Posted: June 26, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere
Posted: February 25, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere
Posted: February 24, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice | Tags: American Sniper, Chad Littlefield, Chris Kyle, CNN, Eddie Ray Routh, Erath County, Insanity defense, murder, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Texas
STEPHENVILLE, Texas (CNN) — [Breaking news update, posted at 10:23 p.m. ET]
“Ladies and gentleman, that is not insanity. That is just cold, calculated capital murder. He is guilty of capital murder. He is not in any way insane.”
— Attorney Jane Starnes during closing arguments
A jury has found Eddie Ray Routh guilty of capital murder in the deaths of two men, including Chris Kyle, the author of the bestselling book “American Sniper.” He was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
[Previous story, posted at 10:17 p.m. ET]
A verdict has been reached in the trial of the man accused of killing Chris Kyle, subject of the hit film “American Sniper,” and Kyle’s friend at a Texas firing range two years ago.
The reading of the verdict is expected to begin soon. The jury began deliberations at 7:36 p.m. ET.
No one disputes that Eddie Ray Routh shot and killed the men. But defense attorneys say Routh was insane.
Prosecutors dismiss that claim outright.
“Ladies and gentleman, that is not insanity. That is just cold, calculated capital murder. He is guilty of capital murder. He is not in any way insane,” said attorney Jane Starnes during closing arguments.
She claimed Routh knew the difference between right and wrong.
Starnes urged jurors to “follow the law,” allowing the law to guide them “to the true and correct verdict.”
For its part, the defense pointed to Routh’s long history of mental illness.
“He killed those men because he had a delusion. He believed in his mind that they were going to kill him,” said attorney J. Warren St. John.
Jurors deliberating the case had three choices: guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
Routh’s trial comes in the wake of the release of the film about Kyle, a former Navy SEAL who claimed to be the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, with 160 confirmed kills in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 22, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, U.S. News | Tags: 12 Years a Slave (film), Academy Award, Academy Award for Best Picture, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman (rapper), Caroll Spinney, Directors Guild of America, Hollywood, Michael Keaton, Sesame Street
Three days from now, the Academy Awards will give its top prize to one of eight nominees, with Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood and Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman currently leading the pack as favorites to take home Best Picture. But there’s a Not-So-Little Engine That Might in this illustrious group, a dark horse that could sneak across the finish line in first before the night is done, decimating scores of pundit predictions in the process. Clint Eastwood’s Chris Kyle biopic American Sniper remains a long shot to pull it off, and yet as Sunday approaches, there are many reasons to believe that the Iraq War drama has a chance at pulling off a stunning upset. We’re not saying it willwin, but given the reasons below, it now definitely has a shot at Oscar’s most coveted statuette.
1. It’s the Popular Choice
At $309 million strong just in the U.S., American Sniper is already the second-highest-grossing R-rated film in movie history,and its $16.4 million haul last weekend means that it isn’t ready to slow down just yet—and, in fact, it may benefit from a post-Oscar telecast boost. Primed to be one of 2014’s most lucrative films, it exists in a different stratosphere than the rest of the Best Picture nominees, and its A+ CinemaScore rating means that audiences actively love it. While the Oscars rarely award films simply because they’ve made boatloads of cash, American Sniper is the one contender that boasts both a resounding critical and commercial endorsement. It’s the people’s choice.
2. The Indie Split
Further helping American Sniper’s odds is the fact that, while it stands as the natural mainstream choice for Oscar voters, its two main competitors both occupy a quirky-arty-indie space. Consequently, Boyhood and Birdman (and even, to a lesser extent, The Grand Budapest Hotel) may find themselves directly battling each other for votes, rather than American Sniper. If those two smaller-scale efforts split the “indie” vote just enough, it may allow American Sniper to surpass them both in the final tally.
3. Old Hollywood Eastwood
As usual, much has been made this awards season about the demographics of the Academy, which is heavily skewed toward older, white members. That may also wind up aiding American Sniper, considering the film’s pedigree as the latest work from 84-year-old Clint Eastwood. One of Hollywood’s old guards, Eastwood has a living-legend aura about him that could very well prove endearing to Academy voters disinclined to bet on younger auteurs with long careers still in front of them. True, Eastwood has already helmed two Best Pictures (1992’s Unforgiven, 2004’s Million Dollar Baby), but it’s not a crazy stretch to imagine some voters trying to further augment his legacy with a third winner. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 19, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Academy Awards, American Sniper, Bradley Cooper, Cinema, Clint Eastwood, Movies, Oscars
One of the Oscar sideshows these days is which film reaps the biggest buzz on social media from their haul of nominations. The big winner, by far, was American Sniper, which added 17.9 million mentions on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube during the final voting, according to social media consultancy RelishMix.
No. 2 on the list, and a long way back, was Boyhood, Richard Linklater
‘s 12-years-in-the-making family story that has been one of the favorites to win the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday. At 3.9 million new social-media mentions, it snagged less than a quarter of the social boost that came to Clint Eastwood
No. 3 was the other Oscar favorite, Birdman,
with nearly 3.2 million new mentions.
View original post 355 more words
Posted: February 17, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: Ali Khamenei, Barack Obama, Iran, President of Iran, President of the United States, Sri Lanka and state terrorism, Supreme Leader of Iran, Tehran, The Wall Street Journal
Nasser Karimi reports: Iran’s supreme leader has criticized the film “American Sniper,” saying the movie about a U.S. soldier fighting in Iraq encourages violence against Muslims, a state-run newspaper reported Tuesday.
The comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, published in the daily IRAN Farsi newspaper, come amid renewed criticism of the West by the leader as his country negotiates with world powers over its contested nuclear program.
“The movie ‘Sniper’ that is made by Hollywood encourages a Christian or non-Muslim youngster to harass and offend the Muslims as far as they could…You are seeing what sort of propaganda there are against Muslims in Europe and the U.S.”
— Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
The newspaper quoted Khamenei as saying he hadn’t watched the film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, but had heard about its plot from others. The film focuses on the life of U.S. Navy SEAL marksman Chris Kyle, who with 160 confirmed kills is considered the most lethal sniper in American military history.
“The movie ‘Sniper‘ that is made by Hollywood encourages a Christian or non-Muslim youngster to harass and offend the Muslims as far as they could,” the newspaper quoted Khamenei as saying.
Khamenei also reportedly discussed neo-Nazis attacking Muslims in Germany, saying Muslims have no safety in the West.
“You are seeing what sort of propaganda there are against Muslims in Europe and the U.S.,” he reportedly said.
The newspaper said Khamenei made the comments while meeting representatives of Iranian religious minorities in the country’s parliament three weeks ago. The newspaper did not explain why it was publishing the comments now. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 16, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Breaking News, Entertainment, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: American Sniper, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Cinema, Clint Eastwood, media, Movies, news, Twitter
Posted: February 11, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, War Room | Tags: American Sniper, Bias, Chris Kyle, Ignorance, Intolerance, Left Wing, media, Michelle Malkin, Muslim, news, Progressivism, propaganda, Race Hustling, Twitchy, Twitter
Posted: February 11, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, CNN, Glen Rose, Good Conduct Medal (United States), Humanitarian Service Medal, Midlothian, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Texas, United States Navy SEALs
Little is known about Routh, except that attorney J. Warren St. John will attempt to make the case that his client is not guilty by reason of insanity
Since being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in July 2011, her son had been in and out of Veterans Affairs clinics, she said. He showed no progress in two years, and his erratic behavior continued to spiral out of control.
Jodi Routh worked as an aide at the same Midlothian, Texas, elementary school that Chris Kyle’s children attended. Kyle, of course, wrote “American Sniper,” the basis for the blockbuster Clint Eastwood film, and she had heard that The New York Times bestselling author worked with fellow veterans who were having a hard time adjusting to life back home.
“Shortly after his apprehension, Routh confessed to authorities and family members that he killed both men. After becoming aggressive with guards and refusing to give up a spork and dinner tray, he was placed on suicide watch under 24-hour surveillance in the Erath County Jail.”
“She approached Chris Kyle as he was dropping off his children and asked him if he would help her son. At that point, she had been trying to get (her son) care at the VA, and he was only getting worse,” according to Laura Beil, author of the ebook, “The Enemy Within: The Inside Story of Eddie Routh, the Man Accused of Killing Legendary ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle.”
After the deaths of Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, Beil, who also is a contributing editor for Men’s Health magazine, spent almost four months with Eddie Routh’s family detailing the Marine’s struggles after serving in Iraq and Haiti.
[Laura Beil’s book “The Enemy Within: The Inside Story of Eddie Routh, the Man Accused of Killing Legendary ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle” is available at Amazon]
“At the end of the conversation, (Kyle) said, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to help your son.’ She actually cried at that point because it was the first time in over a year that anyone had said that,” Beil told CNN.
Eddie Ray Routh, 27, grew up in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, about 20 miles east of Midlothian, Kyle’s hometown. He faces murder charges in the 2013 deaths of Kyle, 38, and Littlefield, 35.
The two men had picked Routh up that fateful day and, as a form of therapy, took him to a remote 11,000-acre resort with a gun range in Glen Rose, Texas. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 2, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere
Posted: February 2, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere
Posted: January 31, 2015 Filed under: Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Academy Award, Autobiography, Baghdad, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Fallujah, Hollywood, Iraq, Iraq War, Michael J. Totten, Michael Moore, Sniper, Steven Spielberg, United States Navy SEALs, War film
‘I lost track of how many soldiers and Marines told me of their frustration with an American media that so often describes them as either nuts or victims’
Michael J. Totten writes: Clint Eastwood’s new film, American Sniper, is a blisteringly accurate portrayal of the American war in Iraq. Unlike most films in the genre, it sidesteps the politics and focuses on an individual: the late, small-town Texan, Chris Kyle, who joined the Navy SEALs after 9/11 and did four tours of duty in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Baghdad. He is formally recognized as the deadliest sniper in American history, and the film, based on his bestselling memoir, dramatizes the war he felt duty-bound to fight and his emotionally wrenching return home, with post-traumatic stress.
“All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.”
The movie has become a flashpoint for liberal critics. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore dismissed the film out-of-hand because snipers, he says, are “cowards.” “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds,” comic actor Seth Rogen tweeted, referring to a fake Hitler propaganda film about a Nazi sniper, though he backtracked and said he actually liked the film, that it only reminded him of Nazi propaganda. Writing for the Guardian, Lindy West is fair to Eastwood and the film but cruel to its subject. Kyle, she says, was “a hate-filled killer” and “a racist who took pleasure in dehumanizing and killing brown people.”
[Order Michael J. Totten’s book “Tower of the Sun: Stories from the Middle East and North Africa“ from Amazon]
The Navy confirms that Kyle shot and killed 160 combatants, most of whom indeed had brown skin. While he was alive, he said that he enjoyed his job. In one scene in the movie, Kyle, played by a bulked-up Bradley Cooper, refers to “savages,” and it’s not clear if he means Iraqis in general or just the enemies he’s fighting.
“What would you think of a man who kills a kid with a power drill right in front of you? Would you moderate your language so that no one at a Manhattan dinner party would gasp? Maybe you would, but Kyle wasn’t at a Manhattan dinner party.”
But let’s take a step back and leave the politics aside. All psychologically normal people feel at least some hatred for the enemy in a war zone. This is true whether they’re on the “right” side or the “wrong” side. It’s not humanly possible to like or feel neutral toward people who are trying to kill you. Race hasn’t the faintest thing to do with it.
“Here’s a medical fact: psychopaths don’t suffer from post-traumatic stress or any other kind of anxiety disorder. And cowards don’t volunteer for four tours of duty in war-torn Iraq.”
Does anyone seriously believe Kyle would have felt differently if white Russians or Serbs, rather than “brown” Arabs, were shooting at him? How many residents of New York’s Upper West Side had a sympathetic or nuanced view of al-Qaida on September 11, 2001? Some did—inappropriately, in my view—but how many would have been able to keep it up if bombs exploded in New York City every day, year after year?
Kyle had other reasons to hate his enemies, aside from their desire to kill him. In American Sniper, we see him in Fallujah and Ramadi fighting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq, the bloody precursor to ISIS. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 29, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Politics, War Room | Tags: Academy Award, Allies of World War II, American Sniper, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, EUROPE, Inglourious Basterds, Michael Moore, Nazi propaganda, Nazism, Quentin Tarantino, Seth Rogen, Twitter, World War II
What ‘American Sniper’ Tells You About Its Critics
A veteran reviews ‘American Sniper’
Matthew Braun writes: I am not at all surprised that Michael Moore and Seth Rogen don’t like American Sniper . For them, the idea of military sacrifice is absurd. We get an idea of how badly they understand the motivation of the modern American fighting man and woman when they can’t tell the difference between someone like me, with 15 years of experience in law enforcement, military intelligence, and counterterrorism, and a Nazi. No. Seriously.
That movie is “Nation’s Pride,” the faux Nazi propaganda film-within-a-film directed by Eli Roth that plays during the film’s climactic theater scene. Moore, for his part, offered these thoughts:
“The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism.”
He later said, implausibly, he just happened to tweet this while “American Sniper ” was pulling in a massive $105 million opening weekend box-office haul and wasn’t talking at all about “American Sniper .”
An Oscar statuette earned by Frank Capra’s 1942 documentary “Prelude to War,” the first film in the United States Army Special Services’ seven-picture “Why We Fight” series, has been removed from the auction block and was returned to the care of the U.S. Army. Pictured: Frank Capra and John Ford
“Where John Ford and Frank Capra once did propaganda films during World War II, Hollywood today is irredeemably corrupted by a worldview that blames America for all the ills of the world.”
Moore’s experience with martial matters is exactly zero, and his understanding of snipers is based on a tragic anecdote from World War II. Moore never allows for the possibility that Nazi snipers might have been cowards, and that American snipers might be saving lives.
Newsflash: Like the Nazis, Al Qaeda Is Bad
War movies have changed a lot since the 1940s. War movies in the 1940s didn’t have to explain that the Nazis were bad. We take Nazis as evil for granted now; with 65 years of hindsight there are far more people around now who were never alive for Hitler’s Reich, but all of us understand that Nazis are bad.
“The American Left can’t imagine a person who actually fights to protect other Americans, who actually believes America is the greatest country on Earth, and who does it all with a Bible in his pocket. That’s a farce to them.”
Film has been, perhaps, the best teacher of this simple truth. Nazis were just Nazis in movies, even when their evil was supernatural or no longer based in reality.
“…It’s too far off from the people they have known and deal with every day to be real, so they think it’s propaganda for the Right, for America, for war.”
Unlike the war films of generations past, ‘American Sniper’ actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad.
The Left continues to think of the American military and foreign illegal fighters as basically being two sides of the same coin. Worse, they can’t seem to tell the difference between American service members and al Qaeda. Unlike the war films of generations past, “American Sniper” actually has to explain onscreen that al Qaeda insurgents were (and still are) bad. In explaining, and in depicting, Kyle’s firm and unflinching lack of remorse or understanding for the plight of the torturing, ambushing, child-murdering insurgent, we see a fun word on Twitter: Jingoistic.
The American Left has never been able to find the line between patriotism and jingoism. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 27, 2015 Filed under: History, Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Academy Award for Best Picture, Bessie Braddock, Character actor, Cockney, Conservative Party (UK), Dante Alighieri, Desertion, Edward Herrmann, Jr., Martin Luther King
Hating evil is just as important as loving the good. Because if you don’t, you’re likely to give evil a pass
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes: American Sniper is a film of soaring patriotism and an ode to our courageous military. For too long Americans have lived with only two percent of the population losing arms and legs and dying so that the other ninety-eight percent can be safe and free. If we’re not going to copy the heroes of the military at least we can salute them. But the prerequisite of gratitude is knowledge and so few of us really know how much our military sacrifices that it’s hard to feel indebted. That’s what makes American Sniper a movie that portrays Hollywood at its best, telling the story of a valiant and selfless soldier with complexity, truth, and depth.
“What American Sniper is really about is the battle by decent men against truly dark forces of wickedness. The American soldiers who battle the terrorists in Iraq do not hide their contempt for the killers. They hate them, despise them, loathe them, and want to kill them.”
So why are so many people on the left attacking the film? What is their issue with a hero like Chris Kyle, who dedicated his life to saving Americans from murder and was himself killed when he tried to help a psychologically damaged marine?
In this photo taken from video by Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school
“The most accurate standard in judging our commitment to humanity is the extent to which we fight to preserve life. For some that fight involves research in a lab to defeat cancer. For others it involves climbing a ladder in a terrible inferno to rescue a stranded child. And for some it involves going to war against barbarous terrorists so that they cannot blow up pregnant women.”
The answer lies in our failure to hate evil. What American Sniper is really about is the battle by decent men against truly dark forces of wickedness. The American soldiers who battle the terrorists in Iraq do not hide their contempt for the killers.
“Churchill spoke openly of his utter hatred of Hitler…And because he hated the beast he inspired a nation to fight him. The French, who did not hate Hitler, collaborated with him and sent Jews and many others to the gas chambers instead. But on the political left, hatred has gone out of vogue.”
They hate them, despise them, loathe them, and want to kill them. Not because they have any bloodlust and not because they enjoy violence. Rather, they are committed to life and are well aware of the fact that the only way to prevent the murderers from slaughtering the innocent is through the necessary evil of conflict.
“Hating evil is just as important as loving the good. To be truly righteous, it’s not enough to love good people. You have to hate—and fight—bad people.”
From time immemorial theologians have debated what makes a person truly righteous. How do we know when someone’s faith is sincere? Some say it is evidenced by a love of humanity. But I have met legions of confirmed atheists who are the finest human beings alive.
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Others argue that it is martyrdom and a readiness to lay down one’s life for a great cause. But suicide bombers blow themselves up in the name of their faith all the time. Still others argue that goodness is judged by religious ritual observance. But we all know religious people who are devout church and synagogue-goers but who are utterly unethical in other spheres.
Which brings me to this conclusion. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 25, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: Anti-Americanism, BBC, Berlin International Film Festival, Biographical film, Box office, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino, United States, Wide release
Like many movie goers I prefer to avoiding reading detailed reviews of movies before I see them, then enjoy reading a series of them right after. With the controversy surrounding American Sniper, it’s almost impossible to avoid exposure to what’s being said and written (and we’ve covered plenty of that controversy in the last few weeks) so it made even more of a challenge to stay away from reviews until I had an opportunity to see it myself.
