Presentation - Current Events - Handout

Third Saturday Seminar 2016-2017

Return of the Elders, Unleash your Wisdom


Session 7

“Taking Back the Lead?”
“Regaining Credence in Today’s World”
Don't (be) Panic(ked)


Saturday, 22 April 2017 9:30AM to 12:00 NOON (4th Saturday))

 Room B-102, Lone Star College - Montgomery
3200 College Park Drive - Conroe, TX - 77384 - 936.273.7000

This is the Seventh Session of the Third Saturday Seminar for the 2016-17 Academic Year.

The “Take-Away" is: Whether you agree or not, that actions by President Trump, his National Security Council, Department of Defense including Troop Commanders in the field. And, even the new Secretary of State is demonstrating less patience. Nicky Haley is calling out her fellow UN delegates who are not being helpful.  It seems that these actions are changing the way the rest of the world is looking at us. We have retaliated against the air field that launched the Sarin Gas attack. Tthe, “Massive Ordinance Air Burst”(MOAB) non-nuclear super bomb which was designed specifically to kill the inhabitants of caves, and collapse underground tunnels was used, apparently with good success in Afghanistan. It killed a large number of ISIS fighters which had been killing Iraqi Forces whenever they tried to mount an attack. 

As I see it, it appears that the next “teetering rock” is North Korea. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking in South Korea on Monday, cited Mr. Trump’s “strength” and willingness to use force, warning, “North Korea would do well not to test his resolve.”  Today his headline in the Houston Chronicle was “North Korea talks an option.” In the article as I read it; the talks that are referred to seem to be  for Beijing to take a more active interest with convincing North Korea to see the light.   China might well feel that’s what they are doing already.  In the meantime Kim Jong Un says that he will continue his missile/weapons testing.  

It’s complicated, confusing and conflicted. But, we shall try to lay a groundwork understanding of recent events, our expectations and those of our allies and competitors.  Short term, the most elegant next step vis-à-vis the threatened North Korean Missile tests would be for the Aegis-equipped destroyers in the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to shoot the missiles down.

The attack on al-Sha’yrat airport, the MOAB Strike in Afghanistan and then possibly shooting down North Korean Missiles over the ocean without penetrating North Korea waters or territory might be construed as a “Hat Trick” of three wake up calls to the world, or would/will it be something else?

We’ll talk about it. 

How do you feel about the turn our country has taken?

Have you detected any indication of:

- New policies that can be maintained

- Strategies being developed

Successful outcomes being defined?

 For those who like to read ahead:  The following excerpts from various links are offered to help you get engaged in Saturday’s theme.  In every case you are encouraged to click the links to get to the depth of the articles.  If you cannot find answer, Google can be very helpful or lead you down rabbit holes. Recent weeks have generated miles of text and 24/7 broadcasting of news and commentary.  However there seem to be large gaps in the reporting.  As you go through the following article links you may also detect different points of views.  It is up to each of us to engage our, “Fact Filters.”

The Sarin Gas Attack In Syria Ignited an Information BattleRead bio  April 6, 2017

The first response to the April 4 gas attack in Syria wasn’t bombs; it was bits.

Victims quickly took to social media to distribute evidence of the use of chemical weapons.

Within hours of the attack, doctors, reporters, and medical volunteers took to Twitter, YouTube,
and other outlets to tell the world that the Bashar al-Assad government had staged a monstrous attack
with a toxic nerve agent that killed more than 80 people, including perhaps 30 children.

Condemnation will not stop Assad’s chemical war

DEBKAfile Special Report April 5, 2017, 10:15 AM (IDT)

Seven nations maintain elite military units in Syria – the US, Russia, Britain, Germany, France, Jordan and Israel. American, Russian and Turkish troops are backed by air support. Had those powers decided to destroy the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s poison chemical arsenal, they could have combined to do so and finished the job in a few days - and this week’s horrific tragedy possibly been averted.

