Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Current Events" Discussions

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

·        9am Monday November 20 at the North Shore Senior Center 

·        9:30am Wednesday December 6 at the JCC on Revere Drive

·        10am Thursday December 7 at the Northbrook Library

·       7:30pm Thursday, December 7 at The Lodge

Do you think politics will be discussed this year at your Thanksgiving Table?

What consequences should Franken suffer for his actions? Should he step down, or be expelled from office?  He admits to groping, apologized to the victim, and agrees to an ethics probe. Is that sufficient "punishment"? 

What are the ramifications for both sexes now that we're clearly in a "culture shift" period where what was once more or less tolerated will no longer be endured?

Is Sen. Gillibrand right: President Clinton should have resigned? Did Liberals fight as much to "keep" Clinton as Conservatives are now fighting to "keep" their guys?

How does increased focus on sexual harassment directly affect President Trump? Trump denied all sexual allegations during the Campaign and said he would sue the women for making false claims. He has not. He weighed in on Franken, but not on Moore. Sarah Sanders says "Franken admitted wrong doing--the President did not".  Did Trump walk into a minefield by even talking about Franken? Might we expect to see new accusers and revisits to the dozen women already on record?  How "toxic" is this issue for Trump?

How should Republicans manage the Roy Moore standoff? He is not withdrawing. What's more harmful to the GOP—losing the seat...or if he wins? What's the chance that he wins? Polls will not give an accurate picture of who will actually vote for Moore. Can Democrats nationalize the 2018 Midterm elections on broader "moral grounds", regardless of outcome?

How much a role does "such sexy apparel" play in driving imprudent men to take imprudent actions? 

How differently do our children and grand-kids see this issue compared to us?

What should we make of the hypocrisy of so many religious leaders closing their eyes to a significant moral issue because "their guys" are the wrong-doers? Why is "defending my home team" more important than standing up for my core values? 

Your thoughts about Republican Tax Plans. Does it help the Middle Class enough to win over broad support? Why do we need to stimulate an economy that is already moving forward rapidly without one?

Many pundits predict a Democratic "wave" in the 2018 elections.  What factors might change this trajectory?

Besides having tons of money, lot of ads, and a willingness to "stand up against Trump", what would a Governor Pritzker bring to the office that's an improvement over Rauner? 

Which is the more effective Foreign Policy approach—Trump’s or Obama’s? In what ways is America more respected today than we were when Obama was President? Obama sought strength through diplomacy and coalitions, "leading from behind". Trump's focus is on “America First—more often “America Alone”, increased military might, overt provocative threats, unsettled positions, one-on-one's with world leaders vs. coalitions. How “strong” a leader is Trump perceived to be compared with Obama? 

Your thoughts about Donna Brazile's book, and claims that the Clinton's rigged the nomination?  What is the status of the Democratic Party?

Hillary Clinton says “there are lots of questions about Trump's legitimacy” due to Russian interference and widespread voter suppression efforts. Your thoughts.

Why is anyone even talking about the Clinton's any more? What’s the benefit of having a special counsel looking into the Clinton Foundation? 

Should Congress develop legislation that curtails the Commander in Chief’s unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons?

Sen. Collins and Manchin co-chair "No Labels"--an effort to pull together leaders from both Parties "who want to get something done in bipartisan fashion".  Your thoughts.

Is a Liberal focus on America's "diversity" the real problem? Are we "too politically correct", per President Trump? FOX News: We've got radical Islamic terrorists ready, willing, and honored to kill us on planes, trains and automobiles with knifes, guns, explosives and trucks. And we've got federal judges, top Democrats, and bleeding heart kumbaya liberals placing Islamic sensitivity, diversity options, and political correctness over reality, American lives, and national security. 

Trump won as a total "outsider".  What other non-politicians might we see running in any key local or national race?

What are consequences of the President regularly making claims that are untruthful, and so easily documented with his own recorded quotes and tweets?

Did Bergdahl receive the right sentence?

How important is the U.S. President as role model for America's children? Your thoughts about The First Lady's campaign against cyber bullying.

Is Trump's base growing or shrinking? Trump's approval is at a record low. Will his core supporters turn on him if he doesn’t deliver more? Or has he already given his base what they want, and see Congress as the bigger problem? 

Why are we fighting in Niger?

David Ignatius: Trump likes creating chaos. It’s not an accident, or a problem of poor staff work, or an itchy Twitter finger. The man likes disruption and the occasional humiliation of others. He thinks it puts adversaries off balance and opens space for negotiation. GW Bush: Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone and 'provides permission for cruelty and bigotry' Obama: If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you’re not going to be able to govern them. You won’t be able to unite them later if that’s how you start.  Your thoughts.

Has the Republican Party become a majority Party essentially through minority rule? Consider: partisan redistricting, U.S. Senate under-representing larger states, Electoral College out of sync with population distribution, the role money plays in skewing elections, and restrictive voter I.D. laws.

Is Amazon good for America or is it becoming too powerful?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Great Ideas: " Zionism & Israeli History"

Upcoming Discussion Sessions:

9:30am Wednesday November 29 at the JCC on Revere Drive

10am Thursday November 30 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 

Thursday, November 30 at the Northbrook Library
Mark will continue leading a discussion of the 6-day war and its after-effects. 

Slides for JCC - Israeli History: Zionism through 1967  

Wednesday, November 29 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 and 5th  Thursday  

¨  “Israeli History” meets 2nd and 4th 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.