News and Announcements

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The Rise of Nationalism (Part 4): These United States

This is a final part of a four-part discussion series examining the ostensibly-sudden rise of nationalism in different parts of the world.

Building from themes that emerged from Parts One, Two, and Three, we'll explore the current political climate and the "nationalistic fervor" enveloping here in the U.S., including the following:

• "Nationalism" in response to and in opposition of "Globalism" and the current immigration policies.

• The overlap between "Nationalism" and "Populism."

• The invocation of "American Exceptionalism" as the basis for Nationalism.

• Nationalism based on selective interpretation of history.

• A "nostalgic" sense of nationalism.

• How "Nationalism" spills over into overseas or extraterritorial military expansion.

A couple of years ago, we had a lengthy discussion on the notion of "American Exceptionalism" -- we'll continue that dialogue vis-à-vis "Nationalism."

FINALLY, we'll conclude the discussion with how we define "American Values" in the current political climate.


Here's a soundtrack for this discussion:


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The Fourth Annual Holiday Party!

It's been our tradition to have a holiday party for two reasons. First, our Group was founded around this time four years ago. Second, as we embark on the Holiday Season, it's a good moment to look back and reflect on the year.


The format: small group discussions with the following themes:

* 2017: Year in Review -- what were the most important, or perhaps the most under-reported stories / events?

** BUT, most importantly -- what did the Year 2017 mean to you personally?

*** PLUS, predictions for 2018.

**** FINALLY, there will be important group announcements, including three new discussion series launching in 2018!

Here's a sound track for this event:

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Motion Debate: "Universal Basic Income"

This is an invitation to attend and watch a live Motion Debate as an audience. This event is in collaboration with, as part of the monthly debate series. It's FREE to attend and complimentary beverages will be offered. To attend, please complete the RSVP on this meetup page and also register at the external splashpage by clicking here.

Brian Hanley and Conrad Shaw will team up against Erik Carter and Christina Zorbas. It will be moderated by Evan Rhoda.

This month's Motion: "Universal basic income is the most important solution to rising joblessness in America."



• "Artificial intelligence poses a serious threat to the future of human existence." (Oct. 25th)

• "Higher education in America is worth the cost of tuition." (Sept. 28th).

• "It is difficult to successfully integrate or assimilate Islamic culture in the U.S." (Aug 24th)

• Is "Religion" more harmful to society than good? (July 26th)

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Law, History & Politics: Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges

We'll continue our discussion in this new series -- LAW, HISTORY AND POLITICS.

The LHP series explore the intersections of its namesake -- an in-depth study of a particular law, court decision, or a legal precedent that shaped the political forces and its historical ramifications.

The LHP series will start out with subject matters that directly relate to the U.S. For instance, we'll discuss landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions, particular Constitutional Amendments, or an influential Legislative body of work.

The advanced LHP series will explore international and comparative law from a historic perspective. These may include: Magna Carta, the Code of Justinian, the Code of Hammurabi -- to more recent selections, such as the Treaty of Versailles, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention.


For this meeting, we'll read a pair of marriage cases:

1) Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)

This 1967 unanimous ruling struck down state laws that banned interracial marriage (i.e, the "anti-miscegenation" laws). This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Loving decision.

Supplemental references (OPTIONAL):

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The Trump Presidency -- One Year Later . . .

On November 9, 2016, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the U.S. While some cheered this surprise victory, others expressed dismay and despondence -- the latter of which still resonate today.

As we embark on this one-year mark, we'll take a look back at how the Trump Presidency affected our daily, personal lives, if any at all. Here, we can offer anecdotal examples on a personal and introspective level.

This is a unique event because it will be the first time that we devote the entire event discussing the Trump Presidency.

To that end, we'll discuss the following:

I. How the Trump Presidency impacted your economic well being. Also, how certain domestic programs affected your personal, daily aspect of your lives. (e.g., rescinding of DACA, the attempted "repeal and replace" of Obamacare, the "Trump Tax Plan, the "Travel Ban," etc.)

II. How President Trump contributed -- or even instigated, in some instances -- to the overall mood of the country. (e.g., Charlottesville, the NFL protests, his relationship with Congress, interactions with the media, the infamous Twitter feuds, etc.)

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Motion Debate: "Artificial Intelligence"

This month's Motion: "Artificial intelligence poses a serious threat to the future of human existence."

Alex Grass and Iain Coston teamed up against Brian Hanley and Joel Dela Cruz in debating for and against the Motion, respectively. It will be moderated by Evan Rhoda.

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Oct. Monthly Discussion: NYC Elections, #NYConCon, U.S. Supreme Court, and Myanmar

We'll resume our "regular" monthly roundtable discussion, covering the most compelling stories and events unfolding in our City, the State, the Nation, and around the World. As always, there's plenty to discuss!



1) The City: a preview of the upcoming local elections.

2) The State: a preview of the State's November 7th Constitutional Convention Referendum (#NYConCon).

3) The Nation: a preview of the new cases before the U.S. Supreme Court'e 2017 Term -- including the:

• Wisconsin redistricting case;
• Colorado's "Masterpiece Cakeshop" case; and
• Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project.

3) The World: Myanmar's Rohingya Refugee Crisis

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Motion Debate: "Is College Worth It?"

This month's Motion: "Higher education in America is worth the cost of tuition."

Highlights from the debate:



• It is difficult to successfully integrate or assimilate Islamic culture in the U.S." (Aug 24th)

• Is "Religion" more harmful to society than good? (July 26th)

• Is it a proper function of the government to provide healthcare to its citizens? (June 21st)

• Has "Political Correctness" gone too far? (May 25th)

• Is "Stop and Frisk" an effective policy? (April 5th)

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Law, History & Politics: Brown v. Board of Ed.

For this meeting, we'll read and discuss the Brown v. Board of Ed decisions -- the original decision ("Brown I"), as well as the "implementation" decision ("Brown II").

1) Brown v. Bd. of Ed. of Topeka, et al., 347 U.S. 483 (1954) ("Brown I") -- Click here to access it online.

2) Brown v. Bd. of Ed. of Topeka, et al., 349 U.S. 294 (1955) ("Brown II") -- Click here to access it online.

We'll discuss how and why the Brown decisions effectively overturned the doctrine of "Separate But Equal."

We'll then discuss the "Little Rock Nine" incident that followed the Brown decisions.

Here's a sound track for this discussion:

Previous LHP series:

• The Chinese Exclusion Act and Korematsu v. U.S. (July 2017):

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The Mayoral Debate

A full video clip of the debate:


This is an exclusive invitation to attend a live Mayoral Debate at a historic Gramercy Park venue -- hosted, organized, and moderated by our very own group! This is an "open partisan" debate, as all declared mayoral candidates, regardless of their party affiliation were invited. The debate will take place a weekend prior to the September 12th primaries.

The following candidates have confirmed their participation in the debate:

• Fmr. Councilmember Sal Albanese (D)
• Richard Bashner, Esq. (D)
• Akeem Browder (G)
• Aaron Commey (L)
• Bob Gangi (D)
• Mike Tolkin (D)

The following candidates were invited, but haven't responded or confirmed:

• Mayor Bill de Blasio (D)
• Fmr. NYPD Det. Bo Dietl (I)
• Assmeblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R)


The debate will be in a "townhall" format, covering the following topics: