispatched armed troops to the city, ultimately leaving 43 people dead and 1,189 injured. Combined with the Newark riot several days earlier, nearly 70 people had been killed due to racial violence in less than a month.

The chaos led President Johnson to appoint the Kerner Commission to investigate the underlying causes of the violence. The commission famously concluded, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

The Algiers Motel incident – the focus of the new movie – represented something of a microcosm of those divisions and how they sometimes had deadly consequences. The incident gained notoriety at the time mostly due to the work of author John Hersey, who is best known for his reporting on eyewitness accounts of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

Regarding the Detroit riot, Hersey investigated the Algiers Motel case, how and why three black youths were killed. Hersey published The Algiers Motel Incident in late 1968, deliberately releasing the book before all of the legal proceedings surrounding the incident were concluded. He felt the sooner the public was aware of what happened there, the better America could understand and deal with the killings, which were committed, as the legal phrase puts it, “under the color of authority.” Or, as the author phrased it, “the law taking the law into its own hands.” (Hersey, p. 31)

A Story Within a Story

The incident began late on the evening of July 25 – two days into the riots that rocked Detroit – and extended into the early part of July 26. The police said they thought they had detected sniper fire coming from the annex of the Algiers Motel, called Manor House. So, a number of police, state troopers and security guards invaded the annex and occupied it for about nine hours. During that time, a total of 12 individuals were beaten and physically and psychologically tortured.

A scene from the movie, Detroit.

As Hersey noted, the tactics that were employed broke every aspect of the police codebook. They seemed more typical of an out-of-control army unit in the Vietnam War than a race riot in Michigan. Besides the black youths, two young white girls were physically abused and stripped down to their panties, while being taunted with the epithet, “Nigger-Lovers.”

According to witness Roderick Davis, Officer David Senak roared, “Why you got to fuck them! What’s wrong with us?”

While lined up against the wall, the suspects were then told to pray with the anticipation that they would soon be killed. As they were weeping and quivering, a policeman would drop a switchblade next to one of the detainees and say, “Pick it up and defend yourself!”

When someone would get cracked with a rifle butt and start to collapse, the cop would scream, “Don’t fall down or we’ll shoot you!” Pointing at a dead body, a cop would ask a suspect, “What do you see?” The reply would be “A dead man.” The cop would then pistol-whip that person and shout, “You didn’t see anything!”

Finally came the coup de grace: the “Death Game.” An officer would take a detainee into a  nearby room. He would tell him to lie down and be quiet. He would then shoot into the floor or wall. He would emerge alone and say something like: “That nigger didn’t even kick,” and ”You will all die unless you talk.” (Hersey pgs. 254-75)

When the occupation of the Algiers Motel was finally over, three African-American youths had been killed: 17-year-old Carl Cooper, 18-year-old Fred Temple, and 19-year-old Aubrey Pollard. No sniper weapons of any kind were recovered. As presented in the film, the youths had been playing around with a starter’s pistol.

Incriminating Evidence

Clearly, the police involved hoped the incident would be lost amid the uproar and open destruction of the surrounding riot. But two things happened which brought the affair into the open. Contrary to what the police at first maintained, the medical examiner determined that the dead youths were not shot at a distance during a rifle firefight. They were killed inside the motel annex at close range by a shotgun using double “O” buckshot, the same type used by the police. (Ibid, pgs. 42-47)

A screen-shot from a video showing Walter Scott being shot in the back by a North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager on April 4, 2015. (Video via the New York Times.)

As Hersey noted, complementing this, there was never a call into police headquarters by any of the police or other law enforcement agents relaying information that snipers had been shot and their bodies should be picked up. Further exposing the true facts, on July 30, the local newspapers began to break a story saying there had been three boys killed inside the hotel.  The story added that  “Officials now fear that the three Negroes were deliberately executed.” (p. 59)

By the next day, the National Guard was being accused of the shootings. A local newspaper had hired a second medical examiner who agreed that the youths were killed inside the building, had been shot twice, and at close range while in defensive postures.

At this point, two officers, Robert Paille and Ronald August, changed their stories. After first denying they had shot anyone, they said they had shot, respectively, Pollard and Temple, but that it was in self-defense.

The local District Attorney had no choice but to indict them. (Hersey, p. 297)  The oddest thing about this first round of indictments was that Patrolman David Senak, who most witnesses pegged as the ringleader — as the film Detroit also does — was not indicted for anyone’s death or injuries.

Even FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was forced to admit that the revised statements “for the most part were untrue and were undoubtedly furnished in an effort to cover their activities and the true series of events.”

The legal defense of the policemen was aided by their police comrades and judicial rulings by white judges. There also was evidence that witnesses were harassed prior to trial. For example, witness James Sartor was picked up and questioned four times before the trial of officer Robert Paille, which was the first of the police trials. Three other witnesses were arrested. (Ibid, pgs. 354-59)

Second, the alterations of Paille’s affidavit, from innocence to complicity, was ruled unconstitutional because he was not read his Miranda rights in advance. This allowed the charges against him to be dismissed. As many commentators have noted, the idea that a policeman had to be read his Miranda rights seemed a bit silly, since it is their job to inform others of their right not to make self-incriminating statements.

Third, the defense attorney, Norman Lippitt, requested a change of venue since he felt the publicity had inflamed the Detroit populace against his clients. This motion was granted, and both the trial of officer August and the final conspiracy trial were handled by all white juries. At the federal conspiracy trial, both August and Senak said the victims tried to grab for their guns.

Systemic Bias

When the trials were concluded, no one was convicted over the three deaths, the physical assaults, or the psychological torture. This outcome supported one of the main themes of Hersey’s book: residents of the black ghetto perceived both the police and the justice system to be biased against them. And they were correct.

Eric Garner, suspected of selling “loose cigarettes” who died on July 17, 2014, when New York police placed him a chokehold and sat on his chest. (Image from Youtube)

Hersey, who died in 1993, always maintained he never wrote the book to make money and he refused royalties for his effort. Apparently, the Hersey estate intended to keep his pure intentions into perpetuity. So Boal and Bigelow had to do their own research.

