Next Column for Daily Times: The Centurions

The next column will be a bit controversial.  So be it. You will find it on the Friday page of my news organization.

Other news?

My city is entering a new phase regarding geopolitical Islam.

In the room. In the room with a few of the actors.

The first stage of jihad is based on a sense of being wronged:

Quran 22:39

“Permission to take up arms is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged and Allah, indeed, has power to help them.”

The aggrieved party has seen all lawsuits dismissed with sanctions.

On his Twitter feed this week:  “and your Lord does injustice to no one” in Arabic and English transliteration.

Things progress within an order of operations in Islam.  (Allah is the best of all planners)

I am grateful to be a part of this journey.  As a journalist it is important that I cover the stories that affect my city. This next phase, albeit a wedge maneuver between the first and second stages of jihad, is noteworthy.

 

 

 

Friday Commentary for Daily Times

Not sure if President Trump is channeling me or I am channeling him.  But he echoed a sentence which I used in the Friday commentary.  Here is his statement from his press briefing today:

“I am making this presentation directly to the American people.”

You can find my similar thought here

On a personal note, I believe the POTUS is correct when mentioning the hatred directed at him by CNN.  I no longer watch CNN because those who chair the desks show such intense hatred and they also populate their programs with like-minded individuals.

Increasingly, I merely turn to internet options to evaluate the news.

The Concierge of Glasnost

As a journalist with international standing I live a Spinx-like existence. Agree to an interview and I will offer a reasonable level of confidentiality. Given to a mercurial level of curiosity I will then report out pertinent thoughts. Contacts and networks are horded like grandmother’s heirlooms.

It is also a distinct pleasure to be an invitee to the White House. Since the inauguration I have been present for many meetings, seated with my computer a mere arm’s length from the President. Who would have thought that a woman who started a journalism career at Dallas Morning News could attain such stature? I was there when the President shook hands with military members at the Pentagon. I trotted over to the U.S. Central Command and listened to remarks offered to the ranking generals. After that, it was off to a meeting hosted at the White House with the National Sheriff’s Association. It was great to see the Rockwall County Sheriff. Beautiful Rockwall Lake is a short drive from my home.

Discreet cough. A small disclaimer is in order. The President would not spit on me were I on fire. This is my level of importance to the scheme of things. All meetings attended have been accomplished within the virtual domain. And virtual capabilities – the marvelous experience of living in a digital age – is the only truthful claim being made today. Luckily, you can also live this experience!

But let’s talk about this a bit. What does all of this mean? Because while journalism must adhere to basic rules of asking *who *what *when *where *how and *why, there is another question which requires consideration. Who benefits? Who benefits from any chain of events, a level of misfortune, infamy or praise? When penning our thoughts… who benefits? If Allah created the pen and told it to write the destiny of all mankind does my own pen elevate a political agenda, destroy a good man, or create a vortex of discussion? Does my pen stand on the shoulders of victims and make them a greater target or does it make me a target? Who benefits when a Presidential Twitter feed presents as the concierge of Glasnost?

As virtual invitees into truncated versions of White House meetings we are given the raw material for news. It is offered to us shortly before or after it makes it into the spin cycle of mainstream media. We imagine ourselves the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times. We are practically Thomas Friedman! These are heady days! At least that is the way it is affecting this journalist. But who benefits? Is it just me? Or is it the American people? If not the American people… whom?

Our President is running an effective program of hand torch populism. We are being admitted to the White House. Selective views of important national meetings are up for grabs. Light in hand, the President is giving us a peek of his administration and how it works. We are offered small-batch news. News with a target in mind. And the target is both the logic and sentimentality of the American people.

Social media platforms are working to give Donald J. Trump a competitive edge. This business model is a boomerang. The president wings the news right past the noses of dishonest media and then reclaims the product at home base. The giants of broadcast and print media have shown such vitriolic hatred for our political outsider president that it has become increasingly necessary to take the message directly to the electorate. I await the day. I await the moment when Mr. Trump pays his respect at a graveside and is accused of stealing the peace lilies just placed on sacred soil. Such is the level of foolishness proceeding from the mouths of fools.