A few hours ago, I finally saw American Sniper. I’ve only read a few reviews so far–and I plan add some of our own commentary soon–but this New Yorker review immediately struck me, because I prejudged the source. Admittedly unfair, but I don’t see the island of Manhattan as a place to expect anything but veiled score for Clint Eastwood, dislike of war films in general, and snarling distaste for this movie in particular. I’m happy to be completely wrong. Though it’s a short capsule double-movie review, given second-billing to Selma, all due credit to New Yorker film critic David Denby, for a positive, respectful, and insightful review of American Sniper.
Denby‘s first sentence nails it:
“Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper‘ is both a devastating war movie and a devastating antiwar movie, a subdued celebration of a warrior’s skill and a sorrowful lament over his alienation and misery.”
The following comment is one of the most admiring things a critic can say about a filmmaker:
“Eastwood’s command of this material makes most directors look like beginners. As Kyle and his men ride through rubble-strewn Iraqi cities, smash down doors, and race up and down stairways, the camera records what it needs to fully dramatize a given event, and nothing more.”
And this characterization of Eastwood’s skill and talent as a director is perfectly summarized:
“There’s no waste, never a moment’s loss of concentration, definition, or speed. The general atmosphere of the cities, and the scattered life of the streets, gets packed into the action…” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 24, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: American Sniper, Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, HBO
The political-themed Oscar firestorm season—or is it Oscar-themed political firestorm season?—has reached its height of late, with Clint Eastwood’s war flick American Sniper overtaking Ava DuVernay’s Selma as the preeminent flashpoint for all the grousing. (The film is up for Best Picture and Best Actor, among other awards.)
Thanks to their tweets, Michael Moore and Seth Rogen both spent the week on the receiving end of criticism from the pro-Sniper crowd, most notably Kid Rock. On Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the reliably cantankerous Maher suggested that Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL played in the film by Bradley Cooper, is a “psychopathic patriot.” Maher also read excerpts from Kyle’s 2013 autobiography, the book on which the film is based, in which he called Iraqis “savages.”
But his critique may not have had much of an impact at the box office: Deadline reports the film…
View original post 5 more words
Posted: January 22, 2015 Filed under: History, Mediasphere, Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Fox & Friends, Fox News Channel, Iraq, Lee Boyd Malvo, Max Blumenthal, United States, United States Navy SEALs
Chris Kyle Complicates the Narrative
National Review Buckley fellow Ian Tuttle addressed the seething discontent on the American left over the popular success of American Sniper, saying the backlash against the story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle represents continuing “derangement” over the Bush years and the Iraq War.
“One of the reasons that Chris Kyle has garnered so much animus is because there remains a derangement when it comes to Iraq and the Bush years, against which Chris Kyle stood…”
Tuttle spoke with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday about the vitriolic outpouring against Kyle by left-wing bloggers and pundits like Michael Moore and Max Blumenthal, who accused the sniper of being a coward and a mass murderer. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 21, 2015 Filed under: Think Tank, War Room, White House | Tags: 2003 invasion of Iraq, Academy Award, al Qaeda, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Iraq War, Islamic state, Letters from Iwo Jima, Sienna Miller, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy SEALs
Obama’s American Sniper
Dan Henninger writes: Barack Obama was 15 minutes into his State of the Union speech when I arrived home to watch it, having just walked back from seeing “American Sniper.”
“Watching a movie about a Navy SEAL who served four tours fighting in Iraq was not the best way to enhance the experience of a Barack Obama speech. As a matter of fact, it was pretty unbearable.”
Because Clint Eastwood directed “American Sniper” the movie is about more than the story of Chris Kyle, the highly skilled rifle marksman from Texas. In 2006, Mr. Eastwood presented two movies about the famous World War II battle of Iwo Jima. “Letters from Iwo Jima” told the story from the perspective of Japanese soldiers, and “Flags of Our Fathers” from the Americans’ side.
“Watching “American Sniper,” it is impossible to separate these catastrophes from seeing what the Marines did and endured to secure northern Iraq. Again, anyone is entitled to hate the Iraq war…”
So “American Sniper” is not a crude paean to “our boys” in the Iraq war. What it does is convey the extraordinary personal, psychological and physical sacrifice of the U.S. Marines who fought al Qaeda i”n Fallujah, Ramadi and the other towns of Iraq’s Anbar province beginning in 2003 and through the period of the Anbar Awakening, which ended with the Marines pacifying the province.
“…But no serious person would want a president to make a decision that would allow so much personal sacrifice to simply evaporate…”
It’s just a movie, so even “American Sniper’s” small slice only hints at the price America paid—some 3,500 combat deaths and another 32,000 wounded—to bring Iraq to a point of relative, if fragile, stability in 2011.
“…Which, in his serene self-confidence, is what Barack Obama did. That absolute drawdown was a decision of fantastic foolishness.”
Opinions will differ, often bitterly, on the war in Iraq and the reasons for it. In the movie, a painful funeral scene captures that ambivalence. But what is just not possible to choke down is President Obama’s decision in 2011 to reduce the U.S.’s residual military presence to virtually zero. It was a decision to waste what the Marines and Army had done. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 20, 2015 Filed under: Art & Culture, Breaking News, Entertainment, War Room | Tags: Academy Award, American Sniper, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Golden Globe Award, Iraq War, Jeremy Renner, Movies, Plano, Texas, The Hurt Locker, United States Navy SEALs, Warner Bros
Resonating With People in Smaller Cities, Military Film Has Huge $105.3 Million Debut Weekend
and Dan Molinski Steve Smith: an Army veteran and schoolteacher, walked out of a movie theater in Plano, Texas
, on Saturday with tears in his eyes. After years of movie studios getting the military experience wrong with films like “The Hurt Locker
,” the 33-year-old said, “American Sniper” had nailed it.
“’American Sniper’ garnered better reviews than ‘Lone Survivor’ or ‘Unbroken’ and, unlike the latter two, received multiple Academy Award nominations, including for best picture—helping to ensure it performed well across the country and wasn’t exclusively a ‘red state’ phenomenon.”
Based on the memoir of Chris Kyle, reputed to be the deadliest sniper in the American military during the Iraq war, “American Sniper” opened to a phenomenal $105.3 million in the U.S. and Canada over the four-day holiday weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros., owned by Time Warner Inc.
“What these movies share is they’re utterly unironic. They treat American values honorably.”
— Michael Moses, Universal’s co-president of marketing
Its success was driven in large part by moviegoers like Mr. Smith who live in smaller cities and don’t regularly go to the multiplex.
