Presentation - Current Events - Handout

Third Saturday Seminar 2016-2017

Return of the Elders, Unleash your Wisdom


Session 8

“Chaos is not a strategy!”
“Time to find our inner adult!”
Don't (be) Panic(ked)

Saturday, 20 May 2017 9:30AM to 12:00 NOON (3d Saturday))

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

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

Last month we talked about how our Navy launched 59 Tomahawk missiles ($1 million each) against the al-Sha’yrat Iraqi Air force base which launched the Sarin Gas attack and how the American commander in Afghanistan ordered a MOAB Strike in Afghanistan.  Our president ordered the Tomahawk attack because of Iraq’s use of chemical warefare agents.  The MOAB was used to deny ISIS the use of their mountain tunnel headquarters in NE Afghanistan.  This seemed to mark a end to the use of patience as a tactical device. And, the White House  momentarily lost track  of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, which actually still had a commitment to Joint Exercises in Austrailia abut now is believed to be in Korean waters.

This month that all seems so far away. Now it’s all about Russia again! And chaos reigns at the moment.

James Comey the FBI Director was fired by President Trump.  There are several reasons given for this.  First was a memo from the Deputy Attorney General that criticized the treatment of Hillary Clinton. But, then the next day Trump was interviewed by Lester Holt of NBC and said actually he had actually already decided to fire Comey because of “Russia.”  It wasn’t about the memo.  Some say the Trump really got tired of Comey getting more attebntion than he was or, that Comey is 6’8” tall to Trump’s 6’3”

Now Chaos has set in the halls of government.  The political JOURNALISTS ARE WORKING OVERTIME acting as force multipliers amplifying the CHAOS!  Talk about trying to take a sip from a firehose!  Many of them quoting each other, but few cases actually tell the complete story or identify who did what to whom,  And, there seem to be few actual documents, but LEAKS abound!

Then to add fuel to the media fires, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. and their Russian press crew from TASS are unexpectedly invited into the Oval office, while the WhiteHouse Press pool was excluded.   Then it is claimed that the source of intelligence that is driving the banning of LAPTOP COMPTUTERS in the passenger cabins of airplanes coming from certain Middle Eastern countries, was divulged to the Russian guests with strong reaction by the intelligence community and members of Congress who feel that serious damage has been done to the cooperative sharing of intelligence with and by our allies may be interrupted.  It is very difficult to tell what has happened, is happening and will happen, because none of the information bits, quite connect with each other.  .

In the meantime, President Trump is preparing for an extended foreign trip starting in Saudi Arabia

 The “Take-Away" is: It is very difficult to tell what has happened, is happening and will happen, because none of the information bits, quite connect with each other apparently by design.  We will try cram at least a workable understanding of things into the time we have.  Will the chaos in our government get worse or will it reach a fever pitch and then all the players relax and get back to the business of governing.

Also, be prepared for everything you read here, may, by the time we meet on Saturday be totally overcome by new stories generated by the CHAOS

We’ll talk about it. 
How do you feel about the turn(s) our country is taking?
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.”

Russia: The scandal Trump can't shake – BBC US & Canada

This BBC article is a summary lightly connecting the dots in Trumplandia from his campaign to the “feedback scream” that passes for today’s news.  Who knows what will be jamming your psyche and you senses by Saturday.  If you are tempted to print it out, get a bunch of paper, because it will take 22 pages, Curt

Throughout the confusion of Donald Trump's campaign and the chaotic events of his early days in the White House, one controversy has clung to the Trump train like glue: Russia.

The accusation that Mr Trump shared highly-sensitive "codeword" material with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister during a meeting in the Oval Office has sent shockwaves throughout Washington, but is only the latest bombshell.

The sudden departure of Michael Flynn from his role as national security adviser in February and the revelations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions's meetings with Russia's ambassador Sergei Kislyak are also among a string of controversies tying the administration to apparent Russian interests.

Also from our March Meeting: Connecting the Trum-Russia Dots especially Russia: Trump & His Administration's Ties

Trump Bars U.S. Press, but Not Russia’s, at Meeting With Russian Officials


WASHINGTON — When President Trump met with top Russian officials in the Oval Office on Wednesday, White House officials barred reporters from witnessing the moment. They apparently preferred to block coverage of the awkwardly timed visit as questions swirled about whether the president had dismissed his F.B.I. director in part to squelch the investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Moscow.