After an animated series of Jacob Lawrence drawings depicting the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South to the North, the film shows how the riot began, with a police raid on an illegal after-hours party. Here, Boal uses dramatic license by making one of the partygoers an undercover police agent. I did not see why this was necessary, as nothing I read in Hersey’s book or other accounts portrayed this as being the case.

From that point, however, the film follows actual events — from the uprising outside the speak-easy or “bling pig,” its spread to nearby looting and then escalation into a riot, including setting buildings on fire. We see young Congressman John Conyers standing atop a car trying, unsuccessfully, to calm the crowd.

The film then cuts to Senak — renamed Krauss in the film — chasing and shooting a looter, Joseph Chandler. (Hersey mentions this in his chapter on Senak.) Notable about this incident, after being questioned about the shooting, Senak was allowed to go back to work.

Interwoven with these scenes is documentary film footage of the massive riot unfolding, and the inability of the authorities to control the spiraling violence. We see Romney making public announcements and hear Lyndon Johnson’s voice on the soundtrack. Bigelow is greatly aided here by her editors William Goldenberg and Harry Yoon and also her visual effects department. The documentary scenes are barely discernible from the film’s scripted scenes, which greatly aids the desired realism the director was after.

The Back Story

The action slows down as screenwriter Boal portrays the events that preceded the night of terror at the Algiers. Some of the victims at the Algiers were members of a singing group called The Dramatics. We see them performing in a packed auditorium and then retreating to the motel afterwards to avoid the riot.

Dashcam video of Chicago police shooting Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014.

These scenes are interspersed with shots of a private security guard named Melvin Dismukes (played by John Boyega) who worked nights near the motel. Boal made Dismukes and Larry Reed (Algee Smith) of The Dramatics into his two main African-American characters.

The film’s portrayal of Dismukes is different from Hersey’s presentation. Boal and Bigelow essentially make Dismukes into an innocent bystander throughout; a kind of silent witness to the brutalization, a man who, because of his skin color, then gets framed by the authorities and is indicted.

Dismukes was actually the first person to go to trial and he, too, was acquitted. But there is testimony in Hersey’s book that the African-American Dismukes did participate in some of the brutality, by smashing Michael Clark with a gun butt. (Hersey, p. 241)

But the failure of Dismukes to actually take any effective action to prevent what happened at the Algiers is echoed in an episode underlined by Hersey and presented in the film. State Trooper commander Hubert Rosema pulled his men out early, just before the terror began, as the victims were being lined up in the hallway. Hersey was critical of this decision since it gave the local police free rein over the property. (Hersey, p. 250)

Bigelow’s presentation of what went on at the motel during the terror is presented vividly and with intensity. She uses many different devices to give movement and vibrancy to actions that all take place in a rather small, confined area. The actors stay in character at a heightened emotional state. (For reasons stated above the exception is Boyega as Dismukes.)

Bigelow has cast three young, relatively unknown actors at the three rogue cops. For apparent legal reasons, Bigelow and Boal have changed their names. As noted Senak is now Krauss, Paille is Flynn and August is Demens. The three young actors who play the rogue cops are all strong and forceful, although Will Poulter as Krauss/Senak could have been a bit more menacing. There is not a poor performance in the film, which is an achievement since there are no big name actors in the cast.

Differing from Hersey’s account, Boal has Krauss/Senak shooting Carl Cooper just after the police broke into the building. He then places an open switchblade next to the body. In reality, no one was ever charged in Cooper’s death, even though everyone agrees he was the first victim killed. Although there were two witnesses who said they saw a switchblade next to Cooper’s body, no one identified Senak as the man who put it there.

The death of Aubrey Pollard is depicted as a mistake. Officer Demens (played by Jack Reynor) did not know about the modus operandi of the Death Game, and just took Pollard into a room and killed him. Fred Temple is killed after the police have let everyone else run away on condition they pledged not to talk. Boal has Krauss ask Temple about the dead body lying on the floor. When Temple gives the wrong answer, the cop shoots him.

This may or may not be how the boys were killed. And to Boal’s credit, at the end of the film, there is a title card which says that events have been dramatized based upon an incomplete record.

The Post-Scripts

As mentioned above, there were four trials that followed the incident. The film depicts only the final one, the federal conspiracy trial. Because of several pre-trial motions, that proceeding did not take place until 1970. Partly because of the publicity over Hersey’s book, it was moved out of Detroit. Unlike what the film implies, Dismukes was on trial with the policemen.

Boal ends the film with a true to life coda. Larry Reed dropped out of the Dramatics after the incident. Boal did several long interviews with Reed, whose departure was done at great personal economic sacrifice. The Dramatics went on to have three top-twenty Billboard hits and they are still active today.

We see Reed struggling with the Algiers experience and then deciding to become a singer and choir leader in church music. The man who receives his application tells Reed that he is overqualified. Reed responds that it does not matter; this is what he wants to do.

In this age of comic book junk like Wonder Woman, Boal and Bigelow have decided to make a film that reflects on life as it is today in America. After the financial success of Zero Dark Thirty, their controversial recounting of the hunt and killing of Osama bin Laden, they could have done just about anything they wanted. They decided to use their career capital in a risky way. They did this film because it showed how little real progress has been made in America on race relations.

Many of the Kerner Commission’s recommendations about ways to bridge America’s racial chasm were ignored. Therefore, the root causes of the riots in Detroit and Newark are largely still with us. In 1992, Los Angeles exploded over the original verdict in the Rodney King case. As noted above, the last few years have all reminded us that police misconduct and subsequent cover-ups very much continue as well. Even more recently, the fatal clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville shows how polarized America still is on the issue of minority rights. The rightwing demonstrators there chanted “white lives matter” in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the middle of his book, Hersey wrote, “I want to bring out before your eyes and ears some aspects of the life of a young black man in the city in the circle of his family and friends. This will be the substitute for the reality that a black man could give you at this point. I am what I am.” (Hersey, p. 167)

Hersey did his best to tell the story of the black victims in the Algiers Motel incident. In Detroit, Bigelow and Boal deserve kudos for their effort, too.

James DiEugenio is a researcher and writer on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other mysteries of that era. His most recent book is Reclaiming Parkland.

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57 comments for “A Distant Echo on Race and Police

  1. Sally Snyder
    August 24, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Here is an article that looks at where a significant portion of America’s police forces are being trained:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/07/who-is-training-americas-police-forces.html

    Watching the international news should give us a good sense of what lies ahead for American civilians.