The competition for ownership and distribution of information is a bit Robin Hood and populist in nature. The hero is robbing from the graphic rich, broadcast media rich and giving things directly to the poor – that is the poorly represented individual voter. There is a renewed sense of being a stakeholder in the Republic. If a sentence spoken by the President resonates in our heart it is because he captured our thought and put it on display. If he delivers a public counter punch against a detractor, the boxing gloves are also on our hands. We are the citizens of Nottingham and we have our folk hero.

Mainstream media have only themselves to blame for the Twitter antics of the concierge. The lop-sided reporting, the absolute unfairness and nasty tone can take a toll on the heartiest and strongest of souls. Perhaps what distresses most acutely is the total lack of respect for the office of the President. The authority is both positional and delegated. There is a reason why the seal of the office of the President of the United States displays an eagle. The powerful political flight and the soaring reach of the Commander-in-Chief are representative of the will of We the People. We chose this man. And we have the patience to allow this man to mature in his role.

But the media brats? They are functioning as scavenging birds of prey. They continue to nibble away on the dead meat of Leftist political defeat. Yet these vultures cannot touch the eagle. His office soars above them.

Leave the eagle alone and he will leave you alone. Insult him and he will be winging back your way. Manipulating “freedom of the press” as a scavenger hunt to serve up a daily helping of spoiled meat is having a boomerang effect against the press. Trump is taking his case directly to the people: Carefully crafted small-batch news that hits a bulls-eye.

Call it strengthening of the base; call it populism. Our Concierge of Glasnost is at work. The hand torch is firmly grasped. The mid-term elections will be the metric for success. Will more blue states become a chameleon red?

Cross Pollination of Thought from Infidel Blogger’s Alliance

This group of power bloggers from across the globe present a daily dose of pithy, and sometimes offensive (if you don’t believe in it…) posts.  They are also kind enough to put my journalism up in lights.  smile

Take a moment to read this recent post

As always, smiling regarding the vastness of  freedoms allowed in our nation.

Next Column – in the Queue

The Sound of Silence

Gathered at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to protest President Trump’s temporary ban which effects seven nations targeted for security considerations, the Muslims bowed in prayer. As the image came across the news wire I asked the usual questions: Who, what, when, where, how and why?

Led by activist Sheikh Omar Suleiman, the image is a poignant one. The prayer leader is well known. He is also the star “witness” in a BBC documentary, “The United States of Hate”. Since this is a documentary-by-video-clips, a documentary-by-sound-bites, I watched the production in increments of five minutes. This allowed for perusing a few facts.

Early on, Mr. Suleiman introduces us to a small group of protesters outside a mosque in Phoenix. Beyond the sidewalk in front of the mosque, is the sound of silence. Phoenix has 1.5 million who have not shown up for the protest. Citizens are walking the dog, watering their lawns and playing with their children. A beggarly handful at the mosque, the remainder enjoying this blessing called America.

The film gives accurate diagnosis for Omar Suleiman’s dilemma. “He sees Islamophobia everywhere.” Gee. Everywhere I look there is anticipation of a chocolate candy bar awaiting me. But then again, I am a simple woman.

Jesus accurately stated, “Seek and ye shall find.” And whilst he was not speaking of confirmation bias it does seem that if we seek the good in people it is to be found. If we seek out the bad it is also there. The question is one of our own orientation. In a quest to seek out the bad hombres, are we walking past columns of people waving and smiling at us? Sheikh Omar lets us know there is “a very systematic dehumanization of 1.8 billion people.” Oh really? Do tell.

Mr. Suleiman has a Facebook post regarding the documentary and notes (in part) “… it’s not all bad in Dallas….” So it begs the question. Why stir the pot? Jesus had another admonition and it involved taking the log out of the eye.

Walking into a Muslim home recently I was greeted with “We love you Tammy!” This love translates into the real message at hand: Did you bring us a treat? Of course I bring a treat for the children. And there is a scarf for grandma who always insists on a bit of new fashion. Silently, I move into the kitchen to taste the Egyptian beans bubbling on the stove. The hostess kisses me on both cheeks. We share our thoughts quietly. At times her laughter rings out and mine provides echo. But within the silent moments, an understanding of our acceptance of one another.

But then again, we are experiencing the recent protests regarding the “Muslim ban”. The noise of the few drowns out the silence of the majority.

CNN needs to just be done with it and change their name. They are the Protest National Network. They became a protestation against Donald Trump months ago and there is little let up in their tired and boring theme. Average Americans are now suffering from “protest fatigue”. The over usage of this freedom actually works against protesters. We are becoming ambivalent to the noise. It is like the nagging wife. Her opinion no longer counts.

We are looking beyond the cawing of the crows. And in Edgar Allen Poe fashion we peer toward the vacant eye-like windows of the White House and ponder what is going on. The sound of silence is at work. Perhaps the protests, the angry Presidential tweets are theatrical distraction. While we send up a shout policymakers are at work.

We are a Republic. It is law and cogent policies which steer the engine of our governance. The “Muslim ban” is not in any form or fashion punitive. It is administrative pause. President Trump had promised such an action until “we can figure out what the hell is going on”.

The administrative pause is an inconvenience. But it is not savage. Savagery is what happened at San Bernardino. It is an inconvenience. But it is not brutal. Brutality is what happened at the Pulse Club. It is an inconvenience. But those affected can live to fly another day. They are not like those who perished under the wheels of a lorry in Nice, France.

News coming off the wire today gives one (of what is undoubtedly several reasons) why the Sudan has made the list of the ignoble. When you have 22 British medical students who run off from their university studies in Khartoum to join ISIS – this is a problem. Having the title of M.D. does not make for a non-terrorist Muslim. Nidal Hasan taught us that little lesson. Faisal Shahzad reminded us that an MBA with a nice paycheck was hardly cheerful about Americans. He kept a barking dog on a heavy chain as his companion whilst he turned his Nissan Pathfinder into a lethal explosive device. Times Square came close to being a place where the life clock of many would quit ticking. The next Faisal Shahzad will figure out how to set the timer right. The Ambassador from Pakistan will be summoned to the White House, and… and… who knows?

Tonight I ate dinner at a favorite Mediterranean Grill. As I enjoyed dinner with a friend I glanced over to the far corner of the restaurant. Men were facing the Qiblah and bowed in prayer. My friend and I smiled. We were the foreigners present; foreigners present in a sea of hijab and prayer mats. But the food was delicious, the space is rented by Muslims, so who gives a rip? I am under their roof.

But those seeking to come here on visas and green cards? You want to come under our roof and it is a big one. My government has a right to keep the roof from collapsing, the foundations/borders secure, and Americans safe. Whatever it takes, my friends. Whatever it takes.

http://www.dallasnews.com/life/faith/2017/01/29/prayers-protests-dallas-faithful-react-trumps-immigration-orders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeIMD7EZHJo

( I am at the 23:45 time stamp sitting at the back (wearing black) and looking around stupidly. smile)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4193030/Medical-school-terror.html?ITO=1490

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/19/times-square-bomberhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4193030/Medical-school-terror.html?ITO=1490

 

United States of Hate

There is interest in my media market regarding my view on the Trump Executive Order for a temporary ban on visa entry from seven countries.

Today I will be watching the BBC Documentary “United States of Hate” as I have met at least one individual who appears in this film.

My next piece for Daily Times Pakistan will be titled “Sound of Silence”.

Behind the noise – America remains a remarkable place, a place of great peace.

Revenge of the Nerds

This will be on the Friday page of Daily Times Pakistan:

Revenge of the Nerds

If there is a film which accurately depicts what has just occurred in America’s political life it is the 1984 comedy classic, “Revenge of the Nerds”. To set the stage for my thoughts, let me bring readers up to speed on the basic plot:

Two loyal friends, nerds to the point of ridiculous, enroll at (fictional) Adams College to study computer science. They are housed in the freshman dorm with the Alpha Beta, a fraternity populated with football players of below average intelligence. One rather dense student manages to burn down the frat house. Fire and alcohol are never companionable. Suffering a bit from Dunning-Kruger syndrome, the leaders of Alpha Beta deny fraternity membership to the deserving pledges (Lewis Skolnick and Gilbert Lowe).

This established natural order of treating outsiders with disrespect finally comes to a head. The nerds set out bent on revenge. They report their grievances to the campus police. Unfortunately, the police are bound by the rules of the Greek Council. The nerds are denied adjudication of their misfortunes and realize the only way to effectively confront inaction and callous disregard is to gain a charter for national membership of a new fraternity. Scandalous schemes ensue. But by the end of the film it can be easy to fall in love with “the nerds”.

Art mimics life. And in this case, Washington has been accosted by tens of millions of voters named Skolnick and Lowe. We have dealt with the Washington fraternity. Our time is now and it is the revenge of the nerds!

Hillary Clinton regrets one thing. It is not the discovery of official emails on an unsecured server. It is not Benghazi. FBI Director Comey was not the cause of her downfall. She regrets the day she drew back her shoulders in sorority sister manner and declared that fifty percent of Trump supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables”. Mrs. Clinton forgot her lip zipper. She became an Alpha Beta. Her words created national wounding and wounded animals always howl. The excoriated barked loudly and we hatched our plans.

In glorious manner, the mighty-but-fallen inadvertently aided capitalism. Americans are entrepreneurial in spirit and Mrs. Clinton gave birth to a niche industry. Washington, D.C. hosted not one, not two, but a triad of “Deplorable” Inaugural Balls. The hotel industry is certainly happy about this fortunate turn of events. The nerds can dress up like the Washington elite and raise a glass of cheer. The hotels gain a bit of pocket change.

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. Another group of nerds descended upon the nation’s Capitol for the festivities. A well-known Christian PAC hosted the Faith, Freedom and Future Inaugural Ball. A mega church minister from my region was in attendance. Checking out his Facebook and Twitter feed show image after image. Look at me! Here I am with Donald J. Trump, Jr. Look at me! Here I am with my good buddy Eric! Look at me! Here I am with…. Trotting over to Donald Jr. and Eric’s Twitter feeds I noted in somewhat satisfactory manner that neither of Trump’s sons had posted “Look at me” photos with the pastor in question. One other thing bothered me on small scale. One image showed a minister “praying over” Mike Pence. Faith is not the overlord of governance nor should it ever become the norm. All should pray FOR our elected officials. But in the ranking system of governance we are the clay feet and not the head and shoulders. We are always beneath and never the command center.

Intermezzo:

On January 20th I took a moment to call a dear friend who was performing at the Veterans Inaugural Ball. An anticipated 34 of the 76 living Medal of Honor would be present. As a man who has been awarded the Purple Heart and a Silver Star, how was he holding up? Having flown into Washington for one of his earlier performances at the Kennedy Center, I knew he would do just fine. But I was unsure of how deeply felt his emotions at being afforded this great privilege. This group were categorically not “nerds” but they were welcoming in a new Commander-in-Chief. And they remain part of a deeply honored few.

Anti-jihad bloggers are feeling a bit of vindication regarding their sites. I just received an envelope full of stickers from a woman with whom many in the press corps shared a unique experience. We had our evening turned upside down when two terrorists showed up at the “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas. The men shot a police officer when trying to access our perimeter and subsequently died in a blaze of gunfire. The rest of my evening was spent talking to reporters from Fox News, CNN, Daily Beast, etc., as we sat in our designated hardened area surrounded by serious fire power. Our hostess merited more of a panic room. After being ferried to a secondary site via convoy and filling out an FBI affidavit, we were unceremoniously told we needed to arrange for transportation home. I shared a cab with the official photographer and my debit card recorded a one hundred dollar transaction at one a.m. I count myself lucky to be alive today. And yeah, I can understand on small scale this particular revenge scenario. Send me a few stickers to remind me of the surreal event which happened on May 3, 2015. Charlie Hebdo lives in me.

So what is another group of nerds who are standing about with unhinged jaws over the surprising ascendancy of Mr. Trump? It is those of us who populate the blogosphere with our thoughtful, and at times, incendiary remarks. This is a great time to blog and there is almost too much to keep up with but we are certainly having fun. It is the revenge of the nerds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenge_of_the_Nerds

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/wp/2017/01/11/there-are-plenty-of-inaugural-balls-to-go-with-those-great-dresses-for-trumps-inauguration/?utm_term=.09efb7a2d344

http://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/at-veterans-inaugural-ball-focus-was-on-34-medal-of-honor-recipients-1.450280#gallery

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVpnUHGpFDk