Monday, November 16, 2015

2015 Holiday Season Schedule for "Current Events" and "Great Ideas"

November 26            THANKSGIVING - LIBRARY CLOSED - no discussion
December 3                "Current Events"
December 10              "Great Ideas"
December 17              "Current Events"
December 24              CHRISTMAS EVE - LIBRARY CLOSED - no discussion
December 31              "Great Ideas" - New Years Eve - Library closes at 3pm

"American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, November 30 at the North Shore Senior Center

America's military engagement in the Middle East has failed with loss of lives and treasure and almost nothing positive to show for it. Why would a ground war against ISIS be any different?

The more Trump talks “tough”, the more he is supported—even when he talks “wild”. Is Trump’s appeal America’s reaction to “No Drama Obama” who seems cool, detached and “scholarly”…or “weak” to many?  If America likes to choose its next leader to “fix” perceived problems of the current one, how does the 2016 field measure up?

Can Hillary project the kind of strength America sees in someone like Trump? Which Republican, other than Trump, might be perceived as the “tougher” answer to a “weaker” President?

Steve Chapman: “The Islamic State presents the sort of vexing challenge once referred to by the former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. ‘If a problem has no solution,’ he said, ‘it may not be a problem but a fact — not to be solved but to be coped with over time.’  Sometimes the key to enhancing security is knowing what not to do.”  Your thoughts.

Will Putin eventually give up on Assad and need to deal with the West? Steve Chapman: “Toppling Assad would carry grave hazards. In 2013, then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey warned, "Should the regime's institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists" — notably the Islamic State.” 

Will America’s role with NATO become an issue because of Turkey’s shooting down of the Russian jet?

What are your thoughts regarding reaction to release of the tape of the police shooting?

L. Gordon Crovitz (former publisher of WSJ and U of Chicago alum): The liberals who run U.S. universities can’t be surprised by the epidemic of grievances on their campuses. Their generation used political correctness to exclude conservative thought from the faculty. Now their students reject academic freedom for everyone. Administrators quickly cave in to their demands, abandoning centuries-old principles of open inquiry. Students have been taught there are no limits, so they expect their most extreme demands to be taken seriously. 

How much did America’s invasion of Iraq create the conditions for ISIS?  If so, is America responsible for creating the Syrian refuges?  Do we bear greater responsibility for accepting Syrian refuges?

Trump says he will bring back waterboarding.  What are the pro’s and con’s?

Trump says he is open to requiring all Muslim Americans to register and carry a special form of identification noting their faith. What does this tell us about Trump's supporters? 

Trump's call for deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants resonates with most Conservative voters.  Yet pragmatic Republican leaders know this approach may greatly diminish any chance of winning the White House. Your thoughts.

Sen. Cruz: "ISIS will not be deterred by targeted air strikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life."   Obama has been careful to avoid civilian casualties. Should we accept more civilian deaths?

How does the Republican Presidential field get reduced, which should be happening by now? Conventional wisdom says Trump or Carson can't win.

Given perceived weakness of the current "establishment candidates" like Jeb Bush, will the Republican Party attempt to draft Romney for a 2016 run?  Anyone else come to mind?  

Is Cruz in a position to ultimately win?  What kind of leader would he be?

Is Rubio in a position to ultimately win?  What kind of leader would he be?

In what ways is Bernie Sander's run for the White House affecting the Democratic Party?

Hillary continues to consolidate her resources, organization and support--in spite of not being loved even by her strong supporters. How much of a problem is this for Republicans?

President Obama's executive action on Immigration has been stopped by a higher court. Does this shift Immigration to the 2016 election?  If the Immigration is perceived to help Democrats, might Speaker Ryan try to pass a comprehensive bill vs. allowing Democrats to run with an immigration position more popular with a majority of Americans?

Given his leading position, what are your thoughts about Ben Carson's proposed policies if elected? Many non-partisan pundits believe Carson is dangerously clueless on foreign affairs should he become Commander in Chief.  Why isn't this issue hurting Carson?

Most, if not all, Republican debaters suggested a flat tax from 10% up to 20%. One proposed  a “VAT” tax. Are these methods better, the same or worse than the current method of taxing Americans?

Iran is a major "power" in the Middle East, next to Israel. Conservatives in Israel and America see this is as a terrible consequence of Obama's bad deal with a country that wants to eliminate Israel. But the Iranian President is pushing back against Iranian "neo-cons" to move Iran in a more Liberal direction.  Could we see Iran and Israel moving closer together, possibly with Russia acting as a broker...and America, again, "leading from behind"?

What is the relationship between Israel and America today?

Monday, November 9, 2015

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

Note: Because of Thanksgiving, "Great Ideas" does not meet again in November.

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 December 10 we will start talking about the War of Attrition from March, 1969 to August, 1970 and the events that led up to it beginning in September,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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Important Information About Our Discussions

2015 Holiday Season Schedule for "Current Events" and "Great Ideas"
November 26            THANKSGIVING - LIBRARY CLOSED - no discussion
December 3                "Current Events"
December 10              "Great Ideas"
December 17              "Current Events"
December 24              CHRISTMAS EVE - LIBRARY CLOSED - no discussion
December 31              "Great Ideas" - New Years Eve - Library closes at 3pm

"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.


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.