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Trump, Flynn and the Nature of Lying
I cannot be the only one who has realized Donald Trump has incriminated himself.

Headline: “Trump tweets from motorcade he fired Flynn for lying to Pence, FBI.” (Chicago Tribune ). See also accompanying “Tweet” from Dec 2.

This appears to be prima facie evidence from Trump’s own tiny fingers that he knew of Flynn’s lies to the FBI well before they were publicly documented.

Supposedly the FBI discovered the lies in the summer, and Flynn’s guilty plea became public only last week. If Trump knew in February and did not reveal his knowledge, he clearly participated in a conspiracy to cover up Flynn’s crime. Both ignorance and knowledge of a fact cannot simultaneously be true.

The problem with lying, to the FBI or to the nation, is that one cannot keep the lies straight. In this case, Trump cannot have known in February that Flynn would lie to the FBI later in the spring or summer. So either he knew in February that the lies were coming — a clear indication of conspiracy — or he made up his prior knowledge yesterday. Either way, he either was or is a liar.


Latest Bad Health Care Idea Dies in Congress
The idea that abandoning our national affordable care system and turning over health systems policy to the states will resolve the fiscal crisis in our nation is absurd. Simple demographics make it a bad idea.

With the exception of age-related maladies such as senile dementia and a few others, illness strikes in ways that are best understood as random. Almost no state has a population whose age distribution, ethnic mix, income, education, etc., closely mirror the national equivalents. Thus it is entirely predictable that the distribution of illness in some states will overload specific forms of care while in states with younger, healthier populations, medical services will abound and may be surplus or squandered.

Consider two hypothetical states A and B. A is in the rust belt, and its population is relatively old due to the decline of traditional industry and economy and consequent out-migration of young people, who take their earning power and their children (AKA future earners) with them. B is experiencing rapid in-migration its modern economy is creating new wealth and infrastructure that will continue to expand for decades.

A will likely be unable to provide adequate services to its population based on some national average block grants; it will be unable to pay for home care or even common services. It will be forced to raise the share of costs that must be borne by the individual, leading to increasing poverty. Parents will be obliged to pause before seeking care for their children’s injuries or minor illnesses, leading to long-term health consequences that will further unbalance the system. Certain high-cost medical procedures and specialties will become unavailable. Although it is purported that “choice and options” will increase, the real choice will be between medical care and other essentials, with the only option being relocation. Yet because the majority of A’s citizens’ wealth is tied up in their homes and their income is tied to declining local industry for which they were trained long ago, relocation is not a viable option.

B’s citizens, in contrast, will never have had it so good, at least for a while. Their economic and demographic advantages will mean that no one will have to pause before seeking care. Cosmetic surgery and other non-essential specialties will be growth industries; noses and breasts will be reshaped and augmented in every village and town. Medical specialties and procedures now unavailable in A will be a net revenue producer for B, leading to further outflow of A’s wealth and thence to further decline it A’s ability to finance health care. Medical training will continue to migrate to large, rich states, while small, poor states struggle to buy aspirin and adhesive bandages.

These effects will also operate at the local level. Poor counties will get poorer; rich ones will get richer; this will be most apparent in large states like California, Texas and Florida at one end and in Michigan, Mississippi and the Great Plains at the other.

Today we’ve learned that the “(R)eject and (R)egress” effort in Congress has failed again. Good news, but have no doubt they’ll be baa-ack one day soon. Beware!

Latest Bad Health Care Idea Dies in Congress © 26 Sep 2017

August Unemployment Marginally Up
OLYMPIA – The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly from 4.5 to 4.6 percent in August, primarily due to a jump in the state’s labor force, according to the state Employment Security Department.

“The stronger job market attracted many more job seekers into the labor force in August,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Although most found jobs, those who didn’t pushed the unemployment rate up a touch. Unemployment remains low and businesses continue to add jobs.”

Washington’s economy added an estimated 2,000 new jobs over the month. The department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary job estimates from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as part of its August Monthly Employment Report.

