Monday, August 31, 2015

"Current Events" discussion for Thursday, September 3 in the Northbrook Library Pollak Room

Nativism or Nationalism—i.e., “America for established Americans” and “We were great, and we no longer are”—is driving Trump’s support. This “silent majority” is primarily angry White, Conservative Males “mad as hell, and can’t take it any more”. Can Trump win the nomination with this kind of support?

Can Republicans win the White House by growing the White Male base to offset perceived losses of many Hispanics, Blacks, and Women?

“Outsiders”—Trump, Carson, Fiorina—lead the GOP race.  “Establishment” candidates are in single digits. To what degree have Republicans nurtured such an anti-government attitude in their Party that no establishment candidate can be nominated?

If neither Trump, Carson nor Fiorina are nominated, which candidate, in either Party, has the best chance of capturing this “anti-government” voter?

Most Americans believe Trump can’t win a General Election. How can Republicans "take down" Trump so he isn't nominated? Or can't they?

What is happening with Jeb Bush’s run for the White House?

If no Republican candidate becomes a clear front- runner, what are the chances that Mitt Romney will enter the race? If he is nominated, how might he measure up against Hillary?

Hillary is perceived as a "liar" by Americans. Many just don't like her. How much at risk is she of losing the nomination? Is she still the Democrats best hope?

Republicans, and others including many Media channels, continue to hammer Hillary about her treatment of emails. Yet the average American doesn't seem interested--similar to the on-going flap on Benghazi.  Is Hillary's email issue hurting Republicans as much as it is hurting her? Where is "emailgate" going?

Bernie continues to draw big crowds and rising in polls.  How much do Democrats believe a Socialist can be nominated and win the White House?

How strong a force against Hillary would Biden be if he runs?

Is the "Black Lives Matter" movement hurting Black communities by creating a climate where law enforcement is less effective where it's needed the most?

Immigration issues are as much an issue in Europe as they are here.  How are they the same/different?

So how do you feel about Mt. McKinley becoming Denali?

Jorge Ramos, Univision anchor, confronted Trump at his press conference. Who was more out of line--Ramos in how he interrupted the conference, or Trump's treatment of Ramos?

Several presidential candidates are offering plans to make college more affordable.  But is a college degree still "worth it" for most high school grads?

Hillary compared Republican treatment of women with "terrorists". Is such a comparison grossly over the top and will hurt her campaign...or on target?

Are NY Mayor Bill DeBlasio's liberal policies failing?

Jeb Bush says Obama and Hillary have created the turmoil in the Middle East because they exited Iraq too soon and created the vacuum filled in by ISIS. How do you see this argument resonating with voters?

America did drop an atomic bomb. Can you envision any other country using nuclear weapons again?

Which candidate in either Party do you feel could best handle a military crisis?

What are your thoughts about Rubio's and Walker's "no exceptions" stand on abortion?

Support is growing for the repeal of the Nixon era ban on crude oil exports now that prices are down and creating layoffs in the oil sector. There is opposition from the Green Lobby, which does not want any incentives for more domestic drilling. Is this a good enough reason to not export our excess crude?

Gov. Christie would change Social Security and Medicare: raise the retirement age by two years over the next 25 years to improve Social Security’s balance sheet; trim Social Security benefits for the ultrawealthy; and raise the Medicare eligibility age and premiums for wealthy retirees. Your thoughts.

America is becoming less religious. Are we becoming less moral?

Your thoughts regarding a 10% sales tax in Cook County.

Should the GOP agree with the President and pass a minimum wage of $10 an hour and let the states/cities, if they want, increase it more? Would that take the item off the table for the election?

President Obama will impose steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants across the country than previously expected, in what the president called the most significant step the U.S. has ever taken to fight global warming. Can we afford to do this?

What do you make of Turkey's actions vs. ISIS?

Sen. Rubio suggests we use the American military to protect economic interests. Rubio argues that the U.S. should use its military might to protect the global economy as much as its own national security. “As president, I will use American power to oppose any violations of international waters, airspace, cyberspace, or outer space.” Is that a use of American power for the global good?

Clinton proposes $175 billion in grants go to states that guarantee that students would not have to take out loans to cover tuition at four-year public colleges and universities. In return for the money, states would have to end budget cuts to increase spending over time on higher education, while also working to slow the growth of tuition, though the plan does not require states to cap it. Your thoughts.

Hillary Clinton suggests changing capital-gains taxes to spur more long-term investments. She proposes raising capital-gains taxes for investments held by highest earners for less than two years, and lowering them over time, to encourage long-term investing by both shareholders and corporations. And she would take regulatory steps to reduce the impact of activist investors seeking quick gains. Good idea?

Perry suggests that banks again be required to separate commercial lending and investment banking. Did the elimination of the traditional wall between banks’traditional lending and their investment of money on their own behalf invite risky behavior that, if it didn’t cause the financial collapse in 2008, at least made it worse? Perry seems to think so. Perry would reimpose legal separation, or make large banks hold a bigger capital cushion to offset their trading activities.Good idea?

If you are Liberal, what Conservative ideas could you support? If you are Conservative, what Liberal ideas could you support?

What is the status of the "BDS Movement"? Is it grounded only in prejudice...or is it a valid criticism?

Rand Paul endorsed a flat income tax of 14.5% on incomes over $50,000 after a few deductions . He also endorsed the elimination of the estate and gift tax. Good idea?

Most Americans do not support late-term abortions. Should reproductive rights be strictly decided by a woman and her doctor…or should they be guided by federal law?

Ten years ago America was judged 4th in the world in addressing infrastructure problems--today we are 24th. China invests 9% of GDP on infrastructure, India 8%...while we spend 2%. What is stopping us from moving forward?

"Great Ideas: Israeli History" on Thursday, September 10 in the Northbrook Library Pollak Room

Here are two links that will allow you to review, download and print the slides we show and discuss at each session:

Israeli History: Zionism through 1967:

Israeli History: Post-1967:

On September 10 we will continue discussing the various Palestinian groups and their interaction with the various Middle East countries. Then we will delve into Golda Meir’s background, attitudes and motivations.
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

                                      Friday, August 28, 2015

                                      "American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, September 14 at the North Shore Senior Center

                                      NOTE - No "American Politics" discussion on Labor Day, September 7

                                      Topics for September 7 will be posted several days before we meet.

                                      Thursday, March 6, 2014

                                      Important Information About Our Discussions

                                      "Current Events" and "Great Ideas" are back at the 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.

                                      LINKS RELATED TO RECENT DISCUSSION TOPICS

                                      At times, during discussions, participants mention an internet article of interest. This page will list such links. Contact Ron Mantegna if you want to suggest a link appropriate to a specific discussion topic.

                                      3/19/15 "Current Events"  During discussion of Race , Mike Hamblet suggested this very informative piece from The Economist on Hispanic population increases in America: 


                                      11/20/14 "Current Events" - When we were discussing Immigration, Bill Domm said the following link gives a good, balanced description of what "undocumented person" means.