Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Current Events" Discussions

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

·        9am Monday April 23 at the North Shore Senior Center 

·        9:30am Wednesday May 2 at the JCC on Revere Drive

·        7:15pm Wednesday, May 2 at The Lodge

·        10am Thursday May 3 at the Northbrook Library

North Korea will suspend tests and close one site. What are they looking for in exchange? Are we at this point because they have achieved their goal of nuclear capability? Did Trump's insults work? Is China mostly in control?

What are the pluses/minuses if the Administration trashes the Iran Deal?

Who is "ahead" in the Comey vs. Trump war? Which side was helped more by the release of Comey's letters? What issues important to our country are coming forward with the Stormy, Trump, Cohen, Hannity “circus”? Or is this just titillating, but not substantively important?

Is President Trump's Presidency changing America? Or did a changing America result in Trump's Presidency?

Should we judge Trump more on his policies without looking at his behavior?  What's a more serious problem: Trump's un-presidential behavior?  Or Media's incessant focus on his behavior vs. giving greater attention to "more important things"?  Who is in a better position to control this?  

How important today is the issue of Russia's involvement in our elections, regardless of what happened in the past?

How serious an issue is Illegal Immigration as a negative/positive affect on our security and our economy?

What changes might lead to greater cooperation between both Parties in seeking Congressional compromises on big issues?

The Democratic National Committee filed suit against Trump's Presidential campaign, the Russian government and WikiLeaks for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to damage the Democratic Party during the 2016 race, seeking millions in damages. Your thoughts.

Many senior citizens insist than the entitlements for Social Security and Medicare should “never be touched”. Both of these programs are over-whelming all other spending in the federal budget, including the military. Is it selfish to demand what we believe we are “entitled to” even though the US may not be able to borrow enough money to keep these promises to our children and/or grandchildren?

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said America would impose more sanctions on Russia in response to Syria. The White House then said there are no new sanctions...and Haley "was confused". Haley: "I don't get confused".  What does this episode underscore? How big a factor might Haley be for the 2020 GOP ticket?

How effective was the 4/20 Student Walk Out in our area?

Will President Trump receive wide support from Republicans for 2020 reelection? How does this question affect the 2018 Mid-Term Election?

Let’s say two white women are seated at Starbucks, having made no purchase, and one wants to use the bathroom. What are the chances the manager calls the police, charging them with trespassing? Are the “Black Lives Matter” supporters over-reacting and generating a back-lash? Could it be a set-up job? Or is this just one more unfortunate discriminatory “black-lash”?

Any chance Gorsuch is not Hard Right? The Supreme Court ruled that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes is too vague to be enforced. In a 5-4 decision Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the four liberal justices in handing a significant loss to Trump, who wanted stricter enforcement of immigration law. Your thoughts.

Is Pot a budding market for Seniors? Many Seniors who smoked back in the day gave it up, partially because they feared legal consequences. But legalization, as well as pot strains bred for “consistent and repeatable effects” means oldsters are now less hesitant to try cannabis.

Your thoughts regarding Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's hearing with Congress.

How serious are we about a Trade War with China? Larry Kudlow suggests it's really not going to happen. The President blames Obama for trade problems...and says "farmers are patriots, and will be helped in the long run". How? Kudlow says we're not engaged in a trade war. Mnuchin says we are. How does this play out?

Trump now says he is open to revisiting TPP.  Your thoughts.

The EPA has basically gut Obama's emission standards for autos. Automakers are happy. Your thoughts.

Deep State? According to a Monmouth Poll, 8-in-10 believe the U.S. government monitors or spies on the activities of American citizens, including a majority (53%) who say this activity is widespread. 74% feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a “Deep State” of unelected government officials. There are no substantial partisan differences in these results. Which Party is helped the most by these findings?

The Administration has placed a ban on most Transgender troops. Your thoughts.

New Medicare cards are mailing to us beginning in April on a “rolling basis”. You don't need to request itWatch for a SCAM! Somebody from "MEDICARE " calls to say you are getting a new card. But until it comes you need a “temporary card” that costs $5-50 dollars. Then they get your personal info, bank account or credit card so they can “process things”. Don’t fall for it!

What are the pluses of having a big Military Parade on Veterans’ Day?