In August last year, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent this August and 3.7 percent in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 48,504 people in August.

Labor force continues to grow in Washington

The state’s labor force rose to 3.7 million in August — an increase of 16,900 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,500 over the same period.

From August 2016 through August 2017, the state’s labor force grew by 69,000 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 14,700.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Seven sectors expand, six contract

Private sector employment increased by 4,900 and government employment decreased by 2,900 jobs in August.

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in retail trade, up 1,900, and construction and transportation, warehousing and utilities both up 1,500. Other sectors adding jobs were education and health services up 900, wholesale trade up 600, information up 500 and financial services up 100.

Government and other services faced the biggest reduction in August, losing 2,900 and 1,100 jobs respectively. Additionally, professional and business services cut 600, leisure and hospitality eliminated 200, and manufacturing and mining and logging both shed 100.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington has added an estimated 83,000 new jobs from August 2016 through August 2017, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.5 percent or 67,200 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.9 percent, adding 15,800 jobs.

From August 2016 through August 2017, 11 of the state’s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing (-4,600) and mining and logging (-200) were the only sectors to report job losses.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

<div style="margin-left: 10px;">Government with 15,800 new jobs;
Construction with 13,800 new jobs; and
Education and health services with 11,700 new jobs.
Check out Employment Security’s other labor market information and tools, including a video tutorial, to highlight popular information and data.</div>

Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the second quarter of 2017. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The U-6 rate for Washington through the second quarter 2017 was 9.7 percent compared to the national rate of 9.2 percent. Washington’s U-6 rate is the lowest it has been since 2009.

TRUMP TOWER MOSCOW 'Net Domain Renewed During, After Campaign
Pres. Trump has claimed that he had no pending deals in Russia after the beginning of his presidential campaign. Yet consider the Internet domain trumptowermoscow.com. It was registered in 2008 by "The Trump Organization" and has been renewed annually including three times (2015, 2016 and 2017) since the presidential campaign of 2016 began.

If indeed the project was to end before the election campaign of 2016 as Pres. Trump has asserted, why would registrants renew the related domain afterward, most recently in July 2017, through 2018? It certainly contradicts the statement that the candidate had no pending deals in Russia. It would appear that someone within The Trump Organization is at the very least hedging his bet, and as everyone knows, that "organization" is totally controlled by one person.

Two reasons for the contradiction suggest themselves: Either (a) that oft-cited, unnamed "low ranking employee who is no longer with the company" failed in his/her responsibility to cancel it, or (b) there was never any intent to abandon the project unless the presidential bid faiiled. Take your choice.

Of course there may be other possible reasons for the unnecessary renewal, such as poltergeists, an undiscovered email from Hillary or surreptitious actions by unnamed conspirators out to get The Donald.

Following is the WHOIS query —which anyone can execute— that shows the original registration and status (standard disclaimers & terms omitted). The standard terminal inquiry, which obscures the name of the registrant using a privacy device of the registrar, is followed by the public report from whoisxy.com (LINK) which reveals the name of the registrant.

As Deep Throat might have said had he lived longer, "follow the domain."

STANDARD INQUIRY
whois trumptowermoscow.com
Domain Name: TRUMPTOWERMOSCOW.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1508992055_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2017-06-28T20:25:51Z
Creation Date: 2008-07-17T20:24:44Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2018-07-01T03:59:59Z
Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 146
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@godaddy.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: 480-624-2505
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited
Name Server: NS49.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
Name Server: NS50.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form: https://www.icann.org/wicf/
>>> Last update of whois database: 2017-09-13T16:41:49Z <<<

WHOISXY.COM
WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Domain Name: TRUMPTOWERMOSCOW.COM
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Registrant Name: General Counsel
Registrant Organization: The Trump Organization
Name Server: NS49.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
Name Server: NS50.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned

©2017 A. R. Clark

Rating Trump's Eligibility for Immigration on his own Scale
They're baa-aack. Now it's the RAISE Act (look up the stupid acronym yourself.)

You need at least 30 points to be eligible.

Hypothetical review for a certain person living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.

How old are you?
> 50, 0 points.

What’s your highest level of education?
US bachelors, 5 points

What’s your English ability?
Poor
Moderate
Good, 10 points
Excellent
Fluent

Do you have a job offer?
No, 0 points
(It is unlikely anyone would offer this person a job based on prior service or current recommendations.)

Do you have a Nobel Prize or major international award?
No, 0 points

Have you won an Olympic medal in the past 8 years?
No, surprisingly given this person’s status as the most fit leader in US history, 0 points

Do you plan on investing money (foreign currency) in the US?
No. Despite substantial purported foreign currency holdings, this person prefers to invest abroad in countries with authoritarian, non-democratic governments, and repatriating such holdings would require reporting via IRS, 0 points

I make that 15 points.

Not qualified.

Source: Time Magazine


Unemployment rate holds firm in June
OLYMPIA – Washington’s record-low unemployment rate held firm in June at 4.5 percent, despite preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing the state gained 2,500 jobs over the month.

“Washington’s economy continues to add jobs slowly, just not enough for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to fall lower in June,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “There’s just not a lot of excess skilled labor available in the market for employers to dramatically increase hiring.”

The Employment Security Department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from BLS as part of its June Monthly Employment Report.

In June last year, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent this June and 3.4 percent in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 49,148 people in June.

Labor force continues to grow in Washington
The state’s labor force rose to 3.69 million — an increase of 6,400 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 5,600 over the same period.
From June 2016 through June 2017, the state’s labor force grew by 56,500 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 21,400.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Eight sectors expand, five contract
Private sector employment decreased by 300 and government employment increased by 2,800 jobs in June.

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in government up 2,800, wholesale trade up 2,000 and other services up 1,900 new jobs. Other sectors adding jobs were construction up 1,400, financial services up 1,100, information up 600 and mining and logging and transportation, warehousing and utilities each up 100.

Retail and education and health services faced the biggest reduction in June, losing 2,700 and 2,600 jobs respectively. Leisure and hospitality cut 1,200, professional and business services eliminated 600 and manufacturing trimmed 400.

Year-over-year growth remains strong
Washington has added an estimated 81,000 new jobs from June 2016 through June 2017, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.3 percent or 63,500 jobs, and the public sector increased by 3.0 percent, adding 17,500 jobs.

From June 2016 through June 2017, 11 of the state’s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing (-6,700) and logging (-100) were the only sectors to report job losses.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Government with 14,800 new jobs;
Construction with 15,100 new jobs; and
Retail trade with 11,000 new jobs.

Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the first quarter of 2017. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The U-6 rate for Washington through the first quarter 2017 was 10 percent compared to the national rate of 9.5 percent. Washington’s U-6 rate is the lowest it has been since 2009.

Contact: Paul Turek, labor economist, 360-407-2306, or Bill Tarrow, deputy communications director, 360-902-9376

Trump, Weak on Health Care
Trump on Health Care. Interesting: Apparently Obamacare was passed before Obama was first elected. (Watch today's speech by DJT in which he alludes to "seventeen" years of Obamacare.) And nothing but what's wrong; little or at best hype about what's coming to replace it.

It’s easy to find anecdotal examples of failure to help a particular individual in any system. In the aggregate O’care has made about ten percent more Americans eligible for insurance. The whole concept of insurance revolves around the greatest good for the greatest number; it can never promise perfect outcomes for every person. There is no functional issue keeping insurers from participation in exchanges; they just don’t want to cut their marginal profits or — heaven forbid — actually have to deliver on their policies.

Insurers must be required to adhere to minimum standards and compete on quality, not on cost minimization. That is the only way they can ultimately avoid a government takeover of the health care system.

Depoliticize the US Supreme Court
Almost from its founding, the US Supreme Court has been subject to political stress and strain, as successive presidents have sought to create a preference for their own views of both short and long-term issues. Recently the Senate leadership has used the requirement that it consent to judicial appointments to block or to accelerate the seating of new justices of the supreme and other courts, whether to liberalize or constrain the behavior of the courts purely for partisan reasons.

Recognizing the possibility that this might occur, the Founders’ only solution was to institute lifetime appointments to federal courts that would transcend the tenure of any given president or congress. That was in an era in which few citizens had ever left their own state, learned a foreign language, earned a university or law school diploma or indeed subjected themselves to the competitive aspects of a society of 300 million people, and when the primary criteria to be considered for a court seat were that one be adult, white, male and acceptable to the current power structure. In the modern world, that solution is inadequate and has often resulted in the appointment of relative non-entities to the Supreme Court. There are probably much better ways to manage a court system in the modern era.

Imagine a “Supreme Court System” to replace the current arbitrary grouping. The members of the court hearing any given case would be drawn from among a set of eligible justices on the various appellate courts -- from which many of the Supremes are now drawn anyway -- assigned at random. They need not all be in the same place, as they could share everything, both written and oral, by telecommunication, as most appellate cases are not heard but read, with oral argument being only a supplementary part of the review and often omitted. Where used, oral argument can be presented over the Internet, as was done in the recent Hawaii-based hearings on travel restrictions.

There are currently 169 members of the appellate circuits. If that number were increased, let’s say to 200, or even doubled, there would be adequate judicial time to hear the cases now before the Supreme Court (only a tiny minority of cases are ultimately resolved by the SC). Each case could be examined by a group of nine selected randomly (or perhaps five or seven for cases not involving constitutional or other truly national issues) from among the 200. For quality control, if necessary, eligibility for SC cases could be limited to the senior half of the appellate justices, whereby the qualifications of the justices on any given case would be at least comparable to the current politically selected jurists. Randomization effects would diminish partisan influence.

This approach could also make more cases suitable for SC review, giving both fairness and finality to many cases now declined by the SC. The SC could also be extended to a full work year; the current arrangement is determined in part by the awful summer weather in DC, which should hardly be part of a decision process that can involve life and death.

The Constitution does not prohibit such a change. It would be well within the law to change the role of the Chief Justice to one of administration and assignment of the five, seven, nine, etc., justices to individual cases (the Constitution leaves rules of court structure and management to Congress). The cost of the courts might rise somewhat, but the increased efficiencies and the reduced time and travel required of litigants, lawyers and judges would offset much of the increase, and litigants would be more likely able to get on with their lives. The suggested changes would also in a heartbeat increase the probable socioeconomic diversity of the members of the court hearing any given case, making the justices more like peers than superiors of the litigants.

Such a change should be acceptable across political lines. Both conservatives and liberals have been heard to complain about decisions being made in “far off Washington DC” that could be made closer to the action.

We are not well served by the current politically charged court. It is time to review the implementation of Article III of the Constitution and bring the Supreme Court into the 21st Century.

Copyright © 2017 A. Rees Clark

Seattle Summer Highlights
A nice summer calendar compiled by The Colin Group. (Click to enlarge.)


State unemployment rate hits historic low in April
OLYMPIA – Washington’s added 1,200 new jobs in April and the unemployment rate fell from 4.7 to 4.6 percent – matching the state’s historic low for unemployment last reached in June 2007, according to the state Employment Security Department.

“While job growth was more subdued in April, Washington’s economy continues to trend positively,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Jobs are being created, unemployment continues to fall and the labor market is tightening.”

The state released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its April Monthly Employment Report.

In April last year, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent this April and 3.3 percent in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 60,386 people in April.

Labor force continues to grow in Washington

The state’s labor force rose to 3.69 million — an increase of 3,400 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 600 over the same period. From April 2016 through April 2017, the state’s labor force grew by 67,900 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 37,500. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Five sectors expand, six contract, two unchanged

Private sector employment decreased by 700 and government employment increased by 1,900 jobs in April. This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in government up 1,900, transportation, warehousing and utilities up 1,600 and wholesale trade up 1,300 new jobs. In addition, retail trade added 900 jobs and information increased 400. Education and health services faced the biggest reduction in April, losing 1,200 jobs. Financial activities cut 1,000, leisure and hospitality and professional and business services eliminated 900 each, manufacturing trimmed 800 and other services shaved 100. Construction and mining and logging were unchanged.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington has added an estimated 76,500 new jobs from April 2016 through April 2017, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.3 percent or 61,700 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.6 percent, adding 14,800 jobs. From April 2016 through April 2017, 11 of the state’s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing (-8,100) and logging (-100) were the only sectors to report job losses. The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Retail trade with 16,100 new jobs;
Government with 14,800 new jobs; and
Construction with 13,700 new jobs.

Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the first quarter of 2017. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The U-6 rate for Washington through the first quarter 2017 was 10 percent compared to the national rate of 9.5 percent. Washington’s U-6 rate is the lowest it has been since 2009.

Source:
Bill Tarrow
Deputy Communications Director
Employment Security Department
360-902-9376

Declaration Redux
Here are some complaints about government you might recognize, updated and distinguished by "Ancient" and "Modern" to reflect the idea that the more things change the more they stay the same. It appears there is little to no difference between inherited monarchy and willful usurpation of authority.

The ancient "he" was George III. We leave identification of the modern "he" to you.

Ancient: Ancient: He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
Modern: He has made it exceedingly easy for States to avoid enforcing Federal law, and has neglected to attend to them.
Example: Allowing states to evade low income provisions of ACA.

Ancient: He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
Modern: He has with the connivance of his political affiliates sought to disenfranchise large numbers of voters based solely on complex and irrelevant documentation of eligibility or to favor certain forms of documentation over others albeit their equivalence.
Example: Arbitrary and discriminatory voter registration rules demonstrably for the purpose of restricting voting by classes of citizens.

Ancient: He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
Modern: He has conducted the business of state at undisclosed or private and inaccessible locations, for the purposes of his persoal convenience or to obscure the existence or content of such conduct.
Example: Numerous private meetings with business associates, intermediaries and foreign government officials at his own private venues.

Ancient: He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
Modern: He has declined to nominate managers or administrators of major and lesser Federal offices and judgeships, whereby the citizens are deprived of essential Federal services.
Example: After three months only a handful of the over 500 senior officials of the Federal government subject to Senate confirmation have been nominated and/or confirmed.

Ancient: He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Modern: He has imposed untenable conditions on the Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to accommodate migration hither; ignoring the impending natural decrease of native-born populations that will inexorably lead to social and economic decline.
Example: He has ordered or proposed numerous discriminatory barriers to entry and naturalization based on such unconstitutional grounds as national origin or religion; preferring instead to base immigration policy on economic benefit to corporations and financial manipulators.

Ancient: He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
Modern: He with his political affiliaes has failed to appoint or confirm Justices of the various Federal Courts.
Example: As of May 13, 2017, 129 of 890 judgeships are vacent, and only nine persons have been nominated and eight confirmed.

Ancient: He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
Modern: He has essayed to make Judges answerable to himself on matters of law; and has impugned their legal decisions by derision or personal insult.
Example: He has denigrated numerous judges of the Federal Courts for a multitude of decisions, based solely on his personal disagreement with them, regardless of his utter lack of legal or judicial training.

Ancient: He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
Modern: He has rendered certain agencies impotent by leaving key positions unfilled, by ignoring his obligation to properly adminster the government; or he has appointed administrators who lack substantive knowledge of are in fact opposed to the purpose and practices of their own agencies.
Example: A secretary of commerce opposed to the regulation of financial institutions; a secretary

Ancient: He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
Ancient: He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
Modern: He has appointed military officials to civilian offices.
Example: J. Mattis as Secretary of Defense and H. R. McMaster as National Security Advisor; though many of the security challenges we face are non-military offenses by non-state actors essentially immune to military defense and better suited control by legal or police power or international cooperation.

Ancient: He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
Modern: He has entered into unexplained relationships with foreign dictators of countries inimimcal to our national interest; providing no or little explanation of the intent of such relationships or what quid pro quo may be involved.
Example: Can you name a good reason to praise Putin, Kim, Duterte, etc.?

Ancient: He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Modern: He has charged his followers with imposing physical harm upon opponents of his personal beliefs, statements and actions during extra governmental rallies.
Example: Assaults on protesters at campaign and post-election rallies perpetrated by spoken approval of violence even against silent protesters based solely on their appearance or attire.

Ancient: ... A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Modern: There is no possible improvement on Jefferson's conclusion.

Thorough Investigation of Russia Connection to Trump Campaign Is Essential
I am recalling CA Rep. Charles Wiggins (R) nearly dissolving into tears as he cast his vote for impeachment of Richard Nixon in 1974 along with several of his Republican colleagues, putting country ahead of party. He was not alone in his emotions, as both Democrats and Republicans voted for impeachment with difficulty. In those days, Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage" still resonated with the citizenry and its leaders.

Like most Americans, I hope the implications of the importune interactions with Russian government officials and intelligence operatives turn out to be innocent. Perhaps Michael Flynn acted alone, but as with L.H. Oswald, we need to know. Flynn’s own assertion that he is a scapegoat implies otherwise.

So far the present Congress is silent, letting the current scandals over Flynn and other Trump associates fester without prospect of investigation by the people's representatives. This reticence is disappointing at best. One awaits with curiosity the first volume of "Profiles in Pusillanimity." --Rees Clark

Voter Fraud 201: BS in the US (Prerequisite: Civics 101)
According to leading purveyors of "alternative facts" there were about three million persons "illegally" registered to vote in 2016. One rather insecure candidate has claimed that all the “illegal” votes were cast for HIS opponent; a shocking claim, and one that bears investigation. We may find that fraud is not the right problem to investigage.

The current estimate of the voting age population is 231 million of the total population of about 322 million, or 71.7 percent. Write that down. In fact only 130 million (56%) of the eligible voters actually voted. That is 56% of 71.7%. Write that down.

About 2.4 million persons died in the USA during 2016, which deaths are not automatically cross-tabulated with voter registrations in any state as far as we know*. Most deaths are among elderly people, and death is rare among persons under 21, so we can fairly safely estimate that about two million eligible voters died.

Consider also that in 2015 some 51 million persons moved from one state to another. Applying the same ratio of voters:population, the number of voters moving would be about 71.7% of 51 million, or 26.3 million*.

The combined total of “lost voters” is thus 2.4 + 26.3 million, or 28.7 million. An unknown number of the 26.3 million re-registered in another state, but there is no simple way to correlate those registrations. These numbers will repeat in each national election, roughly proportionally to the changing size of the population. For argument’s sake we will assume that half re-register in time to vote in the ensuing election, reducing the “lost” voters to about 15.5 million.

If three million persons actually voted improperly of the 130 million voting that would be 2.3% of all persons voting. Precinct sizes vary from state to state from about 1,100 (KS) to about 2,700 (DC). That means that on average from 25 to 62 persons slipped through in each precinct despite the presence of poll watchers from both parties and sworn officials checking lists, and those numbers must be increased by removing from the tallies all persons voting absentee or otherwise by mail, which votes are much harder to fake, at least here in Washington State. Frankly, we think we could take those claims and happily wash our hog with them. So... three million? Don't write that down.

Even if we accept the fraud estimates, the current state by state registration system hypothetically allows three million to vote who shouldn’t while actually disenfranchising over 15 million who should and failing to involve 100 million who abstain. We also see a large, national political party hell-bent to apply a full court press to increase the actual 15 million while wringing its hands over the hypothetical three million and ignoring the disengaged 100 million.

Only you can decide which distresses you more as a resident of a democracy. Would you direct your efforts toward punishing the guilty (or merely careless) or toward engaging the uninvolved?

(* Please, prove us wrong about cross-tabbing; perhaps some states actually do it, though it's unlikely that any state includes deaths in a different state, making any cross-tabulation suspect; kindly cite your sources. Also, the mortality and mobility numbers vary only slightly by year, so that really is insignificant, but pick such nit as you wish. We understand this article is a long slog, but these are the weeds through which you must hack your way if any improvement in recent dismal US voting patterns is to be achieved.)

