Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Triad - Russia, China and Iran: Why it matters.

The Triad, what is it and do we need to be concerned? ( a reprint from spring of 2008)

I have been against the war in Iraq, I have questioned Bush’s and our Bi-partisan congress’ motives, I have pondered the significance of our being there, and until recently I have thought it was a big mistake.  A great part of me still does.  But, recently I have been looking deeper into the global reality of the Iraqi conflict and what it really means.  It means we need to limit the power and control of the Middle East.  It means we need to be present in an area that is unstable.  It means we need to better understand the threat to the East and to the North of Iraq. We do need to be mindful of the past 40 years of unrest in Iraq, Iran and Israel and that relationship as it does indeed affect the entire world.
Recently Senator McCain was asked about the Iraqi conflict during an interview with George Stephanopolous, and my major criticism in his response is this: When he was asked about concern over political and financial growth in Russia and what does it mean to the United States and the rest of the world I was saddened that he only mentioned concern over Putin.  That when he was asked simultaneously about Iran he only mentioned Russia and the instability in Iran, what I wanted him to say was that he was concerned about the Triad between Russia, Iran and China, that he would include in the conversation regarding Putin’s hand choosing of Medvedev that he would discuss Hu Jintao and Medvedev’s alliance against the placement of missiles on the Eastern front to protect European nations against Iran.  Bottom line is this, and I encourage you to read on regarding my rationale on this topic.  Bottom line: Who is contributing to the buildup in Russia?  Who is strengthening Russia economically, politically?  Who is contributing to Iran’s nuclear growth and military provision? It is not solely Russia and Iran helping the other, there is a third party, a large third party, a communist third party.
Is Russia gearing up for a fight? Is it just acting as the eastern world’s scarecrow?  Why would Russia seek to act the scarecrow for Iran?  What is the overall purpose of a military buildup and by what financial means is a recently struggling country able to build up a military strength?
Russia is the stopgap between the Western world and China. In order to measure the importance of Russia and its role as either scarecrow or legitimate bully, we must identify what entity is fueling its ability to stand up against the United States in either role. Are the recent investments by Russian billionaires’ (and continued investment) in the rich real estate of Colorado and the recent discussion of drilling for shale oil in the rich terrain of Colorado a coincidence?
Let’s look at Russia from a logistic, strategic point of reference.  It is the provider of a logistic landmass that can protect China by land access as well a provider of the necessary nuclear commodities for Iran.  Example: Russia supplies nuclear materials to Iran, Iran supplies oil (and is a leading energy source) to China, China supplies financial support to Russia, Russia builds up as a “junior power” under China, Iran becomes the dominant power in the Middle East, and China continues to consume the world’s energy resources while it continues to build up economically to become the world’s superpower. (And now there is the pipelines supplying natural gas from Syria to Iran and the Leviathan oil basin with 10% of the world's fossil fuel)
The evidence that identifies a Triad in the East including Russian, China and Iran has grown in significance.  As the United States continues to trade and enable an emergence of a capitalistic mind-set for the purpose of economic growth for a few key United States investors, we begin to see an emergence of a middle class in China and India.  This consumerism extends to the excessive need for precious metals and raw materials found in Russia and Africa.  In order to put these materials into development an excessive amount of energy is necessary to do so.  The triad of Russia, China and Iran is all a part of the “bigger” plan.  That “bigger” plan is to unseat the United States, disabling it and creating an AXIS that can shut down the US. What does Capitalism look like minus democracy?
The United States as a global infant is experiencing what many believe caused the fall of Rome…a disproportionate cost to fuel ratio through "synchronous failure." (Thomas Homer-Dixon, The Upside of Down)
Not long ago Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met to denounce jointly the US missile shield. This concerns me, as I am confused as to the mixed messages that China is sending the United States.  China wants US citizen’s investment capital, US financial support and recent philanthropic support following the earthquake, but yet if feels as though we are a military threat.  Russia fears our involvement in and around them logistically, all the while supporting the build-up in both China and Iran.  How can we as a nation befriend and support China, at the same time that China is intimately involved with Russia and Iran?
As for this writer, I believe that Russia’s threat should be taken seriously as it has the support of its neighbors.  It is clear that there cannot be a separation between Russia, Iran and China.  Whether it is scarecrow tactics or straight on bullying, it should not be ignored.
What does it mean in relationship to the “end?” Well, the end will first be a systematic end to a few, then the many, then an end to all.  Like dominoes there will be a starting point and then an “end” point.  As China consumes mass quantities of the world’s energy resources, financially builds up Russia to the point that they are flexing military muscle and financially enables Iran to rely solely on Russia and China for its continued strengthening in the Middle East we must identify the strongest point of the Axis.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Have We Lost Our Minds? Trump, The Media and Manipulation

"If you tell a lie often enough it becomes accepted as truth." Goebbels

Over the past two days I have spent a great deal of time listening, reading and discussing our current Presidential primary campaign. It has become a feeding frenzy. There has been an intensive discussion about the silent majority and a rise in the social activist’s voice. Discussions about violations of the 1st Amendment have been misrepresented and overstated. Just who was silenced at the Trump rally in Chicago? Not the protesters. They were heard loud and clear and they had their chance to impact the populous. But, why were they so angry? Why are they so angry with Trump and his supporters? They got what they came for. However those who came to hear Trump were silenced, right?

Increasingly there has been a movement away from discussing issues and the problems that continue to plague America and sadly, there are many. Obama’s trying to convince Americans that things are better now than when he first ran for president in 08’ is a stretch and being sarcastic and flip about it does not provide comfort to the millions who are disenfranchised. 

Anger erupts when one group’s voice becomes louder than another’s. When one group’s fears are ignored and others are elevated then we lose our sense of reason. People are hurting. The media and special interest groups spin tales, tell lies, and perpetrate hate in very subversive ways. They intentionally protect and cover up facts in stories.  The disparaging rhetoric that is coming from Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Trump, Sanders and Clinton is all very real, it is wrong. The attempt to politicize via political correctness is damaging the psyche of the American people. On both sides of the aisle there are victimizers and they are telling the victims that the way they feel is wrong. “You are not being abused, you need to go give Uncle Willie a hug – just ignore him while he molests you.”

While Trump is openly speaking and sharing with the world the fears, concerns and giving a voice to the (like it or not) people who have been speaking to him for the past 14 years, other cowards are using PC to paint a picture that is in keeping with the “dialogue of the times.” Truth is he is listening. He saw firsthand the destruction of 911. He saw the city that he was deeply entrenched in rebuilt. It is no accident that the debt that we currently have is close to matching that of what it cost to rebuild the US after 911. That is why even though I do not approve of Obama I do not blame him exclusively for the 19 trillion dollar debt.

What bothered me in a huge way are the talking points that were restated over and over and over again. It is as if the media gave the candidates all the same exact things to say. When interviewing Mr. Trump the same comments were stated over and over again. Regardless of what Trump said they spoke over him and refused to listen to anything he actually was saying. I won’t attempt to defend Trump because you the reader will immediately stop reading, label me a hater and accuse me of being complicit in…what exactly I am not sure. Needless to say this is the chaos that the Democratic Party lives for. It fits perfectly into their agenda and into the groups that they are pandering to in order to maintain control over Washington. I really wish I could believe that it is about my well-being and that of my grandchildren. But, it isn’t.

It is about Hillary Clinton keeping us from focusing on her long litany of inappropriate action. It is about Sanders keeping us from focusing in on his vitriolic commentary against anything that smells like capitalism. For Cruz, Rubio and Kasich, they are scrambling for anything that they can possible grab so as to shut down their opponent. Cruz has been one of the most outspoken bigots in the race but as long as he plays the Trump card he could possibly be the golden boy. Rubio can play his cards in a way that suggests that he is experienced enough, compassionate enough and capable of rising if not this election cycle than one in the future. Kasich he is equally riding the Trump wave so as to garner at least some sort of win so as to not feel completely defeated. The other candidates such as Christie and Carson have tried in their own campaigns to discuss what the majority of Americans have been saying but have been shouted over. Imagine every time you open your mouth to speak that you are immediately denounced as being a bigot, racist and/or hater.

Sanders began his campaign by talking about the economic injustice and rightly so. Hillary, we aren’t sure what she is focusing on other than she wants to be the first female president. That isn’t enough to run on, so she is doing what HRC does best. Hide and cover. Sanders rather than attacking his actual opponent, HRC is choosing to deflect away from the sins of the party and perpetrate exaggerations of reality in order eke out a win.

While I agree that Trump has said some really ignorant comments at his rallies, the reality behind his comments should not be ignored. We are seeing a whole new generation lost and confused. Rather than blaming themselves or their parents for their failures they are blaming the generations before them. Rather than looking deep into their own neighborhoods and identifying the wrong and how they have given in as consumers to the hate, disenfranchisement via social networks, failed economy and loss of the American values that kept us on the straight and narrow for the past century they are actually ignorant to the social history of our nation. Intentionally the Sanders and Clintons of the world are manipulating the youth into a mindset that could quite possibly result in a new modern-day witch trials. Where has Clinton and Sanders been for the past 20 years as we watched student debt grow to an out of control level? Where were they when they watched Wall Street become a monster? Where have they been as they watched regular saving’s accounts go from 5.75% return on savings to .01%? Where were you Sanders and Clinton?

It is a sad reality when you wake up and realize that those who do not believe exclusively as they do are in fact being silenced with intimidation, harassment and threats.

I saw a seasoned Black woman chastising a young Black man on a video that surfaced as a Trump rally. She was screaming in his face to wake up, wake up, and wake up! He was merely saying that he doesn’t understand who the protesters can be saying that Black America is still enslaved. He said that he is college educated, his parents both obtained their Master degrees in the 70’s and the more he tried to talk the louder she got. From there the feeding frenzy began. No one was listening to his discourse, or his understanding of the world. He wanted to tell them to look beyond their understanding all they cared about was that they shut him up. They only wanted him to know he was wrong. How can he be wrong if it is his understanding of his world? While they were shouting in his face that he is wrong, all he wanted to do was to explain his side of the argument. For anyone to immediately call you ignorant because you do not agree is inane and counter-productive. I truly felt the young man’s frustration.

So, instead of continuing the feeding frenzy here is my suggestion:
 • Hillary let’s talk about those damned emails and while we are at it the immense discrepancies in your time as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the US, and most recently your abysmal job as a Secretary of State. Or should we call it a pat on the head and place holder because you acquiesced to your boss?
 • Sanders, let’s focus on how you intend to make this nation a fair and just economic one. Tell us how you intend to protect us from enemies, bolster up a military, pay off our 19 trillion dollar debt and provide an economic social structure that is fair for all. 
• Cruz, how about you focus on your anti-gay rhetoric and tell us what you really intend to do with making America moral.
 • Kasich, you have great ideas but I don’t see how you intend to pull off all that you wish to. Focus on you and ask what can you bring to the next administration should you not get elected. Standing in the sidelines and suddenly pouncing when you see an opening is not good leadership it is very weasel like and unbecoming. (I think people call that passive-aggressive)
 • Rubio, you are in over your head. You start the bullying and like Kasich engage in passive-aggressive behavior so that you can get a piece of the big guy. It reminds me of the cartoon where the little dog suddenly grabs ahold of the tail of a big dog and refuses to let go all the while the big dog is just enjoying the game of chase. Go home, raise your kids, impact your state and come back when you are ready to be a leader.
 • Trump, you have the attention of your voters. While I do not believe you should stop telling your truths and what you have observed as an international businessman I do believe you might just be what this nation needs at this time.

I am not sure that you can move away from your commentaries, as truthful as you may believe them to be any more than John Lennon could ever move away from his innocent comment about Jesus Christ. Yes, today that comment still haunts his legacy despite the truthful reality of such and his attempt to explain his rationale. You see the DJ who got kids to file into the streets and burn their records used the same tactics that the media, the Trump opponents, BLM, Moveon, and every other activist group is using – hype, hyperbole. Trump it is just like what you have done over the past 30 years in an attempt to become famous (successfully so);they are all vying for their 15 minutes of fame.

In the immortal words of Tupac Shakur “Don't believe everything you hear: Real eyes, Realize, Real lies”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Family ~ Friends and Thanksgiving!

We redecorated our living room this past week and there is one thing we didn't change and that is the horrible air intake at eye level in one of the main walls of the house. It is on the wall that divides the living room and the dining room. UGH! Needless to say we searched high and low for something that would work as both an air intake vent and a decoration. After much searching I saw something that said "Family." A voice inside of me said, "let Steve find Family - he will." I second guessed the voice and began to design something else. Suddenly Steve came walking up with a sign that said, "Family" I was so shocked I couldn't even react. At first he thought I didn't like it but, in actuality I loved it. The voice was right!

Today Steve hung the wall decor and it was then that I saw it - "ami"; "friend" right smack dab in the middle of the word family. On one side of the wall it is clearly "Family" but on the other side through the intake space were the highlighted letters "a" "m" and "i." "Ami" - french for friend. So, two French names come together - Rapier, Champagne and Ami.

When I first met Steve all I really wanted was a friend. Someone to walk with, talk with, sing with, enjoy the world with. Never did I imagine that the day would come when he would identify me as family or I call him family. I thought it took a marriage license and a ring to mean family. Family is what you make of it and so are friendships. But, when you can have both family and friends in one relationship then you are indeed a blessed individual! I look at my family members as friends and there are some very special friends who are indeed my family.

Happy Thanksgiving! Again, have fun and just look at in how many languages friend is in the center of family. God Bless!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Walk In My Shoes = Empathy

There is an old wisdom that paraphrased says: “You cannot really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

What this hearkens to is empathy. What is difficult about empathy, compassion, etc., is that it is in the end a two way street. If at anytime you believe your shoes are more important than anyone else's, that is when there is a breach in the empathetic circle of understanding. That is when their is chaos. That is when their is a break. That is when people's understanding of the world changes. To continue to assume that one's path is more difficult than another's, is to abandon empathy and move towards a conditional expectation, and a feeling of failure.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Meet Me At the Beijing International Book Fair!

I am so excited that my book "Flower and Stone: An essay on life" will be one of the many amazing books and authors that will be present at the Beijing International Book Fair.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michigan City Lake a poem by Mary E.

An original poem by Mary E. Rapier
a memory

In bright golden afternoon sun
I laid my wearies down
Imagined that I could run
and jump and be
as 5 or 6 again
No time to feel the pain of growing older
No time, but now to feel
the presence
of time as it ticks, ticks, ticks
nothing but splashes
of love and laughter
Dancing sunsets upon the waves
hands firmly clutching as if to say
please, don’t let go, never go away
dune scapes scaling,
dragon flies darting
mountain climbers climbing,
reaching up to
brand new heights, towering above
soaring, gliding like a dove
as the ruby red sun sets
and disappears,
but never lets
the world grow colder
so it, as my love goes.
As the circle ever grows
And now the room is empty
and summer silence falls
in golden streams upon my walls
I seek to make sense of it all
by capturing wordscapes of
water color landscapes held by
magnets firmly to my heart
reminding me that never
are we completely apart
as tears slowly trace the place
where only hours before
sweet angel kisses
touched my face.

watercolor pastel by 6 year old Bella

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Returning Me to Me

Returning Me to Me, a poem by Mary E. Rapier 
I’m returning back to me, 
the same ole girl I use to know, 
The one I used to be, 

not much has really changed 
it is just the last step in letting you go 

letting you know 
that you never earned 
the right to share a name 
letting go of the pain 
the pain 
the pain 
a name is a name 
and labels seek to define 
no more losing, no more 
wasting my time 
we aren’t connected, 
we never really were, 
the children that my womb bore 
are mere cellular connections 
and nothing more, 
 mine to determine, 
mine to share, 
mine to grieve, 
 I am returning back to me, 
 the same ole girl 
I used to know, 
the one I used to be 
not much has really changed 
Just the last step in letting you go, 
letting you know that 
you never had what you never cared 
for you are not my kin, 
not my birthright 
not my home, 
my sister said it, 
I am she, 
I’m returning back to me 
and taking back my dignity, 
all you stole from me, 
taking me down off the shelf, 
reclaiming familial place. 
No worries, 
the same My face, 
No longer a stepchild 
in a borrowed world 
in foreign terrain, 
letting go of the pain, 
the pain, 
the pain 
you’re so disconnected 
from my reality. 
I’m returning me to me, 
finally this hummingbird 
is free.