“Chris Kyle was a fellow veteran, a fellow Texan. He’s very much a true legend,” Mr. Smith said while holding hands with his wife, Crystal. “So it was basically a foregone conclusion I’d be here as soon as it opened.”
“When the phone calls started coming in from exhibitors, I realized we had something special happening in the South and in small towns where our movies sometimes find it difficult to resonate.”
— Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.
Such a massive opening for a mid-budget drama was perhaps Hollywood’s biggest surprise since “Avengers” blew away box-office records by opening to $207 million in 2012. “Sniper,” directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, enjoyed the largest opening ever for a drama or R-rated film and more than doubled the prior record for Martin Luther King Day weekend.
“Its success is the strongest evidence yet that audiences including veterans and cultural conservatives who are more concentrated in the South and Midwest feel underserved by Hollywood and will turn out in droves for movies that are inspiring, patriotic and sincere.”
Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures also had surprising success last month with the historical military drama “Unbroken” and last year with the Afghan war movie “Lone Survivor.”
“Opening-night audiences gave “Sniper” an average grade of A+, according to market-research firm CinemaScore.”
Eight of the top 10 markets for “American Sniper” were in the South or Midwest, including San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston, Nashville and Albuquerque. Typically, major cities like New York and Los Angeles dominate the top theater rankings for a successful film because they have larger concentrations of frequent moviegoers and higher ticket prices.
All five of the top theaters for “Lone Survivor” were in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, while “Unbroken” performed extremely well in small cities such as Mesa, Ariz., and Lehi, Utah. Meanwhile, all three movies underperformed in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, compared with the norm. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 18, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere
Update, 8:12AM: Sunday: (final update 9:40am) Warner Bros. is reporting that American Sniper is set to post a Friday-through-Sunday of $90.2M with a cume to date of $93.6M. By tomorrow, with the MLK holiday, the Village Roadshow co-prod cume is looking to post a four-day of $105.2M and an overall cume of $108.6M. Unheard of for any wide release at this time of year. What record did the movie American Sniper NOT break?
Among three-day bows, it’s the best posted by a January or February release, beating Passion of the Christ‘s (which opened on a Wednesday) FSS of $83.8M. It’s the largest January weekend ever, beating Avatar‘s $68.5M during its third session (Jan. 1-3, 2010) and it’s looking to be the largest R-rated four-day ever, beating 2011’s The Hangover 2, which made $103.4M.
A+ CinemaScore across the board among males, females and over/under 25. Everyone always knew…
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Posted: January 17, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Entertainment, War Room | Tags: Academy Award for Best Picture, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Hollywood, Iraq, Iraq War, Military history of the United States, Sniper, United States, United States Navy SEALs
From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. In theaters December 25th.
Posted: December 28, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Mediasphere | Tags: Academy Award, Bradley Cooper, California, Chris Kyle, Christmas, Clint Eastwood, Dina Eastwood, Divorce, Iraq, Los Angeles, United States
Kipp Jones reports: Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War biopic shattered box office records over the extended holiday weekend, after only debuting in four theaters nationwide.American Sniper, which was directed by Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper as famed navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, became the top specialty debut of the year and the best ever for a limited Christmas release.The film reportedlå
Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War biopic shattered box office records over the extended holiday weekend, after only debuting in four theaters nationwide.
“This was the perfect film for Clint, and Bradley Cooper is one of the great American actors of today.”
— Dan Fellman, the head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.
American Sniper, which was directed by Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper as famed navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, became the top specialty debut of the year and the best ever for a limited Christmas release.
The film reportedly brought in $850,000 from four theaters over a period of four days, an average of $212,000 per location for Warner Bros.
Eastwood’s adaptation has also been awarded a rare “A+” CinemaScore from audiences, which could provide momentum when Warner Bros. opens the drama from Village Roadshow nationwide on Jan. 16, only a week after nominations for the Academy Awards are announced, reports TheWrap. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 13, 2014 Filed under: Entertainment, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: American Film Institute, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Christmas, Clint Eastwood, Jake McDorman, Military history of the United States, United States, United States Navy SEALs, Warner Bros
Official Trailer. From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. In theaters December 25th.
Posted: November 11, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Entertainment, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Academy Award, American Film Institute, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Christmas, Clint Eastwood, Jake McDorman, United States, United States Navy SEALs
Clint Eastwood’s Navy SEAL drama, which stars Bradley Cooper, is set to get an Oscar-qualifying run on Dec. 25
Clint Eastwood’s latest film, American Sniper, will get a sneak peek screening at AFI Fest. The drama will be shown at a screening on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 9 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre.
“Clint Eastwood is an American icon. His are stories that stand the test of time, and we are proud and honored to unveil his latest masterpiece.”
— A statement from AFI president Bob Gazzale
The Navy SEAL drama, which stars Bradley Cooper, is set to get an Oscar-qualifying run on Dec. 25 in select theaters before expanding Jan. 16. The film, a Warners/Village Roadshow co-production, is based on a 2012 autobiographical book written by Chris Kyle.
The title was adapted for the screen by Jason Dean Hall(Paranoia). Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman andKyle Gallner also feature in the cast of the drama….(read more)
Read more 44 Movies Vying for Best Picture Oscar
Gregg Kilday , Erik Hayden – American Sniper to Get Sneak Peek at AFI Fest
Posted: October 21, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere
Douglas Ernst Blog
When it was first announced that Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s life would be made into a movie by Steven Spielberg, my first thought was, “Ummm, how is that going to work? Did Spielberg even read the book? Knowing his politics, I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be a horrible movie.”
Interestingly enough, Mr. Spielberg dropped the project and Clint Eastwood was there to pick it up. “That makes much more sense,” I thought. Now that the trailer is out, it appears as though the world will get the Chris Kyle story it deserves.
“They fry you if you’re wrong.”
How do you win a war when the men responsible for securing victory are paranoid that any mistake they make will land them in prison for the rest of their lives? The answer: You probably don’t win. You lose. Or you wind up pulling out of that country for…
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Posted: August 27, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere | Tags: American Sniper, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, History, military, Steven Spielberg, The Hollywood Reporter
Eastwood is in early talks to direct the movie, based on the autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Steven Spielberg was previously on board to direct the project but left earlier this month after he and the studio couldn’t come to agreement on a budget. (The parting of ways was quite amicable, according to several sources.) Bradley Cooper is attached to star and has been developing the project as a producer.