But the Russians, who have a largely state-run media, brought their own press contingent in the form of an official photographer. They quickly filled the vacuum with their own pictures of the meeting with Mr. Trump, Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to the United States.

Within minutes of the meeting, the Foreign Ministry had posted photographs on Twitter of Mr. Trump and Mr. Lavrov smiling and shaking hands. The Russian embassy posted images of the president grinning and gripping hands with the ambassador. Tass, Russia’s official news agency, released more photographs of the three men laughing together in the Oval Office.

The White House released nothing.


White House reels from another self-inflicted crisis

The relationship between this White House and the intelligence agencies hasn't been great. President Donald Trump's recent disclosures have made things worse.

National Security Adviser HR McMaster stood on a driveway outside the White House on Monday evening and tried to explain a delicate situation to journalists.

The Washington Post had reported that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russians during a meeting in the Oval Office.

Standing before reporters, Mr McMaster chose his words carefully.

His message was that the president had indeed revealed certain things - he'd spoken with the Russians about the fight against the Islamic State group, but that the president's revelations weren't as bad as you might think.

Jump to the end of the article … McMaster: 'Trump not even briefed on intel source or method'

The job of intelligence analysts is to provide the president with information and insight that he can use in order to keep the nation safe from attacks, and analysts will continue to focus on the task at hand - despite any tension in the relationship.

David Priess, author of The President's Book of Secrets, said he's lived through periods of turmoil between the White House and the intelligence agencies during the years that he spent as a CIA analyst and intelligence briefer.

Yet he and his colleagues had a near-universal response to the discord.

He said they "just put their heads down and do their work".

Information Trump shared with Russians came from Israel, official says

May 16, 2017, 4:33 PM ET

Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians


The following are the closing comments from this article,  to read the entire article click the link or the title, Curt

Israeli officials would not confirm that they were the source of the information that Mr. Trump shared, which was about an Islamic State plot. In a statement emailed to The New York Times, Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, reaffirmed that the two countries would maintain a close counterterrorism relationship.

 “Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump,” Mr. Dermer said.


This is the really scary part.  If you wonder how John Kerry and Barak Obama got hornswoggled into letting Russia join the party in Syria to graciously cooperate in defeating ISIS only to have our allies immediately targeted by Russian air strikes. Click on the next two links to understand why!

Live From the Oval Office, It's Sergei Lavrov!

Decoding the humor behind the Russian foreign minister's decidedly undiplomatic visit.


Leonid Bershidsky

May 11, 2017, 9:53 AM CDT

Welcome to Russian humor.

Sergei Lavrov's official job is foreign minister of Russia, but his visit to Washington Wednesday won't be remembered for any diplomatic breakthrough -- just for Lavrov's dripping irony and skill at provoking adversaries. Lavrov's style, which mirrors that of his boss, Vladimir Putin, is often criticized as unfit for a diplomat. But I'd argue that Lavrov knows exactly what he's doing and that the medium is the message here.


Trump Should Worry: Comey Memo Describes a High Crime

Trying to end the Flynn investigation isn't a legal crime, but it is an impeachable offense.


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 120 days by Saturday.   Have you developed a survival mode?  Try Masha Gessen’s “Autocracy: Rules for Survival”

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.  (From James Comey’s memo to document what Donald Trump said to him on the day following Flynn’s resignation.)

President Trump met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, May 4, where he praised the country's health-care system (“ …you have better health care than we do.”, shortly after House Republicans passed a bill to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.  

And from Charles Krauthammer at FoxNews: ‘We’ll Be In a Single-Payer System’ In ‘Less Than Seven Years

MOSUL – 16 May 2017 The Joint Operations Command Brigadier General Yahya Rasool stated, during a press conference, that government forces control 89.5 percent of western Mosul and killed 16,467 ISIL members since the start of operation. According to him, 679 booby-trapping vehicles, 11 ISIL headquarters, 47 drones and 76 booby-trapping workshops were destroyed, while 6,661 bombs and 217 explosive belts were defused.[689] Iraq military spokesman claims only 12 square kilometers within Mosul remain under ISIS control.[690]  Read the Wikipedia entry here

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

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

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