Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Current Events" Discussions

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

·       10am Thursday June 1 at the Northbrook Library

·        9am Monday June 5 the North Shore Senior Center

·        9:30am Wednesday June 7 at the JCC on Revere Drive

·       7pm Wednesday June 7 at The Lodge

Trump has the absolute right to share any information any sitting President feels is in America's best interests.  Was the President wrong to pass on “highly classified information” to the Russians during their meeting...if in his judgement it was intended to help America? 

What should we make of Kushner's "back door" dealings with Russia?  

Flynn will "take the 5th", while his records will be subpoenaed   What's the significance?

Hillary suggests Trump's Presidency will end like Nixon's. Would anything like impeachment proceedings help or hurt the country? The Democrats? If Trump left office, what kind of President would we have in Pence?  

What's your assessment of what President Trump accomplished during his foreign visits? What were the "home runs"?

Trump's NATO speech made no mention of supporting "Article 5"--attack on one NATO nation is an attack on all. Trump lectured Europeans for not yet paying their fair share. Is it in our best security interests to question America's support of NATO? Does doubt about our leadership role help Russia more than it helps America?

Is President Trump and his administration being treated fairly by the Media?

The Republican health care plan leaves 23MM more Americans without health insurance over the next decade and would reduce the deficit by $119B, according to the CBO. Republicans say CBO projections are often wrong. The Senate is expected to start over, given how unpopular the House bill is. What do you think is going to happen?  

What steps is President Trump taking to address terrorism that President Obama didn't take?

The block on Trump's travel ban was upheld by 4th Circuit Court.  What now?

"Trumponomics" is a "taxpayer first" budget that slashes safety net programs primarily affecting the poor, while boosting defense spending.  The objective is to encourage people on welfare to seek jobs vs. counting on a safety net.  In the process, it provides huge tax cuts for high rollers. Your thoughts.

President Trump asked DNI and NSA intel chiefs to deny evidence of Russia collusion. If this was a significant issue, why didn't either  bring it forward when it happened? If "there is nothing there", why does the President act like he has something to hide? Is it a case of bad communications? Is Press coverage unfair...or is Media doing their job?  

The UK called out America for disclosing classified information/pix on the Manchester bombing. Where are leaks coming from? Why?

During his Mid-East tour, Trump lined up with autocratic leaders, made no mention of human rights, and strongly reversed Obama's approach toward helping Iran Moderates push back against their Hardliners. What are the ramifications of Trump basically looking for military solutions--i.e., winning--vs. diplomatic options of addressing the Middle East? 

President Trump said "Great job!" to Duterte on his efforts to stop drug dealers - i.e., he kills them. What do you make of Trump’s “man-love” of strongmen: Putin, Erdogan, Duterte, Kim Jong Un?   Is America's physical “strength” the reason why we are the best nation in the world? Did Obama project “weakness” and thus was less effective? Does Trump project “strength” and is more effective addressing America’s security and respect in the world? Is Trump basically more authoritarian than democratic--and that will make America safer?

What do you make of the Montana House race where the GOP candidate body slammed the reporter (and still won)?  Does this reflect a bigger issue--i.e., the press as "enemy of the state"?

In what ways can President Trump help bring Israel and Palestinians closer together? 

"It's a great honor to be here with all of my friends." At Yad V'Shem. Are Liberals being petty in expecting greater understanding from our President? 

The Pope asks President Trump not to drop out of the Paris Accord.  Your thoughts.

What are the ramifications if Press Briefings are discontinued?

The Supreme Court struck down two North Carolina congressional districts because race played too large a role in their creation.  What are the ramifications?

Rahm borrows millions to keep Chicago schools open.  Your thoughts.

Your thoughts about Obama’s Library—half a billion dollars.

Is Obama surfacing as the Democrat's principle "Leader"? He is not being quiet on key issues, drawing sharp contrasts with Trump. Is it right for Obama to be politically active?

President Trump is considering whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. Your thoughts.

How do you see the Illinois Democrat Race for Governor--Pritzker, Kennedy, Biss?

Illegal immigration from Mexico is down dramatically.  Does Trump deserve the credit?  In what ways does this benefit America?

Health Care cost reductions allow Republicans to develop big tax cuts. How will this playing out with voters, should tax cuts be perceived as going primarily to the wealthy?  Your thoughts about Trump’s proposed tax plan proposals. "The biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country."  For sure, proposed tax cuts help the Wealthy. How will it help the Middle Class?

What is ultimately going to happen to Sanctuary Cities?

Trump says maybe a “good shutdown” in September is needed to change rules so 51% matters. Who gets hurt more if there is a government shutdown…especially if funding The Wall is part of the President’s budget?

Your thoughts about Trump's meeting with the Palestinian leader.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great Ideas: " Zionism & Israeli History"

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

9:30am Wednesday June 14 at the JCC on Revere Drive

10am Thursday June 15 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 

June 15 at the Northbrook Library

Mark will continue  to present the even more comprehensive PowerPoint slides on The Eichmann Exhibition at the Holocaust Museum that Mark reviewed with Docents for their training. 

Slides for JCC - Israeli History: Zionism through 1967  

Wednesday June 14 at the JCC on Revere Drive - 9:30am

Mark will continue  to present the even more comprehensive PowerPoint slides on The Eichmann Exhibition at the Holocaust Museum that Mark reviewed with Docents for their training. 

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014


¨  Please silence your cell phone during our discussion
¨  Respect each person speaking—please refrain from side conversations
¨  If you’re not called upon by name, please tell us your first name 
¨  “Israeli History” meets 2nd, 4th and 5th Thursday of each month
¨  “Current Events” meets 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month
¨  Visit our website for more information about our discussions:
¡   suggested readings for Israeli History 
¡   current Israeli History discussion topic
¡   copies of the Israeli History slides – pdf format 
¡   Current Events topics updated regularly
¡   Other locations and times Ron and Mark lead discussions
¨  Pick up a Handout at the front of the room with our web address

"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.