Presentation - Current Events - Handout

Third Saturday Seminar 2016-2017

Return of the Elders, Unleash your Wisdom
   Session 4

“Our Brave New World”

“Are the world’s democracies losing their shine?”

(Don’t (be) Panic(ked) 

Saturday, 21 January 2017 9:30AM to 12:00 NOON

 Room B-102, (the usual place), Lone Star College - Montgomery
3200 College Park Drive - Conroe, TX - 77384 - 936.273.7000

This is the fourth session of the 2016-17 Academic Year. There will be five sessions in the Spring semester; plus one in June.

BY THE TIME we get together again this Saturday the 21st we will have a new President sitting in the White House: President Donald J. Trump,

HAPPY NEW YEAR – Some of us who live near and travel to The Woodlands on Monday experienced a tornado (mercifully small, but apparently had an appetite for trampolines, at least around Katy.) Could this may be Mother Nature giving us a sign of times?  There is such a maelstrom of information now flying about in America and the World; churned and  delivered to us 24/7 by our media and out technology that trying to develop a manageable pertinent themes for the Third Saturday Seminar is taking on the magnitude of Heracles cleaning the Augean Stables.  (Heracles succeeded by rerouting the rivers Alpheus and Peneus to wash out the filth.)  Is the Potomac big enough to do the job? Curt Gibby

Our main discussion theme Saturday will be: “Are the world’s democracies losing their shine” with  

Threats To Democracy Here And Abroad” – NPR The Diane Rehm Show, 21 Dec 16

Many political scientists who study democracy are alarmed by developments in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. In Europe, right-wing or anti-establishment parties have gained influence in Poland, France, Greece and other nations. In South America, Venezuelans have seen their democratic freedoms plummet. And in the U.S., many political scientists see warning signs of democratic erosion. They point to the campaign rhetoric of Donald Trump, his open admiration for Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin and his choices for top positions in his administration. Diane and her guests discuss threats to liberal democracy at home and abroad. Guests:

·        Moises Naim distinguished fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, author of "The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn't What It Used to Be" (We used the “End of Power” for discussion in Session 7, 20 Aprilm 13, 2012-13)

·        Alina Polyakova deputy director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, author of "Dark Side of European Integration"

·        Yascha Mounk lecturer on government at Harvard University; fellow in the political reform program at New America; author of "Stranger in My Own Country"

The audio runs 49 minutes.  You can stop or back up with your mouse cursor.  May I suggest that you listen to the first 20 minutes (the first break) to get the gist the discussion.  You can follow along on clicking the Transcript button.  Apparently to save space the 7,600 words of the transcript are contained in a viewing window with a “slider” on the right to advance the text. 

Also, you may remember 12 March last year our  Session 6 was a primer on American Authoritarianism and you may want to review the Presentation Slides.

As usual, our world is still in “interesting times”  We will start the session with Current Events (Distractions)

Our “Current Event’s segment will be mostly an open discussion of the wild events that finally culminated in the newly sworn President Trump taking residence in the White House.  Here are some ideas …

The Twittersphere will be throbbing.  Some of you may want to share with us some of the more interesting items your friends are tweeting or texting to you.  (After all Twitter, may be our dominant media before long.)

Trump’s cabinet choices disagree with him on ten major issues. Just Google it.

On Monday Trump vowed ‘insurance for everybody’ in Obamacare replacement plan

tax reform (simplify and lower, nothing mentioned about balancing the budget.)

Have you heard any more about the partnership of Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon as top strategist (as equals)? I haven’t.

"There's a very good chance that Donald Trump could face impeachment," Allan Lichtman "Erin Burnett OutFront."

And if there is time ….

·        Mosul Battle of Mosul … ongoing.  “United States Air Force Colonel John Dorrian stated during the day that Iraqi forces were in control of 85-90% of east Mosul.[363] Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi meanwhile stated that Iraqi forces had begun moving against ISIL in western Mosul l.[364]

·        Russia stopped bombing Aleppo and it’s people, because now the Iraqi Army has invaded it.  The Russians brought their aircraft carrier home, but are moving in tanks and troops.

·        There is no plan yet for Brexit, but it will be “a clean break” according to Teresa May

·        And whatever comes up …

You can always get a quick Current Events briefing at:

Bring your insights and your concerns to Third Saturday Seminar on Saturday and we will share.

For your enrichment here are references to other elements of the chaos …

Divided States of America,”

I hope that many of us chanced to watch Part 1 of “Divided States of America,” on PBS tonight,   I did and found it a really gritty, “in your” face picture of how those whose are elected to use our political system to provide intelligent governance to keep our people and our nation happy and strong are failing us with gross pettiness disguised as political and religious purity.

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” Otto von Bismarck
“Will we now see laws being turned back into sausages?” Curt Gibby

Days before the inauguration of the 45th American president in January 2017, FRONTLINE will premiere “Divided States of America,” a four-hour, two-night documentary miniseries that looks back at events during the Obama presidency that have revealed deep divisions in our country, and examines the America that President-elect Donald Trump will inherit.

From veteran filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team, “Divided States” will offer an in-depth view of the partisanship that has gridlocked Washington and charged the 2016 presidential campaign, the rise of populist anger on both sides of the aisle, and the racial tensions that have erupted throughout the country.

Divided States of America Wed. Jan. 18 8-10 p.m. CST on PBSand online ()

Don’t worry if you don’t catch the premier. It will be rebroadcast  of Part 1 at 7 pm and Part 2 at 9pm on KUHT2 (Comcast 323)Sunday  or go to Frontline online at the above link any time.

“It can’t Happen Here”, Sinclair Lewis

It Can't Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt. Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a politician who defeats Franklin Delano Roosevelt and is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and "traditional" values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS. The novel's plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup's opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion. Reviewers at the time, and literary critics ever since, have emphasized the connection with Louisiana politician Huey Long, who was preparing to run for president in the 1936 election when he was assassinated in 1935 just prior to the novel's publication. - Wikipedia

Read the full Electronic Text:
Title:      It Can't Happen Here (1935)
Author:     Sinclair Lewis
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *

Also, to understand another driver of the impending chaos, you might watch:

Inequality for All
Robert Reich in Inequality for All (1hr:30min)Inequality for All is a 2013 documentary film directed by Jacob Kornbluth. The film examines widening income inequality in the United States. The film is presented by American economist, author and professor Robert Reich,[1] and is based on his 2010 book Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition section,[2] and won a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking. - Wikipedia

Robert Reich put the full doc on Vimeo for free. The password is: bernie2016


3200 College Park Drive, Conroe, TX 77384
ALL- Montgomery Links:

Academy for Lifelong Learning: LSC-Montgomery
Steven Gorman
Program Manager, Academy for Lifelong Learning
LSC-Montgomery 936.273.7259

How do I register for a class? You can download a registration form and submit it to ALL:

         In person: LSC-Montgomery (3200 College Park Dr., Conroe, TX 77384), Continuing Education/ALL Office Building E (Room 205)
         Phone: 936.273.7446 ,Fax: 936.273.7262

Reminder for ALL members:
Please let ALL know if you change your address, phone number, or email. Call 936.273.7446 or email:

Third Saturday Seminars – Spring 2017 – 6 Sessions

To refer to an ancient Chinese saying, “our world is in interesting times” and individual citizens are assaulted with a blinding array of propaganda from every conceivable source. The Third Saturday Seminar is about demystification of what is going on around us. Time will also be spent on current events.

Meets on Montgomery Campus in B-102.

16616 S 9/17-11/19 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. B102 Gibby

Individual Dates 1/21,2/18,3/25,4/22,5/20 and 6/17 Summer Page 47

"Some part of our being knows this (the universe) is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us; We're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."  Carl Sagan

Curt Gibby, Director