  2. F. G. Sanford
    August 24, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Just today, on the news of Dick Gregory’s death, I looked at videos of some of his appearances during the early sixties. It is so strange to realize that the issues are the same, nothing nas changed, and more than fifty years have passed to no avail. Police brutality continues unabated, and the horrors of structural disenfranchisement now threaten us all, black and white. There has literally been no progress at all other than palliative,cosmetic gestures to subdue the inescapable reality. The violence in Charlottsville appears more than anything else a great gift to those whose corruption continues unabated. We now battle statues and each other, while the faceless billionaires and corporate criminals fleece us and keep us perpetually distracted. Don’t look at that man behind the curtain…

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 24, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      You sound like my kids, and grandchildren. It amazes these new history buffs to how long we in this country, or maybe even the world, when seeing some old archival film footage, to how long some of these many stressful issues has been with us. Even better, is when we read old speeches.

      They always say, you learn from your mistakes, but this leaves me to wonder what we learn, when the same mistakes are made over, and over again. Yet, as we all know that when these scum bags in the Washington D.C. bureaucracy screw up time, and time again, they get rewarded with a Medal of Honor. I think our country has an infatuation with losers, well paid losers that is.

      • E. Leete
        August 24, 2017 at 7:23 pm

        “They (tyrants) use their power against the people in three manners. The first is, that they strive that those under their mastery be ever ignorant and timorous, because, when they be such, they may not be bold to rise against them, nor to resist their wills; and the second is, that their victims be not kindly and united among themselves, in such wise that they trust not one another. …and the third way is, that they strive to make them poor, and to put them upon great undertakings, which they can never finish, whereby they may have so much harm that it may never come into their hearts to devise anything against their ruler.” – Alfonso X 1226 – 1284

        “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.” – Assyrian Clay Tablet, ca. 2800 BC

        “Iniquity, committed in this world, produces not fruit immediately, but, like the earth, in due season, and advancing by little and little, it eradicates the man who committed it. …Justice, being destroyed, will destroy; being preserved, will preserve; it must never therefore be violated.” -Manu 1200 bc

        “How far, O rich, do you extend your senseless avarice? Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made for all, rich and poor, in common. Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right?” -St. Ambrose 340? – 397

        and believe it or not I can’t remember who said “what we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history”

        • Virginia
          August 25, 2017 at 11:17 am

          Thank you, E. Leete. A wonderful post.

    • August 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Dick Gregory had some priceless lines that are well represented on Wikipedia for those who weren’t yet around in the 60’s.
      His delivery style and keen ironic humor was rarely matched by those black comedians that continued to explore the topic of race.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Gregory

    • E. Leete
      August 25, 2017 at 10:28 am

      “We now battle statues and each other, while the faceless billionaires and corporate criminals fleece us and keep us perpetually distracted.”

      ^^ THIS! ^^ is a meme that needs to go viral. consider it stolen, F G Sanford

      • F. G. Sanford
        August 25, 2017 at 12:57 pm

        Thanks. I’ve been trying to get something to go viral since I first visited this site years ago. I’ve tried poetry, funny stories, alternative song lyrics, allegorical tales, jokes, strange personal experiences, esoteric historical trivia…you name it. Now that we’re tilting at statues like Don Quixote tilted at windmills, the opportunity to make something go viral should be ripe for the plucking, but I’m not holding my breath. My comments almost always get “moderated”, so I hope you check back often enough to end up reading it. Cheers!

        • E. Leete
          August 26, 2017 at 12:36 am

          hey F. G. – would you want me to credit F. G. Sanford when I spread this quote around?

  3. August 24, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    “‘Detroit’ is a new movie that reminds Americans that the issues of racism and police brutality are nothing new, blights on the nation that have never been properly addressed, as James DiEugenio describes.”

    How ridiculous is that? Subsequent to Federal Civil Rights legislation in 1964, the issues of “racism” have been addressed with legisation and public discourse NON-STOP. As for police brutality, which I do not deny exists, it is endemic in the police mentality, operative towards anyone black or white who provides the opportunity for some cops to let it out. I know this from personal experience, not being black. Indeed every adult knows that when interviewed by a cop, sanity dictates EXTREME DEFERENCE. Some folks who do not have impulse restraint in such circumstances wound up in the hospital or the morgue.

    • Brad Owen
      August 24, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      You’ll be interested in going to the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) and see their story: “the Charlottesville Event; A New Phase of the Coup”(since VIPS shot the “Russia did it” ploy outta the water). That would be the coup run against Trump by the intelligence assets loyal to Wall Street/City-of-London/Inter-Alpha Group (the new face of the British Empire) for the unforgivable sin of seeking cooperation with Russia and China, that will inevitably lead to cooperation with New Silk Road policies, that will lead to revival our economy, that will inevitably lead to the downfall of the Oligarchy and their geopolitics of divide & conquer and pitting Great Powers against one another so that they can’t combine and challenge the Oligarchy (the Oligarchy learned this one way back in the days of Venice in their near-disastrous war with The League of Cambrai, from Tarpley.net: “Against Oligarchy”). This is standard counterinsurgency tactics of the British Empire, named by Brig. Gen Frank Kitson “gang/counter gang” used in their war against the Mau Mau in Kenya. In this case it is KKK/Antifa and Police/Black Community, and whip up the flames of self-destruction. Andrew Young said the same thing as Trump; a thriving economy will solve apparent race problems (as those who have actual hatred for other races is quite a small percentage).

    • August 24, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Michael Eisenstat: – yeah, right. Spin your little yarn for the parents of 12 year old Tamir Rice who was killed for playing with a toy gun while Black. Meanwhile the oh so White Bundy crew were armed to the teeth with automatic weapons facing off with authorities very publicly and defiantly (no problem), White folks all over the country “open carry” pistols and sometimes long-arms in very public spaces (no problem), but a Black pre-teen plays with a toy gun in this insanely racist society and its (shoot first and ask questions later). Your contention that there is no problem because: “issues of “racism” have been addressed with legisation and public discourse NON-STOP,” is a good deal of hot air. But I’m sure you already know that.