Trump Wall: Expensive, Useless, Badly Motivated
The Trump Immigrant Exclusion Wall is a long, expensive row to hoe, and it will bear either bitter fruit or none at all. DT estimated $10bn. to $15bn. during the campaign. NO ONE accepts that figure. The parts of the border now having no fence are the easiest terrain on which to build. Using a consensus estimate equal to the average of five analysts, that wall would cost about $22.9bn, or $12.7 million per mile.

Of course that’s only about $73 per capita for each person in the US population, so some will consider it cheap. But that’s not the only consideration.

Let’s suppose the estimates of undocumented population of about 11 million are correct and that half of that number are adults and that those adults work on average half time at the average state minimum wage of around $11.50 (the federal minimum wage is $7.25). Those 5.5 million workers would earn $65.7bn and contribute about $26bn in taxes, assuming the average tax:income ratio (including all local, state and federal taxes).

Using a common economic multiplier of 5.0, that would mean undocumented workers expand the US economy by about (5X65.7bn) or $300bn per year. Others have estimated different amounts, and we don't pretend to be well trained economists, but that seems like a lot to give up just so some benighted fools won’t have to hear Spanish in the lunch room.

Sources

Fortune wrote that About $7bn. has been spent building 653 miles of fencing now considered inadequate by the anti-foreign crowd. $7bn ÷ 653 = $10 million per mile or $19bn. for the whole 1,900 miles.

Business Insider has estimates ranging from $15bn to $25bn, averaging $20bn.

CNBC calculated: $16Mm per mile for the 1,300 miles now unfenced, but much of that fence would need replacement. Assuming replacement of 300 miles plus 1,300 new miles, the estimated cost would be $25.6bn.

MIT Technology Review stated: Components: Concrete $9bn; steel $4.6bn; labor $27 to $40bn. Taking the average labor estimate, the wall would cost (9+4.6+33.5=) $46.9bn.

CNN Money: Their estimate was very similar, may I repeat, very similar, to that of Business Insider.

WA December Unemployment Lowest Since May 2008
OLYMPIA -- Washington's unemployment rate dropped for the fifth month in a row to hit a new low of 5.2 percent in December, according to state Employment Security Department.

"Washington's economy finished strong in 2016 and the short-term job outlook remains positive," said Paul Turek, economist for the department.

The pace of hiring also increased in December as Washington employers added 6,700 new jobs, up from 4,000 jobs in November.

The department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its December Monthly Employment Report.

The national unemployment rate increased a tenth of a percentage to 4.7 percent in December. The unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area held steady at 3.7 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 70,238 people in December.

Labor force increases in Washington

The state's labor force remained virtually unchanged at 3.69 million in December, an 800 decrease from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 1,000 to 1.65 million during the same period.

From December 2015 to December 2016, the state=92s labor force grew by 121,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 61,600.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over age 16.

Eight sectors expand, four contract

Private-sector employment increased by 7,400 jobs and government employment decreased by 700 in December.

This month=92s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in leisure and hospitality with 3,400 new jobs created. In addition, information increased 2,500; retail trade expanded 2,200, wholesale trade was up 800, and financial activities added 300. Additionally, education and health services; transportation, warehousing and utilities; and manufacturing each added 200 jobs.

Other services faced the biggest reduction in December, losing 1,300 jobs. Government and professional and business services cut 700 jobs each, and construction fell by 400. Mining and logging employment was unchanged.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington has added an estimated 82,300 new jobs from December 2015 to December 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.6 percent or 68,300 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.5 percent, adding 14,000 jobs.

From December 2015 to December 2016, 11 of the state=92s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing (-5,900) and mining and logging (-100) were the only sectors to report job losses.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
* Education and health services with 20,800 new jobs;
* Government with 14,000 new jobs; and
* Leisure and hospitality with 11,300 new jobs.