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Jeff Israely

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Aboard the Aquarius rescue boat this week

Hardline On Immigration: Human Rights Or Democratic Will?

PARIS — Central American migrant parents and children are reuniting in Texas. After being stranded off the coast of Italy, the Aquarius ship has now safely docked in the Spanish port of Valencia and the dozens of migrants have been cared for and asylum requests submitted. But even if the waters have calmed and the front pages are moving on, the migrant crisis is definitely not going away.

Along the Mediterranean coast and U.S.-Mexico border, in South Asia refugee camps and Eastern European parliaments, hard questions are coming into focus: How far will policymakers go to enforce anti-immigration policies? Can you shut down the border without violating basic human rights? How will it play out when people return to the voting booth?

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U.S. Army tank in Panama in 1989

Panama To Afghanistan, The Long Tail Of American Hubris

The news from Afghanistan this morning is devastating: at least 80 killed and hundreds wounded following a massive explosion in Kabul. The violence, of course, is hardly limited to Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, two attacks in the space of 12 hours, one at a well-known ice cream parlor, killed at least 27 people in Baghdad. Hitting an summer ice cream spot in the Iraqi capital was, once again, a deliberate choice to target children. Last week, it was a deadly suicide bombing attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, where the prime objective was to kill teenage and pre-teen girls.

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No longer affordable

Deconstructing The Crisis Of The American Middle Class

NEW YORK — If you're a middle-class American baby boomer or Gen Xer, you might have spent much of the past decade wondering what went wrong. If you're a boomer, there's a good chance you're still working well after you thought you'd retire.

And if you're part of Generation X, you're probably less wealthy than your parents were at the same age. Meanwhile, all across the U.S., pension funds are underfunded and will almost certainly have to default on some of their obligations to retirees.

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Stop jogging yet?

Admit It, You’ve Already Ditched Your New Year’s Resolution

MUNICH — After tallying the results of Santa's wish list comes the next step: wishful thinking. With the turning of the calendar comes another New Year full of hopes and expectations as the list of resolutions pile up. It's like closing-down sales: Everything must go, everything must change. Around the world, the vows look similar: Eat more vegetables, do more sports, be kinder to your loved ones, walk the dog more often. Others want to learn Spanish, learn how to ballroom dance or fly to Easter Island. And yet, declaring that there's a will does not necessarily (or usually) mean there's a way. Studies show that two-thirds of resolutions don't even survive until the end of January.

"There's practically nobody who has never made a New Year's resolution," says Dieter Frey, a social psychologist at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. "Some have very strict plans, and there are those who don't take it that seriously. But we've found that 30-40% do have real willful intentions to change something." Such people have ideal scenarios, and yet there always comes the moment when they understand, painfully, that the reality doesn't necessarily conform. If you keep looking at yourself in the mirror, at first you might not notice your belly growing. But at some point, it becomes impossible to deny that large space between aspiration and reality.

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Leadership By Bluster, A Preview Of Trump’s Reality TV Presidency

Leadership By Bluster, A Preview Of Trump’s Reality TV Presidency

WASHINGTON — For Donald Trump, little is more intoxicating and affirming of his own power than creating tornadoes and watching them tear across the landscape.

In the space of just 24 hours this week, the president-elect set off cyclones near and far that preview the drama he seems likely to bring to the White House.

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A Trump supporter last spring in Kansas City

Angry And Anonymous — And I Voted For Trump

ST LOUIS — I'm the guy who never answered the phone when caller ID said "Number Unavailable." I don't want every opinion, every perspective, and every trend to be visible to those who would mold public opinion. I am suspicious that had the power brokers in Washington known what was coming, they'd have found a way to get Hillary Clinton into office. I didn't want that. I'm fed up. Enough is enough. I want my country back. This is supposed to be a government of the people — not of the banks, lobbyists and foreign donors.

I am one of an endangered species called the American middle class. An aging baby boomer — one of the last generation, it seems, who inherited a future brighter than his parents. I grew up in manufacturing in the Rust Belt, and embraced the application of new technologies for innovation. My career spans more than four decades at companies like John Deere and Boeing and Emerson Electric. I have worked in many jobs from laborer to vice president of operations. I've lived and worked all over the world.

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Welcome To The Trumpocene

A guiding principle of modern democracy holds that a system of checks and balances helps prevent any single person or faction from making radical changes to the existing order. That the wheels of legislation move slowly, and recourse is available through courts or other branches of government, may be a hair-pulling reality for those trying to bring about change. But it is also the best protection to preserve that change once it has been achieved. Needless to say, supporters of President Barack Obama are counting on such institutional brakes as they look ahead to a Donald Trump presidency.

And yet, forces more powerful than democratic institutions exist — like the laws of physics! Trump's opponents may (or may not) remember the second law of thermodynamics, which holds that it is ultimately easier to destroy than to create. Translate that scientific proposition to any number of Trump campaign promises, with the backing a Republican Congress, and we can see how quickly the Obama legacy, and more, could vanish.

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Ivanka and Donald Trump at the inauguration last month of their new Washington D.C. hotel

Trump Ethics And Conflicts Of Interest: What Happens Now?

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump will face wide-ranging questions about his ethics and integrity from the moment he enters the White House in January.

The president-elect says he'll turn over his vast financial holdings to his kids. But many doubt a blind trust will insulate him completely, potentially exposing him to conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts on a range of domestic and foreign issues as no president before. During the campaign, Trump branded his opponents with nicknames such as "Lyin Ted" and "Crooked Hillary." Yet more than Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton, he lied and shrewdly assumed that the media, especially television, would never catch up with him as he moved to the next deception. That should be harder for a president.

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"Lady Guy," a Hillary Clinton Supporter and a Donald Trump supporter in Florida

Who Will Win The White House, The Four Things To Know

In a normal election season, the signs would seem to point toward a Hillary Clinton victory. This is not normal.

WASHINGTON — There are eight days left before Americans will choose whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. And, although October — and its surprises — have become cliche in politics at this point, it's hard to remember a final month of a presidential campaign that has contained so many twists and turns.

So, where, exactly, are we? Here's what (I think) we know.

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Phillip Johnson Glass House (with Kusama dots)

When Art Tarnishes A Masterpiece Of Architecture


BUENOS AIRES — Exploiting architectural masterpieces as props for so-called ephemeral art is starting to become something of a permanent habit.

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Trump worked up last week in Florida.
eyes on the U.S.

Trump Goes Armageddon, View Of The Donald "Unshackled"


WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is not really running a campaign for president anymore. Instead, he is involved in an extended revenge plot or is simply following the politics of grievance to its natural, unseemly end.

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Hillary Clinton arriving at the 9/11 commemoration in NYC
eyes on the U.S.

Both Clinton And Trump Must Come Clean About Their Health

The two presidential candidates are at that age when "things start happening ..." says President Obama's former personal physician.

Hillary Clinton nearly collapsed after being forced to leave a 9/11 commemoration early on Sunday. Her campaign later released a statement that she had been diagnosed last week with pneumonia. The following article was originally published Friday.


Eight years ago, I wrote a medical report on the health of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, whose personal physician I had been for 22 years. That report was 276 words and described Obama's health as excellent. I was derided for issuing such a brief report, but there was nothing of significance in the medical history of this healthy, 47-year-old male. Meanwhile, Republican John McCain — a 71-year-old with a history of skin cancer — made nearly 1,200 pages of records available for a group of reporters to review.

Today, the two major candidates for president are each almost as old as McCain was in 2008. Having been in practice for 50 years serving a predominantly geriatric patient population, and now a septuagenarian myself, I can attest that the American people need much more medical information from these candidates. If elected, 70-year-old Donald Trump would be the oldest person ever to enter the Oval Office, while Hillary Clinton, 68, would be a close second, behind Ronald Reagan. At these ages, stuff begins to happen.

What do we know about Clinton? Importantly, she deserves credit for issuing a useful two-page letter from her doctor in July 2015, but unfortunately that document raised as many questions as it answered.

We were told that Clinton has an underactive thyroid that is being treated with a replacement hormone and that she has a history of suffering thrombophlebitis (venous blood clots) in her legs. This leads me to wonder if these clots were provoked by trauma or some other cause, since unprovoked clots have a more worrisome prognosis. Around the time of her 2012 fall and concussion, Clinton suffered a venous thrombosis in her brain, and she is now on a blood thinner called Coumadin. This is a difficult drug to control, and close monitoring of prothrombin times — a measure of how long it takes a person's blood to clot — is necessary. We physicians should see a record of her prothrombin times to assess adequacy of control. Being on Coumadin, she would have to avoid certain foods, such as green leafy vegetables, and avoid medications with problematic interactions. There are new anticoagulant medications that don't require such monitoring or diet and drug restrictions. Why isn't she on this more efficacious medication?

It took Clinton up to six months to make a full recovery, and for two months, she had double vision. This was not a simple concussion. In 2013, her doctor's letter reported, her neurologic exam was normal. But that was three years ago. Concussions can cause cognitive decline. Would a current neuro-psychologic exam show any change?

This is all somewhat unfair to Clinton, however, who ends up being placed under greater scrutiny as a consequence of acting more responsibly than her opponent. We can ask specific questions about her health because she has been willing to share some important information, even if it is inadequate. In contrast, we know nothing about Trump's health.

A one-page letter from his doctor — a gastroenterologist, not the type of physician who usually provides primary care — reported that Trump's "strength and stamina" were "extraordinary." We were told "unequivocally" that he would be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." This stunningly unprofessional, hastily written letter contained only minimal medical information.

We essentially have no medical information on Trump. It's impossible to know what questions to ask. We're told he has had "no significant medical problems." We are told that Trump plays golf regularly. We are told that his "cardiovascular status is excellent." I would very much like to see documentation of all this. In particular, in view of his somewhat erratic behavior during the campaign, I believe Trump also should undergo a neuro-psychologic evaluation; if normal, this would at least put an end to speculation that he has a personality disorder. He is a septuagenarian asking voters to place him in one of the most demanding jobs on earth. We need to see his medical records.

Throughout this country's history, from Woodrow Wilson's stroke to Franklin D. Roosevelt's polio to John F. Kennedy's Addison's disease, Americans have repeatedly not been given important medical information about their leaders. It's no wonder they are asking so many questions this year, but speculation and unanswered questions don't serve anyone very well - not the voters, not the candidates. McCain set the standard. The medical reports from Clinton's and Trump's personal physicians do not suffice.

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