  4. mike k
    August 24, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Racism, intolerance, religious bigotry, exceptionalism, nationalism, egotism, greed, violence, lying, abuse, crime – all of these have been deeply woven into our individual and cultural lives all over the world. These are the human patterns of behavior that constitute the evil that threatens to overwhelm the human domain and cause our final extinction. To believe that we can somehow fix this problem or that without correcting this underlying dimension at the root of or many problems is short sighted and will be ineffective. The real, lasting solution to our fatal course will be found in ways to change our hearts and minds, or there will be no solution and we will be destroyed by the rot within us.

    • August 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      mike k’s impassioned comment is a version of the Manichean heresy plus lots of virtue signalling: me good, the rest of you bad, bad, bad.

      • mike k
        August 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm

        Does the truth hurt that much, Michael, that you need to respond with some intellectual stuff based on an ancient “heresy”? A charge of heresy really doesn’t bother me that much; I’ve been charged with that again and again in this complacent culture. You probably think Stephen’s poems are heretical too. Some of us just can’t handle the truth.

  5. mike k
    August 24, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Next someone will politely inform me that there are no such things as good and evil. Welcome to the modern age of cultural relativism and post modern madness. Those who believe this kind of nonsense would fit right into the Washington DC club of the neocons, who can order the death of millions without a qualm – because after all there is no such thing as good or evil. This reminds one of Raskolnikov’s idea in Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment that “all things are lawful.” That didn’t work for him, and it’s not working for us.

    • Brad Owen
      August 24, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      There is still the deep problem that Good presents itself as it is, while Evil is most expert at camouflage, misdirection, hiding the Good, self-promotion in the best possible light, and such-like tactics. I am reminded of that line in the movie “Lincoln” where Lincoln, says something like; “a compass will point True North. But it has no advice on the chasms, pitfalls, swamps, that lay in the way, so what good is knowing True North without that other knowledge?” Those weren’t the exact words but you get the meaning.

      • mike k
        August 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        Spiritual discernment has always been a problem. Developing the ability to discriminate between what is truly good and what merely pretends to be so, is an essential part of every real developmental path towards the good, the true, and the beautiful. Good teachers and continuing practice are necessary to acquire this inner compass. Evil posing as good is a perennial circumstance. Orwell warned us of how modern states use this newspeak to delude us. We are surrounded on every side today by lies and misdirections. Developing awareness and discernment are our tools for cutting through all this murk. Sadly, we were not prepared for these things by our “education” – which was on the contrary largely a bundle of lies and watered down propaganda. Waking up from under all these “spells” is a lifelong journey, but well worth the effort.

        • mike k
          August 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

          In short, “True North” can be found, but you have to seek it. The possibility of man’s future evolution depends on more of us committing to this search. This is the Pearl of Great Price, which is worth selling all you have (your conditionings) in order to gain it.

    • August 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      I am not a moral relativist. You might have gone to the trouble of looking up what Manichean means. You’re bemoaning the world’s evildoing, wringing your hands and signalling your virtue. I was merely calling you on your silly remarks. And who is Stephen?

      • E. Leete
        August 24, 2017 at 8:48 pm

        Yes yes, we can all go to Wikipedia and spend 3 days trying to get “Manichaeism” and Manichean heresy” under our belts, lying to ourselves we have the time and the right to indulge in whatever pleases us whether or not it moves us along toward peace and justice – – OR we can NOT do that and instead keep having and modeling the great soul to post the rank silliness of being passionate about changing minds so as to keep the human species from staying the current course of certain autogenocide.

        Decisions decisions.

      • mike k
        August 24, 2017 at 8:54 pm

        Your BS about signaling moral virtue is all yours. Don’t project it on me. If you can’t see our world is chock full of evil people and their doings. you need glasses, because you obviously choose to ignore what is right in front of your eyes. What do you think all this investigative journalism is about? It’s about bad (evil) people doing bad things that cause death to millions, who wish to hide their evil actions under a pretense of goodness. How you can believe the nonsense you wrote here is beyond my understanding. I thought everyone had at least some idea of the extent of bad behavior in our world today. I see no point in continuing a discussion with someone as blind as yourself.

  6. Realist
    August 24, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    The same thing was going on in Chicago and throughout the United States at the time. It didn’t start then and it hasn’t stopped yet. “Law” enforcement has always been a bigger danger to the black community than any white supremacists or neo-Nazis, as the latter were deliciously ridiculed in “The Blues Brothers” movies–“Chicago Nazis! LOL.” (When they were run down by Elwood in the Bluesmobile it was supposed to be funny. Lucky the pond was there.) No, the real danger was from the Chicago cops and the FBI, who together assassinated Fred Hampton and other black panthers in their beds as they slept by unleashing a fussilade of gunfire at the building without the courtesy of even knocking at the door.

    “On December 4, 1969, 47 years ago today, a select unit of Chicago police officers executed a predawn raid that left Illinois Black Panther Party (BPP) leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark dead and several other young Panthers wounded. The seven survivors of the raid were arrested on fraudulent attempted murder charges. The officers who committed the execution were specially assigned to Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan. The claims of a “shootout” that were made by Hanrahan and his men were soon exposed as bald-faced lies: the physical evidence definitively established that the raiders fired nearly 100 shots at the sleeping Panthers, while only one shot could be linked to a Panther weapon.”

    From: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38611-the-assassination-of-fred-hampton-47-years-later

    Those were the sixties, and, if you thought that execution closed out the decade, you’d be wrong. I was in a doctoral program at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana at the time, and another black kid (whose name eludes me) in that central Illinois city, walking down Green Street (the main “campus town” drag) at night became frightened at the sight of a local cop, started running and received a hollow point bullet in the center of his thorax as a reward. Such moves by the cops were always considered “reasonable” and still are.

    Are we surprised when the Israelis use bald-faced murder to control their “minority” population of Palestinians on the land they have stolen from then? They took a lesson from us–Anglo-America–and how we have controlled our blacks and native Americans for over 300 years and still do.

