Thursday, December 8, 2016

"American Politics" discussion topics for Monday, December 12 at the North Shore Senior Center

Note: No session on: December 19    December 26     January 2    January 16
America opted for big change vs. business as usual.  Big changes can come with big risks--and possibly big rewards. Shouldn't we expect some chaotic disruptive stuff in 2017? 

President Biden at age 77 in 2020: any wilder an idea than President Trump 2016...or a reelected President Trump at 74 in 2020? Who might be in better shape then?

As head of EPA, how might Scott Pruitt radically change Obama's environmental actions? Virtually all climatologist state that climate change is caused by humans. Might climate change become a bigger issue with Americans if they see us going in the other direction? 

How might an outsider like Dr. Carson affect HUD?

Is it the responsibility of News Media to call out false statements made by news-makers, or should Media simply report what is said and allow the public to judge?

Is it correct to understand that "The President can't have conflicts of interest."?  What about still being Executive Producer of his TV show?  At what point does Trump's actions affect the office of the Presidency and his abilities to lead the country? Yes, we need to give our new President a chance.  But does this look like "a bridge too far"?

Will a Republican Congress go along with a 35% tariff on companies that leave America because of cheaper labor...and want to sell their products here?

Native Americans have won their battle to stop the North Dakota’s pipeline’s path that traverses sacred territory taken away from Native Americans in a series of treaties. Your thoughts.

What may happen now regarding Sanctuary Cities and the issue of Immigration in general?

What kind of impact did Russia have on our election?

Should Obama make an interim appointment of Garland for the Supreme Court? He might have the opportunity to do this on January 3, 2017, before the new senate is sworn in because the senate at that time will not be in session and interim appointments can be made when there is no session. Your thoughts.

Are we being too politically correct on college campuses?

How do you feel about the "growing" legalization of marijuana?

Trump delivered on his promise to move Carrier to keep 800+ jobs in Indiana via tax incentives.  Great PR.  What happens now when other companies threaten to leave America and look to receiving similar incentives? Is it "crony Capitalism" as Palin claims?

Will Romney be Secretary of State? Is Trump's circle truly divided...or is this a strategy to show the world that Trump doesn’t just select loyalists?  At this point, should Trump not pick Romney, is he just "playing" him? What does it say about Romney if he accepts?

What are the pro’s and con’s of having re-counts and trying to pressure Electors to switch?

What Middle East foreign policy changes are we likely to see under Trump?

Tom Price will be Secretary of Health and Human Services--and clearly wants to kill Obamacare. Plus, he supports Speaker Ryan’s “voucher plan” to phase out Medicare. Will Republicans take the risk of repealing Obamacare immediately and "wait" to replace it, removing millions from health care…including those with preexisting conditions? 

Will each Trump property, especially in other countries, now be a symbol of America and a target for demonstrations/terrorists as are American embassies?

Your thoughts about Trump's plans to cut taxes? Will changes truly help his lower-income base?

Should there be any kind of penalty for burning the flag?

Should Illinois give as much attention to nuclear energy as an alternate energy source?

How does Trump achieve building his wall, and having Mexico pay for it?

Will Trump be as tough as he promised—like using water-boarding? How would a Trump handle the next situation like when Iran captured American sailors who drifted into Iran waters?

After decades of majority support, America is equally divided on the Death Penalty. Your thoughts.

Did Mainstream Media report this election in a generally professional fashion, or was it biased? 

Current Events discussion topics for Thursday, December 15 at the Northbrook Library

Topics for December 15 will be posted several days before we meet.

Monday, December 5, 2016

"Great Ideas: Israeli History" on Thursday, December 22 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 December 22 we will continue discussing the aftermath of the Munich massacre of the Israeli Olympic team in 1972

FOR FUTURE DISCUSSION….May 14, 1948 Israel set a course into the future, based in part upon the following words etched into the country’s Declaration of Independence:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Which of these objectives is Israel well on its way to realizing? Which of them have proved most elusive?
  • What elements are part and parcel of a country that has been “developed for the benefit of all its inhabitants?”
  • How would you define “freedom of conscience?”
  • If you were to have the chance to revise this paragraph in 2016, would you make any additions? Would you take anything out?

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

Important Information About Our 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.


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.