Our last meeting was held in the dining room at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. I counted 25 in attendance, including two guests from the Orange County World Affairs Council, who were invited to speak and introduce us to their program.
Conspicuously present was Jeff Yeargain, who finally
showed up after an absence of over 3 months as he recovered from surgery. Welcome back, Jeff! Our immediate past president, Mike Gertner, opened the meeting by having our resident chaplain, Roger Summers, lead us in the invocation. Roger expressed his gratitude to our Father in heaven for the opportunity for us to get together, for us and members of our families who would benefit from our prayers; for our government to (finally) provide a Speaker, and for the food that we were about to receive. George Lesley led the group in the salute to Old Glory. Prior to lunch, Leo Fracalosy quizzed us on where belly buttons go to college; the obvious answer was The Navel Academy!
Our football commissioner, Mike Gertner, announced the results of this season’s final Football Pool. Last week, which was Week #15, had 22 players, and the tiebreaker number was 40. Wally Ziglar won the low-ball score, with 5 correct answers. Gina won the $5 second prize having the closest tiebreaker number. The first prize winner, with 13 correct answers was Shirley Lashmett..... Mike summarized the Football Pool Results this year: there were 22 winners of some sort during the season. The person who won the most was Mitch Mitchell ($45), followed by Fran Murphy ($44) and Mike Call ($42).
This week’s speaker was Colonel (Ret., U.S. Army) Richard Downie, Ph.D., President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Orange County (WACOC). Col. Downie was accompanied by Lindsay Strong, the Operations Manager of WACOC. They were introduced by our own Craig Boardman, who is one of the trustees. Col. Downie has spent a significant amount of time after graduating from West Point, and was stationed in many countries throughout the world, including Germany, Panama, Columbia, and Mexico. He finished up his career in Georgia, where he served as Director of the Center of Hemispheric Defense Studies for 9 years prior to returning to Orange County. WACOC is one of nearly 100 councils in the US who are committed to educating and engaging Americans on global issues. The national organization is non-profit, non-partisan and has as its mission to “provide insights and foster thoughtful dialogue with foreign policy experts and influential thought leaders to help members and the public better understand critical global issues that impact our community, our country, and the world.”
Downie first presented a series of world events to give us some perspective. He briefly outlined the following “hot spots” around the world: IRAN - will become a nuclear state. As of this year, Iran will have enough enriched uranium to build at least one bomb. Iran’s next step will be to arm a ballistic missile, which may take some time. Will the U.S. let them? Will Israel let them? CHINA – Xi Jinping now has more power than Mao had. Major issues involve China and Taiwan. China could begin the slow process of taking over one or more of the small islands, or they can initiate a naval blockade to quickly exhaust their supply of fuel oil. How will our government respond to this? NORTH KOREA – Kim Jung Un has dictated a significant increase in testing of ballistic missiles. The danger is having their ability to arm a missile which can reach the West Coast of the U.S. What should we do? LATIN AMERICA – With our issues on our Southern border unresolved, the US is expanding restrictions on immigration from Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela. Drug cartels and weak U.S. policies are the main issues to discuss and debate. AFRICA – Al Qaeda and Isis have developed cells and terrorist groups on the west coast of Africa, where governments have not been effective in their control. UKRAINE – We all know what is going on there, and the issue is how much the U.S. will continue to be involved over time.
Downie then discussed the functions and activities of the World Affairs Council to provide non-biased information about such affairs to promote civic engagement, and our role as Americans in world events. They have had speakers of interest, such as General David Petraeus, Mikhail Gorbachev, Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and current UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield. He invited our membership to a Wine Tasting event, which is held on January 10, and a presentation by Colleen Bell, Former Ambassador to Hungary for their membership on January 24. For more information regarding events and membership, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan 12 - Dr. Wes Smith, Newport Mesa USD Super
Jan 19 - Business Meeting
Jan 26 - Sal Gonsolley—Fentanyl
Feb 2 - Chase Wickersham, American Legion
This week’s meeting will be held at the Bahia Corinthian. Lunch will be served at 12:20 p.m. You will be emailed an invitation two days before the meeting. Please notify Richard Swinney by this Wednesday at 2 pm if you are planning on attending.