    “Detroit” may offer some real historical lessons to an American public that mostly just wants to be entertained rather than learn. We shall see what sort of conversation it ignites beyond a small group of egg-headed intellectuals as lurk around this website. Another drama that gets me angry at our recent American past is the FX series “Snowfall” which intends to depict the fallout from the Iran-Contra travesty of the 1980’s, especially on the black and Latino populations of Southern California from the import of cocaine by the CIA to support the secret illegal death squads, which apparently assassinated even American citizens in the United States. The most vile character in the series so far is the CIA spook Teddy facilitating the shipments and the killing, who is made to exude righteous self-pity because he is a father and kept away from his family by the demands of his “job.” Meanwhile, untold numbers of Central Americans and American ghetto dwellers die because of his craft. Guys like that are lavishly rewarded as heroes by our rogue government when they should be serving life at the Marion, IL, federal lock-up.

  7. Realist
    August 24, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    The same thing was going on in Chicago and throughout the United States at the time. It didn’t start then and it hasn’t stopped yet. “Law” enforcement has always been a bigger danger to the black community than any white supremacists or neo-Nazis, as the latter were deliciously ridiculed in “The Blues Brothers” movies–“Chicago Nazis! LOL.” (When they were run down by Elwood in the Bluesmobile it was supposed to be funny. Lucky the pond was there.) No, the real danger was from the Chicago cops and the FBI, who together assassinated Fred Hampton and other black panthers in their beds as they slept by unleashing a fussilade of gunfire at the building without the courtesy of even knocking at the door.

    “On December 4, 1969, 47 years ago today, a select unit of Chicago police officers executed a predawn raid that left Illinois Black Panther Party (BPP) leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark dead and several other young Panthers wounded. The seven survivors of the raid were arrested on fraudulent attempted murder charges. The officers who committed the execution were specially assigned to Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan. The claims of a “shootout” that were made by Hanrahan and his men were soon exposed as bald-faced lies: the physical evidence definitively established that the raiders fired nearly 100 shots at the sleeping Panthers, while only one shot could be linked to a Panther weapon.”

    From: (link deleted to avoid “moderation”) -the-assassination-of-fred-hampton- Google it.

    Those were the sixties, and, if you thought that execution closed out the decade, you’d be wrong. I was in a doctoral program at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana at the time, and another black kid (whose name eludes me) in that central Illinois city, walking down Green Street (the main “campus town” drag) at night became frightened at the sight of a local cop, started running and received a hollow point bullet in the center of his thorax as a reward. Such moves by the cops were always considered “reasonable” and still are.

    Are we surprised when the Israelis use bald-faced murder to control their “minority” population of Palestinians on the land they have stolen from then? They took a lesson from us–Anglo-America–and how we have controlled our blacks and native Americans for over 300 years and still do.

    “Detroit” may offer some real historical lessons to an American public that mostly just wants to be entertained rather than learn. We shall see what sort of conversation it ignites beyond a small group of egg-headed intellectuals as lurk around this website. Another drama that gets me angry at our recent American past is the FX series “Snowfall” which intends to depict the fallout from the Iran-Contra travesty of the 1980’s, especially on the black and Latino populations of Southern California from the import of cocaine by the CIA to support the secret illegal death squads, which apparently assassinated even American citizens in the United States. The most vile character in the series so far is the CIA spook Teddy facilitating the shipments and the killing, who is made to exude righteous self-pity because he is a father and kept away from his family by the demands of his “job.” Meanwhile, untold numbers of Central Americans and American ghetto dwellers die because of his craft. Guys like that are lavishly rewarded as heroes by our rogue government when they should be serving life at the Marion, IL, federal lock-up.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 24, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      The same thing was going on in Chicago and throughout the United States at the time. It didn’t start then and it hasn’t stopped yet.

      This is the essence of what I was going to post. I’m not going to this movie to see a dramatization of a single horrible event. The few movies I watch are “escapist” in nature – I want to get diverted from the everyday nastiness. I can watch the evening news or get out a non-KKK history book if I want to pummel myself, for dreadful things happened long ago and continue to this day.

      The ancestors of American Blacks were kidnapped from their homes and transported to eternal grinding slavery in the Land of the Free. They didn’t catch a break in the beginning, and all their progress since then has been minimized to the greatest degree possible. Witness the procession of devout Lost Cause types showing up here and elsewhere.

      • Brad Owen
        August 25, 2017 at 5:15 am

        That’s pretty much how I feel. I saw it all in TV news and Time/Life magazines,also the Chicago police riot at the Democratic convention and anti-war riots. And the counter-culture response to it all struck me as somewhat lunatic, thinking it was induced by the craziness of the warmongering Establishment itself. The whole ten-year era almost caused a nervous breakdown in me, which impressionable teenagers are vulnerable to such things in any case.

  8. August 24, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    I was white 15 year old boy living in a blue collar suburb right next to Detroit when these events took place. My family argued over the kitchen table about what was happening, who was “at fault,” what should be done, etc. Watching this movie took me back to deep pain I had long buried. I wept after seeing it. It brought back all the pain and loss of my teen years which included the assassinations of JFK, Malcolm, Martin and Bobby over a five year period! The ENTIRE top tier of progressive leadership in the United States was assassinated in five years – and no, it wasn’t “the Russians” that killed our most beloved leaders, it was our own government – duh. By the time they killed Martin and Bobby it was quite clear to me as a mere child that we were living in a monstrous police state and that our “democracy” was farcical nonsense.

    This move shows the totally understandable rage of the African American community in the face of ongoing systemic brutal racism. If you were a Black man in Detroit, it didn’t matter what your civil service test score was, you were not going to get a job as a fireman or a city worker – maybe picking up thrash for the city. Yes, there is a reason “affirmative action” legislation got passed, and that reason is that institutionalized racism existed then and it continues to exist now. Soon after the events in the movie the FBI’s COINTELPRO program got to work framing and assassinating Black Panthers, as well as targeting the American Indian movement for destruction. The FBI’s actions were of course illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and racist, but carried out without really a peep of criticism from the complicit corporate media. Today the same corrupt complicit corporate media repeat endless lies to justify our imperial wars in the Middle East, or to justify overthrowing democratically elected governments U.S. elites disapprove or, they simply ignore or downplay the importance of the brutality directed at Standing Rock protestors, or the latest unjustified police murders of Black men, women and even children (Tamir Rice).

    So I’m way past “blue vs red,” “liberal vs conservative,” and PLEASE don’t insult me with the – “democrats vs republicans” nonsense that is used by the wealthy to divide us. Our racist sexist violent greedy and moronic leaders of both parties are a threat to every decent human being on the planet. This movie reminds one of what happens when we lose our humanity, when we trade it in for ideology, be it the ideology of racism in this case, or the ideology of – “we’re the indispensable nation bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc. etc. etc.”

    When we dehumanize each other, we act to support the power structure that brings us endless war, the prison industrial complex, CIA drug running, and needless senseless constant police violence. If you don’t have the stomach for the real world this movie is probably not for you and maybe you should wait for the next superhero movie that will help you space out and distract you from the collective mess we’re in. But if your humanity is intact enough to think and feel for yourself, without some “pundit” or “movie critic” telling you what to think and feel, than by all means watch this movie and travel back in time to a place and events that still haunt many of us to this day, and are as real and relevant as the latest unprovoked police shooting that will happen tomorrow or the next day and predictably be justified and unpunished.?

  9. Joseph
    August 24, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    The problem with police brutality is not new, nor getting better. Where I disagree with BLM is the degree race exacerbates the issue. I wish BLM channeled more ‘We need accountability for police actions – Police brutality must end’ and less ‘We hate all white people because all white people are racist’. There are certainly examples of Police Brutality against Asians, Mexicans, and Whites like that Australian woman who was shot by a jittery cop a month ago. Once they quit acting that the problem is limited to Blacks, then we might be able to have a meaningful discussion.

    • E. Leete
      August 24, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      but but but race certainly does exacerbate the issue imo. as a white woman in (seriously white and dangerously Christian) iowa, I never even contemplated having a talk with my son about what to do if in an encounter with a cop. not so for black mothers – they ALL have “the talk” with their sons if what I’ve heard from black mothers is true – the very serious talk about how their kids simply must be absolutely subservient and respectful no matter what, no matter how wrong the cop is, just so they can make it home alive!

      true story: I know a guy who rides bikes with cops off duty, most of them retired. he has told me stories about these white cops physically and mentally tormenting black suspects and laughing all the way. (I told him you’re breaking my heart and making me sick!)

      cops didn’t used to be trained by the damn morally bankrupt Likud monsters running Israel and didn’t used to be armed with military overproduction lethality – and it was not common for them to use our beloved pets as effing target practice, either

      yah, I have lost ALL respect for cops. a good one would by definition be ridding his department of the bad ones. name me the place that is happening – just one place, eh?

    • mike k
      August 24, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      troll BS.

      • mike k
        August 24, 2017 at 8:43 pm

        This comment was meant to reply to Joseph – the machine misplaced it.

        • mike k
          August 24, 2017 at 8:44 pm

          E Leete is a favorite of mine.

          • E. Leete
            August 24, 2017 at 8:59 pm

            I want it on record that I was already writing what I put above at 8:48 before I saw these kind words. and I already knew you weren’t referring to my post, mike but thanks for the positive support. we egalitarians are so used to being attacked at worst and ignored at best, while we truly have the sweetest medicine, the cure the poor, dying world still holds in contempt, alas

          • mike k
            August 24, 2017 at 8:59 pm

            OK. Now I have gotten confused – my remarks above were not a response to Joseph, but to Michael Eisenstadt. I blame it all on the machine. Most of it.

  10. E. Leete
    August 24, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    from the article: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

    Equality: the Paradise nobody wants. The peace and plenty for all heaven on earth that nobody wants.

    sorry to interrupt the discussion

    • mike k
      August 24, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      You are right. We have been conditioned to hate the idea of equality, “communism.” Of course the “elite” oligarchs hate it, They love inequality.

  11. August 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Almost none of the recommendations of the Kerner Commission were implemented. Therefore, although the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights acts did much legally, there was very little done economically and/or politically to improve lives in the economically impacted areas that served as tinder boxes for crimes and riots. In Hersey’s book, which is still worth reading today, he points out that the justice system, the police system, the education system and the availability of jobs were the main problems leading to violence like Detroit. Those basic causes have been ameliorated only slightly. In large part they still exist.

    Let me give an example from my own experience. I spent over 30 years in education. One summer, in the mid nineties, I taught economics at a high school on the west side of Los Angeles. One afternoon I had to mail a letter, so I drove after work to the local post office. I noticed it was an upscale middle class area made up of mostly caucasians and Asians. Yet my second session class, was about 1/3 African American.

    The next day I asked them where they lived. They said South Central. The rest of the dialogue is rendered below. ST is students, JD is me.

    JD: Then how did you register to attend this school?
    ST: We take out PO boxes at the post office.
    JD: You mean you commit mail fraud?
    ST: Yes.
    JD: How do you get here in the morning?
    ST: We take the metro.
    JD: How many transfers are involved?
    ST: Three.
    JD: What time do you wake up in the morning?
    ST: Five.
    JD: Why do you go through all of that?
    ST: Because we don’t want to go the schools where we live.

    That is the kind of desperation that existed well into the nineties. After the GOP dumped the Kerner Commission, and took on the mantra of Pat Moynihan’s benign neglect.

    One last point: in the last week of that session, we got into a discussion over the Reginald Denny case. They honestly thought this was equivalent to the Rodney King beating. I had to take about five minutes to explain that such was not the case. But initially they bought into that. But that revealed their perceptions of the justice system.

    This was thirty years after the Algiers Motel incident. Moynihan’s benign neglect did not work out very well.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 24, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Jim DiEugenio – using post office boxes and friends’ addresses still goes on today. The rich Asians do this all the time because they want their children to get into better schools (or what they think are better schools).

      It isn’t the teachers that make the schools, nor the building, and it’s not really the area. IMO, it’s 90% what’s coming from the home environment. But money keeps getting thrown at schools, and then they wonder why it continues to make no difference.

      • Realist
        August 25, 2017 at 4:48 pm

        Much of the public believes the problem with American education lies with the teachers. Why? Because that’s what their leaders, especially politicians and media talkers, tell them. You know, teachers are the dregs who couldn’t major in anything more rigorous in college (“those who can do, those who can’t, teach”), they belong to labor unions which are just another form of communism, and they have the gall to expect to be paid the pensions and other deferred benefits they contracted for when they took the job.