Stock holders are thrilled with The Market since Trump's election. Have our children and grand-kids enjoyed a similar significant increase in pay since the tax cuts? The GOP feels tax cuts will drive major support for Republicans in November.  Will they?

Europe is going more “nationalistic”, with Italy being the latest.  How does this affect us?

Sessions says the DOJ will no longer follow Obama's directive to not pursue federal charges where states have authorized recreational marijuana. Your thoughts.

How does America's independence from Mid-East oil affect our foreign policy?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great Ideas: " Zionism & Israeli History"

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

10am Thursday April 25 at the Northbrook Library
Reviewing events leading to the road to Camp David

9:30am Wednesday April 24 at the JCC on Revere Drive
We will discuss early Zionist leaders

Links below allow you to review slides we show and discuss at each session.

Zionism/Israeli History through 1967  

Below is a list of books mentioned during our sessions:

· "The Arab-Israeli Wars" by Chaim Herzog
· "Kissinger and the Yom Kippur War" by David Morse
· "The Making of Modern Israel 1948-1967" by Leslie Stein
· "Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict" by Charles D. Smith
· “The Iron Wall: Israel & The Arab World” by Avi Shlaim
· “Transformative Justice: Israeli Identity on Trial” by Leora Bilsky
· "Six Days of War : June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East" by Michael Oren
· “The Secret War Against The Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People” by John Loftus and Mark Aarons
· “A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel” by Allis Radosh and Ronald Rados
· "Truman" by David McCullough
· “Louis D. Brandeis: A Life” by Melvin Urofsky
· “The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership” by Yehuda Avner
· “George C. Marshall” by Forest Pogue (a 4 volume work- the most definitive biography)
· “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War” by Benny Morris
· “Woodrow Wilson: A Biography” by John Milton Cooper, Jr
· “A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East” by David Fromkin
· "Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews": A History by James Carroll
· “In the Garden of the Beasts” by Erik Larson
· “My Promised Land - The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel” by Ari Shavit
· "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" by Samantha Power
· "The Physician" by Noah Gordon
· "Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel's Economic Miracle" by Dan Senor and Saul Singer
· "Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil" by Hannah Arendt
· "The Eichmann Trial" by Deborah Lipstadt
· "The House on Garibaldi Street" by Isser Harrel
· "Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices" by Mosab Hassan Yousef
· “Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of A Mass Murder” by Bettina Stangneth
· "Jaffa Beach" by Fedora Horowitz
· "Operation Thunderbolt:  Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the most Audacious Hostage Rescue in History", by Saul David
· "Abba Eban", A Biography by Asaf Siniver
· "Jerusalem: The Biography" by Simon Sebag Montefiore
· "The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine" by Ben Ehrenreich
· "Jabotinsky" by Hillel Halkin
· "Doomed to Succeed: The U.S. Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama" by Dennis Ross 
· "The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel" by Uri-Bar Joseph
· "FDR and the Jews" by Richard Breitman
· "No Ordinary Time" by Doris Kearns Goodwin
· "Remember the Liberty!:Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas" by Phillip F Nelson, Ronald G. Kukal, Ernest A. Gallo 

· "Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn" by Daniel Gordis
· "Every Spy a Prince" The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community by Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman

Thursday, March 6, 2014


¨  Please silence your cell phone during our discussion

¨  Respect person speaking—please no side conversations

¨  If you’re not called upon by name, tell us your first name
¨  “Current Events” meets 1st and 3rd and 5th  Thursday  

¨  “Israeli History” meets 2nd and 4th Thursday 

¨   Pick up a Handout with our web address

¨  Visit our website for more information about discussions:¡   Current Events topics updated regularly
¡   suggested readings for Israeli History 
¡   current Israeli History discussion topic
¡   copies of the Israeli History slides – pdf format 
¡   Other locations and times Ron and Mark lead discussions

"Current Events" and "Great Ideas" meet at the Northbrook Library

We meet in Pollak Rooms A & B--with a capacity of 90-100 people.  You can bring in covered cups, mugs, etc. with coffee. Food is not allowed. There are vending machines in the lobby area right outside the Pollak Room if you wish to purchase a beverage. The library will not be providing coffee.