The death toll from the Syrian chemical warfare bombardment of the rebel-held town of Kkhan Sheikhoun Monday, April 3, is now estimated at 150 with several hundred injured, cared for in totally inadequate medical facilities. The number of child victims has raised the pitch of world condemnation  The total figure fluctuates according to source. 

Perpetrator of second largest chemical attack in Syria identified
Orient Net,
Publication Date: 2017-04-05 20:32

Observatories operating in the provinces of Hama and Idlib revealed the identity of the commander of the aircraft that carried out the massacre on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib countryside, which marked the second largest chemical attack in Syria after the August 2013 attacks on both eastern and western Ghoutas in Damascus

Orient Net contacted a number of field, independent and even Syrian Civil Defense observatories in the countryside of Idlib and Hama, and all testimonies indicated that the Assad terrorist who dropped toxic gas-filled barrels on Khan Sheikhoun was colonel pilot, Muhammad Yousef Hasouri.


Colonel Hasouri is the commander of the Sukhoi 22 Squadron at al-Sha’yrat airport. His warplane carries Quds 1 banner. He hails from the villages of Talkalakh town from Homs countryside and currently resides with his family in the Assad-controlled al-Sakan al-Shababy neighborhood in Homs city.

The Number Of ISIS Fighters Killed By The MOAB Is Nothing Short Of Staggering
Saagar Enjeti, Reporter  9:35 AM 04/15/2017 -  The Daily Caller

Nearly 100 dead bodies have been pulled from Islamic State caves targeted Thursday by the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military’s arsenal, Afghan military officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Afghan officials say the death toll is likely to increase as U.S. and Afghan Security Forces continue their damage assessment and clear the formerly held ISIS territory. The U.S. dropped the “mother of all bombs” on ISIS’s headquarters in Afghanistan after repeated efforts to expel the militants failed. No civilian casualties have been reported yet by the U.S. or Afghan military.

“This was the first time that we encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress,” top U.S. general in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson told reporters Friday. He continued, “It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield.”

Read more: here

The following article is perhaps the most important to our discussion of the impact of what has happened and will happen as/if we are successful in reasserting, if not absolute dominace, one of strong influence and ablity to support and protect our treaty partners.  We may expect comptetion …

Ancient laws, modern wars By Victor Davis Hanson - - Wednesday, April 5, 2017 – Washington Times
Human nature dictates that appeasement invites aggression

The most dangerous moments in foreign affairs often come after a major power seeks to reassert its lost deterrence.

The United States may be entering just such a perilous transitional period.

Rightly or wrongly, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Middle East-based terrorists concluded after 2009 that the United States saw itself in decline and preferred a recession from world affairs.


North Korea, has been dominating the news in the last week or so, so you should be full of information, the following links may help you put the situation in more perspective.

How North Korea Would Retaliate

The North Korea Paradox: Why There Are No Good Options on Nuclear Arms

Pence Talks Tough on North Korea, but U.S. Stops Short of Drawing Red Line

US military considers shooting down North Korea missile tests, sources say

Can North Korea Really "Flatten" Seoul?

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

Our “Current Events segment will be mostly an open discussion of the wild events that continue since the newly sworn President Trump took up residence in the White House.  Here are some ideas …

President Donald J. Trump will have been in office for 92 days by Saturday.   Have you developed a survival mode?  Try Masha Gessen’s “Autocracy: Rules for Survival”

Has anybody heard from Director Comey about his probe of possible coordination between Kremlin and Trump campaign.”  Trump White House pretends they heard differently

Judge Neil Gorsuch is now an associate justice of the Supreme Court. He fills the seat left vacant  by the death of Antonin  Scalia. Well he significantly change the balance of the court to the right as many believe?

Trump says he wants to repeal Obamacare, but apparently simple mathematics says that Trump care won’t work.

MOSUL - For the moment, the Iraqi army, Kurdish peshmerga forces, Shia militias and Sunni tribal units are making very slow progress in cleaning out the last of the ISIS. " Will Iraq survive victory over ISIS in Mosul?”

And whatever comes up … You can always get a quick Current Events briefing here

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

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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