        Teachers are an easy target for those in government (and their shameless mouthpieces in the media) who have squandered our resources on everything but education, especially their damned wars and weapons. They are portrayed as selfish and inept, just like folks who would appreciate adequate food for their families, functioning infrastructure and medical care when needed. It’s so much easier to blame the teachers and pile onerous new responsibilities on them in order to keep their jobs (teaching to tests and strict accountability for class scores or else!) than to admit the depravity of our spending priorities (wherein school administrators, especially in higher ed, are compensated like CEO’s while the footsoldier teachers get paid like peons) and the responsibilities of parents to instill morality and ambition in their own kids are ignored because that would be bad public relations.

        Of course, the recommended route to improving education by both Dems and GOPers today is the increasing privitisation of our public school system by diverting tax revenues to charter schools because, you know, the profit motive inherently improves everything. Plus they offer no tenure, allowing administrators to hire and fire at will just like business tycoons. Aspiring young teachers presently taking out loans to finance their college education can see where that leads, and that sacrificing to earn their teaching credentials is a bad investment.

        Nobody considers that the key might be improving student attitudes which have perhaps hardened because even the youngsters can see that the rewards of keeping one’s nose to the grindstone are just not there anymore, they’ve evaporated along with the well-paying jobs their parents no longer have. The whole country is still locked in the malaise that Jimmy Carter warned us of nearly 40 years ago. It’s only gotten worse. “Morning in America” was nothing but a false dawn, and every man in the White House has been shoveling similar bullshit ever since, preaching false narratives and making false promises neither he nor the puppet masters who pull his strings have any intentions of keeping.

        I just looked up Carter’s actual words. He never used the term “malaise,” but it was a convenient contrivance by the media to turn the tables and make him the scapegoat (well, what kind of leader tells the cruel truth when a facile lie is the conventional remedy?). What he actually said was, “The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America.” He was right, America had lost its confidence. It still has not found it, because it’s only been fed “con jobs” in its place. The 1% would never contemplate offering the great unwashed anything of real value, when they could keep it all to themselves. So, they go on blaming the teachers, along with the lawyers, the union workers, the state employees, the minimum wage workers in a thousands occupations, and even the white collar professionals who actually bear the brunt of our rigged tax laws. All these people are trained like seals to see the targets painted on the backs of their fellow citizens, but not themselves, by the 1%ers employing their divide and conquer tactics. Reminds me of the transmogrified ditty from Orwell’s “1984”:

        “Under the spreading chestnut tree
        I sold you and you sold me
        There lie they, and here lie we
        Under the spreading chestnut tree”

        • backwardsevolution
          August 26, 2017 at 4:19 am

          Realist – well said. President Carter was a very good man, but America doesn’t really like “very good men”. I guess because the media tear these men down. People should see through this crap, but they don’t.

          I agree, schools should not be privately owned. Health care should be single-payer. These two areas should definitely be run by government, and run efficiently. And, yes, teachers are dumped on. I always say, “Go ahead, try it. You can’t even teach your kids around the kitchen table. Try 30 or 35 of them.” They’d fold in about five minutes.

          It is a shame that unions have almost disappeared. Workers need someone to represent them. Too bad they aren’t operated like in Germany where both the management AND the workers have an interest in making sure the company is well run and profitable, and where everyone gets a decent pay check. And nobody gets angry at the American Medical Association because they’re called an “association” and not a “union”. What’s the difference? They make sure that the number of graduates each year is limited in order to keep prices up, and yet the lowly worker is supposed to compete with China and a perpetual stream of new immigrants. Totally unfair.

          Malaise? It’s hard to have otherwise when the country is being sold out. Kind of like living in a house where the mom and dad aren’t home or couldn’t care whether you lived or died, but don’t forget to take out the garbage and get the dishes done. Nobody’s home, no leadership. Too many vested interests, no cohesiveness.

          I said earlier that I think the elite have become as strong as they have because the people have let themselves become weak and vulnerable; they stopped paying attention, got too caught up in material gain. The people need to find just a few things in common and unite behind these ideas (like stopping campaign donations by large donors or having campaigns run via government money; single-payer healthcare). But as there are so many differing interests now and everybody is jockeying for their own gains, I think a coming-together might be rather difficult.

          It really is a terrible situation, and I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would live to see this day.

          Cheers, Realist.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 25, 2017 at 12:03 am

      ST: Because we don’t want to go the schools where we live.

      I’d like to see that fixed. My preferred method would be to fund public schools by tax dollars delivered from the State Capital. Every school in the state would get the same exact dollar figure for each student attending classes there. Tax dollars would NOT go to any other schools. Catholic/Protestant/Jewish/Muslim schools ought not be getting taxpayer money.

  12. August 24, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    So those kids were all wrong? And they did what they did for no reason?

    After thirty year experience I can tell you that, with few exceptions, the better schools exist in the upper class areas.

    And if we were really serious about the problem there would be open enrollment in large districts. Any student could go to any school, and the district would have to get him there.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 24, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      And in my experience, it is the parents who make the school because it is the parents who make the kid.

  13. mike k
    August 25, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Schools don’t teach the most necessary subject: revolution. They teach conformity. They do not encouraged creativity, but mindless repetition. You have to get out of these schools in order to breathe. These schools are the enemies of our authentic selves.

    • E. Leete
      August 25, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Get Alfie Kohn’s rare wisdom INTO our schools. mike have you read “No Contest – the case against competititon”? It’s a game changer – HE is a game changer – on a par with the rare and wonderful Alice Miller you previously mentioned.

  14. mike k
    August 25, 2017 at 7:41 am

    E. Leete – In my ideal society everyone is paid the same amount regardless of what work they do, or even whether they choose to “work” or not. But in the end almost everyone in that society based on Love will choose some way to contribute to others, because it is a joy to do so in a world where you are enfolded in the Love of everyone from birth. In that world there is no competition, but everything is done in a spirit of cooperation. Living simply and within comfortable population numbers, our concerns would be about helping others, including all living beings. There is nothing miraculous required to bring such a world into being, we simply need to let go of all the stupid, unloving behaviors and ideas we have been conditioned to perform. The miracle is that we have not awakened to this possibility and put it into practice – it’s the most natural thing in the world……

    • E. Leete
      August 25, 2017 at 10:25 am

      mike – fastmail has been great but has now ended free accounts – but has not yet shut mine down as of this minute. if you please, please send me an email there pronto before it goes away and if you do i’ll give you my private email addy. I have all the defense of your position in several unpublished chapters of rational proofs and I would love to give them to you to read and use as you want! write as one word: pay justice then at sign then fastmail dot fm – note the fm on the end. anyone else is welcome to have the writings, too, but hurry before that account goes away as I can’t afford to pay for email. and just in case any staff or authors here see this I would be most happy to share the great insights as articles.

