Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Current Events" Discussions

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

·        9am Monday September 25 at the North Shore Senior Center

·       7pm Wednesday October 4 at The Lodge

·       10am Thursday October 5 at the Northbrook Library

·        9:30am Wednesday October 11 at the JCC on Revere Drive

What's your take on Trump’s tough UN talk? "If forced we would totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission."  Would it be a "red line" ignored if Kim continues lobbing missiles and Trump takes no military action?  What military action doesn't put Seoul and thousands of American lives at risk?  Will more sanctions stop Kim from moving forward? What is Trump trying that Obama and Bush didn't try?

Will Trump walk away from the Iran Deal? What does America gain by ceasing inspections and allowing Iran to more easily develop nuclear capabilities?

Will Republicans finally repeal/replace Obamacare? Who would have the better talking points if the GOP plan passes, turning control over to the states?

Will Trump’s supporters turn on him if he doesn’t deliver more against Immigrants as he promised?  FYI: only 12% of Americans prefer deportation vs. "amnesty" alternatives.  High profile Conservative Media—Rush, Ann Coulter— is livid about "Amnesty Don".

How might Trump handle the fact that his base want a real Wall…and most Americans don’t?

Is Bernie Sanders leading the Democrats down a Liberal "rabbit hole"? How practical is "Medicare for ALL" without a fiscally responsible way to pay for it? How Liberal is America?

Do you agree with Hillary that "It was just a bad year for an Establishment candidate”? 

Why is there so much anti-Trump content in mainstream TV programs like late night talk shows and the Emmys? 91% of news reporting on Trump is negative. Who is at fault? New tweets: Kim is “Rocket Man” and hitting Hillary with a golf ball. Are high "negatives" driven more by his controversial tweets/actions? Or is reporting simply biased? Whose interests does it serve if it's biased?

What are your thoughts about the probable Manafort indictment? Is Bannon correct...that Trump's firing of Comey "was the greatest mistake in modern political history"? Is Trump right about Obama wiretapping him--at least, through Manafort?

Should Facebook have been allowed to sell advertising space to Russia on election issues?

Is it "White Supremacy" to focus on Minorities who are looting flooded homes?

Do you agree with Hillary that it's time to abolish the Electoral College?

What kind of shape is Illinois in compared with other states?

How far should Illinois go in trying to swing an Amazon Deal?

What kind of factor will Trump be for the 2018 Mid-Term Elections?

What are your thoughts regarding President Trump's Tax Reform ideas? How is he helping the Middle-Class voters who elected him...vs. Wall Street and The Rich? Does the dramatic increase in stocks help The Little Guy?

Is it a good idea that some cities are allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections?

Why is Trump generating an additional attack on immigrants? In the next six months, the Trump administration will weigh whether to extend the “temporary protected status” designation for several countries whose immigrants have lived in the United States for as long as 20 years -- with a decision to end that status potentially upending their lives. More than 440,000 are protected by the program.

How do you see the German election playing out?

Did a more race-based nationalistic America essentially create the Trump Presidency...not the other way around? Trump has played the race card since his birtherism days…and focused on ethnic nationalism in Phoenix (i.e., "they are trying to take our heritage away"). But is racism more ingrained in who we are as a nation than we are willing to admit? Were we already racist before Trump’s "birtherism"?  

Is Domestic Terrorism more deadly than Islamic Terrorism? In effect, both White Nationalists and Muslims harbor only a handful of evil killers whose actions taint much larger, peaceful groups. Yet in America since 9/11/2001 thru 2016, violent Far Right extremists killed 158 in 89 attacks...while Radical Jihadists killed 119 in 31 attacks. Yet we continue to focus on terrorism by foreigners…with zero funding, special legislation or executive orders to address domestic terrorism that is 100% American. In general, are America’s immigrants assimilating and becoming “American” vs. Europe where immigrants are treated as unwelcomed “outsiders”? 

Is 'Artificial Intelligence" a danger to us?  "Competition for A.I. superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3" Elon Musk says. The dire prediction was in response to Putin saying " the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world." 

How different is Trump’s “way forward” in the Middle East vs. Obama's basic strategy? He will not exit Afghanistan, and add more troops to help train and stabilize the country. Realistically, it's a war we can't win...but feel can we can't afford to lose. Without specifics, is this war now "open ended"? How fair is it to ask our soldiers to fight a war America doesn't support?  

Why is broadcast media moving so far Right? The Sinclair Broadcast Group is seeking approval from the FCC to purchase Tribune Media, making Sinclair one of the largest broadcast networks in America.  Sinclair requires stations to run selected programming--developed by a Conservative group to the Right of FOX. Is America more Conservative than Liberal, so such a move would be welcomed?

How do you feel about Automatic Voter Registration?  Example if you obtain a driver’s license, you are automatically registered to vote unless you opt out. Illinois' AVR law allows participating agencies to electronically transfer voter information to the State Board of Elections, creating a streamlined process to update voter rolls statewide.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great Ideas: " Zionism & Israeli History"

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

9:30am Wednesday September 27 at the JCC on Revere Drive

10am Thursday September 28 at the Northbrook Library

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

Slides for Northbrook Library - Israeli History: Post 1967 

September 28 at the Northbrook Library

Mark will continue to discuss the Yom Kippur War.

Slides for JCC - Israeli History: Zionism through 1967  

Wednesday September 27 at the JCC on Revere Drive - 9:30am

Mark will discuss early Zionist leaders.

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014


¨  Please silence your cell phone during our discussion

¨  Respect each 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 Thursday  
¨  “Israeli History” meets 2nd, 4th and 5th 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.