If a deal is made, that puts Eastwood in a tight schedule squeeze. The veteran filmmaker is about to begin directing Jersey Boys, the adaptation of the Broadway musical about the rise and fall of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Sniper must shoot early next year because of Cooper’s many commitments. But Eastwood is famously known for his short and efficient shoots, so the studio has no fear that he won’t be able to pull it off.
Sniper is an adaptation of Kyle’s book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. It reveals how Kyle came to record the highest number of sniper kills for an American. The book has been praised for its frankness in telling a first-person account of a warrior who shoots from far and close distances.
Kyle was killed at a shooting range by a fellow veteran in February.
Twitch first reported the news.
Posted: January 19, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Academy Award, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Iraq, Michael Moore, Sniper, Twitter, United States, United States Navy SEALs
Michael Moore caused a stir on Sunday when he Tweeted his negative opinion of snipers, seemingly in response to the release of American Sniper.
In a Facebook post later that day, the director, 60, defended his statements about snipers – but also attempted to distance the Tweets from the the Oscar-nominated film about real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle….(blah blah blah) (read more)
Posted: June 18, 2015 Filed under: Law & Justice, Self Defense, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: Barack Obama, Chris Kyle, Fallujah, Improvised explosive device, Iraq War, Medal of Honor, Rick Perry, Texas, United States, United States Navy SEALs
Governor Greg Abbott today signed House Concurrent Resolution 85 (Wray, R-Waxahachie; Birdwell, R-Granbury) to posthumously award the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, a native Texan and Navy SEAL who served four tours in Iraq and is recognized as the most lethal sniper in United States military history. During the legislative session, Governor Abbott also dedicated a portion of Highway 287 in Midlothian, TX as “Chris Kyle Memorial Highway” and proclaimed February 2nd to be “Chris Kyle Day” in the State of Texas.
“Since its inception, the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor has been awarded to those in the State of Texas who have demonstrated extraordinary heroism as a member of state or federal military forces, and there is no one more deserving of this year’s award than Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle,” said Governor Abbott. “Kyle is one of the legions of valiant warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and served our great nation with unrivaled honor, bravery and heroism. For his remarkable valiancy, it is my honor to posthumously award the 2015 Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle.”
To view the resolution, click here.
Office of the Governor – Greg Abbott
Posted: June 11, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Comics, Entertainment, Humor | Tags: American Enterprise Institute, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christina Hoff Sommers, comedy, Feminism, Kirsten Powers, Progressivism, Purdue University, Racism, Safe Space, Sexism, Trauma trigger, Trigger Warning, University of Chicago
Kyle Smith writes: What’s the deal with young people today? “They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist,’ ‘That’s sexist,’ ‘That’s prejudice,’” Jerry Seinfeld told ESPN’s Colin Cowherd this week. “They don’t know what the f—k they’re talking about.”
“I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.”
— Chris Rock
Comics are afraid to work on college campuses, Seinfeld said. To give an idea of how young people think, he cited a bizarre response his 14-year-old daughter made when his wife noted that the girl might want to go to New York City from the suburbs more often “So you can see boys.” The girl replied that the remark was “sexist,” her father said.
“There is a word…That word is illiberal; there is nothing ‘conservative’ about it.”
— Kyle Smith
The determination of the identity-politics obsessed to shut down speech on campus inspired a couple of hilarious one-liners in the past year. One was from The Onion: “College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea: Students, Faculty Invited to Freely Express Single Viewpoint.” The other, though unintentionally funny, was equally amusing, and came from Chris Rock: “I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.”
There is a word for the move to ban a screening of 2014’s most popular movie, American Sniper (and replace it with Paddington), to hound a major university into rescinding its honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to punish someone with a Title IX investigation for the crime of questioning the wisdom of certain Title IX investigations, and designating a “safe space” to which to flee after failing to prevent a speech by Christina Hoff Sommers from taking place. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 10, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: Ayman Mohyeldin, Brian Williams, Chris Kyle, Iraq War, Iraqi people, Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe, MSNBC, NBC, The Washington Examiner
This is the latest black eye for the Peacock Network, which has been in panic mode since its star anchor, Brian Williams, backtracked on his story that he had been shot at during his 2003 trip to Iraq
NBC is once again under fire from Iraq War veterans — this time for a correspondent’s claims that sniper Chris Kyle was “racist.”
“Mohyeldin’s statements were an inexcusable slap in the face to the widow of Chris Kyle and to all those in the armed forces who continue to serve our country in harm’s way.”
More than 20 retired generals and admirals penned a letter to Comcast, which owns NBC, following a Jan. 29 interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with Middle East reporter Ayman Mohyeldin, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
“Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies towards Iraqis and Muslims when he was going on some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment,” Mohyeldin said of Kyle, whose career was recently the subject of the blockbuster movie “American Sniper.”
Host Joe Scarborough was taken aback by his colleague’s comments, saying, “All right, when we come back, Ayman is going to kick around Santa Claus.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 4, 2015 Filed under: Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Al-Raqqah, Capital punishment, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Iraq, Iraq War, Jordan, Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, United States
Vindicating Chris Kyle
Islamic State proves Kyle was right about the ‘savage’ enemy
“Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq.” Those were among the words the late Chris Kyle, of “American Sniper” fame, used to describe the enemy he and fellow veterans of the Iraq war faced. After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?
“The kidnappers then tied the Egyptian’s hands behind his back and asked him to state his name. . . . After complying, he was about to apologize for his acts, but a man gave a sign to the ‘executioner’ standing behind the hostage, who grabbed the man’s tongue and cut it off, stating that the time for excuses was past.”
We say this as a corner of liberal America has fallen over itself denouncing Clint Eastwood ’s blockbuster biopic of Kyle, who was killed in 2013 by a deranged Marine veteran. HBO’s Bill Maher called him a “psychopath patriot,” and other Hollywood action heroes like Michael Moore have weighed in similarly. Their view is that Kyle must have been inhumane since he killed scores of enemy fighters without being burdened by a guilty conscience.
“After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?”
Yet the kind of butchery that Islamic State likes to advertise via YouTube was the reality Iraqis routinely faced when the Islamic State’s forbear, al Qaeda in Iraq, terrorized entire cities and towns during the height of the Iraq war. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 26, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, History, War Room | Tags: Academy Award, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Fahrenheit 9/11, Inglourious Basterds, Kid Rock, Nazi propaganda, Seth Rogen, United States, United States Navy SEALs
The United States of ‘American Sniper’
Rorke Denver writes: ‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.