  15. Mild-ly Facetious
    August 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

    A literal display of the Myth of freedom, liberty, justice or the personal right to protest in these United States of America is now on keen display in the person of Colin Kaepernick.

    The Bill of Rights is subject to the dictates of corporations and/or wealthy owners of franchises whose stadiums are largely funded by taxpayers — while schools, for example, go largely underfunded in the cities hosting the teams.

    The USA track stars, John Carlos & Tommie Smith, who raised a fist in protest during the 68 Olympic games were severely punished (blackballed) for that protest. The same is happening to Kaepernick in 2017. This is America. KNOW YOUR PLACE BOY AND STAY IN IT !!!

    George Wallace’s declaration stands firmly in American “rule of law” parlance. “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever!”
    http://www.blackpast.org/1963-george-wallace-segregation-now-segregation-forever

    (compare and contrast the Wallace speech to Trump’s recent remarks on Charlottsville.)

    • mike k
      August 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Real freedom threatens those in power, and they exert every effort to suppress it. The rich are the enemy of the people. If you understand this simple fact, you will understand most of what goes on in America and the world.

  16. drspock
    August 25, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Depicting this incident was important, but the film did a very poor job of doing so. Viewers are never given a sense of the systemic oppression that the Detroit police were engaged in. An opening scene depicts the riot as the aftermath of police breaking up an after hours joint and drunk patrons throwing rocks and bottles.

    The main deficiency of the film was its complete lack of understanding that the political consciousness of black Detroit’s was changing and refused to put up with these daily incidents with the police. There was extensive community organizing going on in Detroit and much of it directed against police abuses. The Nation of Islam was a presence as were black activists in the unions and auto industry that was often as racist as the police. This spawned the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement along with other movements like the Black Panther Party and RAM (Revolutionary Action Movement).

    The failure of the city to heed the demands of these movements for reform turned a riot into a revolt. While the film is quick to ask ‘why are they bring their own neighborhoods’, it fails to point out that structural racism throughout Detroit left black Detroit painfully aware that while they lived in this ghetto, these were not really their neighborhoods. The Detroit Police Department reinforced this point on a daily basis.

    Basically the film erased the politics from 1967 Detroit, even though this was a city that put over half a million demonstrators in the streets at the height of one of Dr. Kings initiatives. The film Detroit offers none of this and instead Katherine Bigalow, the director recreates her torture scenes from Zero Dark Thirty as the Algiers Hotel incident and spends much of the film recreating this degradation. Watching the sadistic behavior of the police at some point simply became sensationalism, not good film making. Bigalow aimed at our gut, when she should have been aiming at our head.

    • E. Leete
      August 25, 2017 at 10:17 am

      I don’t think it’s safe to consume movies in amurdica absurdica unless you realize going in that you’re about to be propagandized by omission of relevant fact, and are aware of how effectively that tactic is employed on behalf of the murderous status quo.

      • Mild-ly Facetious
        August 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm

        I totally agree with your statement, E. Leete.

        One witness to the veracity of ‘amurdica absurdica’ was/is the suicide of investigative reporter Gary Webb. He was driven out of his profession by CIA motivated disinformation (AKA ‘fake news’).

        The Kaepernick situation today somewhat resembles Webb in that he is forcefully being driven out of his profession by this insipid MAGA induced superimposed “reverence” for the American flag over and against a respect for our Constitution/Bill of Rights.

        Unspoken, cabalistic secret is.. . those so-called Rights do not apply to All Americans. Never have. Never will.
        And saluting the flag — pledging Allegiance to the flag does not make you an “equal” American citizen. Never will.

        I pledge allegiance to my family, my job, the bills I’ve committed to, for example.
        The flag does absolutely nothing for me and mine. It’s just a damn flag created by one Dolly Madison that she ripped off from the British East India Company of one ELI YALE and the Royal Crown of England.

        When will the bullspit end!? — Americans need to wake the yuck up and discern this nations’ reality! And stop pledging ALLEGIANCE to a militaristic World Bully that’s responsible for horrific world-wide massacres of innocent Human Beings–
        as well as horrid segregation and mistreatment of “Others” within it’s own boarders.

        Yeah Trump, MAGA! MAGA ! MAGA! you retrograde racist !

  17. August 25, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Dr. Spock:

    In a general way, that is what the opening montage, with the Jacob Lawrence paintings was supposed to do. It was painting in the backdrop of the riot.

    While I am joining in the discussion of my review, may I ask, what is wrong with using real names?

    • mike k
      August 25, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      You didn’t really answer Spock’s critique.

  18. August 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Mike:

    Have you seen the film? What I said was accurate. That is how the picture begins. And that is how the film makers try and explain, in a general way, the background causes of the riot.

    To do what “Spock” asks for is to really ask for a more documentary film style approach to the material. I imagine that has already been done elsewhere.

    IMO, we should just be glad that Bigelow and Boal were able to make this film. Its a creditable effort that does justice to Hersey’s book. And it touches on both subjects and ideas that are still with us. Which is why they said they decided to make the picture. Police brutality is a pretty ugly subject, and what happened at the Algiers Motel was pretty awful. I don’t know how you escape dealing with them if you were going to make a picture about what happened there.

    • mike k
      August 25, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      I did not see the film, so I did not try to judge it. But I felt that your answer to your critic was very brief and inadequate. I don’t know how he feels about your further remarks, maybe he will let us know?

  19. mike k
    August 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    In my recent post above I gingerly thought of cutting Trump a little slack. Since then I just read the piece on Trump’s racism linked below. Now I am firmly back in the Trump must go camp – at least for now! Tell me what you think of the article.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/25/the-road-to-charlottesville-reflections-on-21st-century-u-s-capitalist-racism/

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