Presentation - Current Events - Handout

Third Saturday Seminar 2016-2017
Return of the Elders, Unleash your Wisdom

Session 9

“Are we Still chasing Smoke?”
“Or, is the Russia thing starting to get interesting!”
Don't (be) Panic(ked)

Saturday, 17 June 2017 9:30AM to 12:00 NOON (3d Saturday))

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

This is the Ninth and last  Session of the Third Saturday Seminar for the 2016-17 Academic Year.

Now it’s all about Russia again!.

James Comey the former FBI Director. Testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in open session followed by a closed session on last Thursday. He gained a little advantage by issued a summary of his memorandums to file of his conversations with the President.  You can read his prepared remarks HERE. I listened to most of the testimony and I’ll have to admit being a little bit puzzled at Comey’s  explanations, but I wasn’t standing in his shoes.  The Holt interview and the Trumps remarks reported out of the Oval Office  meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak that it was the Russia thing that convinced Trump to fire Comey .

Today, I tried to follow the testimony of Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, without learning much new, except that Sessions has an impaired memory, about why he was meeting with 30 ambassadors including  the ambassadors of  Taiwan,  Ukraine, Russia, Czech Rep., Great Britain, Jordan, China  in September – November 2016 according to information from the Department of Justice as reported by PBS.  The Washington Post reported that Sessions was the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to meet with Kislyak in 2016.

Then yesterday,  I heard a feed-back loop grow into a scream as the talking heads of the 24/7 cable news club after hearing Cris Ruddy of NewsMax (a reliably fake news source)  and a friend of the president floated the idea that the president was thinking about the possibility of firing Mueller (parse that if you can!), Anyway you can get the whole story from the 6 minute opening video from today’s  Daily Show.

Finally, there is word that a grand Jury is nearing completion of its study of documents from  Michael Flynn’s offices and associates (I think).  There is an expectation that there will be more Grand Juries empanelled.  Just heard on NPR that Bob Mueller is recruiting some of the best investigative and legal talent available.  Good news!

Then, there is the curious firing of Preet Bharara.   The Russian Money-Laundering Case he was working on when he was fired in March, abruptly settled.

And, the president completed his nine day tour of the Middle East and Europe on May 27 stopping at Saudi Arabia, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Rome, Vatican, Brussels, Sicily.  Five takeaways of his maiden voyage are reported by NPR

The Takeway for Saturday will, in part, be a review of what we already know. AND, the sharing of each other’s opinions  that have resulted from the news from the White House, and the Senate testimony of former FBI Director Comey and A.G. Sessions. Etc.

Saturday is four days away.  It will be interesting to see if the Gossip about the possibility of firing the Special Council  is still as shrill as it has been the last two days.  Also, will the impeachment gossip gain momentum. (It shouldn't.)

Also keep in mind that even Paul Ryan and others are talking down the firing possibility saying let the process work. 

And in spite of the constant sniping by the  24/7 media trying to see who has the most fertile imaginations, fake news and conspiracy theories. THIS WILL TAKE SOME TIME.  Also at the moment, IT IS NOT TRUMP THAT is the main subject, but many of his campaign advisors and their associates may be; as is RUSSIA and its instrumentalities.

In the meantime, what will happen on Trump’s Healthcare and Tax Reform Bills.  Are the Republicans capable of financial magic where you can reduce income and increase services.

Also, be prepared that  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 you feel about the turn(s) our Administration has taken recently?
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 (From last Month)

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 your senses by Saturday.  If you are tempted to print it out, get a bunch of paper, because it will take 17 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 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.

More at: here

Also from our March Meeting: https://swalwell.house.gov/russia especially  https://swalwell.house.gov/issues/russia-trump-his-administration-s-ties

For a more in depth history Leading up to 2016:
“Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War” What lay behind Russia’s interference in the 2016 election—and what lies ahead? By Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa, March 6, 2017
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/trump-putin-and-the-new-cold-war

"Putin the most powerful man in the world" documentary – Fareed Zacharia – CNN
A 43 minute video, introducing you to Putin as a Young KGB Officer in East Germany at the fall of the Soviet Union, his rise as a protégé of Yeltsin, and how he felt marginalized and threatened by the West, especially America. Published on Mar 13, 2017
 
https://youtu.be/srhFRDjLivo    Alternate link    https://youtu.be/052NHa39opk



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 148 days by Saturday.  There are  507 days to the next election.  He’s visited Europe and the Middle East, and left many of our friends wondering, then he  preaches non-violence to the Middle East.  Chaos still reigns.

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

Battle of Musul - 11-12 June 2017 Major Ali Mohsen claimed on 11 June that Iraqi forces had captured more than half of al-Shifaa district.[801] Iraqi forces also stormed the Old City, with Joint Operations Command stating that they killed 23 militants as they entered the northern entrance of the area called Bab Sinjar.[802] Brig. Gen. Mustafa al-Azzawi stated on the next day that Iraqi Army's 36th Brigade had established a foothold at the edge of the medical complex, overcoming heavy resistance.[803]

Russia anti-corruption protests.  (CNN)With cries of "Putin out" and "Russia without thieves," mass protests took place in cities across Russia on Monday -- a day that was supposed to celebrate the nation.  Moscow (CNN)Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was found guilty late Monday of calling repeatedly for unlawful protests and sentenced to 30 days of detention.  His sentencing followed a day of nationwide anti-corruption demonstrations, during which nearly 1,400 people were arrested amid scuffles with police and reports of tear gas being used. Navalny is hoping the scale of the protests will match the turnout of demonstrations in March, when thousands took to the streets across Russia.He was arrested and jailed for disobeying a police officer during the March protests, which appeared to be a response to a long-form "investigation" that Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation posted on YouTube.

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.

LSC-Montgomery
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
steven.gorman@lonestar.edu

Registration
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: MCALL@LoneStar.edu.


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
http://www.lonestar.edu/departments/ce/spring2017Schedule.pdf 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