“The very term ‘sniper’ seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage.”
The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.
[Check out Rorke Denver’s book “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior” at Amazon]
My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.
“Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.”
The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.
“My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. “
I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 21, 2015 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, War Room | Tags: Academy Award, American Sniper, Autobiography, Box office, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Guns, Iraq, Navy SEAL, Photography, Rifle, Sniper, U.S. Military, U.S.A.
Chris Kyle – American Sniper
Posted: January 19, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: @janefonda, Academy Award, Box office, Bradley Cooper, Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, Hollywood, media, Military history of the United States, news, United States, United States Navy SEALs
“The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for. But you can’t calculate that.”
At The Corner, Brendan Bordelon writes:
Michael Moore called him a “coward.” Peter Mass of Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept slammed him for calling Iraqis “savages.” Former Daily Beast reporter Max Blumenthal described him as a “mass murderer” — a sentiment later echoed on a defaced billboard that’s advertising the most popular movie in America.
The American Left is frothing at the mouth over Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in American Sniper.
Murdered by a mentally ill veteran he was counseling in February 2013, Kyle is no longer here to defend himself. But a C-SPAN video from April 2012 does a pretty good job of putting the lie to the Left’s portrait of a remorseless sociopathic killer. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 24, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Breaking News, Entertainment, U.S. News | Tags: Christmas, Cinema, Google Play, Kim Jong-un, Lizzie Caplan, Microsoft, Movie Theaters, Movies, North Korea, Sony pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Interview, Wall Street Journal, YouTube
Sarene Leeds reports: Below (after the jump) is Sony’s completed Christmas Day release list as of this morning, but click here throughout the day for updates and for the theaters that plan to show “The Interview” starting Jan. 1.
And if you need a quick refresher on what this film is all about (North Korea, killing Kim Jong-un, bumbling journalists, Lizzy Caplan as a CIA agent – you know, harmless stuff), here are three teasers.
[Update: You can also watch “The Interview” online, starting today at 1 p.m. via YouTube Movies, Google Play, Microsoft Xbox, and at Sony’s site, seetheinterview.com. It will cost $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to purchase an HD version.]
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 6, 2017 Filed under: Breaking News, Foreign Policy, Global, History, Mediasphere, Terrorism, U.S. News, White House | Tags: 2016, Charles Krauthammer, CNN, Donald Trump, Fox News, Fuji News Network, Greg Gutfeld, Make America Great Again, Mika Brzezinski, President of the United States, Trump, Twitter, United States, United States presidential election, video
President Donald Trump spoke Thursday in Warsaw, Poland, on his second international trip as President. These are his full remarks with first lady Melania Trump, as transcribed by the White House.
MRS. TRUMP: Hello, Poland! Thank you very much. My husband and I have enjoyed visiting your beautiful country. I want to thank President and Mrs. Duda for the warm welcome and their generous hospitality. I had the opportunity to visit the Copernicus Science Centre today, and found it not only informative but thoughtful, its mission, which is to inspire people to observe, experiment, ask questions, and seek answers.
I can think of no better purpose for such a wonderful science center. Thank you to all who were involved in giving us the tour, especially the children who made it such a wonderful experience.
As many of you know, a main focus of my husband’s presidency is safety and security of the American people. I think all of us can agree people should be able to live their lives without fear, no matter what country they live in. That is my wish for all of us around the world. (Applause.)
Thank you again for this wonderful welcome to your very special country. Your kindness and gracious hospitality will not be forgotten. (Applause.)
And now it is my honor to introduce to you my husband, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. That’s so nice. The United States has many great diplomats, but there is truly no better ambassador for our country than our beautiful First Lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania. That was very nice. (Applause.)
We’ve come to your nation to deliver a very important message: America loves Poland, and America loves the Polish people. (Applause.) Thank you.
The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region, but Polish-Americans have also greatly enriched the United States, and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election. (Applause.)
It is a profound honor to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free. (Applause.)
President Duda and your wonderful First Lady, Agata, have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world. Thank you. (Applause.) My sincere — and I mean sincerely thank both of them. And to Prime Minister Syzdlo, a very special thanks also. (Applause.)
We are also pleased that former President Leck Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity Movement, has joined us today, also. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country. These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom, but also symbols of America’s commitment to your security and your place in a strong and democratic Europe.
We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British, and Romanian soldiers. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Great job.
President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the Three Seas Initiative. To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you. We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy. (Applause.)
Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the President of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic Three Seas Initiative. Thank you. (Applause.)
This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful. (Applause.) Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong. (Applause.)
For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks. But while Poland could be invaded and occupied, and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride. (Applause.)
So it is with true admiration that I can say today, that from the farms and villages of your countryside to the cathedrals and squares of your great cities, Poland lives, Poland prospers, and Poland prevails. (Applause.)
Despite every effort to transform you, oppress you, or destroy you, you endured and overcame. You are the proud nation of Copernicus — think of that — (applause) — Chopin, Saint John Paul II. Poland is a land of great heroes. (Applause.) And you are a people who know the true value of what you defend.
The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war.
For Americans, Poland has been a symbol of hope since the beginning of our nation. Polish heroes and American patriots fought side by side in our War of Independence and in many wars that followed. Our soldiers still serve together today in Afghanistan and Iraq, combatting the enemies of all civilization.
For America’s part, we have never given up on freedom and independence as the right and destiny of the Polish people, and we never, ever will. (Applause.)
Our two countries share a special bond forged by unique histories and national characters. It’s a fellowship that exists only among people who have fought and bled and died for freedom. (Applause.)
The signs of this friendship stand in our nation’s capital. Just steps from the White House, we’ve raised statues of men with names like Pułaski and Kościuszko. (Applause.) The same is true in Warsaw, where street signs carry the name of George Washington, and a monument stands to one of the world’s greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
And so I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization. (Applause.) The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never, ever forgotten who they are. (Applause)
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you so much. Such a great honor. This is a nation more than one thousand years old. Your borders were erased for more than a century and only restored just one century ago.
In 1920, in the Miracle of Vistula, Poland stopped the Soviet army bent on European conquest. (Applause.) Then, 19 years later in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That’s trouble. That’s tough.
Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people. A vibrant Jewish population — the largest in Europe — was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland’s Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.
In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: What great spirit. We salute your noble sacrifice and we pledge to always remember your fight for Poland and for freedom. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
This monument reminds us that more than 150,000 Poles died during that desperate struggle to overthrow oppression.
From the other side of the river, the Soviet armed forces stopped and waited. They watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed the city, viciously murdering men, women, and children. They tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.
But there is a courage and a strength deep in the Polish character that no one could destroy. The Polish martyr, Bishop Michael Kozal, said it well: “More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit.”
Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity — indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity. Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit. (Applause.) Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken. (Applause.)
And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. (Applause.) They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: “We Want God.” (Applause.)
In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future. They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.
As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history. Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out “We want God.” (Applause.)
Together, with Pope John Paul II, the Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God. And with that powerful declaration of who you are, you came to understand what to do and how to live. You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police, against a cruel and wicked system that impoverished your cities and your souls. And you won. Poland prevailed. Poland will always prevail. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. You were supported in that victory over communism by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny. Now, among the most committed members of the NATO Alliance, Poland has resumed its place as a leading nation of a Europe that is strong, whole, and free.
A strong Poland is a blessing to the nations of Europe, and they know that. A strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world. (Applause.) One hundred years after the entry of American forces into World War I, the transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever and maybe, in many ways, even stronger.
This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we’re in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life. You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are confronted by another oppressive ideology — one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe. America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We’re going to get it to stop. (Applause.)
During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have. While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.
Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests. To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields.
We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself. (Applause.)
Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger — one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people. The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.
Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. (Applause.) If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.
But just as our adversaries and enemies of the past learned here in Poland, we know that these forces, too, are doomed to fail if we want them to fail. And we do, indeed, want them to fail. (Applause.) They are doomed not only because our alliance is strong, our countries are resilient, and our power is unmatched. Through all of that, you have to say everything is true. Our adversaries, however, are doomed because we will never forget who we are. And if we don’t forget who are, we just can’t be beaten. Americans will never forget. The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.
We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.
We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. (Applause.)
We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves. (Applause.)
And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.
What we have, what we inherited from our — and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people — what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.
This great community of nations has something else in common: In every one of them, it is the people, not the powerful, who have always formed the foundation of freedom and the cornerstone of our defense. The people have been that foundation here in Poland — as they were right here in Warsaw — and they were the foundation from the very, very beginning in America.
Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values. We did not and we will not. We will never back down. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: As long as we know our history, we will know how to build our future. Americans know that a strong alliance of free, sovereign and independent nations is the best defense for our freedoms and for our interests. That is why my administration has demanded that all members of NATO finally meet their full and fair financial obligation.
As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO. In fact, people are shocked. But billions and billions of dollars more are coming in from countries that, in my opinion, would not have been paying so quickly.
To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment. (Applause.)
Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection — and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this — Europe must do more. Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure that future. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 25, 2017 Filed under: Cinema, Entertainment, Terrorism, War Room | Tags: 2015 Thalys train attack, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Alek Skarlatos, Clint Eastwood, François Hollande, Movies, President of France, Robotics, Spencer Stone, United States Air Force, United States Navy
Paul Miller writes: Mayor Clint Eastwood became famous playing fictional tough guys like Rowdy Yates and Dirty Harry. Lately, he’s achieved even greater fame as the director of films about real-life heroes — including Iraq vet Chris Kyle and pilot Sully Sullenberger.
Now, Eastwood is working on his next project, about three friends who stopped a terrorist attack two years ago on a train in France. One of them, a U.S. Air Force enlisted man named Spencer Stone, did something very few people have done and lived to tell about: Without a weapon or anything to defend himself, he charged a fanatical and heavily armed enemy, knocking him to the ground. And then he and his friends, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, disarmed the man and rendered him unconscious, saving dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent lives in the process.
“It was a very important event, because there were so many people on the train, and the guy had hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and he could have done a tremendous amount of damage,” Eastwood said. “And there’s no reason to think he wasn’t going to.”
At his office on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Eastwood is busy these days refining the shooting schedule, while his casting directors are choosing the actors, costumers are picking the outfits, and set designers are planning the shots — all routine tasks for a major Hollywood picture. But the film, “The 15:17 to Paris,” which Eastwood says will probably be released later this year, has a story that promises to be unprecedented in its heart-stopping impact, yet which carries a timeless message of people putting their lives on the line to protect others.
[Read the full story here, at The Carmel Pine Cone]
“My buddies and I were on a trip around Europe,” Stone told The Pine Cone this week from a family cabin at Lake Tahoe. He’d known the men — Sadler, a student at Sacramento State, and Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard — since their childhood in a Sacramento suburb. “Anthony and I started the trip in Rome, and then we went to Venice, Munich and Berlin. And then Alek, who was coming off a tour of duty in Afghanistan, joined us in Amsterdam.”
Their next destination was to be Paris, and on August 21, 2015, they boarded a high-speed train set to leave Amsterdam at 3:17 p.m. (15:17 on the 24-hour clock used in Europe) for the French capital. “As we boarded,” Stone said, “we noticed there didn’t seem to be any security — no metal detectors, no bag check. Nothing.”
But they didn’t think much about it, and the men — off duty and in civilian clothes — soon settled into their first class seats, had a meal and a little wine, checked the internet, and promptly went to sleep.
“We were always on the go, and for us, trains rides were a chance to take a nap,” Stone said.
A brief stop at the Gare Midi in Brussels woke them up — but for only a moment, Stone said. They had no idea a 25-year-old Moroccan man, Ayub El Ghazzani, had boarded in Brussels carrying a deadly backpack.
A man running and glass shattering
As the train hurtled through the European countryside, the three friends dozed, and the next thing Stone remembers was being awakened when a train crew member sprinted past him toward the front of the train. Taking off his noise-reducing headphones, Stone says he heard glass shatter behind him, and people gasping and screaming. Turning around to look in the direction of the noise, he saw El Ghazzani, shirtless and with a backpack attached to his chest, bend down at the end of the car and pick up an assault rifle.
“It was an AK-47, and he was trying to load a round, and I immediately knew he was a terrorist,” Stone said.
And this was no movie. Suddenly confronted with what was sure to be a life-or-death situation, the Air Force man hesitated for just a moment. Read the rest of this entry »